Friday 9 April 2010

Misidentification of Bead Found on Metal Detecting Rally

An "ANGLO SAXON DECORATED BEAD 55mm LONG" was bid for by eleven bidders on eBay, and went for £44.56. The seller (rarest-objects from Stanstead, Suffolk, UK) says it was "FOUND ON METAL DETECTING RALLY FIELD WALKING". The seller does not always sell the rarest of his metal detecting finds, we see that over the past few months he or she has offloaded a fair amount of items including coins etc to indiscriminate buyers, mostly in private sales like this one. The feedback also gives an interesting insight into one metal detectorist's musical preferences. The problem is that this bead is misrepresented, it is not an Anglo-Saxon type. Far from it, it is a Tibetan type, a so-called dzi bead (spotted by Tim Haines). Now this rally, if it was in Suffolk (the seller does not say), was in all probability one attended by the PAS. So is this "Anglo-Saxon bead" an identification supplied to the finder by the PAS? or was this a rally find the finder pocketed and did not declare to the PAS? Or was it a rally which was not PAS-serviced? Did his fellow metal detectorists identify the find as "Anglo-Saxon" for him, 0r is the whole thing a scam from start to finish? Or is the bead a find dropped in an English field by an antiquary/traveller? In reality, finds like this made by artefact hunters can add nothing to the archaeological record unless we know the circumstances in which they were deposited and found.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think we can assume with some confidence that both human nature and the profit motive would normally both combine to ensure that if an artefact had been reported to PAS and consequently had a PAS reference number then that number would almost inevitably be proudly quoted as a token of legitimacy and correct identification.

Yet PAS numbers are as rare as hens teeth on both EBay and dealers' websites despite the fact PAS reckons it sees a large proportion of what is dug up.

This does not compute. It suggests:

(a.) PAS is quite wrong (and how could they possibly know if they weren't?)

and (b.) the market in British dug up antiquities is replete with unrecorded and/or looted material in relative proportions unknown.

What a surprise!
That comes of looking at evidence rather than listening to people with a vested interest.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.