Thursday 28 September 2017

"We'll give it a bit more and we'll stop". Appalling excavation technique and destruction of Archaeological Information Captured in Candid Detectorists' Film [UPDATED]

Meanwhile, here are some foulmouthed oiks filming themselves hoiking out the Roman hoard... two feet down (60 cm) in "Our Roman Field". They are therefore targeting a known site and digging below plough level. According to the film, the whole thing was hoiked out roughly through a narrow hole dug straight down from above in just four hours.

 Disturbing video published on You Tube by CrazyCressy7 22 August 2017

It seems to me that the place to decide 'stop, we need to get this dug properly' is about a minute into this film. Sadly there are another eleven minutes of video where this does not come into their gor-blimey heads. Basically, 'shaking like fuck' because you are scrambling to get artefacts out of their context and heaped by the side of the hole is not really the best state to be in to get any kind of finesse in excavation and documentation of a find like this. 

'Oi go' summat real big in thh' 'ole, an' it orlmos' feals loik a sword'' is what the narrator says, so carries on trying to explore and document the context through a keyhole little bigger than the diameter of his hat dug blind straight down into this sensitive archaeological context. Is this what PAS teach finders these days through their PAStexplorers programme?  Is this what the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting tells them to do?

This filmed example of a destructive artefactual grabfest is another example of the spread of PAS carrier bag archaeological methodology begun with the example set at at Lenborough... this one is pink. How are principles of best practice to be promulgated among 'finders', when the organization set up to promote them in precisely this sort of milieu and this sort of situation lets everybody down by setting the most egregious of bad examples?

The key moment comes at the end, when all the metal objects are out (and after a discussion of whether one of the finds might look good bolted to the bonnet of the finder's car) the hoikers decide to remove any chance whatsoever of finding the feature the objects were in and its relation top other stratigraphy:
"right, I've been all around wiv the pinpointer, Andy's bin dahn there wiv a six-inch coil, 'as two foot deep, an' ah've go' no more signals. Bu' u'm goin' t' dig jus' a li'lle more owt, another spit deep jus't' double check. And Andy's made-er suggestion of  caving the sides in slowly to make the hole bigga and checking again as we do it, and Andy's still pulling tuns of stuff  out of there [the upcast] we've got all the spoil to' check yet.  That's what we're up to so far and I still 'aven't found an 'ammeresd coin wiv me CTX. Alright, get back to you" 
'Caving the sides in' is not a technique even 'citizen archaeologists' should be contemplating for such a delicate deposit. How the devil were they able to ascertain whether all those objects formed part of the same deposit by hoiking them out from above through a narrow hole which is then widened ('caved in') after - rather than at the commencement of the excavation? Where is the photo of the exposed upper surface showing the shape of the deposit and how it lay within the feature containing it? The drawn documentation seems to be missing that would be evidence showing which of these objects was in the three separate leather bags deposited on two separate occasions in an open feature. Where is it? And who is to say there were not four separate leather bags? What is the value of the archaeological information missing when a find like this is hoiked out in exactly the same way as a nineteenth century ferretter would scoop it out while digging out the burrow of his prey? Why is this sort of thing still happening in the twenty-first century?

Keyhole evuisceration: "Hoik Holes Destroy Stratigraphy"
- the message the PAS is NOT getting across to its so-called 'citizen archaeologists'
 Is  Kurt Adams reading this blog? Any comments Mr Adams about 'citizen archaeology' and 'responsible collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological resource by people like this? Let's hear it from the FLO.
Hat tip, anonymous detectorist

[UPDATE Mr Adams is apparently in no hurry to make any comment at all about the effing-and-blinding finders and their 'citizen archaeology' excavation techniques.  But other foul-mouthed citizens have joined in the debate  on archaeological method in the comments section below giving a real insight into the mentality of some of the group of people the PAS call their 'partners']

For this hoard being flogged off in July 2019, see here


Unknown said...

get off your high horse, jelousy is a very unatractive trait you cannot scrutinise the tecnique of the digging if you have never found one yourself, detectorists keep you in a job 80% of the stuff in meuseums is there because of us. until then sit down and shut up you pompus prick

Hidden History said...

Hey, cunt features leave these guys alone or I will be back. I downed you once before, you are no match for me. ''Steve the Barford Slayer'' If you want to take me on again, fine!!!!!!

Hidden History said...

Just remember your brain is very small compared to mine!!!! ''Steve The Barford Slayer''

Paul Barford said...

Twelve year old Jordan Forrester (pictured on his profile photo apparently unzipping his trousers) might like to leave the commenting up to grownup metal detectorists like Steve Taylor whose written style leaves no doubt as to the mental capabilities of some metal detectorists to be reached by any kind of PAS 'outreach' on best practice. What we see in that video, Mr Forrester and Mr Taylor is not best practice - I'd not be 'jealous' of the reputation that those two 'citizen argheologists' have created for themselves showing that.