Wednesday 15 October 2008

Luvverly bit o' kultcha m8!

A colleague of mine from an organization which has had a lot of first hand contact with British metal detector using artefact hunters contacted me privately about "detectorist" Richard Lincoln's personal vendetta against this blog, and in connection with the threats that have just appeared on a metal detecting forum (from some "Andy UK" from near Chippenham who I bet has never met me) that I am be endangering my family (sic) by discussing British metal detecting here and elsewhere. My colleague cannot really post here under his own name but said I could quote him anonymously. Discussing the metal detecting milieu he knows so well, he says it is important in any dealings with them or discussion of the topic to realise what sort of people go out detecting. He asks:
Where are the retired bank managers, solicitors, local archaeology society members, teetotallers, people with good teeth, people not in combat gear, the Guardian readers and the non-BNP* voters? What other random sample of ten thousand British people would contain almost no half-intelligent, educated, decent citizens?
I think he was having a bad day, but anyone who has looked over a metal detecting forum can see that there is some basis for this generalisation. This is not restricted to Britain of course. In the States, the connection between drug (meth) abuse and artefact hunting (pot and arrowhead collecting) is frequently stressed by law enforcement agencies. In many countries there are links between the antiquities trade and other criminal activities, who knows what the money supplied by eager no-questions asked collectors is going to finance? They certainly don't - and don't ask themselves.

US dealers try to cast a veil of respectibility over portable antiquity collecting by suggesting it is a cultural activity practiced exclusively by and engendering home-grown polymaths. They simply ignore that large numbers of people who collect portable antiquities are not the kind of person that I would think they would like to invite to their coctail parties. But then, most of the dealers I have come across don't strike me as the sort of people I'd invite to mine.

* BNP British Nationalist Party.

Photo: some "lads" photographed by a roving photographer out and about in the countryside, but certainly not one of Riohard Lincoln's "detecting" snapshots.


Sheddy said...

Dear Mr Barford,

You flatter yourself if you feel I have even the slightest inclination toward an ongoing vendetta against your blog. The facts are a lot simpler.

You seem to think that it is quite acceptable to copy information which you have nefariously and sneakily harvested from the metal detecting fora, then to paste the same onto you blog, often quoting the information out of context, in a accusatory manner and and without the originators permission. The net result is an innocent post which is then made into a bad quote.

I merely objected to a bigot such as yourself stealing (yes, it was theft) my image and using it in a most disagreeable manner on your blog in order that you were enabled to (once again) take a cheap shot at both metal detecting and the P.A.S.

You chose to ignore my emails to you requesting your address for invoicing for the use of the image, you further ignored my request for address confirmation. Therefore, in retaliation, I chose to post your contact details for all and sundry to see and use for their own purposes. These details are freely available on the web, and I chose to quote the source of the information in accordance with your chosen mode of operation. That is all that happened, no more, no less.

There is no vendetta, you are just a sideshow, an exhibit in the freak tent at a travelling fair. £10 to the RNLI says that you don't approve this one for releas on the relevent page of your blog.


Richard Lincoln

Paul Barford said...

Mr Lincoln, I think you meant this to be a comment to another thread here. In my book what you are doing has every sign of a vendetta.

Among the many illustrations I posted here in an attempt to brighten up long pages of text was one showing part of a metal detecting rally. That was over a week ago. It was however promptly removed a few hours later, as soon as somebody objected. In return since then, the author of this blog has been barraged by a series of demands for payment for the use of an image which it turns out you have not obtained permission to use commercially (which is the reason I took it down). A snapshot of an archaeologists in a field is not really necessary to make the point I was making – but let us note that the FUSS about one certainly might serve to deflect from that key point in my blog post about the relationship between the PAS and “metal detecting” in England and Wales. Why would anyone find that uncomfortable?

This blog discusses portable heritage and heritage issues from an archaeological point of view. Here you will find many quotes from many sources, some archaeological, to illustrate the points I make. Certainly those spotted on "metal detecting" forums are a minority here. This is MY blog, and the points I am making are MY points of view.

In writing what I believe about all this, I of course quote actual words of the people whose views I am talking about to show I am not just making this all up. Nothing wrong with that. On the contrary. I attempt to provide a hyperlink to the original source of them all (as is usual in academic writing anyway) precisely SO that readers can check the context they come from. I actively encourage my readers to join MD forums to check out that context and have a good look at just what it is you all discuss there. I really do not think you can have any complaints that I am not encouraging people to explore the context of my remarks for themselves. No “cheap shots” here, just trying to use the source material that (for example) online forums and blogs supply to justify my taking another view of the antiquities collecting and trade they extol.

As in anything, the reader must ultimately make up their own mind using the material I present in support of my arguments in comparison with what they learn from other sources. Instead of answering or ignoring the points made, on the whole British metal detectorists have always (on the CBA’s Britarch discussion list, the PAS Forum and many other places) simply responded with aggression, harassment and personal attacks. This says a lot about their ability to provide counter arguments.

There are some 110 + posts here, many of them with their quotes from forums and blogs, a minority of them (so far) have dealt with British “metal detecting”, and yet it is ONLY from this milieu that – up to now at least – the writer of this blog has been receiving any aggro. That must mean something surely.

Lincoln says: “I chose to post your contact details for all and sundry to see and use for their own purposes”. It was a bad choice, what you need to do is answer the points made [to which that picture was merely a decoration]. In answer to Derek Fincham I made a point about how PAS gather their data for their database, would you say as a British “metal detectorist” that what I said is wrong? I think that is far more relevant to the topic of this blog than why you "decided" that somebody would welcome having their home address published on a “metal detecting” forum where its members could use is for (in your own words) “their own purposes”. In the circumstances, it was an ill-considered decision Mr Lincoln.

Paul Barford said...

In reply to "Sheddy"'s comments, somebody has just pointed ou to me that the prime reason why points made in this blog about "metal detecting" might be difficult to see in context as he suggests is the fact that the metal detecting forums from which they come simply do not have public archives. It's all hidden away. In order to follow the links I give, the reader of this blog has to first register on that forum to even SEE what it is to which I refer. I expect not everybody can be bothered to go through that rigmarole just to follow a link on this blog.

"Metal detecting" in Britain exploits a common resource, the country's archaeological heritage; surely as part of the contract that current policy has with artefact hunters in England in Wales should be a willingness on the part of "metal detectorists" to share with the public whose heritage it is their discuissions about just quite what it is they are DOING with that heritage.

If it is hidden away where most people cannot see it, then it could be argued that it is in the public interest that those of us who care bring these points out into the open. What have "metal detectorists" got to hide?

Lots, I would say. But please gentle reader don't take my word for it, take a few moments to register on a few of the forums I linked to earlier and take a look for yourselves and make your own minds up what this "metal detecting" is doing to the archaeological heritage of Britain. And see if Derek Fincham is right to hold THIS up as a model to be emulated elsewhere.

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