Wednesday 6 April 2011

So good, we're pillaging it twice....

The ever-so secretive Central Searchers have a jolly good piece of new land in Catworth, Cambridgeshire, a very productive site. So on Saturday 9th AND Sunday 10th they will be holding a two-day artefact grabfest there from nine to five. The land apparently has some protected areas on it but they will be just searching (honest!) the non-protected wheaty bits. There's a hundred acres of it, and last weekend they searched it too. Then they pulled all sorts of archaeological finds out of the land, by the bucketload, so many that participants requested the organization to go back and plunder it again. The "site" (that's what it says on the website) produced a multitude of hammered coins, 3 seals of vesica form, two matrix seals and two seal rings, some Roman fibulae and coins and an Anglo-Saxon sceatta. It is reported that in that one day detecting alone, three or four hammered coins had been found each by a number of people. The site was well and truly plundered then. The coming weekend they will be looting the archaeological record in an adjacent 40 acre field too, in which they have already found a few Roman bronze coins and a hammered coin. The whole area around the village is covered in ridge and furrow and other earthwork sites. The field the artefact hunters will be plundering their way across apparently has "some nice crop marks", so that clinches it, there are archaeological features in the field. Perhaps nobody told them that a field survey plotting in detail distribution of finds of all types in the ploughsoil over the cropmarks can tell us a great deal about the sites and features they represent. All that information is immediately lost unrecorded when a crowd of greedy collectors selectively removes part of the record. Although a snack van is mentioned as being booked for the grabfest, no mention is made of the PAS being in attendance.

Photomontage: Paul Barford

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