Thursday, 2 March 2017

Metaldetecting, Doh

On a metal detecting blog near you we meet this example of why there is absolutely no point trying to treat all metal detectorists as 'partners'. Most of them simply cannot cut the mustard conceptually:
The publication of the so-called Nighthawking Report, undertaken by Oxford Archaeology (OA) at a cost of £60,000 was the best thing that’ happened to the hobby [of collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record]  in years. This influential report exposed ‘Nighthawking’ in the UK as being almost non-existent. The report confirmed that alleged looting incidents averaged out at less than two a month; but only if one assumes (without hard evidence) the holes in archaeological sites were indeed dug by rouge detectorists; though the more probable explanation being the natural, nightly doings of badgers, rabbits, and the like. The report was effectively, a kick in the teeth for metal detecting’s opponents.
Except the problem is not whether illegal artefact hunting is occurring, because we all know it is - all over the world. The problem is whether collection-driven exploitation opf the archaeological record is something which we should be encouraging, or something we should be striving to stamp out, like bird egging and elephant ivory. But of course very few metal detectorists are able to grasp the connection, or grasp anything much actually.


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