Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Tullie House Museum Appeal

The anonymous finder of the Crosby Garrett helmet and the anonymous landowner are determined to raise as much cash from this unique find as possible, instead of offering it to the Tullie House Museum for a reasonable price they want to see it auctioned, presumably hoping this will push the price up. Tullie House Museum has an appeal to raise money for its purchase.

I suggest that all US collectors out there that think "the British System" is the way forward for all source countries as it allegedly secures all the "important" finds for the nation should take note of this case, one of several which shows that this is by no means the case. In order to save face it seems to me that US collectors who support the PAS/Treasure Act type of resolution should be donating in droves to this appeal, the ACCG has a museums purchase fund (which they created after it was suggested to them on this blog) to benefit museums in just this situation; why not activate it for this case to allow the Tullie House Museum to take part in the bidding for this piece of the region's heritage?


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I fear they may not comply with your request since they've set it up specifically for Treasure Act items. This find might at least get it through to them that 99.9% of British metal detected finds aren't Treasure items and most of those get silently appropriated by private British individuals or their overseas equivalents so the knee-jerk mantra that the British system protects stuff is just a tad utterly ridiculous.

Also, the scheme is for coins only. I know that this game involves widespread laundering but representing a helmet as a coin may be beyond even the most hygene-anxious of US dealers!

Finally, I see they claim "Many ancient coin collectors support both the Treasure Act and voluntary reporting systems" so maybe they'd think this worthy of their wonga but in truth I don't think "voluntary" quite describes this instance. More like "deliberate"....

Anyhow, I await the reaction with intain, (which is a mixture of interest and distain.)


Mo said...

From reading the news articles it appears that there had been no other significant finds in the area. I am no expert in archaeology but I would have thought that the sight of the Roman burial ground at Brougham was pretty significant.
Brougham is about 15 miles away from where the helmet was found. The articles that appeared at the time are below so you can read them and make you own mind up.
What is interesting about the articles above is that two women were buried as soldiers so they are unlikely to be of Roman birth and could be from beyond the Roman Empire.
This helmet does look similar to one found in a Bulgarian museum.
Could the wearer of the Crosby Garrett helmet be from the irregular unit at Brougham?
Will we ever now find out?

Mo said...

Further to my recent post and quoting from the archaeology article.

"So it seems highly probable that we have here a unit raised in the Danubian lands and transferred to Britain.

It is known that over 5,000 Sarmatians from this area came to Britain after the Marcomannic wars in AD 175; but it is unlikely that the people at Brougham were Sarmatians, as the latter inhumed their dead.

It is unfortunate that we do not know the location of Stratonica, the place mentioned in the title of the Brougham numerus.

Perhaps future discoveries will help pinpoint their origins more closely."

Not if they are sold to the highest bidder.

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