Saturday, 14 December 2019

UK Archaeologists Protest Working Conditions

Treasure hunter
Archaeology has long suffered from the poor working conditions and job security across the profession (see discussion here, for example this news item that sets the case clearly). There was an archaeologists' strike in Ireland last year, this month archaeologists of Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) went on strike in the first of a series of one-day strikes in a dispute over pay. Heritage Action make a very cogent point about the issue (“How DARE archaeologists go on strike this week?” Well…' 14/12/2019), contrasting the position of archaeological professionals and artefact hunters:
It’s because inflation has reduced the wages of these highly educated, dedicated professionals to an unsustainable level. That’s bad enough, but it’s even worse when you remember the financial rewards which come to the self-seekers below are entirely inflation-proofed and have been for decades! How ironic that dozens of archaeologists on very modest salaries are employed to offer encouragement to such people as if doing so is the norm elsewhere in the world. Anyone think Britain is bonkers?
The Treasure ransom valuation is based on current market values for the loose artefacts as 'collectables' and the market value of course goes up with the rate of inflation.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Boris-Britain: Best way to educate kids? Put a detector in their hands.

The History Project (sic):
We can not think of a better way to make children aware of their awesome local history other than to put a metal detector in their hands.
That's a shame.  Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Not a GPS in sight anywhere. What a completely crappy idea. Additionally when these two clowns decide to turn up at the school in their "Second World War" (Bob's military surplus store rejects) army kit, they might have thought of a better way of giving a show and tell hands-on history lesson than digging up school jumble sale coin losses and a radiator knob. But they make up for lack of content with patronising enthusiasm ('you should see the look on there litt'l facis'). And to be engaged as 'educators' for kids, the school might look for people who can actually speak proper English.

Pathetic.  But apparently the best Britain can do  these days.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

UK Artefact Hunting: Pretend Seasonal Generosity Shields Total Lack of Transparency

ebay: how many UK antiquities
sellers actually have title?
Heritage Action have a resident pig-farmer that is not afraid to say what no British archaeologist would even ever suggest ('Metal detecting: Farmer Brown is feeling Christmassy' 8th Dec 2019)
Dear Fellow Landowners,
It’s that time of year when thousands of us will be offered a bottle of whisky to thank us for allowing people to detect for the past year. But before you swoon in a flood of rural gratitude may I suggest you respond by saying:
“How kind! However, it would warm the cockles of my heart far more if, instead, you reveal to me, right now, your eBay trading name.”
(It’s very clear some people are paying a very high price for their whisky!)
Seasons Greetings, Silas Brown [...]
.This refers to the spate of posts we see each year (those of us that watch them, most pro-detecting archies in Britain never do) on metal detecting forumes where artefact hunters boast to each other how 'generous' they are to the landowners that let them loot the archaeological record for collectables. They often buy 'him a bottle of wine and flowers for his wife' , or 'make up a showcase of [cheap duplicate] finds from their land' (this suggests that in giving them back, they took them away without showing the landowner in the first place). Anyway, two metal detectorists this year don't have to bother about what kind of wine they'd buy John Francis Cawley, 4th Baron Cawley and tenant farmer Yvonne Conod as this year they'll be spending Christmas in jail precisely because they walked off with items they did not show the landowner to get title 

Saturday, 7 December 2019

History, Silence and Discourse

Olga Tokarczuk
Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk received the Nobel prize for literature last night. Her acceptance speech was not broadcast live by the state media in her home country. Here's a fragment:
'Something that happens and is not told ceases to exist and dies. Not only historians, but also (and perhaps above all) all sorts of politicians and tyrants know this. Whoever has and tells the story rules' [Olga Tokarczuk, December 7, 2019]*
Certainly not the first time that this has been said, but the silence of part of the media is so eloquent.

*"Coś, co się wydarza, a nie zostaje opowiedziane, przestaje istnieć i umiera. Wiedzą o tym bardzo dobrze nie tylko historycy, ale także (a może przede wszystkim) wszelkiej maści politycy i tyrani. Ten, kto ma i snuje opowieść – rządzi."

Chainsaw-Wielding Detectorist, 'Forbidden to Contact the Man with the Glasses'

Nice bloke, tattoos, metal detector,
loud mouth, aggressive manner,
chainsaw, dangerous driver ((Image: Stuart Abel/ Devon Live)
Armed police were called to a violent incident in Buckfastleigh, Devon, earlier on this year, which ended in court this week. The person involved Graham Chetwynd has featured in this blog before due to the manner in which he chose to participate in discussions on artefact hunting. Like this example:
graham 25/08/2013 at 11:48: Mr barford we will meet soon and then we can have A PROPER CHAT .just me and you see you soon Graham xx
Nigel S 25/08/2013 at 12:07:
Mr Chetwynd, I take it that’s a physical threat, like the late-night telephoned one you delivered to me. Paul isn’t a member of Heritage Action but I’ll pass it on to him.
graham 25/08/2013 at 13:32:
Take it exactly how you want to but its a promise to be honest. 
Nice people, these metal detectorists. He was arrested after the incident (Stuart Abel, 'Man accused of wielding chainsaw in Devon town to face a jury' Devon Live 9th September 2019)
A man accused of wielding a chainsaw outside his home in a Devon town is to face a judge and jury. Graham Chetwynd, aged 50, allegedly threatened people in Buckfastleigh with weapons including the saw and a baseball bat, a court heard. He faced a judge to deny three offences during the incident which saw him arrested by armed police on January 14. Chetwynd, from Glebelands in the town, appeared at Plymouth Crown Court to plead not guilty to affray, or threatening unlawful violence. He also denied driving his Mitsubishi dangerously in his home street. Chetwynd finally pleaded not guilty to causing criminal damage to a man’s glasses. Judge Timothy Rose set down a trial to last three to four days, starting on December 3. Chetwynd was released on bail on condition he does not contact the man with the glasses.
Rough area, Glebelands, Buckfastleigh (Crown Court Reporter, 'Tantrum teen stabbed neighbour' Mid Devon Advertiser Friday, 12 February 2016):
Cannabis user Connor Beasley got into an argument with his neighbour when he complained about his behaviour and armed himself with a knife. Victim Graham Chetwynd suffered a slash wound to his shoulder during the encounter at his home in Buckfastleigh, Exeter Crown Court was told.[...] Beasley, now aged 19, of Fore Street, Exeter, admitted wounding and possession of an offensive weapon and was jailed for six months, suspended for two years [...] Judge Erik Salomonsen told him: "I have to bear in mind your age at the time of this incident. You lost control of yourself at your home and smashed your guitar and threatened to smash your amplifier. "You went next door where there was an altercation and you went back home to fetch a knife from the kitchen which you used to wound Mr Chetwynd.
That's the Graham Chetwynd that is a member of the Totnes Metal Detecting Club:
...skinny bloke with tatoos...[...] got an e-trac [emoticon] Lovely bloke [emoticon], an e-trac and a chainsaw.
Anyway, the upshot was that his driving's seen as more of a threat than his chainsaw threats:
Stuart Abel, 'Man admits wielding chainsaw outside his Devon home' Devon Live 4th December 2019):
A man has admitted wielding a chainsaw outside his home. Graham Chetwynd, aged 50, brandished the machine as part of a violent confrontation before he was arrested by armed police. Chetwynd was due to face a jury at Plymouth Crown Court after denying affray, dangerous driving and causing criminal damage to a man’s glasses in Buckfastleigh. The defendant, of Glebelands, has now admitted affray and criminal damage. Chetwynd pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of careless driving in his home street – which was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service. His barrister Brian Fitzherbert said he faced a ban from the road under the points system but would argue against disqualification because he would suffer “exceptional hardship”.
He would not be able to go out artefact hunting with his e-trac. And he would not be able to drive across to Poland to have that "PROPER CHAT"...

 TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

Friday, 6 December 2019

Friday Retrospect: Unfulfilled Threat

This video, though promised, never surfaced. I guess that means this was just more of the same usual old artefact collectors' bullshit.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

FLO Filmed Trying to Buy Antiquities?

Metal detectorist Graham Chetwynd  made the following announcement on the Heritage Action Facebook page a while back:
 you do have good and bad in everything i have a FLO on dvd film of my mate's pocket camera offering us under counter deals for his own collection for item's we have found 1 being a palistave axe head and 1 socketed.
Mr Chetwynd claims that "the footage" (surely it would be a digital file, or do metal detectorists have Stone Age video equipment?) "will be seen when it is arranged to have the biggest impact". I would say the eve of "Britain's Secret Treasures" coming out was just such a time if Mr Chetwynd wanted to do the PAS maximum damage.

If the FLO was offering to buy items he knew were stolen (nighthawked, from an unreported hoard) then yes that would be illegal (although how do we know that he did not also have a hidden camera running and this was part of a PAS sting?). If however the two objects were the product of legal metal detecting, then there is in fact nothing illegal about an FLO offering to buy them for a collection. Collecting artefacts is not illegal in England and Wales. That is the whole point of the PAS. I would not be surprised if a number of FLOs had private collections of archaeological artefacts (perhaps the PAS could supply some figures on that). If they have been legally obtained and properly dealt with, there is not even anything in the IFA Code of Practice which says they cannot. So what is the problem, what will this alleged "film" achieve? It might open up the debate about collecting though. Bring it on.

Vignette: caught on camera
What simpletons and liars some artefact hunters are.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Pakistan Detectors Technology Islamabad

This jerk tried to sneak a metal detector advert onto THIS blog through a comment:
A metal detector finds the treasures and gold that society has forgotten about or counted as lost. It can also find weapons that may have been buried deep in the ground.
There's a link that goes to this visually-riveting material note the Urdu for metal detector is "mataldetector", "shaft" and "coilsize" are other calques. Said with a snarl, apparently.

This seems a good subject for an archaeological drinking game, every time you hear the work "goldetector" and/or  "mataldetector", you take another swig of your favourite drink.  As-salāmu `alaykum to you too mate. Tell us again, how deep your machines go...


  Wa ʾantum fa-jazākumu-llāhu khayran, but keep this stuff off my blog please.

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