Sunday, 21 November 2010

UK Detectorist Julian Evan-Hart on Crossby Garrett Helmet: Well Done That Man!

UK artefact hunter and author Julian Evan-Hart has today given a UK metal detectorist's reaction to the Crosby Garrett fiasco (the paragraph divisions are mine, punctuation and spelling as in original):
Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:52 pm
Id just like to say well done to all involved..... from the detectorist who recovered all the helmet sections, to the conservator, to the auction house who obtained a fine price for the finder.

The main focus here is :- the find has been measured, weighed photographed and probably drawn so it matters little whether such a find goes into a main national collection or indeed a private one..there is enough associated reference material now for any academic to make comparitive studies etc about this great object .

Since it was outside the declarable parameters of the Treasure Act it was absolutely fine that the landowner and finder be justly rewarded...the landowner for being so kind as to grant permission and the detectorist for his painstaking (and some may say heart stopping) dedication in locating all the pieces....undoubtedly the £300,000 as if anyone can pre value such a find was perhaps more inspired and influenced by greedy officials hoping they could procure the find for such a paltry sum....tough one guys it appears not eh?

So what happens now eh? well undoubtedly we all face a barrage of bleating from those who believe its should have been obtained for a lesser sum and should indeed be in a national collection And who will now set about trying to change the Treasure Act so that such a heinous "crime" cannot be repeated....

The only important focal points worth considering are that its been recovered......its not going out of the UK and Im sure the new owner may consider lending it now and then for major exhibitions providing adequate insurances are given and taken.

Im glad a private individual now can cherish the artefact as can we all by looking at all the information and images of it.

Those who bleat constantly about where it should be stored totally miss the point that whatever its now no longer fizzing away and corroding in a field...indeed they remind me of the spoilt child at a party, who cannot bear other children to win prizes, makes no effort to join in the games, and sits in the corner whingeing and whining until its parents arrive and console it with a MacDonalds and trip to a toy shop to pacify their little angel and make up for his "traumatic real-life experience".

I just hope this Government do not act as the consoling parents to this whingeing group....Museums are stuffed to seam splitting point with enough objects, its just this dinosaur like attitude that the common people should never even be allowed to find their own heritage let alone sell it for profit. They may deny that attitude..... but finding objects used to be pretty much an exclusive career (and dont tell me that these exclusive careers didnt sell finds back then as they still do today)...and now its not so they get galled about it...

One rule for some and another for us eh?.....many of us dont sell things...but the choice to do so is a democratic right...something that should be deeply considered by our critics...many of whom never get off their fat swollen at tax payers expense backsides, and who amazingly make little to absolutely no effort to to recover our heritage themselves...and yet appoint themselves as self-elected custodians to tell us all what to do......with our bloody finds!!!!

Well done that man for finding this remarkable object.....Jules

Well done Mr Evan-Hart for showing us all where the UK metal detectorists' true loyalties lie. I think the UK archaeologists-metal detectorists "partnership" is looking more and more like this memorably shameful display at the 2003 MTV awards ceremony:

Mr Evan-Hart figures loudly in this comments thread, alongside the protests of a couple of other barely-literate detectorists. I find the comment of Heritageaction of May 9th pretty revealing.


Anonymous said...

Views such as those are why I recently suggested that someone should ask Lord Renfrew to sign up to a few metal detecting forums.

Paul Barford said...

I think everybody with an interest in and concern about history should. Their supporters would have a much harder time pulling the wool over people's eyes then.

Jee said...

Good grief, everything’s fine then, it was a painstaking process, no information has been lost and we can all be happy that “a private individual now can cherish the artefact as can we all by looking at all the information and images of it.”!

I think his view of “painstaking” and damage and information loss is well illustrated here - (read it in Gollum's voice!)

“I dream of digging down and hearing the crunch of decayed grey ware, looking down and seeing loads of yellow and silver edges spilling out....oh wow!!! Sorry but sod the pot!!!”

Paul Barford said...

Thanks Jee for that comment. I find it interesting that detectorists think anything in the ground is "decaying", even deeply buried pots.

I find his comments on the Crosby Garrett helmet astounding. I wonder how many artefact hunters in the UK secretly share this view? Probably quite a lot I would say. I think this is another touchstone of the actual effects of thirteen years PAS outreach to them, no amount of sympathetic and diplomatic outreach is going to change attitudes like this, is it?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps PAS should drop the term outreach on the grounds it is taking taxpayers' money under false pretences?

General Pitt Rivers, Sir Mortimer Wheeler and the English Heritage Outreach Department outreached to the reachable and willing but it has been clear for ages that PAS outreach is now mostly to the unwilling and unreachable.

Paul Barford said...

It is quite clear that "outreach" for the PAS these days is "getting stuff on the database". Having churned out a voluntary "code of responsible detecting" (actually a rehash of an ancient pre-existing CBA document) that basically says "responsible" means staying within that law (big deal), we are losing the idea that "best practice" means ethical artefact hunting and collecting. A point made very well by Heritage Action I feel.

The PAS is quite clearly in no state to do the sort of outreach to the people it calls its "partners" in the field of the ethics of collecting as currently understood by archaeology in general (ie outside the British Isles). So yes, I agree, until we get some kind of proper conservation-based and archaeology-informed response from the PAS, "false pretences" just about covers it.

But I do not expect you'll find many jobsworth British archaeologists admitting it.

Mo said...

Sorry but sod the pot!!!”

This comment by Jee makes me wonder what would happen if the Holy Grail was discovered.

It would not look like the Holy Grail of Authurian legend. It would probably just be a pot made of clay.

Would it be thrown in the hedge and discarded? It would not be classed as treasure so it could be restored to within an inch of it's life and sold to the highest bidder.

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