Sunday, 17 January 2021

Timeline Auctions, Expert Ra Bonewitz

Several items in the upcoming Timeline Auctions like this massive marble penis have expert opinions from a guy called Dr Robert Bonewitz. Who's that? You may know him by his other name "Ra"

Dr Ronald Louis Bonewitz holds degrees and qualifications in a number of disciplines. Originally he trained as a geologist, and was a professional pilot, flying both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He has a PhD in Behavioural Science, where his professional interest lies in personal development psychology. He has given hundreds of personal development courses and lectures world-wide and he has written a number of apparently New Age books, attempting to steer the readers into genuine areas of personal and psychological development. He is also a trained technical writer, and as such has written a number of professional papers and reports, many of which were written under industrial or other secrecy agreements. Other activities have ranged from working as a Reserve Police Officer in Broomfield, Colorado to volunteer blacksmithing at the Weald and Downland Open-air Museum in Sussex, England.

Dr Bonewitz moved to England in 1978, where he still resides. His interest in history is enriched by his hobby of metal detecting, where he has found coins and artifacts from the pre-Roman occupation of Britain to the present day. He works on a consulting basis for an auction house in his specialties of gems, minerals, and fossils.

Several of his early books were written under his teaching name at the time, Ra Bonewitz, a contraction of his full name, Ronald Arthur Louis Bonewitz. For these early books be sure to visit the Ra Bonewitz page.

Ripping up the UK Heritage with the Heritage Alliance

Heritage Alliance 15th January 2021:
The header image for this week's issue, which shows an enthusiast surveying a field with a metal detector, is from the Association of Detectorists - one of our newest members. The Association of Detectorists has been formed on heritage and conservation principles, with the intention of becoming a research and educational Institute of Detectorists. Find out more here
An association of "enthusiasts". The metal detector, whether used "enthusuiastically" or not is an artefact hunter's tool. The only connection this has with "heritage" is the Heinrich Schliemann type. And I expect the HerAll very well know this. So why call people engaged in collection-driven esxploitation of the archaeological heritage "enthusiasts" and not looters? Who else will they ally themselves with? Leyliners?

Friday, 15 January 2021

Professor Michal Lewis Replies to UK Detectorist's Comments about Text on Commercial Artefact Hunting Rallies

I see Mike Lewis the head of the portable antiquities scheme reads John Howland's Detecting and Collecting blog (just kidding, I sent him the link) and has replied to the detectorists remarks in an eye-opening (in many ways) text "Biting the hand that feeds, or, feeding the hand that bites?" there:

Michael Lewis on January 14, 2021 at 6:44 pm said:
Hi John, The evidence for the lack of finds being recorded at rally finds [sic] is there. Over the summer there were several major rallies (as mentioned in the BA article) but hardly anything from them recorded on the PAS database. As I say in the article, attending rallies is really resource intensive for PAS, especially as there are so many of them and often poorly set up for recording finds. I believe metal-detecting can make an immense contribution to archaeology, but only if finders follow best practice and record their finds… I just think organisers need to do more to make that happen.
The blog's author replied disrespectfully:
John Howland on January 14, 2021 at 8:11 pm said:
Hi Michael: Thank you for your getting in touch. It’s greatly appreciated. But I have to say your comments were politically inept and hardly a rallying call for co-operation.

That said, I agree with the overall thrust of your comment. Reporting is absolutely crucial… no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’. If as you say, the evidence for non-reporting (which is discretional), is there, then I’ll gladly publish that [sic] data on here. It [sic] will be challenged as I expect you understand, especially if it’s airy-fairy Barfordian in content.*

However, as it seems you’ve thrown in your lot with Heyworth and the CBA who are no friends of ours, never have been and never will be, is cause for suspicion. Heyworth for some reason known only to himself has given his tacit approval of the ludicrous AEC, the brainchild of Messrs Swift and Barford.

Once sane, abuse-free, orthodox archaeological debate kicks-in, and unless that archaeological aberration, the AEC, is archaeologically condemned out of hand, I cannot see full co-operation progressing to the next level. [...].

I believe the rally scene does need revisiting. Ideally, the NCMD (and Sport England), needs to be the prime movers, but I’m ashamed to say the NCMD has all the potency of harem guards.

The co-operative will is out there. It needs careful cultivation. Heyworth, Barford, and Swift, are out of the equation. We are moving forward to better things… join us.

Regards John
This guy is completely off his rocker. Donald J. Trump-style. He seems to equate himself with the nation's body of detectorists, and if somebody says something about him, Johh Howland, that means the whole detecting community. If he, John Howland, is sceptical of figures about non-recording, then they all must be too. If there is "evidence of non-recording" he demands the authors supply it to HIM for publication on HIS blog, and he "warns" that HE will be the one to challenge it.  Unless HIS demands about getting Barford and Swift (only?) "archaeologically condemned out of hand", there will not be "full co-operation" of the UK metal detecting community "progressing to the next level". Nothing more or less than 100% narcissism.

I don't know whether Mr Howland has any inkling of what the Portable Antiquities Advisory Group is (but I'll guess not much), but Mike Heyworth has been chair of that body for quite a while now, so hardly "throwing in his lot".  

The Portable Antiquities Advisory Group, is - as the name hints - an advisory group, so it is not there to be "politically-ept", nor after coming up to quarter of a century of operation of the PAS should there be any more a need for a "rallying call for co-operation". Either metal detectorists are responsible, or they are not. They should not need asking. Their will for co-operation should not need "careful cultivation".
… join us.

That's just insulting.  

Of course anyone who'd actually read the article of Lewis and Heyworth in British Archaeology would be aware that the number of finds (not) being recorded is only part of what they said. 


 * As I have pointed out many times, but Mr Howland continues to ignore because it conflicts with his world-picture where metal detecting is a victim of "abuse", the PAS has already published its own figures - that broadly coincide with those of Heritage Action. Page 14 here, up on the Internet since August 2014

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Boris's Britain Rejects European Regulations to Reduce Illegal Antiquity Trafficking

       Dirty hands of the British antiquities market  

As part of its post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, the United Kingdom has rejected new import licensing regulations imposed by the EU designed to safeguard cultural heritage from illegal trafficking, according to the Art Newspaper (Valentina Di Liscia, 'UK Rejects European Union Regulations to Reduce Illegal Antiquity Trafficking' Hyperallergic 11th Jan 2021).  
The regulations were introduced by the European Union in April 2019 and are meant to protect against the illicit trade in cultural property, including terrorist financing and money laundering. The legislation requires import licenses for art, antiques, books, and other artifacts that are more than 250 years old before they can enter any EU country. To acquire the rights, importers must prove that their goods were legally exported from the country of origin. Under the new rules, there are no licensing requirements for importing objects of cultural interest into the UK. [...] The legislation, the first common EU law of its kind concerning imports of cultural property, attempts to control the looting and trafficking of antiquities, a thriving [...] industry that has repercussions far beyond the arts sector. For example, the illegal trade of cultural goods often contributes to funding organized crime, according to Interpol.

So, basically, if you are a responsible antiquities buyer, best from now on to avoid the UK market where dealers are not required by any law to prove that their goods were legally exported from the country of origin. But buy from a law-abiding EU dealer who is. 

If the European art market is Europa on her bull, this is what this move makes the British art market right now. 

Monday, 11 January 2021

FLO Selling Antiques? Eh?

Details, Mr Grey?

Stephen Grey
I’ve heard of an antique shop in York kept well stocked by a FLO. So could work both ways but I wouldn’t ask the times to print that.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Shame About the Freedom of Movement: UK Detectorist Interested in Foreign Looting Opportunities

Seymour Pratt (self employed and post in Ministère des Finances) has noted (24th November 2019)
" Areas not under central government control. Metal detecting allowed without permission !"


UK Tekkie Reasoning


This is part of the discussion going on in detecting circles about the Times article on metal detecting rallies. I'm going to leave it with the original punctuation, you work out what the guy wanted to say...

Gerry Llewellyn
Whatever the out come what ever is said m/d licence i had 1 cause they said i had to have one they tried that more detectors came tried to ban it it didnt work this hobby round world is worth so many millions same in uk so theres no ban on its way to much money being made gov gets big slice of it but he is crying about the missing stuff undeclared from big digs etc we all know it goes on but not every one is of same mind thats life But the farmer i feel sorry for he gets great sum of money thinks he has done well but he is biggest loser sad thing hes lost more than he was paid oh the joys of detecting
So, he asserts that somehow the UK government is getting a big slice of the "millions" made on the hobby. Yet a few dozen words down, he admits that much more could be retrieved by regulating the hobby better. That's tekkie logic for you.

Imagine the conversation with the FLO: "Now Mr Llewellyn, I want you to tell me for our records in your own words what you observed about the archaeological context of that hoard you dug up, its relationship to other evidence in the field, and the mutual interrelationships between the 37 items as they lay in the ground, OK?

I think they should get this guy to write the rebuttal article for "The Times" that they were talking about doing. That'd really set the tone.  

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