Monday 31 May 2010

"Scale of Damage Much Greater": UK Detectorist

Lee Connor writes:
20 years ago, 90% of bronze roman coins came out in fine condition. now only 5% do. if you want to save the artifacts in the ground get on to the companys the make fertilisers ect as in the next 20 years there will be nothing left to rescue.
What an eloquent defence of the heritage heroes busy pulling stuff out of the ground in the UK! Well, I am not going to bother with the "artificial fertiliser" nonsense (which I have talked about before and written about elsewhere). I'd ask how Mr Connor is so sure its the fertilisers and not that earlier tekkies got all the good stuff, and what's left now for later tekkies (with more sensitive machines) and the archaeologists is the leftovers?

What is FAR more interesting are the statistics. Most of the British coin finds put up for sale on eBay are in fine or better condition. I really cannot see there the evidence that 90% of the coin finds are in such a bad condition as Mr Connor describes. What this must mean therefore is that the 2110 dugup coins being offered by British dealers on eBay today are the selected 5% of nice stuff, the other 95% (40 000 items found at the same time, looking at the coins alone) has gone somewhere else (landfill, the scrap merchant?). If Mr Connor is correct, that means that the Heritage Action Erosion counter is currently ticking away at much too slow a rate.
"Current running total of recordable artefacts removed since 1975 by metal detectorists: 10,783,042"
Mr Connor's testimony means it should be greater. Thank you Mr Connor for your honesty.


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