Sunday 22 April 2012

The Archaeological Record of the North East Providing Rich Pickings for Treasure Hunters

Alastair Craig, of the Sunday Sun seems to have been provided with a list (by whom and why?): 'North East providing rich pickings for metal detector treasure hunters', Sunday Sun, Apr 22 2012.Note the frequency with which the list mentions how much cash many of these items are worth to the finder. They say they "are not in it for the money", of course.
TREASURE hunter Terry Vickers this month struck gold [...] a hoard of silver coins which date back to the 13th Century was unearthed by a group of treasure hunters [...] Now these nuggets of history, worth thousands of pounds, look set to be officially classed as treasure and put on public display. 
But only when the public has bought them off the people responsible for them being dug out of the archaeological record, which is the common heritage, a precious record not to be squandered.
NHS receptionist Susan Jewitt, 57 of Willington, County Durham, who runs Amber’s Digs with partner Graham Duff [...] says the North is a prime hunting ground for metal detectors because of its rich history. “We have more castles than anywhere else which I think gives us a good chance of finding interesting things,” she said.[...] “I research possible finds sites on Google.
Apart from the fact that the "castle" sites and often part of the area around are scheduled, what does she mean "research possible finds sites"? What search terms would you have to punch into "Google" for it to come up with a "you should go to this spot" type answer? The only thing I can think of is the location of known sites published in the internet' like online HERs.
Cumbria is one of the “Golden grounds” highlighted by treasure and history hunters.[...] CUMBRIA
[...] cavalry parade helmet [...] Sold for £2.3m at Christie’s auction in London [...] A haul of Roman coins found on an historic site near Wigton [...] close to an old Roman fort near Red Dial. ["Research on Google" no doubt - PMB][...] ancient jewellery described as a “momentous” discovery [...] . DURHAM
[...] Medals, goblets, and crucifixes once owned by the Queen, the Pope and other state and church leaders [...] Two Bronze Age axe heads, aged over 3,000 year [...] Prehistoric items from 1,000BC [...]
[...] Two dozen King Edward I silver pennies [...]  Roman relics were found in Selby by history enthusiasts from the Blaydon Search and Recovery Association [...] hundreds of silver coins stamped with the face of the Emperor Hadrian [...]  13th Century medieval silver seal [...] and valued at more than £10,000 [...] A 14th-Century bronze seal[...] Valued at £3,000.
[...]  Over 100 12th Century silver coins found by treasure hunters [...] gold and bronze rings[...] Valued at £2,000.[...] Over 70 copper alloy Saxon coins found just under soil level at Bamburgh by a group of metal detector enthusiasts [...] ...
So I guess is we would be stupid not all to join "Ambers' Digs" and get our metal detectors out, we too can have a chance of turning a bit of the rich archaeological record into cash and a few glittering geegaws to put in yet another museum showcase and call it "doing archaeology".

Somehow from this list seem to be missing the more mundane finds, such as the flint tool assemblage from a beaker period fire-pit, the medieval kiln that supplied a local market , the environmental evidence from a twelfth century well pit, the grape pip from thirteenth century cess pits and all the other stuff or real archaeology. Yes, even "fish bones". Or don't the public need to know about any of that - just feed them with the dumbed-down shiny-stuff-news, just fob them off with easy stories about Britain's Secret Treasures?


Graham D said...

I love this hobby,I can actually say I've been Barfodised now like the rest of the the gang (All hail Mr Richard Lincoln)Please note I paid 1000 silver pennies(cnut) for my new Porsche...
Graham Duff (a non finder of the Sutton Bank hoard)
Sue gets her new 4x4 next week,more room for the detectors and booty.
Feel free to join our forum Mr B for a small fee of 2 guinea's you'llhave access to all of our finds.

Paul Barford said...

How much does the PAS have to pay?

Graham D said...

They get in for free fella on the grounds they think your a knob like every one else does.

Paul Barford said...

Well, I am none too convinced about the PAS' notion that by digging holes into archaeological sites and hoiking stuff out for collection that what their "partners" are engaged in is any form of "protection". That seems to me a logical fallacy.

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