Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Only Intrested in the 'Istry?

Over on Heritage Action's webpage is an interesting text on the flip-flopping of the ethos of the UK's oldest and largest metal detecting forum. In the old days when some of us thought it was worth talking to artefact hunters, the UKDN was a place where only the thick-skinned archie would venture unless he was prepared to abandon all principles and simply fawn to them. It was on the basis of the reception met mainly there to ideas about "conservation of the resource" and the big no-phrase "common resource" that several of us formed our opinions of the milieu. It would be an understatement to say the reactions of the list membership to even the gentlest of suggestions that there were issues in current policies to be addressed did not make a good impression.

Since then (in fact since the disastrous attempt to an 'alternative code of practice' in opposition to the official one) as Heritage Action notes, they have made strident efforts to bowdlerise the contents of the threads to try and recreate themselves in the image of the responsible detectorists. In one way that is heartening (it shows they realise that they are able to do what they do only with public approval) in another disturbing, it helps perpetuate the deceit that artefact hunting is mainly carried out by wholly responsible chappies eager to contribute to the archaeological knowledge of the country, when we know this is far from the truth.

Anyhow, the latest censorship to appear is that now they are forbidden to even mention the sale of archaeological artefacts on the forum (even the bits the general public cannot see) - it just does not go on, you see? Artefact hunters NEVER sell ANY of the artefacts they find. They pile the Roman grots up in their sheds. They never sell anything non-collectable as scrap metal, and they certainly never put anything on eBay. Oh no, that's the other guys...

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