Monday, 1 January 2018

In 2018, Nobody is Going to Defend Collectors' Shallow-brain Dullard Arguments Either

As we all know, Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record (CDAR) is a growing and serious problem worldwide, those involved in it thumb their noses at the rest of us as they clandestinely pocket evidence that could be used to tell us about the past for their own selfish needs.

Most of them are simple folk with a strong herd instinct. They think it is enough to resolve any conflict for one of the more literacy-able members of their number (and as we have seen articulacy and literacy are characteristically rare in the community as a whole across the western world) to scribble some issue-dodging 'justifications' which they then unreflexively chant in unison as some form of protective mantras. The arguments that convince them are expected as a matter of course to convince the rest of the thinking world that Collection Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record is in the public interest, benign, harmless, even helpful in some way.

Back in 2005, Rod Blunt, on the back of the discussion about the original Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales (which was and still is largely rejected by British artefact hunters) wrote a text called Metal Detecting – The Hobby and its Detractors ['lies, damn lies and the hobby of metal detecting']. It is still being trundled out today by other detectorists as the last word. The problem is that this text does not actually address the issue at hand, it represents looting of artefacts as a form or rescue (in Syria from 'ISIL', in England 'from the soil') without addressing the main issue of what is lost in such a form of exploitation... which is of course the main point.

Such a pars pro toto form of justification remains just that, a pseudo justification which is hardly the basis for any sensible form of discussion. It will of course raise other questions, the other concerns need to be addressed. I raised a few of them more than seven years ago here. Here the shallow explainers have a problem, they really have no answer to those other concerns, the one they were intending to dodge anyway. So what is their response? Look:

This is why there is no point in even listening to the arguments of the collectors, they are not going to listen to you. There of course was noting 'obnoxious' in what I wrote. I merely pointed out further issues that Mr Blunt had failed in 2005 to address, he did not address them in 2011 and will fail, I am 100% sure, to address them right through 2018 and beyond. Metal detectorists like John Winter can continue to ignore these questions but they will not go away.

Note the two characteristics of that title by the way, the original form read 'lies, damn lies and the hobby of metal detecting' - the suggestion that anybody who expresses any concerns about Collection Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record is necessarily a 'liar' is typical of the school-playground speak engaged in by these folk. It is also an alienation tactic, group identity is bolstered by opposing the enlightened insiders with an 'other' who 'lies about/does not really understand us'. This is why they do everything that they can to keep critically-minded outsiders out of their  forums, discussion lists Facebook pages. The claim is that since they 'cannot understand what we do', their concerns are in some way invalid. I do not understand, I admit, adult blokes who try to get their grubby hands up little girls' skirts or what they do with those hands when they do - that does mean that I should not be in any way concerned about it. Secondly note the use of that word 'detractors', this suggests this is just some kind of criticism of a person (or group of people) rather than an activity. The use of ad personam arguments is rife among collectors. They are easy, even Donald Trump can manage them, so a metal detectorist can too. Mr Blunt's text would be more convincing if he'd given it the title that is needed, let us say: 'Metal Detecting – The Hobby and the concerns raised about it'. Can he do that? Or is that beyond him? Mr Winter, perhaps you'd like to have a go? Or are we going to go through 2018 with everybody dancing impotently around the central questions about Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record with preciously pursed lips and their hands over their ears?


John said...


I'd like to wish you a Happy New Year!

Now, here's a novelty - somebody apart from the sycophant Swifty making a comment on one of your blog posts. Can I suggest that you could engage with your audience if you chose a writing style that was coherent and thus understandable. Lighten up a bit! You waffle a lot! If I have difficulty in interpreting what you say, imagine what it's like for some of the other 'Thugwits'. Just a suggestion - you could make it one of year new year resolutions.

I suspect that my comment will be reported as being extremely unpleasant and you'll not allow it to be published. Little change there, then! :-)

Paul Barford said...

Nobody to 'report' anything to. I cannot maintain this blog 24/7 - especially over the holiday season. Happy New Year John, to you and all my readers.

I am sorry you have problems understanding the thoughts behind my words. I do not think however that my concerns about the effects of Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record (C-DEAR) are rocket science. And I do not think that I can be the only person in the whole wide world to have them. I think it is too facile to explain away the failure of those who support current policies to actually address them as due to their (or my) poor literacy skills.

I think I am not alone, either, in considering that crowd-pleasing texts such as your childlike 'Paul Barford – Arrogance Personified' actually supply any information assuaging those concerns. I find it a tad ironic that you attempt to lecture me above on the verbal articulation of what I see as the concerns when in the second breath you simply dismiss me as 'arrogant' for having such concerns in the first place. Grow up John. The main reason why we cannot have an adult conversation about artefact hunting and the Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record is basically that most people involved have such a fundamentally childish, self-centred attitude which we see in almost everything they do, say and write. Grown up men and women acting like a load of big kids, just so they can have something old in their pockets.

I remind you this blog is about artefact collecting, not for collectors.

They have their own places (from most of which I am either blocked or excluded from contribution - like your own blog). I do not block any substantive comments from metal detectorists or anyone else, and for your information, this is the first comment that came to the blog from you in the past few days. I have just checked, there are 139 unaccepted comments in the folder awaiting acceptance going back several months. It is interesting to note what they all are. They are all from metal detectorists. They all contain much the same dismissive stuff as your post to which I refer above. Many contain abuse, there is one disaffected metal detectorist who seems to spend entire evenings of his (and its always a he) empty life composing them and sending them, I presume he feels I will be so upset to learn what he thinks (sic) of me, that I will give up worrying about the archaeological record and do something else. I think he needs help. It is the persistence of these childish tactics, together with the *total lack* of any serious, adult attempt to approach the issues which lead me, personally, to be of the view that any concepts of managing C-DEAR through any 'partnership' relying on innate 'responsibilities' is purely an illusion. The statistics, the PAS' own statistics, show that starkly. What is sickening, utterly sickening, is I am sure that *everybody knows* that, and nobody is going to bother to get up off their arses and say so.

So you carry on posting your 'look what my mate found' and 'Barford is just an arsehole, so we can ignore him' posts. And I will carry on posting regardless of what people like you 'think', that I think there is a serious problem that we need to deal with and pointing out what they are. As is the topic of the post above.

Anonymous said...

You confuse sycophancy with agreement John. I, we,Sam Hardy, David Connolly, EH, CBA, PAS, Kevmar and many others have shown with a host of statistics that the vast majority of your colleagues don't report their finds - which are therefore lost to Society and science. My personal opinion is that that makes them selfish, self-seeking oiks who ought to be constrained by laws. If Paul shares my evidence-based opinion it doesn't make him wrong or me a sycophant.

As for insulting us it signifies nothing. You're welcome to your "bravos" from the cheap seats.

Paul Barford said...

The bumptious but not very bright fat kid in the playground (who probably ended up as a bus driver or something), cant resist having a little jibe on Gentleman John's blog (he usually skulks around Tompa's):

"John Howland 2 January 2018 at 9:53 am
Happy New Year to you and Mrs John. I hope it’ll be healthy and wealthy! I see Barfly’s published your comment and what a plonker he’s made of himself. I can only imagine other forces beyond his control are at work here. Pity really, as he could have made so much more of his life and career. Nevertheless, he makes good sport. Keep smilin’

I think I can probably claim fairly confidently to have had a fuller life and career than sad Mr Howland, a grown man from the provinces with his pirate flag avatar and childish manners. I leave it up to my readers to decide whether the archaeologist or the metal detectorist is the 'plonker' and what Mr Howland is trying to hide (or compensate for) by his name-calling. My surname is not a difficult one to get right.

He has a blog of his own now, you can see for yourselves the extent of his abilities to make sense of the world around him and make any kind of a coherent argument to support his position.

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