Thursday 21 March 2013

Renewed Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Erosion of the Archaeological Record, Striking Lack of Focus

Over on a tekkie blog near you, the dullards are out in force, discussing John Howland's recent selective exegesis of a private letter from Mike Heyworth. One "Phil" ["I'm a researcher myself"] (March 21, 2013 at 10:09 pm) urges:  "We [ie I assume he means metal detectorists] are willing to have intelligent dialogue with you, but not when you offer such bullshit as fact (or almost fact)". He, however, falsely reckons we have "the same end goal…the discovery and preservation of artifacts" - missing the whole point of the HA Artefact Erosion Counter is making of course. So I am not sure that this metal detectorist is ready for any kind of discussion.

As for the capability of intelligent discussion of other tekkies, it would take a lot of explaining to the mathematically challenged "Big Tony from Bayonne" [I would guess the one in New Jersey] ( March 21, 2013 at 7:01 pm) who seems to think archaeobloggers are paid some "salary" for what they do "from the tax payers":
They say that 8,000 detectorists in England and Wales find a daily total of 447 artifacts that they keep for themselves. Then they give a year’s total of 63, 021. Wow, hard to believe that folks go detecting every day of the year and are always finding very old items. Amazing to say the least. These numbers indicate that each of the 8,000 detectorists find about 8 gold or rare or bronze coins per year. Then they have multiplied that by several years to an astounding eleven and a half million coins since 1975.
Do you think "Big Tony" has actually worked these figures through before dashing off his thoughts? The "this year's total" given on the counter refers of course to the period between 1st January 2013 to 21st March (when Tony wrote) 2013... duh!   But just take a look at what this guy thinks the HA Counter is modelling. He apparently thinks that the sole objects of conservationists' concern is:
gold or rare or bronze coins. 
It beats me where he gets that idea from, "Big Tony" seems to be Treasure fixated ("old gold coins and the like but truth be told most people do not know how to find gold rings let alone gold artifacts"). Tony, you miss the point, utterly. Put your reading glasses on and put your thinking cap on before attacking what you clearly do not understand. Not an iota.

One "Robbie" (March 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm) on the other hand really goes to town: 
It is a shame that a knowledgeable accredited archaeologist ( in his own words) as the gentleman from Wales professes to be, uses a factless imagionary item as the Artifact Erosion Counter…. to provide “facts” about metal detectorists and their alleged “illegal” activities - perhaps all the baseless unfounded attacks on metal detectorists required him to resort to using other tactics to try and discredit detecting… 
Warsaw is not in Wales, "imaginary" is spelt "imaginary". The HA Counter is clearly labelled a model, what is at issue is not "illegal" activities (but the erosive effects of what is taking place under the umbrella of a law which does not protect the archaeolological resource). Quite apart from the fact that "baseless unfounded" is tautology, most of what is written here or on the HA blog is founded in what tekkies themselves are saying on blogs and forums about their hobby (the reader can check for themselves whether we are making this stuff up or not). I think people like "Robbie" are doing a pretty good job themselves in texts like this of bringing discredit to "detecting". Time and time again it is demonstrated that the assumptions on which the PAS " partnership" model is based are  without foundation.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

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