Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Focus on Metal Detecting: Another Scaly-Handed Heritage Grabber

Yesterday I noted the crass post on the Heritage Action Facebook page of one Graham Chetwynd, clearly a poorly-educated metal detector using artefact hunter produced by the underachieving British school system. The same poster managed on 28th December to upload a picture of his hand together with a Late Bronze Age socketed axe to the Heritage Action photo gallery from which my illustration is taken (copyright Heritage Action). The caption is "what you think of this puppy then", [I assume that was a question].

The photo was commented by another of the Chetwynds, presumably a brother or other relation:  "i bet you lot would love one of these lmfaa". Oh indeed Mr Chetwynd, we find this so amusing. Has it been reported to the PAS? I note the dermatitis of the skin of this man's hand which as I have noted is a very frequent occurrence on photos showing closeups of metal detector users, there seems to be some health problem (harmful nanovibrations? electromagnetic fields?). Also note the camouflage clothing visible in one of the shots, army surplus clothing being a de rigeur element of the sartorial elegance of this collecting milieu.

Before that, there had been on the same Heritage Action Facebook page a revealing exchange of views between HA members and (it seems it was) Graham Chetwynd on the subject of the Twinstead Sovereign Hoard theft. It starts off with a question that reveals how much apostrophe-abusing, tattoo-loving UK metal detectorists with scaly hands understand about the Treasure Act even after fourteen years of expensive PAS outreach to the milieu. The Act states that also reportable as "Treasure" are any object which would have been Treasure Trove if found before the commencement of section 4, but Graham Chetwynd has apparently not read the Act with any comprehension, and on 27 December 2011 at 22:33 asks Heritage Action who had been writing about it on their Facebook page:
can you please tell why the twinstead hoard coin are treasure and the one's not handed in are stolen ?????
At least he said "please". He then launches on a telling finders-keepers rant to justify why he thinks these "sovs" are not Treasure:
i think that it was a detecting rally meaning you pay to detect so like fishing or shooting on someone's land unless otherwise agreed you keep what you catch shoot find as you have paid for the privalige, or is this a case of landowner changing his mind when large sums of money are involved. even if this is not the case the find can not really be classed as historical interest as not over 300 year's old so i cant see it can be classed as treasure (correct me please if im not upto date on flo law's) i have sov's of that age and older found and brought in my collection i can only see it being of interest to the local village and slagging of detectorist's is not going help anyone all that is going to is build the wall between them and archy's higher then thing's like the staffordshire horad may be lost forever and not reported because of the hassle involved in reporting it detectorist's have discoverd alot of site's etc that may never have been found and yes you do have good and bad in everything i have a FLO on dvd film of my mate's pocket camera offering us under counter deals for his own collection for item's we have found 1 being a palistave axe head and 1 socketed is it not better to totally work together instead of fighting all the time like children there are just as many dodgy archy's this is not a dig (pardon the pun ) you but just my opinion.
No, actually Mr Chetwynd, you are not exactly up to date with the decade and a half old law on Treasure (not FLOs). The accusation against the FLO will be discussed below. When attention was drawn to the principles of ethical detecting supported by Heritage action, the artefact hunter replies:
never heard of them mate mean's nothing to me and the moral law your on about is that the one that say's archy's and museum's can take the nation's treasure's and hide them in museum storage out the back never to be seen the the general public again. And the one's that looted the pyramids and everything they could in the late 19th century.And these are sovereigns are not really historical of importance just of interest my archy's are pissed off that detectorist's stealing their limelight ( saxon hoard ) and some of these people slagging us off arn't even English and all these archy's say they just want to learn about the past well you don't have to own the item's to learn about them[...] look's to me that your all using this incident to make bad publicity for the detectorist funny i did not see any slagging off when the staffordshire hoard and other where found think you where all happy to see it go to a museum at a fraction of it's true value if you look into it you will see that detectorist's have found and reported 1000's more relic's etc than the archy's in the past few year's
The other Chetwynd chips in:
"I would not be surprised if your not even ENGLISH and don't even live in this country. ooooo just noticed this page is so big it has all of 171 like's i would get more people in my swimming pool lmfao".
though looking at Graham Chetwynd's skin condition, I wonder how many people would feel comfortable cramming into the Chetwynd swimming pool? I suspect Mr Chetwynd is confusing Heritage Action with somebody else...

So this FLO reportedly caught on camera angling to buy artefacts (a palstave and a socketed) from an artefact hunter for their own collection, who would that be then? Mr Chetwynd claims that "the footage" (surely it would be a digital file, or do metal detectorists have Stone Age video equipment?) "will be seen when it is arranged to have the biggest impact". Wow, shaking in our boots we are Mr Chetwynd. If the FLO was offering to buy items he knew were stolen (nighthawked, from an unreported hoard) then yes that would be illegal (although how do we know that he did not also have a hidden camera running and this was part of a PAS sting?). If however the two objects were the product of legal metal detecting, then there is nothing illegal about an FLO offering to buy them for a collection. Collecting artefacts is not illegal in England and Wales. That is the whole point of the PAS. I would not be surprised if FLOs had private collections of archaeological artefacts. If they have been legally obtained and properly dealt with, there is not even anything in the IFA Code of Practice which says they cannot. So what is the problem, what will this alleged "film" achieve? It might open up the debate about collecting though. Bring it on.


Fishermansam said...

Why are you judging Graham when you dont even know him ???
Yes, graham may not have an A* in English but that does not mean he is poorly educated - you try dong his job; you would fail at that :D
Oh yeah, and you know that 'skin condition'?? Well, i dont know if you aware of something called mud? Well that is what he has on his skin.
You've never met him so dont judge him
Besides - who is sad enough to go writing all of this Crap about someone they dont know?!?
So why dont you just go and get a life and stop juding people.

P.S. This axe-head has been recorded to the PAS and it is being loaned to a local museum ... Now tell me that is not generosity??

Paul Barford said...

Mr "Fishermansam", thank you for your concern.

1) This is a blog about portable antiquity collecting issues, where I report examples of the sort of issues I come across. What people make of what (and the way) I write about what I find is of course their prerogative.

Certainly where I come from, the ability to articulately present views in one's native language is a generally accepted criterion of education.

If you look, however, I was writing about the metal detectorist's knowledge of the laws governing that particular activity. That is the kind of education (PAS calls it "outreach") which concerns me on this blog. The ability of a fourteen million pound educational scheme to actually do that in the milieu within which it is working - how to reach those (as Minister Lammy says) "challenged by formal education"?

The texts to which I refer were those the author had posted himself to a public Facebook page of a conservation group which he had been aggressively trolling for some weeks (his anti-social behaviour eventually led to him being banned last week). I am expressing an opinion about what this "ambassador for the hobby" (as are all metal detectorists writing as such) tells us about attitudes that exist within this hobby. Attitudes that need to be taken into account in assessing the progress that is being made in "partnership".

Mr Chetwynd did his utmost through his contributions to the Heritage action Facebook page to express the contempt he felt for conservation and conservatists. I do not think that reflected too well on him, and said so.

2) As an archaeologist, I do actually know what mud looks like. I also know what a skin condition looks like, and it seems to me that evidence is emerging from their videos and photos that a high proportion of metal detector users have some kind of skin condition. It needs to be asked whether there is a link between instances of this and the use of metal detectors (and I do this because metal detecting is often justified precisely as a "healthy hobby").

3) No, I do not see any particular "generosity" here, the finds I have removed from the archaeological record as part of my work (where, unlike artefact hunting and collecting, the general notion of "Finders Keepers" does not apply) are all in (not merely 'loaned to') various museums, and this was part of the landowner's agreement preceding each project.

graham said...

PAUL BARFORD will twist any info or passing comment to help his own anti-detecting propoganda. Most reputable archaeologists are aware of his reputation & treat him with the contempt he deserve.Phone up any flo or museum and ask what they think of Paul Barford the you will hear for yourself

Paul Barford said...

That presumably is Mr Chetwynd himself.

After a cosy chat with his mates in the CBA I believe.

Regardless of what people think, Paul Barford will continue to report here real cases of "metal detectorists" doing what metal detectorists do to point out that the pro-collecting propaganda is precisely that. Whether or not any information is "twisted", I leave it up to the reader to check out for themselves.

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