Friday 14 December 2012

Amaizing Facts from Microcephalic Metal Detecting: An Example from Gloucestershire

Is it really the case that "metal detecting" can really broaden the mind and help even those folk "challenged by formal education", as Minister David Lammy once so eloquently put it, to get to grips with the past? For an example of the new and interesting facts about the past which these home-grown enthusiasts can learn from metal detecting, we might take a look at a video of a couple of artefact hunters targeting a known Roman villa site in Gloucestershire, near a hoard site (17 maj 2012, 'Reserching a ploughed out Roman villa site'). At the beginning a tekkie with an abnormally small cranium slouches in from the left and taking up a Discovery Channel pose by the river dramatically declaims:
Three and a half thousand years ago, ancient man settled in this part of Gloucestershire... He chose well (sic). The soils were rich and fertile and they warmed easily in the early spring sunshine which allowed them to grow such crops as millet and maize
You can just imagine it now, can't you, those Bronze Age (Acton Park Phase) seafarers bobbing across the Atlantic with their coracles filled with maize (Zea mays) seed... perhaps they brought a few domestic animals too. Get your T2 and DFX out lads and look for those llama burials.

 There is more however. "Ancient man" (and woman):
first went onto the hillforts, where they built defensive ditches around them, but later on settlements were on the lowlands.
Now (quite apart from the fact that hillforts only became hillforts through the construction of defences), that is quite an astounding throwback to a purely Edwardian (Edward VII that is) view of the British past. For most of the last century it has been clear that hillforts were special function central places within a more dispersed settlement network (which formed their economic, social and demographic hinterland), and yes the other settlements in the system were not on the hilltops but in lower-lying land. Without them, the majority of hillforts would not have been able to function.

Just what is it these people learn from their artefact hoiking and collecting, if the only books they are going to look at are almost a century out of date? How will such people be able to collect the data needed to answer current archaeological questions, if they do not know the first thing about what those questions are and what they are looking for? This is however precisely what is postulated by the PAS "artefact hunting as ersatz archaeology" model.


domino said...

With such a small cranium as I, it really is amazing how a hunter gatherer like myself, could find so much more that the local archaeologists. Barf Barf!

Paul Barford said...

That's probably, isn't it because they are trying to preserve sites, while you don't give a tinkers if you destroy them in the pursuit of your selfish hobby.

Quote: "shame there is now nothing left as I have hoovered it dry, but Hey Ho off too the next site.!"

I have asked you before to stop using an account name impersonating me.

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