Thursday 28 March 2013

Interesting Thread on Florida Artefact Hunter Bust is "the #1 US arrowhead and Indian artifact community on the web". Some interesting threads here. One of them covered the recent arrest of a bunch of dealers and collectors in the Florida region. One member notes:
Just read into this a little more. Not a story to make fun of or make jokes about. Look for this to be the next big one, and possible game changer. I reserve judgment on their guilt, but if they had anything to do with public lands, then they should rot in jail for their own stupidity and greed. If they didn't have anything to do with public lands, then we are seeing serious erosion to legal artifact collecting.
Much thereabout the over-reach of those characterised as "collectorphobes" and aggressive condemnation of the illegal diggers - plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.... There are the moment fourteen pages in the thread. Some interesting collector comment on the situation to offset the negativeness of the press releases.

So far I have not noted the contribution - at least not under than name - of archaeologist Lisa the new friend of artefact hunters from Florida. Give her time, she'll be chipping in no doubt, telling collectors that there is no case to answer since the authorities failed to use a Science-101 hypothetico-deductive methodology and applied the "wrong logarithms".

But in all of this, I cannot really see in the thread as a whole the answer to the question, how to help preserve the archaeological resource.  Collectors are busy using the argument that they are not doing any harm, or the two wrongs make a right one (i.e, something like if we do  not dig it up nobody will and it ends up getting lost/destroyed). But then as Tom Clark noted, the situation is fast reaching crisis point ( 03-03-2013, 12:07 PM #64):
Folks, there are almost twice as many people in the US today as there were when I was born. You used to be able to buy and apparently sell, field grade pieces by the gallon container. Same with nice but broken hardstone. Cheap. There were no shows. You used to call BR-549 to get your one or two buddies to go hunting. And nobody cared or thought you were nuts, eccentric. Nobody talked. No internet. Names of points and sites were accredited to the originators/finders, not a book, sometimes without archaeologists. Time in the hole and walking amounted to experticity.
Now we have advertizing reaches WIDE and is a million times bigger than an tiny ad in back of Popular Science magazine, MANY MANY more peolple than just twice as many we have a bunch of forums and now social media with artifact collecting content. Many, many more collectors who are actively hunting, buying or collecting or any combination. Then we reach out to the rest of the world and the contacts and additional collectors, buyers, sellers. It boggles the mind.  
It is this changed context that collectors "rights" advocates tend to forget (or wish to ignore).

Vignette: One of those somewhat expensive types of points

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