Saturday 7 June 2014

UK metal Detecting: Once a Bubble-Brain Always a Bubble Brain

Metal Detectorist Dick Stout is beaming because he's found in his Texas bungalow garage "an old 1976 issue of Treasure Hunting Magazine (UK)" where he found a letter to the editor from the then Director of the CBA, "and guess who they are angry with?". Why, it's Pete Tompa's old BFF John Howland, then of the NCMD. The letter refers to "gross misrepresentations" earlier made by Howland who it seems had been suggesting the law under discussion (the one that was the following year to bring into being the PAS which has brought hobby metal detecting so many benefits) was in fact intended to allow archaeologists to profit personally from the monetary value of finds (eh?).  It seems Howland also tried to convince readers that hat the 1996 law would "bring an end to metal detecting".  The CBA calls Howland's arguments "insidious" and "unworthy" involving "extreme and hypothetical cases" seeking to "sour relations" and "calculated to undermine the good relations which are being patiently built up [...] across the country". Howland is also quoted as saying that the new ideas "smacked of Eastern European politics". These are all arguments that Howland is still using, forty years on. The difference is that he is no longer an NCMD official, and although Stout gleefully guffaws: "That was almost 40 years ago and the Bubba is still pissing them off", I doubt the CBA actually gives a damn what Mr Howland thinks. His opposition to partnership proved to be a dead-end-direction for artefact hunting in the UK and the old has-been may continue to protest, but he only speaks for the renegade non-recorder fraction of the metal detecting community. These are the sort of people that would support people like the naysaying coin collectors led by the IAPN's lobbyist Peter Tompa.

Early stages of bubblebrainitis in the "Searcher",
Middleham Jewel and "Hidden THREAT of SSSIs".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are some things you just wouldn't want on your CV:

Calling for more logging in the Amazon, claiming collecting and looting are unconnected, criticising Sir David Attenborough and saying SSSIs are a threat!

It's a bit like getting one of those giant pointing fingers and turning it on yourself. No amount of "explaining" will make it look alright.

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