Friday 29 September 2017

"Detecting Next to a Scheduled Site: Wow, dug up a Roman Skull with silver coin in Mouth"

Andrew Whittaker with his 'Deep Digger Dan' accent: 'Detecting next to a scheduled Roman site, burial ground looking for a potential hoard... then made a grisley discovery'

and the full documentation he made of the find will be equally illiterate no doubt. Targeting known site, the spill-over from the scheduled site over the hedge (archaeology knows no boundaries, protected status does though and the collectors take advantage of that). Also known to be a burial site ('radiocarboned radius') so this clown is there digging holes. Note how he's working right up against the hedge- the other side of which is nationally-significant archaeological site. He says his 'farmer friend' the farmer had specifically phoned him up to inform the artefact hunter that he'd ploughed deeper, pulling up archaeological material formerly below plough level into the plough zone - chances are that the deep ploughing might have been at the specific request of the detectorist to enable him to get his hands on the displaced goodies - like the two coins stuck together which he says were found here, and that skull. From its intact state, one can only infer that, unless put there after ploughing, it would have been brought up by a deep plough encased in a lump of stiff clay.

The Code of Responsible Metal Detecting tells artefact hunters what they are to do if they find human remains out in the country - indeed that is what the law quite clearly requires. The law does not allow  like Mr Whittaker  to pull them about on finding them because his metal detector bleeps - that may have been a coin, it may have been a bullet from a recent murder weapon or it may have been a metal object in association with a recent crime that Mr Whittaker's ham-fisted pulling around would negate any efforts by forensically-trained personel to use as evidence. To add to the image of the utter irresponsibility of the metal detctorist, Mr Whittaker is filmed as he pries the jawbone off the skull  because respect for human remains is nothing when there is potentially a collectable item to be had. Quite frankly, this video paints a sorry picture of the integrity of some metal detectorists.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy". 

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