Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Metal Detecting Facadism


"The Archaeology and Detecting Magazine" seems to be a new venture of Tempus Metal Detecting club  based in Congleton, Cheshire:
Here you will find articles from Archaeologists, Detectorists and other specialists throughout the genres. [...]  This magazine will be ran [sic] by the archaeological and metal detecting community for the archaeological and metal detecting community. [...] The Archaeology and Metal Detecting Magazine is sponsored by Tempus Metal Detecting and Archaeology group and the Metal Detecting Club.
the whole thing seems to be run by one "Dave Sadler"  who we learn is, apart from apparently being a metal detector user, a " Parapsychologist, UFOlogist, Cryptozoologist, familyman and Freemason". Yep, another detecting Freemason. There is all sort of detectory/collectory stuff here by Alex George Bliss, Dave Sadler, Rod Blunt, Stephen Grey, and about 'North West and Manchester Metal Detecting Group', 'Metal Detecting Britain Group' and of course 'Tempus: Metal Detecting and Archaeology'. Then there's the resources where "Colchester metal Detecting Holidays' is used as a source above and beyond the PAS and UKDFD finds guides.

But just pass over all that to the bit 'Introducing Digger Dawn and Twig the Dig'. Or you could try: Howard Sturdy and Phill G  Anglo Celtic Metal Detecting. This really does show what serious artefact hunting is all about. Oh yeah. They make you want to go out and trash some historical sites, don't they?

Oh and there's some "archaeology".... Archaeological outreaching like mad, an FLO (Vanessa Oakden) submits a 'briefing on regulations relating to metal-detecting on Countryside Stewardships areas'. That's regulations about eroding the historical environment on them, not avoiding it. Shame. I really cannot get my head around the totally inane text ('First steps in identifying and dating metal finds') submitted by archaeologist Dave Weldrake (Education and Outreach Coordinator West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service). I think the reaction can only be "so, what?". The other archaeological content are three texts by the same writer ("Alison Smith BA (Hons)") which seem to be uncorrected first year undergraduate essays. There is one on the 'role' of British Neolithic Portable Material Culture,  and one on ‘Experiential’ or ‘Phenomenological’ approaches to Neolithic landscape and Monuments. But of course the one that attracted my attention (and it would seem quite a few metal detecting forums) was the third, written in or after the end of February 2012. Apparently one of the lecturers somewhere set a question which runs like this:
Discuss The Benefits Of Metal Detectorists To The Archaeological Community
Who was that? I think the same lecturer probably would be of the ilk who'd ask students for an essay on the "literary values of modern graffiti and tagging on ancient monuments".  Dumbdown archaeology requires dumbdown questions I guess. One answered in garble-muddled poor English too.
An artefact that is within the plough-soil is no longer in their original context because of C-Transforms of ploughing and is therefore vulnerable to destruction by further ploughing and agricultural chemicals (Bland, 2005, 447). The use of metal detectorists on archaeological excavations can create relationships with archaeologists, attract positive media coverage and also create community awareness. Metal detectorists also rescue coins and artefacts from the destruction of nitrate fertilisers used by modern farming methods. Metal detectorists are beneficial in the recovery of lost items of personal jewelry, agricultural machinery parts and also useful with the police services in the recovery of stolen artefacts and missing persons (ncmd.co.uk, 1998-1999, 3-4).
The author seems not to have read Schiffer or the polemic with Binford over what a C-transform actually is in SFP, but that is not the full extent of the muddle of ideas here. But I like the optimism of the notion of artefact hunters finding missing children - perhaps though pendulums would be more effective (and a much better news story).

Interviews with an amateur and two "professional metal detectorists" informed the writer's opinion of the many benefits for archaeology, in that they "always get the landowner's permission" and would "help on an excavation if asked". The fact that amateur artefact hunting and selective collecting of artefacts is all over Europe and the rest of the world considered to be an erosive and destructive activity seems to have escaped the author of this shambolic excuse for an essay (and the person who set and presumably marked it). How about quoting a few of the international documents on it, eh? And the EAA code of ethics?

[Mr Sadler might consider that by copying and pasting other people's work into a post authored by himself, he is giving 'proper credit', but in a bibliography, each of those authors referring to a text in your 'magazine' would have to cite their work under his name. This needs fixing.

3 comments:

heritageaction said...

"Parapsychologist, UFOlogist, Cryptozoologist"

Sounds reliable.

Dave Sadler said...

Cheers for the write up Paul.

Yep, former Parapsychologist, UFOlogist and Cryptozoologist, working in the reality area of the subjects. But that was a long time ago.

The magazine is just over 2 weeks old, and with any new venture, it is difficult to get people on board. So at the moment it is a news service, with a smaller amount of articles proper.

I am attempting to get things right, but, having a full time job, and being the only person updating the project, it isn't as easy as I thought. That aside, I am enjoying producing the site and hope it does achieve what I set out for it to do. I am forgetting a lot, and refreshing it correctly when pointed out, or remembering. And have had some good feedback. Your post, I take as constructive criticism, and hope to improve. Although with the aforementioned difficulties, this may take time.

I am not doing this for anything other than attempting to bring the Archaeological and Metal detecting communities closer. And having been involved in several Archaeological digs proper, know how difficult this will be. I also appreciate the amount of improper practices undertaken by a high percentage of Metal Detectorist's, I have been privy to, and learnt of more of these. However, that is one reason Tempus was formed. So Archaeologists are able to offer advice and assistance to members. Which, in some members, has been taken on board and practices changed. Including myself.

I hope you can revisit the site in the future and offer a more positive review, alternatively any advice or criticism are greatly received as to improve.

Best Regards

Dave Sadler

Paul Barford said...

Thanks for that good-natured reply.
>>I am not doing this for anything other than attempting to bring the Archaeological and Metal detecting communities closer. <<

A laudable aim, but one that twenty years ago a public-funded "Scheme" was set up to do. After spending millions of pounds on it, and 99% support from the entire British archaeological community and heritage professionals and authorities it is a mark of how stubborn the artefact hunting milieu are that people like you are still struggling on top of that to achieve that aim. That tells me there is something fundamentally wrong with the idea- which is the message of my blog.

OK positive thing I meant to, but did not write. Aside from the criticism, THIS IS ONE OF THE FEW CURRENT UK METAL DETECTING RESOURCE PAGES THAT GIVES THE OFFICIAL CODE OF PRACTICE INSTEAD OF THE CRAPPY NCMD ONE. Good on you for that.

Good luck with achieving your aim.

 
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