Wednesday 26 February 2014

The A20 Grave Trashing: Questions about the Timing of Events

There is a noticeable discrepancy between the two stories of the A20 grave find which raises a number of questions to which we will most likely never receive answers. This is quite typical of finds made by artefact hunters and reported. The finder "Whatunearth" (Re: Saxon Hoard found Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:40 am) describes what he did. there were TWO holes:  Sunday afternoon added:
the first hole was actually no different than a normal hole that anyone would have dug. Ok the entrance was widened to allow for the coil to go in just to get some extra depth after the first pin was found, other than that the other hair pin and the two large square ended brooches were dug out using my hand at the bottom of the hole no wider than 5 inches at around 20 inches give or take. [that's the two that came out broken - PMB]
The site organizers were informed at this stage and after many attempted calls and no answers to as many people as they know, the decision was made to widen the hole. This was due to the fact, a crowd was gathering around the hole and also we were very close to a main road.  We widened and found the circular brooch and some small bits [that'd be the rest of the grave assemblage - PMB]. Then we recovered the hole. [...]  I finally managed to get in contact with the FLO the next day and having explained the situation to her, she agreed that it was for the best. 
But in the same thread on the same forum, the Chairman of the detecting club ("Holedigger pete") has a different version (Re: Saxon Hoard found Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:10 pm): 
I am Pete Chairman of the club and was on site when the hoard was found, we rang our FLO Jennifer Jackson on the day and could not get hold of her. The next day Jennifer rang Greg and said she could not do nothing till Friday or the following week Greg informed about this and i was not happy. I tried to contact Jennifer but her phone was turned off, due to the find being close to a main road i contacted the 3 top people at the BM and sent them pictures these are the people who got things moving. They told me the site could not be left till Friday and they would get a team together for the next day and that the police would be informed about the area to keep an eye on it.[...] on the day i done what i thought was right to take out as much as we could without any damage to the area i could not sleep at night knowing nighthawkers could rob the site. The BM told me i did the right thing and i stand by what i did. The FLO's should have inplace a team to deal with finds like this 7 days a week and we should have phone numbers for this. (Last edited by Holedigger Pete on Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total).
According to this version, part of the assemblage discovered on the one day (in the "first hole") and the decision to deep-hoik the rest would have been taken AFTER the communication with the FLO the next day after learning that an excavation could not be organized at the drop of a detectorist's bobble hat. Who were the "three top people at the BM" who were contacted (and when was this?) and how would it have been possible for them to "get a team together for the next day" at such short notice? Who were to be in this team? When was the team contacted? Why, after being assured by the "three top people in the BM" that a team was coming the next day did the Medway History Finders simply not take turns to guard the site overnight until the next day?

Is there a proper protocol recording the results of an interview with the finders and other participants of this free-for-all, wherever and whenever it was? Should there not be?

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