Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Roman coin hoard saved from Collectors

A generous and concerned British public has once again forked out another few thousand quid to Treasure hunters and their partner landowners to stop the coins being split up and sold on the international antiquities trade ('Roman coin hoard to stay in Devon'). While that is good news, one wonders why such a situation exists in England and what British archaeologists (the Portable Antiquities Scheme in particular) are doing to raise public awareness and combat the problem of the wholesale legalised looting of the British archaeological record for personal profit (1970 UNESCO Convention article 10). Surely the answer cannot really be "nothing at all"?
The Seaton Down Roman coin hoard will stay in Devon thanks to a number of donations and grants. The hoard has been purchased by Exeter’s RAM Museum for £50,000, allowing it to be kept together and displayed for the benefit of the people of Devon and Exeter and for future generations.
This hoard was mentioned on this blog earlier for three reasons. Firstly, because the finder guarded it against being stolen by other metal detectorists after the loot, putting the lie to the claims that in other cases (most infamously the Lenborough Hoard fiasco) that this is somehow impossible to achieve. [PACHI Friday, 26 September 2014, 'Seaton Hoard, Dug Methodically by Archaeologists: Finder Slept in his car on Site Protecting it From Other metal Detectorists'; PACHI Saturday, 3 January 2015, 'The Excavation of the Seaton Down Hoard'].

Secondly, it also more infamously produced the so-called "Portable Antiquities Scheme's millionth coin" but that is not so as the PAS was set up to deal with non-Treasure finds, but this hoard was classified as Treasure.

Thirdly, because this hoard was not hoiked out loose into a carrier bag like most of them are these days,  but what the metal detectorist left in the ground could be properly excavated (as few of them are, even these days), we can say that the coins came from an archaeological context - which is the opposite of what dealers (like California's Dealer Dave Welsh)  are trying to tell their dullard clients. Neither, used to dealing with loose finds surfacing on the market (from underground) anonymously,   have any significant grasp on the literature and thus are among the least well-placed to judge but continue to bleat their innocence of involvement in looting of archaeological sites. they are decieving themselves, but cannot deceive the rest of us. [PACHI Saturday, 13 December 2014, 'Viking Hoard Was Buried Inside Building'].

Vigntte: One way to keep the archaeological heritage?

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