Saturday, 23 July 2011

Paul Barford "is clearly just angry".

"Paul Barford is clearly just angry" suggests PhDiva on her PhDiva blog. Now certainly, the needless destruction of the archaeological record by looting and some of the things collectors and dealers say get me very, very angry. In this case however I really am at a loss to see how she adduces that I was angry that people working with her had identified an item sold by Christie's as having been recently looted. From the rest of her post, however, it seems to me her comment had more to do with paranoia than what I actually wrote.

I tend not to read her blog very often (I find it irritating when she's not doing a direct presentation of some of her excellent research on Classical antiquity). I glanced at it yesterday and I came across a mention of the identification of the Christie's head, and since I'd earlier been (am) critical of the way she'd gone about presenting her "Loot Busters" database idea, I thought I'd do a little piece on it. Do I sound angry here that she's brought a bit of discomfort into the lives of Christie's and an anonymous seller and buyer of allegedly dodgy goods? Although to judge from the photo, I'd personally not give that bust house-room, if it turns out to have been stolen (and the details are a bit short on why that is alleged), I am far from "angry" that it was found out.

Furthermore, my drawing it to David Gill's attention (who I understood to be out birdwatching somewhere remote at the time Ms King's blog post on the matter was published) was by no means an expression of anger. My actual wording was: "Seen PhDiva's Christie's looted bust?" at the end of a brief post about something stupid a coiney had written on Moneta-L and me being out of beer. The reason I asked him about it was that I feel that classical sculpture and Greek pots are more "Looting Matters" territory than mine and in my blogging I try not to pre-empt LM on such topics (my Julio-Claudian head post was originally hidden after I wrote it to see if LM did not want to cover it first).

So, could somebody tell PhDiva that she is mistaken if she thinks I was "angry" that somebody she works with spotted this bust. Good for them, says Barford. What does anger me, however, is the irrational tone of the rest of the contents of her blog post.

Quite why the woman lashes out at Dave Gill in the manner she does in that post is beyond me ("claims [...] with few tangible results as far as I can see", "petty childishness", "fanatic", "spewing speculation on an obscure blog", "Davey-boy"). This is from her concurrent Twitter feed: "Practical results beat rhetoric about looting any day! Love how silly bloggers are green with envy and ranting ;-)" [Are they? Where? Besides, what actual practical results has she achieved in fact?] and "Unsubscribed Looting Matters RSS. David Gill dismisses work of amazing archaeologists and police just 'coz we didn't tell him first. Idiot". [Did he? Where? Is he?]. Dorothy King sounds here like metal detectorist "Candice Jarman" who appears to be a great fan of hers.

PhDiva quotes a brief Google Reader text written by Dr Gill in which she says he "trashes" her project and so she goes in for the attack. Can anyone else other than PhDiva see where in that text he does so?

Still, dull old coiney dealer Alfredo De La Fe is on her side, sticking the boot in.

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