Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Bardney Area Siliqua Hoard Forum Thread Censored by Facadists

The Metal Detectorist  and the Truth
To maintain the 'responsible detecting - never done wrong' facade of UK artefact hunting takes a lot of work. You see, artefact hunting there in general is not being done in any way that can actually be regarded as 'responsible', and it is difficult to make a sow's ear somehow look like a silk purse. But M.Rix listowner of a metal detecting forum near you is having a go, by deleting some of the posts I referred to in my own report on what I saw there about a siliqua hoard before he began deleting his own members' honest words:
Re: Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!  Post by mrix » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:01 pm
jcmaloney wrote: ↑Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:43 pm So a post about the consequences of doing things "wrong" gets removed.......... yet one advising "get a ditching bucket" stays?? Don`t know why I bother at times.
I am not sure if you have heard the expression all publicity is good publicity, all posts related to anti metal detecting blogs will be removed here at the MDF as its only creating far more awareness for these sites and simply promoting them [emoticon] [emoticon] To be honest I am a little shocked you posted a link to one of these blogs [emoticon] [emoticon]
Despite what chattering monkeys may assert, this blog is not an 'anti metal detecting blog', its name is Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues, and it discusses Collection-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological record as a heritage issue. One would have thought that responsible artefact hunters would be reflecting on precisely the same kind ofissues raised here. Of course, they would not if the term 'RD' was just a facade, intended to fob off as much critical comment of IRresponsible behaviour for as long as possible. What in fact this 'site' is creating awareness of is the gap between what some people say about UK artefact hunting and what artefact hunters actually do and try to hide from the rest of us. No amount of internal censorship in the artefact hunting community will alter the fact of that huge gap. Tekkies may pretend to themselves that there is no gap, the world is flat and pigs will fly. the rest of us can see that delusion for what it actually is.

I think there is also an element of Animal Farm here isn't there? M.Rix feels he can visit this blog and remain untarnished by the experience (like the pigs in Mr Jones' house), but the lesser mortals under him (like the sheep) cannot be allowed to even know there is something here and must be kept away as much as possible. Orwell would be disturbed by Mr Rix's attempts to censor what his flock read, by his lack of trust in their ability to sort out by referring to many sources of opinion, what really IS a 'responsible' approach to the archaeological record, and what is primarily just selfish greed and ignorance. 

So, the metal detectorists will not be aware of what Rescue is saying about their hobby and the PAS then...? Mr Rix hopes to keep it that way. 

The Ball is in the Archaeologists' Court

In relation to another post on this PACHI blog, Nigel Swift has drawn my attention to a revealing and still all-too-relevant text on Heritage Action's blog: 'Mr Lincoln’s two opposite views of metal detecting (Heritage Journal 24/10/2015). I was re-reading that and then came to one of my own comments below it, when I remarked three years ago:
The quiet is I think the lead up to the next change which should be “what should we do?”. The obvious answer is change the law and change public attitudes to the pilfering of the archaeological record for private entertainment and profit. Have Britain’s archaeologists got the guts for it?
Well RESCUE have, what about the rest of them? The CBA for example

Vignette: balls in their court

The 'Bardney Area' Siliqua Hoard

Detecting at the end of the
 rainbow (photo Crldnll's
father in law) 
On a metal detecting forum near you, detectorist 'crldnll' from Lincolnshire wrote last year about finding a siliqua hoard: 'Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!' (thread started Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:08 am) 
Morning all, An absolutely cracking week for me and the father in law - we've been lucky to find some beautiful items over the last 5 years but we've blown them out of the water with the most recent... absolute once in a lifetime!  [...]  Out of the mud popped a beautifully crisp Silver Roman Siliqua - every part of it was as clear as the day it was minted. We spent a few minutes thinking wow and then both simultaneously looked at each other and said 'there could be more'... [...] and we both hopped back over to the find spot and began searching in all directions. Then it began... he found 4 in quick succession, followed by another 4 by me... it was constant, all in a very small area, every few steps, every signal we came across was the same crisp sound (80's on the deus) most of which were only 2-3 inches deep, and each find brought the same 'Can this be happening' stare across to each other. It got to the stage where we knew what we were going to find prior to digging ... the strangest but most fantastic feeling - we couldn't believe what was happening - it really didn't feel real.
Yet, somehow they did not decide to call in help.
All in all, we found 24 between us on the first day - we'd started quite late (3pm), so had to drag ourselves off before the sun went down - so hard to do this, as we knew there could be so many more. Got home, and surprisingly the wife and mother in law were interested for once... had a lovely look at them all and then made the plan to go back first thing in the morning. Got in touch with the local flo - and being the brilliant chap he is... he replied at 10pm on the Sunday evening agreeing to meet us there the next day. Monday morning, we headed back to the site, this time armed with some red and white tape, garden canes and a full pack of McVities ginger nuts... We headed straight to the find spot and marked all 4 corners of the outermost coins - we ended up with an area around 25m x 30m and then set out to go back through this area to collect any more. Almost immediately, it started again, silver after silver, every dig we made gave the sale result - yet more Silver Roman Siliqua - and strangely, absolutely nothing else... gone were the cartridges and tiny slithers of lead. Afternoon came and the Flo arrived - by this time we had 35 in total - he was over the moon, loved the coins, identified most of them and discussed the find spot at length - gave us the advice we needed and advised it is very likely there could be a pot bursting at the rim just a few inches down. He told us to keep going and update him as and when things come up. The day ended, we were absolutely shattered and gasping for a cuppa! 
He seems to have misinterpreted in a somewhat whimsical manner something the FLO (is this Adam Daubney?) had said on site to produce some ahistorical folksy narrativisation of their own:
[...] these coins are either deposited by the Romans prior to the collapse of the Empire or by the Saxons - and the way of telling which was down to whether the coins were heavily clipped. If not clipped, it is most likely by the Romans, if clipped, then most likely by the Saxons who would've clipped to sceat size and used as currency.
Except the sceattas of England, Frisia and Jutland are dated to the 680s onwards (to replace the thrymsas 630s+) - leaving a more-or-less 270 year gap between the one and the other... This is how much detectorists like this are 'learning about 'istry' from digging up lots of artefacts they do not really understand the background of. The finder and his live-in Dad add:
Advice please.... We are planning to hire/purchase a 'hoard hunting machine' or surveying equipment in hope of giving some insight as to whether or not something else lies below. Another option is we scrape back the surface (from flos advice) so fingers crossed the landowner is up for it. Either way, I cannot wait... It has been absolutely fantastic to have gone through this... it really is the stuff of dreams! 
Further down the thread we see this:
Re: Hoard!Post by cammann » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:13 pm Amazing finds and responsible recovery. You're a credit to the hobby.
No mention is made of any documentation made of the distribution of the signals. Let's see their documentation, how credit-worthy that is. One scatter or more? [It is not in the thread, but apparently they used a GPS to plot the coins]

Some of the coins (imageshack)

The thread peters out Mon Oct 16, 2017 but then is taken up again almost exactly a year later (no mention of the Treasure process in the interim):  Re: Hoard! Update 13/10 - New pics of all! Post by crldnll » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:19 pm
 Managed to convince my father in law to pop out on the hoard field today before the rain came and boy was he glad! Also probably be the last time as the crops on it's way up. [...] Bang smack in the middle of the hoard site, my father in laws first signal [...] and a crazy 10-12 inches down, out popped a Roman Siliqua - an absolute stunner too! [...]  he found another 2 [...]  I was amazed at the depth we were getting as none of the other setups picked anything up - we'd have walked straight over them. Admittedly we have obviously been doing this area more thoroughly over the last 2 years given previous finds - but just goes to show what the machine can do and if you're ears are listening out for the right sounds. There has to be a pot somewhere - having a meeting with the landowner when he gets back of holiday to discuss options - Excited! So I think we're now at 70 of these...
By now, there's no mention of the FLO being involved. Anyhow, he's got his 'mates', the 'guys', who have lots of advice how to get the lot out without any interferemnce. Allectus from Essex suggests (Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:10 pm):
Has the farmer got a machine with a ditching bucket to take the top 6" or so off? If not and the farmers ok with it, the hire per day on the small machines is not that terrible [emoticon] Stay lucky [emoticon]
The reply? (crldnll Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:51 pm)
Thats the plan - Luckily got a few builder friends - one has all sorts of machines and has already given the thumbs up to use... meeting landowner this coming week so fingers crossed!  
But then a 'Fred" (father-in-law?) adds:
Re: Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!Post by fred » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:24 pm: [...] Yeah. Our hoard is relatively small so we are doing it by hand - very, very slowly! [emotican] So far nothing deeper down except a single silver ingot so it might just be a small ploughed out one though.
And so the hoard findspot trashing enthusiasm goes on until two posts currently at the end of the thread:
Re: Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!Post by f8met (Cambs and Suffolk) Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:57 pm:  You could always speak to your FLO and see if they have any suggestions as if there is a deep hoard they may want to help dig it. Dave Deus, 9" and 11" black coil 2018 49 Hammered 
Re: Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!Post by jcmaloney Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:44 am:
 Just a note before anyone "goes in with a ditching bucket" it would be prudent to contact your FLO and get advice.
If you go in "gung ho" with a digger and bucket you can easily remove any context even if the initial finds are scattered.
Such "bad practice " is currently making far too many headlines for the hobby.
 Proceed with thought and caution.
Making headlines for the hobby sounds more like an endorsement for heritage bloggers like myself and Heritage Action, as the PAS tend to keep very quiet about the whole thing when things go wrong... It gets in the way of the patronising head patting and comradely back-slapping.  I would point critics of our acvtivities to statements like that on the detecting forum, tekkies are very aware of the critical eyes cast upon them and sensitive about somebody in their number giving the game away, thus we find tekkies themselves spreading awareness. Jobsworth tekkie-headpatting archies will forgive me for pointing out that the PAS was set up twenty expensive years ago precisely to be making 'best practice' headlines from day one. Only now are the tekkies being made aware of this issue? And is it only because of the bad press heritage bloggers give what they do wrong? Perhaps we need more, not less, heritage blogging.

This seems to be the hoard Record ID: LIN-CDD02A.  Discovery dates: Sunday 1st October 2017 - Saturday 21st October 2017 Treasure case number: 2017T909. No pot. More to the point, no ingot. No context of deposition reported. What does this all mean?

Advice to the Bardney Hoard Finders from Mr Malony

With regard to the British Treasure process, John Maloney remarks:
Re: Hoard! Update 13/10 - New pics of all!Post by jcmaloney » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:52 pm
Good luck. Make sure you have decent pictures of each coin as the system has been known to "cherry pick" from hoards and some [siliquae] can be remarkably rare [emoticon].
The 'system'? What kind of talk is that? Has he any hard evidence of this? Has this been reported to teh public prosecutor?

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Cultural Heritage and Climate Change

Buy unpapered artefacts, endanger
the future of humanity?
An article in the Conversation explores the relationship between our heritage and the changing global climate:
More powerful storms, flooding, desertification and even the melting of permafrost are already destroying important sites at an alarming rate. While we race to preserve or record these places before they are lost forever, it is also the case that some sites – especially those that are or have been highly adaptable and flexible – can also be assets in understanding adaptation strategies more generally. (Cathy Daly, Jane Downes and William Megarry, 'Cultural heritage has a lot to teach us about climate change' The Conversation, October 16, 2018)
The authors are exploring how global heritage can be used not only to stress urgency about the dangers and risks of climate change, but also as an asset to enforce community resilience and develop adaptation strategies for the future. The article discusses threat to the material heritage (and I'd stress that) resulting from climate change using as examples melting permafrost and rising water levels.They then give an optimistic view of how 'heritage' can teach us a lot about communities’ response to threat which they present as 'a study of climate change resilience', how - for example - 'globally, coastal and river communities have been living with (and adapting to) similar events for centuries'. They quote an example from an island cultural landscape proposed WHS  in the Brahmaputra River in Assam, India, where communities and their monuments simply move each time a site is threatened by flooding.
Over hundreds of years, communities on Majuli have developed modular and portable building techniques using local materials including building on stilts. The river and its annual flooding have become part of the everyday experience of living on Majuli and is a part of the local worldview. [...]These places and their associated cultural heritage have evolved to be portable, a valuable skill in a landscape which changes regularly. 
the authors suggest that by understanding places like this river island 'we will learn much about resilience and adaptation to the inevitable impacts of climate change'. Will we? I do not think simply moving human settlements and getting used to this is going to solve anything. We cannot move Venice for example or the historic waterfront of any Medieval port town (like Gdańsk). But climate change affects more than just buildings close to the water's edge, but whole ecosystems - and adaptation to changes in those ecosystems will mean cultural change. And the whole mood of our times, the alt-right included is a reaction against cultural mutation/adaptation ('threats' sic to 'our culture'). If you GoogleEarth the island to which Daly, Downes and Megarry refer, it is closely covered by swamp and fields, if the swamps increase, there is no room for more fields to feed the population of that island/region. One assumes that this population will not decrease, so what will happen when the limits of adaptability of subsistence systems to adapt to falling crop yields is reached? It's no use following Daly, Downes and Megarry's suggestion that 'mobility is the key', because desertification and other processes will be leading to  reduction of area and huge shifts n the location of farming land. Irrigation will require more energy input and use up resources. Even moving to another planet would mean consuming huge amounts of resources of this planet to keep even a small human colony alive up there on Mars, or wherever. I think what archaeology tells us is that in fact, human communities do not survive, something tipped the balance and the Western Roman Empire collapsed (despite major cultural realignments from the middle part of the fourth century - on top of those happening in the previous three). Even collectors can see this effect, those for example who buy the lithic tools from North Africa from the so-called Green Sahara of the Neolithic - but their buying of stuff encourages Collection-Driven exploitation of the sites, sites which arguably have the potential of showing how those communities reacted and - at first - adapted to the climate change - but ultimately failed and disappeared.

Comment on your Museum's Presentation

I assume these smug comment cards (found on Twitter) are produced for museum trips by schools and colleges, they could be slightly more polite and less curt, but the idea is good. I'd have liked to see a space for the name, group represented and date because then, preserved in the museum archives they could give future scholars of museology a cross section of viewer reactions to the exhibits and the way they are presented. There is no space for 'lacks proper presentation of licit provenance/collecting history'.

It would be fun for a group of opinionated folk to go through the BM with some of these cards. I wonder what the results would be? And what about MOB?

Exporting Antiquities from A Little Green Offshore Island

Anyone visiting metal detecting forums on the eve of the Brexit referendum and reading the comments there would be left in no doubt which way the majority of metal detectorists would vote. Now as a result of a rapidly disastrous looming No Deal Brexit, certain metal detectorists are reminding their mates how such an arrangement at least makes exporting detected loot much easier.

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