Tuesday 19 May 2009

Metal Detecting Sites & Finds

Specially for those who want to dig up their own bits of the past (or those who bought a provenanced bit on eBay and want to find out what the site looks like now):
Metal Detectors Searcher New CD, has links to over 7,500 Google Earth Placemarkers. Metal Detecting Sites & Finds CD is ideal for beginners and experts, a perfect starting point for all research, with satellite view of all sites. We continuously update your link and regularly and add new Metal Detecting Sites & Finds. It is also protected by user name and password. Your CD will have 1 year access, to over 7,500 Google Earth Placemarkers.
Most of which come from published sources - you know those things we call "books". Though some of them (look at the video with the naff music) come from an English Heritage "List of Scheduled sites" and at least one hoard "work in progress" (aka "PAS database" maybe?). Let us remember that one of the original "justifications" of encouraging "metal detecting" as a means of interacting with the UK's past is that it encourages metal detector using collectors to do "research into the history of their locality". Not any more it does not - no literacy skills needed, its "orl pikchures innit"?

I'd like to hear the PAS reaction to such databases - compiled from existing archaeological literature (the ARCHI database I mentioned here a few days ago is of the same nature). If UK artefact hunters use such "research methods" to any extent, a lot of PAS recorded information is going to be coming from sites already known and going to be duplicating existing knowledge about them - at the expense of further erosion of those same known sites. That seems to be rather pointless destruction from an archaeological point of view.


exmoorbeast said...

In reply, I understand what you are saying, but it seems a very one-sided point of view.
Most serious metal detectoris spend upwards of £1,000. for there detecting equipment, and take the hobby seriously. Would an archaeologist just go dig a trench in a field, without knowing the background and history of a location of course not, so why do you expect metal detectoris not to research a particular location? And most of us now record our finds with the PAS, are you saying we cannot use our own information for research.

John Chapman
Metal Detectors Searcher

Paul Barford said...

Mr Chapman, this is my blog which expresses my opinions as an archaeologist concerned about artefact hunting and collecting, so that its a one-sided view should surprise nobody. Nobody makes you or anyone else read it.

As for how much metal detectors cost, I hear a good fighting cock or bear-baiting dog costs a fair bit – but that does not persuade me (or too many other people here I guess) that cock-fighting and bear baiting are respectable pastimes.

We find
that you are the author of this CD “resource”.

This CD is not by any means researching “the background and history of a location”. Neither is it any kind of “research” merely to make placemarks (not “placemarkers”) of the NGRs which you found in the excavations round-up sections of periodicals such as “Britannia” or “Medieval Archaeology” and the other published sources you made use of for your money-making scheme.

My interest in this resource for “metal detectorists” is that it is yet another sign that the official (PAS) line about why archaeologists should be “partners” of artefact collectors in the UK is just a load of nonsense. The sites on your CD are already known. Some of them are even SCHEDULED (I presume you know what that means – so why are they on your database?). Archaeologically much of the information that might be obtained by those artefact hunters who would report what they have taken away from those sites really is duplicating what we already know.

Which is why I rhetorically asked the PAS, the chief vehicle by which the propaganda of partnership is spread, as part of their outreach to the public as a whole, to express THEIR reaction to this database and the use that has been made of archaeological publications and lists of protected sites in a database of sites for “metal detecting”. Rhetorically, because from past experience we all know that the PAS will not do any such thing to upset its artefact collecting “partners”. Though of course archaeological outreach to the wider public would require it would it not?

Send them a copy and ask Roger Bland to review it for an archaeology publication.

dunelme steve said...

hmmm, always one eh mr chapman.
what living in the dark ages barford is trying to say is only he has a right to look at archaeological data and also would like to see an end to people metal detecting.
as for the fighting bear rubbish because thats what it is rubbish.
metal detectorists are mostly law abiding decent people from all walks of life who take their hobby very seriously.
the club i belong to work very closely with the p.a.s and archaeologists scanning their spoil heaps for them at our expense and time, last dig was binchester which lasted a month.
metal detectorists find many undiscoverd sites each year and a lot of them sites is down to hard work etc.
the knowledge your fraternity as gained off our backs is great.most important finds in our museums have been found by detectorists.
all your blogs do is get peoples backs up. personally i just ignore people like you, who are anti - detectorist, you are getting left behind in an era were there is trust and cooperation. most archeologists recognise the contribution by dtectorists.
if you dont want your works studied,then dont put it to press!.
here is a similiar quote for you.... a guy in a range rover ram raids a shop! are all range rover drivers ram raiders.
keep up the good work mr chapman.

Paul Barford said...

"what living in the dark ages barford is trying to say is only he has a right to look at archaeological data"

It is not a question of “looking at” but the uses to which these data are put. It is not surely “living in the Dark Ages” to urge better preservation of archaeological sites in Britain. I would imagine the Dunhelme Metal Detecting Club to wich I imagine you belong at least says it supports the notion of site preservation.

"if you dont want your works studied, then dont put it to press!"
Ha! I’d like to see a Portable Antiquities Scheme response to that too, they may be your “partners”, but they are also an archaeological outreach to the public. What is their response to that I wonder? (They will not give one of course will they?)

It is not a matter of not wanting archaeological reports studied, it is about what is done with that information. To use archaeological reports simply to target sites for searching for collectables is merely denudation of what evidence remains preserved in situ there and in neighbouring uninvestigated areas, which is simply destruction. No more, no less. As such, every archaeologist should be concerned.

"metal detectorists find many undiscoverd sites each year and a lot of them sites is down to hard work etc."
well, not by using a resource like this, and that is precisely the point I am making.

"the knowledge your fraternity as gained off our backs is great".
Well, again the point I am making is that information obtained by using this resource simply duplicates what is known. Collectors get their hands on collectables taken from the erosive exploitation of known archaeological sites, but for the most part archaeology – and the real stakeholder in the heritage, the whole British public – gets only duplicate information which it can do without.

(The "whole" means non-collectors too, 61 990 000 of them as opposed to your few thousand)

"most important finds in our museums have been found by detectorists". Really? I suppose that would depend on how you define “important”. The Vindolanda tablets were not, the Lewis Chessmen weren’t, Lindow Man was not, the Coppergate Helmet was not, the Llyn Cerrig Bach hoard was not, Rosetta Stone was not, the Mildenall Treasure was not, the Glastonbury Lake Village finds were not. Etc etc. These arguments are spurious and I am tiring of hearing the same old ones trotted out time and time again without any real examination of them by those who try to use them as pseudo-justifications, avoidng the real issue. That goes for your archaeologist "partners" too.

you are getting left behind in an era were there is trust and cooperation. most archeologists recognise the contribution by dtectorists.
Well, first of all its not an "era" its a passing fad and fancy of a decade or so. I argue that those archaeologists are wrong.

So, to use your own analogy, would you encourage the author of a CD of satellite photos of the location and surroundings of rammable shops which Range Rover drivers can buy and then go out to use to ram raid shops ? Would you say "keep up the good work mr chapman" to him to? Some of Mr Chapman's sites are scheduled.

(I deleted your duplicate post, it uploads slowly, no need to press "send" twice)

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