Friday 10 February 2012

Bulgarian Metal Detectorist Shows His Finds

On a Facebook page "metal detecting" a reader drew my attention to a series of posts by a Bulgarian "treasure hunter" going under the screen name "Imperator Caesar". I'll not post his photo here: think "Asparukh" on a bad night without the horse. He posted three You Tube videos of his finds ("nahodki na imperatora caesar") which he says are "roman armor that i found in grave-vishovgrad bulgaria". (Elsewhere he claims the finds came from Gabrovo, a place to the south.)

. .

Metal detectorist Warren Parry from Brownhills (Staffordshire Hoard land) is fascinated by grave robbing:

Warren Parry: "fantastic, was that from the grave?"
Warren Parry "wow, how did you find the graves?"
Imperatora Caesar "in bulgaria europe"
Warren Parry "was it the only grave? or are there more?"
Imperatora Caesar "excavations continue"
Warren Parry "do you find many coins?"
Imperatora Caesar "and to sell a lot".
While other tekkies are more excited by the hardware:
Stephen Llewellyn: "what machine is that ur using?"
While other detectorists pretend they are not a bit jealous, but their main concern is the image of the 'obby: Samantha Jane Nye ("Cheekygirl") , Middlesbrough, England - a Sales Distributor in the firm Kleeneze (a job obviously not requiring much in the way of literacy skills):
"Really think its dissapointing too find out detectorist's are keeping amazing finds too them selfs when they should be reported and gona down the proper channels...its people like them that spoil it for us genuine detectorists...".
and a bit later:
"It has come too my attention that this detectorist does not report any finds too the authoritys..its people like this man that spoil it for the rest of us and give us a bad name...we cant let this go on..lets do some thing about or at least try too protect our history from people like this man...".
Well, here's one for Raimund Karl then, this poor "amateur archaeological" waif cannot report his finds to the "authoritys" because ... (despite what Peter Tompa thinks about artefact hunting there not being "regulated" in any way) in Bulgaria, they'd most likely throw him in jail for what he's seems to be admitting he has done.


Well, first of all the sword is not "Roman", but what the museum catalogues and dealers' sites would probably call "Illyrian" or "Thracian". The armour is not Roman.

Secondly in my opinion its all fake.

Ancient warriors did not go into battle with the metal bits superglued to their chests and shins. If you look at what purports to be a full set of body armour deposited in a grave (ie we presume on a body) then where are the straps? The lining of the helmet? There are a lot of copper alloy salts on that metal - so at least traces of organic tissue would be preserved. Can you see any? Instead we see the copper alloy covered in an even coat of spotty salt deposits, virtually the same right across the objects, and the same inside the concave elements as outside. If the helmet had really been buried, it would have different corrosion products on the inside from the outside, the upper surface from the lower and so on. In my opinion, for a couple of other reasons too, this is modern chemically-induced corrosion. The masks on the greaves and breastplate are not very convincing either.

The bust here too is, I am pretty sure, a fake. Bulgaria is of course notorious in collecting circles for the large number of fakes traded alongside genuine dugups.

In my opinion this is a wind-up, though possibly the intent is not just Internet trolling, or attempted tekkie one-upmanship, but an attempt to persuade a collector to approach the finder with an offer to buy the objects (which of course would be illegal anyway). Caveat emptor an' all that.

So, who has been buying those "coins" from him, and where are they now? Surely not hiding among the undocumented "but still legal" coins Mr Lueke has been going on about?

UPDATE 11.02.12
Within a (very) few hours of this post going up, Mr "Imperator" from Bulgaria hid both the photo of him holding his (I think pseudo-) helmet and the Julio-claudian style Roman emperor bust I commented upon. Let us see whether they re-appear. Some of these artefact hunters, collectors and dealers can be SO touchy when you cast an archaeological eye over their "antiquities". The You Tube videos are still up though. Enjoy.

1 comment:

kyri said...

helenistic armour,circ 300 bc ,buried with a bronze sword circ 800-1000 bc hmmm,what a load of rubbish,the cuirras looks like a joke.just my opinion.

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