Sunday 20 April 2014

Bumper haul for Central Searchers, How many of these Archaeological Finds will we Ever See Again?

Knowledge Theft

On a metal detecting forum near you, member "Desbold" (aka "Disillusioned of North London") was "A bit disappointed" (Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:54 pm) with the Central Searchers commercial artefact grabfest this weekend:
When will the "clubs" (no longer member-focused organisations but profit-focused businesses) find NEW, i.e virgin, land for some of these digs and not keep going back to the same fields year after year. Yes, 15 years ago "this field" was probably brilliant, but decent finds are not like spuds - they don't grow back and 50 odd people detecting for 7 hours once or twice a year for ten years very quickly strip a piece of land of most of its goodies. Yet they still show pictures of old finds to tempt us back.
Yet another artefact hunter (re)discovers the notion of the finiteness of the archaeological record. Rocket science that it is... Then the organizer of the rally dropped everybody present right in it. Gill Evans (Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:07 pm) indignantly replies:
I would like to know what you expected to find Desbold at our dig yesterday considering there were around 300 roman bronzes, 2 denarius, a seliqua (sic), roman spoon handle, first century bird buckle pin, 2 hod hill brooches, one silvered, twenty other roman brooches, seven hammered, four roman pins, broken phalic (sic) pendant, broken terret ring, plus other bits and bobs. No bad for a done to death site.
Not bad for the FLO either, at least 339 artefacts to get onto the database, IF the finders show any of them (seven finds each for 50 folk). Where will all these artefacts be in a decade or two? Where are they now? How long can Britain and its myopic jobsworth archaeologists go on believing that artefact hunters can remove stuff at such a rate, week after week, year after year without any damage being done to the archaeological record of past human activity across the landscape? Bonkers, the lot of them.

UPDATE 21 April 2014
Central Searchers, folks, the gift that keeps giving.  Gill Evans, instead of coming here, has now gone on a metal detecting forum near you stating in response to this post:
our FLO has a standing invite to our digs but we never see her. Besides she is only interested in the good stuff not broken artefacts and roman grots
What is that supposed to mean? That she is expected by these oiks to give up every weekend when they decide to go out hoiking? I imagine that, like the rest of us, their FLO has better things to do with their weekend than hang around with a bunch of metal detectorists. Family time, shopping, socialising, relaxing, gardening, training for the marathon, reading, writing, that sort of thing. Perhaps Ms Evans needs reminding that the essence of the voluntary recording which (supposedly) gives metal detecting some legitimacy is that finders go to the FLO with what they have found, NOT that the FLO only goes to where finders are finding and demands to see to see what they've got. The PAS 'rallies records' page contains information about three Central Searchers rallies since October 2013. Guess how many finds have been reported from them? One, one measly coin is all Central Searchers are currently on record as having reported from five and half months of 'club digs every weekend'. That's a pretty pathetic showing isn't it? Oh, and the one coin that was recorded was a "Roman grot" - the sort Ms Evans suggests the PAS is rejecting. Once again, the facade begins to crumble when you look at the facts.

Ms Evans' FLO is Julie Cassidy Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton


Anonymous said...


339 artefacts at 20 pounds each is 6820 pounds of which the farmer gets nothing, not even a right to see them, under the rally rules.

And some of course will have been worth far more than 20 pounds but again the rally rules say each of those is entirely the property of the detectorist, up to 2,000 pounds, as valued by the detectorist.

Oiks, Mr Vaizey, oiks. Not heroes.
And there'll be another next week.

P2Pinvested said...

I have never attended a rally, nor do I intend to. However am I right in thinking that they usually invite an flo to the site ? If so does any recording happen at the time?

Not that I can imagine 400 ish finds would be recorded there and then.

Paul Barford said...

They have digs every weekend they say:

There is no obligation on the FLO to be there. Godless people may spend their time in a field on Easter Saturday, I imagine most normal people would prefer to spend it with their family.

There is, as yet, no mention here:

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