Saturday, 14 February 2015

Focus on Metal Detecting: Hoodie Thinking on Illicit Metal Detecting

Hoodies coddle their brains even when they are indoors and they over-heat and stop working and this adversely affects their literacy and analytical skills. Over on a metal detecting blog near you a particularly closely-hooded tekkie writes ('Illegal excavations ‘damage’ Hadrian’s Wall heritage site' - scare quotes his) :
Ah, an opportunity has arisen to further bolster negative opinion concerning the hobby of Metal Detecting.  Propagandists, are rubbing their hands at the opportunity to ‘prove’ that they were right all along, and that Metal Detectorists are the absolute scum of the planet.
[the word 'propagandists' is linked to the a libellous post on 'the psychology (sic) of Paul Barford']. I do not suppose for a minute that the writer has read or understood more than three words in any sentence I have written on illicit artefact hunting.

He trots out the usual "not one Metal Detectorist I know would condone this behaviour", as if that deals with the problem. To say "these are not metal detectorists as far as I am concerned" is a play on words, they are artefact hunters, and the fact that he says these ones are "out with the intention of stealing Heritage and History that we should all be learning from" is also dodging the issue of knowledge theft by artefact hunters acting within the law and not reporting more than a handful of finds. I do not see as great difference, and certainly not one of the magnitude our hooded polemicist would like us to accept.

So then we come to playing the victim, for some the crux of any metal detecting discussion:
But of course, metal detecting will take the blame.  It’s funny that the spade industry never gets shouted at, especially as it’s as a relevant tool in the seeking of artefacts, as well as the Detector itself.  Even in the article, Mark Harrison makes it clear about the general ethos conceding metal detecting: We recognise that the majority of the metal detecting community comply with the laws and regulations relating to the discovery andrecovery of objects from the land’  But typically, this is ignored.
I really do not see how the fact that in every single newspaper report on 'nighthawking', this very same pious mantra is trotted out by policemen, heritage ministers and friendly archaeologists is in any way evidence that "metal detecting will take the blame". I cannot think where Hoodie imagines he has read that. In his dreams most likely just after he has dreamt about imaginary death threats from Paul Barford, diggergeddon and imps on sticks. After trotting out the rather obvious fact that "metal detectorists find things", Hoodie lays down his pen, he's done his bit, filled two thirds of a page with words to fend off an imagined oppression. Enough.

Of course, for a "responsible metal detectorist" it is always "somebody else" who has to deal with this problem. No solution has to come from within the "responsible" hobby, it will always be somebody else's responsibility to come up with a solution. "These people should be brought to justice as quickly as possible, alongside all the other people who engage in this behaviour". What ideas does Hoodie have for "bringing them to justice" when they go out and return home at night, unseen by anyone? How can you prove the crime when you catch a guy parked on a grass verge on a country road at night with a metal detector in his car boot and  pocket full of damp metal artefacts? Perhaps Hoodie knows of cases like that and what happened?

What the people discussing this issue are in fact doing, rather than engaging in imaginary oppression of the entire hobby are making concrete suggestions about artefact hunters documenting obtained title to the artefacts in their collections, and  the benefits this will have of differentiating in a manner that is verifiable licitly-obtained from illicitly-obtained artefacts. This is what the 2009 Oxford Archaeology Nighthawking Report proposed. I do not see metal detectorists discussing this - the actual issues of note here.
But of course, these are swept under the carpet when certain people want to prove a tired point.  Predictable and dated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr Hoodie or PAS or EH or CBA or ARCH or DCMS will confirm that there haven't been loads of detecting rallies in the vicinity of Hadrians Wall (that being used as a major selling point innit!) and that the amount of legal knowledge theft at those hasn't absolutely dwarfed this bit of nighthawking?

I suspect Mr Hoodie will deny it whereas all the others, being a tad smarter, won't.

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