Saturday 27 December 2014

Bag Seal Finds Hoiked and Accumulated in Normandy

Post-Medieval 'bag seals' hoiked in Normandy
We are told that those "history enthusiasts' with metal detectorists hoik and accumulate historical artefacts in order to study them and find out about the past. Here's an example of the sort of things they do: 'Bag Seal Finds In Normandy - Is This A Record ?' by geoffb » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:57 pm
Up until two years ago, I never really rated bag seals and often gave them to other detectorists and friends who were interested in them. Anyway, about two years ago, and having found quite a few, I decided that I would keep them and steadily built up an assortment of them. Today, I decided to get them out of their plastic bag and decided to count them up. I was amazed to find that I had a total of 196. Is this a bit of a record? I have to admit that during the two year period I have found numerous other bag seals that were either, plain, totally worn or badly damaged and these were thrown away. I estimate that the damaged ones that I have jettisoned must be at least 30 which would take my total to over 225. I am quite pleased with this accumulation but would be much happier if they had been "hammered".
I think we (and French heritage professionals) would all be happier if these finds were in some way labelled and catalogued so their findspots and associations are not lost (which obviously in the case of these loose 225 hoiked ones they have).  Here we see the collector's not the archaeologist's or museum curator's mentality. He's gone for "building up an assortment" or "accumulation" and then focussed on the number of undamaged ones ("can I claim the record?"). Of course all this is ignored by those archaeologists whose eyes light up when they see pretty metal goodies proffered on an outstretched palm and think artefact collectors' finds can be used as some kind of ersatz archaeological data.

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