Sunday, 28 January 2018

UK Detectorist Boasts of 'Saving' an Artefact from 'Nuclear Nitrates'

Nitrates occur naturally in soil, and always have
A Lincolnshire metal detectorist repeats the lore legitimising collection-driven pocketing the past:

In reality he is boasting about the collectable condition (crisp, readable, smooth brownish patina) of a find he made the same day. This is about the aesthetics, rather than information value (the coin type is of course very well-known). This coin may be nibbled around the edges, nothing in the photo would justify calling it recent damage, it could equally have been caused when it corroded in the ploughsoil a thousand years ago, the underlying metal looks to be reasonably sound. So why try to pass off this private collection-driven exploitation of a Roman site as  'rescue'? I asked him:
8 godz.8 godzin temu
So, "South Lincolnshire" - wherever, has never been ploughed before? This coin has been in the ground some 1680 years and no plough has ever been near it, you say? And only now it needs "saving"? How come? Are you detecting on permanent pasture?
but he compares its condition with some of the 'other coins' (what, no artefacts?) from the context - the whole assemblage is not shown. Note also that in making his reply, he copies in his 'Brexit Leaver' metal detecting mate and an artefact-loving archaeologist to say:
7 godz.7 godzin temu
W odpowiedzi do       It is from cultivated land that has been so for decades. From the condition of other coins from the site this is exceptional in that it hasn't been power harrowed or nuked with nitrates. Most archaeologists now acknowledge removing such finds from the disturbed stratum is rescue.
'nuked with nitrates' is an odd phrase to use for an object that has been in agricultural soil for a millennium and a half. Also the 'other people accept it, so why can't you?' argument seems about as senseless as taking a vegan to McDonalds and showing a crowd of people tucking into burgers  and processed battery fowl meat to persuade them that eating animals is OK:
40 minut temu
It's news to me that there are "no nitrates" in the soil this object has already lain in 1680 years: "Most archaeologists now acknowledge... is rescue" No they don't, it's mainly those that support collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record
and further on those troubling nitrate-free soils of Lincolnshire
So the surface of this coin is "copper nitrate", you say? Why is it brown when copper nitrate is blue? Why is it rescue of information to pull the archaeological assemblage apart to put selected bits of it in your pocket? This is how to do "rescue":
Let us see if Mr 'Look-wot-I-have-found-for-my-collection' metal detectorist can respond with a proper argument that goes beyond repeating protective mantras.

UPDATE 30.01.2018
Surprisingly (because most metal detectorists would have erupted in a tantrum of ad personams and name-calling by this stage), he did. He then writes (and look who is 'liking' his tweets):
The biggest threat to such finds on cultivated land is agriculture itself. I have witnessed the effects of ammonium nitrate fertiliser on copper alloy which is often catastrophic. This before a power harrow is even considered. I take it you don't believe a success
Ammonium nitrate is rarely sold in pure form in most countries (IED raw material), and pretty expensive per hectare, so farmers don't go splashing it around. Another reason that it is not used to douse the area is that the ammonia reduces soil pH and excess nitrates are not taken up by the plants anyway.  Farmers therefore do not tend to apply it in bulk, but several lighter applications at specific times in the growth cycle. I would question the catastrophic effect of this chemical on buried metal - when metal detectorists post up photos of the metal objects they find in a field which has had 'green waste' applied, they are not corroded. This is despite the fact that they, in contrast to already-buried artefacts, do not have a barrier of pre-existing corrosion products between the metal and the 'chemicals'. This is a red herring argument - like many justifying artefact hunting and artefact collecting. The remark about the PAS is a smoke screen, intended to deflect discussion - of course the PAS is in no way connected with soil chemistry or mechanics (and no, for the record, my belifs on this are clear from this blog. The PAS is not only not particularly successful in mitigating the rate of knowledge theft collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record is inflicting on the accessible parts of the archaeological record of the UK, the effects of its 'outreach' have been positively damaging).   My reply and his response (note he's dropped the 'nuclear nitrates - nitrates are of course present in dung and other fertilisers):
This is another red herring, the scatter of artefacts in most fields I have ever fieldwalked which derive from using farmyard midden material as manure (this being the sort of material that arttefact hunters would not b seeking for their collections - so would tend to ignore in their 'study of the history [of the site they are ripping apart]') indicates otherwise.
> fell under the plough post war < yeah? So all those eighteenth and nineteenth century maps in the record offices are lying? You miss my point about nitrates, did you read the link I included?

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