Thursday, 31 December 2015

Lenborough Farmer wants More Dosh

The landowner of the earthwork site at manor farm Lenborough, not content with the Treasure ransom from one hoiked hoard seems dead set on getting more money by selling off access to the archaeological material in the land in his care. On a metal detecting forum near you the semi-literate are advertising a "Rallie 3rd Jan 16".
Sunday 03 January, 'The Weekend Wanderes New Year Special Dig' Manor Farm Lenborough, Bucks, From Pete and Sarah
Our first dig of the year! Following the disappointment of our cancelled Xmas dig, we are pleased to say that the landowner and I have arranged for you all to return to his farm at Lenborough for a second shot at seeing if there may be subsequent hoards buried here! [...] now you know what to look out for then as you explore this 150-acre farm. [...] You have the run of the whole farm on the day but no doubt you will want to get on the hoard field! Remember that other fields have had pretty much very little exploration and are worthy of your attention. On the Xmas dig last year, Chris Wilkinson discovered a lovely Edward the Confessor penny [...] Another exciting find was made two fields away from the hoard field in June of the same year in the form of a Bronze Age gold bead [...]  but a few denarii and voided long cross pennies came up on that very wet day. Talking of the 2014 Xmas dig at Lenborough, most finds were in fact pretty deep but we saw some lovely intact very large 14th - 16th century buckles turn up. Targets were quite deep and sparse but at least you aren’t impeded by surface detritus to slow you down. A slow patient approach may well reward you! [...] the only field that is out of bounds is the deserted medieval village field. The DMV is not scheduled but I promised the FLO that we would forego searching there in consideration of the underlying archaeology.
There of course being absolutely zero, completely and utterly no archaeological evidence whatsoever about the use of the surrounding area of land (into which the ancient inhabitants never ventured for a second) in the immediately adjacent acres. Obviously therefore hoiking stuff from the area around will in no way be distorting the overall picture or preventing the understanding of the surface scatter of evidence around the settlement, will it? The FLO should be saying "keep off the area completely you greedy oiks", but she's not likely to, is she? Will she be going along to help them hoik this year too? You can bet if she does, this year there'll be no videos allowed. And the cost to these collectors of "saving the past"?
For Weekend Wanderers paid up members, the cost is £15. Non-members may come along for the day but it will be £18 for the day's dig. 
Let us see how many turn up. Hoiking starts at 9.30am and ends at dusk. There will not be a portaloo on site.

For those who missed it, the fact that these finds are "deep" meant these heritage-trashing ruffians are pilfering artefacts (potential archaeological evidence)  from an unploughed pasture site, the kind the Code of Practice (the real one, not the "just shut the gates and fill in yer oles" one) says the responsible detectorist would keep off.  By digging "deep signals" these trashers are potentially digging into those archaeological assemblages below the topsoil without any chance of observing (let alone recording) context. This is what the hoiker sees:

"Metal detecting" removes archaeological evidence selectively
 and the methods used prevent observation of any context.

and this is what often lies just below the surface on such sites. There is a clear difference in context of the two metal objects (coloured squares added by me to the original photo [excavations at Lyminge]) just centimetres apart which cannot be seen when digging narrow hoikyholes "blind" from the surface.  

Edited photo depicting two metal objects which if dug blind by
collectors from above in narrow hoikey-holes will divorce them
not only from their context of deposition but other non-metallic
elements of the archaeological assemblages of which they
form a part (original from: Lyminge Archaeology).

Obviously, no matter how you approach it, digging artefacts like this from an undisturbed grassland site with "deep signals" as part of a commercial artefact collecting rally is archaeological destruction.  Is the FLO going to tell them so? That, actually, is part of her job. Taking part in the destruction herself is not.

The FLO getting involved with some PAS-"partners"
(public outreach via Buckingham today)

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