Monday 29 March 2010

Looking over the Detectorists' Shoulders: the UKDFD

Over on another post there is a string of comments to some remarks I made about an Anglo-Saxon coin found in Hampshire. The finder Steve Rourke, aka "Kyarra" is very concerned that I write that a find was taken to the UK Detector Finds Database, a privately-run showcase of the highlights of detectorists' collections, for "identification" rather than recording.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme was set up for the identification and recording of portable antiquites found in the fields of England and Wales and the question arises why this finder took the "rare" coin to the UKDFD and not the PAS. Well, in fact if you search the private "database", it can be seen that this finder, Steve Rourke, is displaying 24 of his recent finds there. If you look through the "recorded elsewhere" field apart from the coin he took to the Fitzwilliam yesterday, and a gold ring and a silver ring which have been reported to the Coroner as British law requires, the UKDFD record shows that he has not gone beyond the bare minimum required by law and none of the other finds made by Mr Rourke and shown there have been recorded anywhere else.

Now most of what he shows consists of old-timey/byegone type stuff (data on which is not gathered as a rule by the PAS), but there are a number of medieval coins, a buckle and some mounts that certainly should be in the PAS record for Dorset, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire. It is interesting too to note how this finder has in his collection material from a wide range of geographical locations, showing how finds from sites are being scattered in a multitude of ephemeral personal collections with no record of their subsequent fate being kept.

Records like this raise a huge number of questions about current British policies on artefact hunting and collecting and the "management" of the archaeological resource.


Kyarra said...

Mr Barford,
Once again you are making ill informed comments without a shred of evidence to back up your claims.

Both the Gold mourning ring and the silver posy ring went through the treasure process within days of being found.

Both items were disclaimed, however, Dorchester museum expressed an interest in aquiring the silver posy ring, but had no funds available. I suggested to the landowner that it would be an appropriate gesture to donate the ring to the museum, which we did.
The gold mourning ring is still in my possession.
All the other items shown on the UKFD database were submitted to the FLO's at Dorchester for recording. All find spots are accurat, they were mostly found on rallies, hence the geographical spread.

Paul Barford said...

You really are a combative individual aren't you?

You say I am
"without a shred of evidence to back up your claims"
Eh? Well, hardly. What I actually comment on is what I saw when I looked through the UKDFD records last night.

When I looked through the 24 objects you "record" there yesterday, in the „ Recorded elsewhere:” field was the word „no” in 21 cases, some going back to September 2005. One object (the coin we were discussing) was listed as reported to a museum, but not the PAS, one object says merely “Has been declared to coroner” while the last it said “Not at time of recording with UKDFD". That was in 2006, so if you've not updated the record since then to make it an accurate reflection of reality, it is hardly my fault. I was writing about what the UKDFD shows.

In fact before writing off niggling messages to me that I cannot read what is written in black and white on the detectorists' database, you might at least have made the effort to edit the entries first. Just now they still read exactly as they did last night. I checked a moment ago.

What I said is that this record shows you reported what was the are legal minimum. That is indeed wat the UKDFD record showed as of last night when I wrote that post. So I really do not see why you are challenging that, or where you feel you have grounds to do so.

If you now have 24 PAS numbers for the 24 objects you passed onto the PAS, this is the place to post them. Did you give them the buttons and furniture mount and watch winder too?

So is that 24 pieces of scrap metal all you have found in your walking around muddy fields beeping since at least September 2005? Pretty pathetic showing for such a lot of effort and all those rally entrance fees. "Slow and low" Kyarra, slow and low. Some of your fellows have accumulated a shedful of good stuff in that time.

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