Thursday, 6 April 2017

'The Chambers of Numismodeath'

Belatedly, I have found the drafts of three posts I wrote nearly two years ago in response to some nonsense being put out by metal detectorist cum pulp-science-fiction writer Dean Crawford. This concerned that old argument that metal artefacts are being dissolved wholesale in ploughsoil by 'artificial fertilisers'. The reason I did not post them at the time was that I lost all the photos of the results of the experiment (and the coins themselves are not locatable either). I think though that something is better than nothing, especially as I see that the original claims are now being resurrected again by the supporters of the artefact hunters.
Attentive readers may remember that 24th November was the date I set for examining the contents of the "Two Warsaw Chambers of Numismodeath" (PACHI blog Thursday, 29 October 2015). This was an attempt to duplicate the results of Dean Crawford's "kitchen sink" coin-colouring experiment which seemed to me suspicious (see my text 'Artefact Hunting, the "Lesser of Two Evils"? More on "Fragmentation"'). I really do not see how the chemistry of what he describes worked and wanted to duplicate his "experiment" to see what would happen. They involved burying fresh and patinated coins in artificial fertiliser for three weeks (as Mr Crawford had described) to see what degree of damage was caused. I'll do this in two posts, for the experimental methodology (so to speak) see the earlier post, for the summary of results you can skip to the third post in the series.
Experiment one is here: Artificial Fertliser (1)  PACHI   Friday, 27 November 2015

Experiment two here: : Artificial Fertliser (2) 

and the summary: The Artificial Fertiliser Experiment (3) PACHI   Friday, 27 November 2015

As a result of this experiment which failed to duplicate Crawford's results though it used the same methods, the metal detectorist's claim seems to me to be a load of nonsense - as one might expect because of course not a single ground-dug ancient artefact he illustrates in a series of posts looks anything like the examples which he says were only three weeks in the ground. 
Anyway, the reader can go to a garden centre or agricultural chemical supplier, get a bag full of fertiliser and try the experiment themselves. In Britain soon there will be a whole load of scrap pound coins of varied alloy composition to practice on. 

Vignettes:  Pirate heritage grabbers expect us to believe them, better though to check out what they say before trusting any of them and their supporters...

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