Sunday, 10 July 2011

"Just Fields"


Photo: Cropmarks of a Roman town (not a "camp") - Venta Icenorum - under ploughed fields at Caister St Edmund, Norfolk.

It is worth looking at the above photo with regard to the claim we see frequently made in US coiney collecting circles that buying decontextualised dugups is "OK" because Roger Bland (the PAS head) was in Washington four years ago and said that 90% of the material found in the UK by metal detectorists was from ploughed (they say "plowed") "fields". They seem not really to realise (or care) that these fields were not fields two thousand years ago, but settlements and sites of other activity, like here.

This is what we think Caister/Venta looked like in its Roman heyday. Not exactly a negligible site.

So how many coins from illegal (or legal since part of this area was not scheduled) plundered from this site do you think US coin dealers have sold to their clients, no-questions-being-asked since its "just under fields"?

How is it possible that Roger Bland could have been doing "archaeological outreach" over in the States without this basic message coming across to his audience?

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