a disappointing rally' (May 24, 2015). Note the way the search area is described, paying attention to known findspots (ARCHI is a database created using as the basic source of information published archaeological reports):
The site was billed as around 120 acres of ploughed, rolled and seeded arable land. ARCHI showed the area to be rich, especially in Roman material [...]. The morning’s field had reportedly produced a William I penny the last time the site had been detected, though apparently on that occasion most diggers spent the day on another field which had produced a couple of Anglo-Saxon pennies and a few later medieval hammies [...] it was a dead loss [...] the sole reported decent find was of a hammy of some sort from one field.[...] My impression, and that of others I spoke to, was that the fields had been more or less detected to death; if they hadn’t, why was nobody finding anything today, notwithstanding any finds on earlier visits? [...]Note the way that the search area's history is presented only in terms of what coins have been found there. The proportions of finds in the PAS database shows that British artefact hunters are not so much producing a picture of archaeological material (and therefore historical land use) across the landscape, but primarily one of coin loss. Furthermore to find these coins, they focus on known findspots (including those reported in the archaeological literature). As a result, more and more of these sites become "detected to death" (ie destroyed by artefact hunters). If we look at the PAS database, we see no evidence that much of the material that has been removed from this search are, or any other in the near vicinity - have ever reached the PAS (the area is the red square near the middle of the map - and the detectorist is useless at map-reading, Carlton is in Bedfordshire).
|Death of a Site|
So basically, there is ample and repetitive evidence out there in the public domain that known and potentially productive sites are being targeted by collectors who are looking for specific types of collectables, and either hoarding or discarding the rest without record, many (and unknown number) of sites are being emptied of the archaeological evidence, again without any record. And we are told that these people are 'partners' of archaeology and doing good. This is rubbish.
* A reader points out that the search pattern could equally be seen as a hammer form - for hammering the archaeological record into oblivion. I still associate it with those archaeologists who refuse to see the facts about artefact hunting in England and Wales and fail to draw the conclusion that this is something we need to be debating and raising social awareness about.