Sunday 22 July 2012

Britain's Secret Treasures: Reactions from the Lads (Partners)

Interesting reaction by metal detectorist King cnut (Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:03 pm) to the announcement of the Number 1 "Treasure" on ITV's Britain's Secret Treasures:
a bit of flint won it what a shambles [...] it was a joke something that can be found in there millions n millions everywhere in the world wins over one off rare items is laughble lol [...]  its as common as shot gun shells, its nothing new nor rare yes its very old but it can be made 2mora but them metal items cant be
"Won it"? One Gozzy23 asks:
 How do they know its 500,000 years old... It's impossible   Oh well lets just count the Ringlemere cup as #1. 
While nonmotion frets:
So now any 3 rocks containing 10 percent or more of flint shall be deemed treasure and become the property of the crown.
And wozelbeak notes:
funny how there were not other flint tool finds littering the top 50? May be some one said you can't have a metal detector find at the top of the tree.
Tinheed reckons that the fact that the final top find was a prehistoric flint hand axe was a "slap in the face to us detectorists":
We arent going to find many of them with a detector are we (Whah haaaa).And what exactly did this find prove? that Britain was once joined on to France and was inhabited 100,00 years earlier than we thought.I`m sure the public are more interested in treasure finds than flint tools which are commonly found all over the world.Or is it just me??????
but Wansdyke44 has it sussed:
Perhaps the reason a flint got top of the pops was because the British Museum suddenly cottoned on to the fact that it has just encouraged thousands of people to go out and buy a MD and dig holes everywhere - so if a flint wins they thought the daft mops would forget the detector and just grab a bucket and spade and head to the beach instead!
But the most telling comments were the following two, initiated by digger360 :
[...] i am struggling to get my head around the flint being 500,000 to 700,000 yrs old how do they know that ? as it was found on a beach it could have been dropped anytime as it had nothing above to date it ! and that is the 1st rule of archeology if it not in context it is discounted [...]
and he's not wrong there, so why did the programme not indicate the context from which the axe was (reportedly) eroding and what was later found there by subsequent investigations (by the British Museum after all)? Member mrix (Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:14 pm) also has the same question:
[...] But as the flint is a natural substance how on earth can they tell if its 50,000 or 500,000 ???? It could of been worked at any date surely.  If anyone knows please enlighten us 
Surely producing answers of members of the public to precisely questions like that was the purpose of seven hours of prime time television "outreach" by the Portable Antiquities Scheme.  It is one thing showing a series of fifty favourite geegaws on the screen and make celebrities tell fanciful stories about them, it is another thing to actually inform people how we know what we  know. Inform people what makes the difference between archaeology and mere story-telling. That aspect was totally ignored by this series, which merely adopted a "because we say so" approach to such isues.

[Mr Rix will forgive me - or any other archaeologist - not joining his metal detecting forum to directly answer his question. He can however read my earlier blog post on the Happisburgh handaxe and follow the links I give there, and he will get the answer to the question that the PAS was unable to give him. They get paid (lots) for doing it, I do not].

Britain's Secret treasures, ITV 1 16th-22nd July 2012

Vignette: Forum logo. How many have taken a good look at that coin on the left and considered what it means?

UPDATE 27.07.12
The metal detectorists obviously thought nobody was interested in seeing their reaction to "Britain's Secret Treasures", so they deleted the thread*: "The requested topic does not exist". Something to hide, guys?

*Actually it's been moved.

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