Sunday, 19 September 2010

More on Collectors Discarding Evidence

UK Metal detectorists are not out there recording the evidence of the past in any holistic and meaningful way. They are out there finding things to add to their collections or from which to make a profit on eBay. They may find a lot of metal objects in the fields of Britain, what they collect is a much smaller proportion, they discard that which does not fit their own collecting interests, which will include much material that the archaeologist would have collected, recorded and studied if examining the same assemblages. They even discard material others would happily collect. One Clive 74 of Shoeburyness in Essex alerts detectorists that he collects "Military Hedge Fodder":
Im collecting up any military items that normally seem to go towards the nearest hedge lol. The idea is to build a small data base of these items. Im not asking for a exact location, i wouldnt ask that of anyone. A town or county would be grand. Basiclly any thing from 303 cartridges, shrapnel, broken or complete badges, cannon shells anything at all. Obviously i wont accept anything LIVE. I will happily pay for postage costs. If anyone can help i would be most grateful. Most will be going to my friend who runs the Britain at War Magazine, between us we will be recording and starting a data base.
"Hedge fodder" are artefacts which the collector does not want - often large pieces of metal (much of it deriving from very recent agricultural activity) - which the detectorist ostentatiously removes from the ploughsoil, thus increasing the chances that farmers will look on their activities more favourably (removing material which if left could damage agricultural machinery). Obviously though a lot of less recognisable archaeological material is going to end up dumped there too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So have I got this right, there's a military skirmish so they take all the spatial evidence and lay it in a straight line elsewhere and tell no-one what they've done or where either the actual site or the straight line are - but War Magazine publish the location to County level only?

Why does War Mag do that???
Could it possibly be that Darren doesn't want his activities disturbed by either nighthawks OR archaeologists until he's fully mined and exhausted the field?
Surely not? There must be an alternative explanation.

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