Wednesday 20 April 2011

Celebrating Easter in Central England by a bit of Plundering

How do you fancy spending Easter Saturday and Sunday in 80 acres of bean fields? Bean fields with a history? Centrally placed in England, never been searched before - except the time last Christmas when the artefact grabfest removed from the archaeological record lots of nice collectable and saleable finds including a nice couple of nicely enamelled Roman brooches, a nice votive axe and many more really nice bits. That's nice. In fact so nice that at the time of writing there are several nice archaeological trenches in an adjacent field. Apparently the site figures quite prominently in the Historic Environment Record which has nicely been made available for artefact hunters to take their pick. There was an archaeological survey here in the 1990s, "The Raunds Area Project”, so that's nice because it means artefact hunters will know precisely which areas to target. Which is nice. There's a nice big Bronze Age henge here, so maybe some nice votive metalwork in the offing, which will be nice. Then there is a nice Iron Age settlement here with roundhouses. So that means there'll be some more nice finds to hoik out. There's ring ditches visible on the aerial photographs, so you can even do a nice bit of grave-robbing if they are levelled barrows. That's nice, isn't it? The site is situated next to a nice old Roman track, so there's bound to be nice stuff that was dropped or lost there (or maybe "hoards hidden on the way to battle", eh?). This road was later used to link the deserted village of Mallows Cotton to the deserted village of West Cotton which then linked to Raunds or Rants as it was in the Doomsday Book. That's nice, because the bean fields run right up to the edge of one of those deserted medieval villages (but there will be archaeological material to be had beyond the edge) and they actually cover the site of West Cotton, so there will be nice crotal bells and other nice Medieval metalwork to dig out galore, lots of nice hammered coins too no doubt. In fact so nice Central Plunderers are having another commercial artefact grabfest in those beanfields on Saturday. Don't forget to pay them the sixty quid and bring your metal detector.

Oh, if you find archaeological finds you do not want for your collection, do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, rebury them where you found them for archaeologists to find and interpret, you must put them in the yellow bins to be provided and the rally organizers will take them away for melting down or dumping.

Oh, and by the way, the farm is part of some pesky environmental stewardship scheme financed out of public funds, but that's OK, it does not cover the historic environment at all (hooray!! That's nice) but just to keep up the appearance of being environmentally conscious don't go on the grass margins or wooded areas - at least not while anyone is looking. These are protected areas and are out of bounds. But all the rest of the fields are fair game. Come and help empty the archaeology out onto eBay.

The PAS FLO will not be present, she said she has had enough of legitimising rampant plundering of known archaeological sites every weekend. She's staying at home and catching up with her reading and gardening. Might go out for a meal in the evening with some friends instead of sitting in a dark damp field with beer-swilling foul-mouthed blokes.

[The rally is, unfortunately, very real. I made up the bit about the FLO, she's probably going to attend the rally, they generally do, it's how they boost the finds in the database numbers - through the rifling of sites like those at Raunds - a very significant project in its time, but checking its results will be near impossible by the time this lot have hoovered and dug their selfish way across part of the site, taking away the best bits, discarding the rest. When is Britain going to put a stop to this manner of treating areas of archaeological importance?]

Photo: Copyright Paul Barford


Unknown said...

Its also very nice not to pay uk income tax,when you decide to move back here then you have a right to comment.
I am not a beer swigging lout sir i dont drink,and for your information all the brooches and the votive axe were recorded,also were did you get "60 quid" from the dig you are referring to was 8 pounds,i would like to also point out i am a fully paid law abiding member of this club and several others.why dont you come and present yourself in person to put your views across,oh you cant as you prefere to be in another country lining your pockets

Paul Barford said...

Have a word with Gill Evans about whether she'll let me onto your forum to "present myself in person". There's a blog post about that from a while back. I rather think its Central Searchers that is running from me rather than the other way around. Now why would that be, what have you lot ("law abiding" and "tax paying" I am sure) got to hide?

So, no beer drinking goes on at commercial artefact hunting rallies then? So what cerebral pastimes do Central Searchers tekkies engage in after it gets too dark to metal detect?

Paul Barford said...

Here's the post Cameron:

winfit said...

Paul I have been reading your blogs
with horror as they are so extremist and hate filled.
You seem intelligent and learned yet act no better than a drunken lout at a football match.
Your blogs are filled with make believe thoughts conjured up by yourself with no actual relevence to any metal detector dig I have ever been on.
I have tried to look at it from your point of view but am having difficulty dealing with the hatred in your words.
If you were of the Muslim faith MI5 would be following your every move.
I am sorry but you are too much an extremist to have any trust in, you really need to stop before you give yourself a bad reputation within your own circles.
Just pause for a moment and listen to yourself and try to hear what we hear from you, your scarey and not in a hard man way but more an insane capable of anything kind of way.
If you want to fight with people of this hobby then do it in a gentlemanly fashion, this could start by telling the truth and keeping to the facts.
The drinking of alcohol takes place in the best of homes and by folks from all walks of life so why should you make this out to be something that only happens at metal detecting digs ?
Why do you keep on about the ridge and furrow when if you look at maps of today you can quite clearly see that under normal farming methods of which there is no incursion by metal detector enthusiasts the ridge and furrow has been blatantly ploughed out and all history which may have been beneath its surface has been ploughed out with it.
Are farmers beer swilling louts too because they do not do as you want them to do ?
There are good and bad people in every hobby and vocation, that is the nature of the human race, football has it's Rooney, golf has Tiger woods and the archaeology world has its Barford, all good at what they do but all have there flaws and all being human.

I have a good job and work hard.
I pay my taxes.
I have a loving family.
I live in a middle class suburb.
I do not drink.
I do not gamble.
I do not steal or cheat.
I do not have an Ebay account.
I do have a metal detector.
I do have a metal detector....Oh my God, I have a metal detector,and worse of all I use it, now that must make me a beer swilling lout who does nothing but thieve and sell on Ebay..... sorry Paul your just not credible.

Paul Barford said...

Thank you Mr "Winfit" for that (so, may we assume from the name you chose just now, you're in window replacement?) Why not just use your real name? That is a valid question, isn't it? I assume you belong to Central Searchers too.

Now what you've done is accused me of presenting this "dig[up lots of finds]" with "no actual relevence (sic) to any metal detector dig I have ever been on". What you have not done is shown how what I say differs from what happened all of those "digs". For the benefit of those of my readers who might be trying to form a rounded picture, could you do that, please?

So how many of these finds from this rally ended up being reported to the FLO, and how many did not? What is the "truth" here?

"If you want to fight with people of this hobby then do it in a gentlemanly fashion, this could start by telling the truth and keeping to the facts".

Then please feel free to present the facts yourself. I do not want to "fight with" anyone, I want to present to a wider circle the truth and facts about artefact collecting and its effect on the archaeological record as I see them. If you or anyone else disagree, then do go ahead and put forward information that presents the alternate picture and we can discuss it ("like gentlemen").

For a start why not urge that the CS forum and discussion groups of that ilk are all open to public view - they've got nothing to hide have they? Or have they? I say let the "truth" about artefact hunting shine out for everyone to see.

As for the Ridge and Furrow, I was talking (in another post, not this one) about PRESERVED R&F, so metal detecting an earthwork site under grass. That's a no-no in my book and the Code of practice for Responsible metal Detecting, isn't it?

What have you go against Moslems?

Uphill all the Way said...

I am a bit dismayed about the comments made by Mr Barford. I DO consider myself to be a responsible detectorist and would agree that detecting on preserved sites does present problems. However I don't see what the issue is with detecting on ridge and furrow that is not protected. The fact is that if these artefacts were not dug up by detectorists they most limeky would never be found - and how does that help the archaeological record?
What really disturbs me is Mr Barford's strident, almost screaming, style of writing. Perhaps if the tone was less of a rant and less eztreme it night be received better.
Also Mr Barford has accused others of being unable to spell, when he cannot spell the word ellusive homself.

Paul Barford said...

Well, that makes two of us then.

The question is not whether a site is scheduled or not, surely responsibility is a matter of best practice, and detecting on preserved earthworks under grass is not "best practice" in anyone's book - except perhaps yours.

Taking objects OUT of the archaeological record with limited documentation (and please post up what documentation CS made of that project if you wish to contest that) is indeed depleting the archaeological record.

I could not give a CS how my blog is "received". I'm not writing it for you, but for myself. Don't like it, don't read it.

Uphill all the Way said...

I appreciate your reply to my comment. Its still a shame that you have to put your arguments in such a manner.

If you don't give a CS for what anyone else says, and you're only writing it for yourself then why put it all in your blog?

You really do have some good points to make, and even though you appear to view me as some sort of evil demon who is desecrating the archaeology of Britain, you are quite wrong in that view.

Also yoy do seem to be so blind to other points of view that you clearly didn't read my message, as I never said that detecting on preserved earthworks was acceptable. I did actually say that it wasn't -I DID ask the question what is the problem with detecting in unprotected areas - so why have a go at me when I am actually agreeing with you? Or are you so blinded by your own views that even those who agree with you are wrong?

And actually, if you are only writing the blog for yourself, then you should keep your views TO yourself and not annoy the rest of us> (And that is from someone who largely agrees with what you are saying!)

And I bet you haven't got the guts to publish this comment either!

Paul Barford said...

Perhaps you will need to ask somebody else what a "blog" is. Don't like it, don't read it. I stand by what I wrote.

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