Thursday 25 August 2011

Gold Prices For UK's Heritage Heroes

"Archaeology UK", it calls itself, the fully-searchable database of the positions of more than 135,000 UK Archaeological sites ("available to search via the internet, Satellite Navigation Sytems (SatNav), Hand-held global positioning systems (GPS) and compatible mobile phones such as the Iphone").
Dear Archi Subscriber, Many of us in the field of Archaeology and Ancient History understand the significance of gold to our ancestors as a currency, a reliable form of wealth storage and when a gold hoard is found, as an indicator of past social and political instability. [...] In response to the above I have created a new web page on ARCHI which gives you the current price of gold and its trends. [...] Feel free to view the graphs because they do provide a means to appreciate that even though our modern technology is vastly superior, the forces which drive our cultures and societies may not differ that much from those of our ancestors! Best wishes Chris Kutler Digital Documents....

It's called greed and our vastly superior modern technology helps get more of that ancient gold out of the archaeological record than ever before...

All you need to do is take your Bill Wyman 'Real Archaeologist' Metal Detector out, dig up some stuff and use these handy tables to tell you how much its worth as bullion. Prices for gold, silver copper (but oddly not scrap lead from Roman baths or coffins and other objects). There's palladium too if you happen to find any bits that dropped off a disintegrating space craft fuel cell.

So, this new resource has been produced by Archi to help the Treasure Valuation Committee do its work then, has it? How public spirited of Mr Kutler. It would be worrying for the metal detectorist who hands something over and sees as the TVC prevaricates week after week, month after month the price of gold dropping, dropping.... Interestingly, the Archi site does not seem to contain any link to the PAS, Treasure Act or list of Coroners. Note that there is a Hatton Garden Metals, "turn your unwanted jewellery into cash" advert at the top of the page. Could it be...? No, of course not, they are in it for the "HISTORY".

Vignette: edited screengrab from ARCHI site showing the graphs of gold prices discussed here.


chrisk1066 said...


Thank you for the comments in your blog. There are some valid reasons why I created the page but I can see why you have felt the needs to express your views.

Most detectorists are in it for the history, but many of them also have scrap gold they have found while scouring the beaches to kill the boredom or to try and supplement their meagre pensions. This is where the public spiritedness comes in.

I notice that you make no reference to the current world financial situation and what is happening in the currency markets and gold markets and how this is affecting us. The link to HGM is there because I did my research and they give the fairest prices for the kind of scrap (not ancient) gold detectorists find on the beach etc.

As you know with ancient artefacts, the scrap value of the gold is not really a factor in its valuation. I was taking your comments seriously, but when you started to turn 'nasty, I started to wonder whether you are blogging to make valid contributions to debate or whether you are here just to spout bitter vitriol.

We all have a nasty side Paul, but most of us prefer to keep it in the dark side where it belongs. Otherwise, what kind of world would we live in if we allow our dark side to rule?

Paul Barford said...

A world of history-trashing selfish-bastards I guess.

Fortunately 99.9% of the population does not go out trashing archaeological sites to have a hobby or a bit of cash on the side. I think they should be given a chance to hear something other than the PAS-fluffy-bunny-partnership pap.

I am really not clear what you mean about "public spiritedness" and "scrap(sic) gold from beaches". Surely as scrap somebody's lost wedding ring is worth as much as the jeweller or pawn shop will pay you for it.

Is the only place one finds scrap gold on "beaches"?

FYI if the hoard is a hoard of scrap, then yes, the actual value of scrap bullion does affect the TVC's valuation.

Now, as an archaeologist I have on several occasions found gold scrap (sheet fragments mostly, and all on Roman sites as I recall) and I assure you the LAST thing I need is a webpage telling me how much it's worth if I was to sell it to Hatton Garden metals. Why do you call your resource one for archaeologists when there is so much about it that clearly is not? Why not call a spade a spade?

As a former archaeologist yourself (for I presume it is Mr Kutler I am addressing here) do you not feel a tad guilty turning all those archaeological reports into a database for artefact hunters, looters by another name?

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