Tuesday, 18 December 2018

A Cupple of Bottles Fer the Loot, It's werf It mate.

A detectorist from Stevenage cannot work out if he is making a statement or asking a question. (Facebook Yesterday at 11:36) "I don't know how many other detectorists do but Julian and I clubbed together and bought a case of mixed wines, etc., as a Christmas gift for the landowner of the estate we detect on?Another detectorist added:  "Yeah me and my mate Pete do the rounds at Christmas, we have several permissions and some we only visit once a year, still worth dropping in with a bottle of wine, cost to us this year was over £200 but well worth it, I normally take a bottle with me when I venture out looking for new permissions [emoticon]". A metal detectng couple go one further: (23h): "we laid out close to £500 this Christmas when added up [emoticon]. Worth it though, as we don't pay to detect and they're a great bunch. Like you, some farms get visited more than others, but keeps them sweet". Another writes of: "Litre of Chivas Regal for my main farmer with 2000 acres. Great value for a years detecting when many are paying £20 a day".  And so on, there are several others who admit to the same thing (and actually giving back some of the farmer's own property in a 'display case of finds made during the year. It always goes down a storm and is very much appreciated'. One wonders if they are accompanied by printouts of then PAS records of those items (and the other ones they took over that year)   

The fact that some people will pay a farmer twenty quid a day (reported here) to get access to a productive site is due to many individual finds, some of them run-of-the-mill ones on the no-questions-asked antiquities market are worth ten to twenty quid (check some of the books pictured in this post, or have a look at the valuation pages of magazines such as 'The Searcher'). So if you are a collector its cheaper to find your own than buy them from  a dealer, and what is surplus to your own collection's needs can go to a dealer who will easily shift them on eBay or wherever. This is why Farmer Silas Brown is constantly reminding all who have anything to do with 'metal detectorists' that a mere permission note is not enough to ensure that finders have items licitly, openly and transparently. Landowners should be ap[praised of the actual value of each and every artefact the collector takes from their property before they can legitimately agree to render title to the finder. 

Monday, 17 December 2018

One for the Christmas Stocking for Collectors

Greenlight publishing
For the stamp collector in your life. STAMPS IDENTIFIED  Is a new fully illustrated book for collectors by Steve Leaky and Tyler Lieuliss of the Philatelic Association of Scotland. This fully illustrated edition is a must-have for every philatelic enthusiast, whether a collector or a dealer. Possibly the most comprehensive stamp identification book ever published. The PAS team have spent years collating, identifying and photographing stamps from the very first issues of 1840 through to the 20th century, and for the first time, this book pulls together a selection of the most interesting items in one beautiful volume. Lavishly illustrated with thousands of photographs, this book not only helps to identify the stamps but puts them in context and offers detailed information on each one. This book is organised on a thematic basis with similar types of objects being placed together, rather than separated by period. This will allow readers to see how stamp types changed over time with the introduction of new materials, techniques and styles. The book is a bit pricey when similar information can be found on the Internet for free, but of its £30.00 cover price, £3.00 will be donated to the Philatelic Association of Scotland to help them in their very important typological work. The book is published by Greenlight Publishing, publishers of many general and specialist philatelic catalogues and Stamp Hunting Magazine.

Stamp typology is the key
The Philatelic Association of Scotland is a partnership project involving at least 119 national and local collectors' organizations and philatelic trade publishers who have come together to help deliver the Association's aims. Thousands of stamp collections are created by  members of the public every year. If properly catalogued and displayed, these stamps have great potential to transform philatelic knowledge on the types and varieties of these objects that are in existence and can be used to update the catalogues. The Philatelic Association offers the only proactive mechanism for recording such finds, which are made publicly available on its online database (neither collectors' names, nor the present location of the collections, however, are revealed). A primary aim of the PAS is to get as many people as possible engaged in the wholesome hobby of stamp collecting and fighting the atavistic tendency of some to see postal history as the real aim of philately.

Here is just a selection of the many useful books out there for those collectors wanting to identify the old stamps they find:

 (Note the nationalist overtones of some of them)

Think Like a Caveman, You Might End up Like one

'Only interested in nature' (read article)
An infamous Italian veterinarian and hunter, who found fame last year due to photos of him posing with a lion he had killed recently, slipped on ice and fell 100 feet to his death while hunting.[...] Ponzetto caused a lot of anger across the internet back in November of 2015, after a series of photos he posted online that showed him posing with trophy kills [...] Until he died, Ponzetto constantly defended his hobby, saying that veterinary work was not incompatible with hunting, neither in a moral sense or in a professional sense [...] He stated that he had done nothing wrong and that he was being criticized by people who do not know him. He claimed that he always loved his work and he has always loved animals no matter what. ['Infamous Lion Hunter Slipped And Fell 100 Feet To His Death During Hunt', Disclose TV, Dec 13 2018]
'Only interested in the history' (think sbout it)
So, that's a bit like all those idiot metal detectorists who claim that they are interested in history, while being engaged in a hobby that simply destroys the historical record in the hunt for trophy items ('a piece of past in your hand'), By digging into archaeological sites and assemblages and selectively removing evidence and not recording its exact associations and internal patterning of the assemblage of which it forms a part (context), the artefact hunter is destroying the evidence in the hunt for trophy items.   And no amount of wrong-headed pseudo-justifications from the Ixelles Six academics or anyone else will change that fact.

An 'Alien' Detectorist, A Vanished Detectorist and A Lost Minerva Statue Found Masquerading as Flora

Minerva boxed as Flora
Len Jackman's been hunting for buried treasure for 20 years and now he's found a priceless statuette (Jayne Fryer, 'Bleep bleep! I've detected a real national treasure: Daily Mail 17 December 2018). Len is a metal detectorist.
Ms Fry saw the comedy show 'Detectorists' and cannot get it out of her mind, the whole article is framed around it:
there is an entire metal-detecting community out there. ‘The programme is very, very true to form,’ says Len. So there are websites, Facebook groups, YouTube channels (Len’s personal favourite is iDetect, by a chap called Harry which has over 28,000 subscribers) and two dedicated magazines, The Searcher and Treasure Hunting.

Twenty-eight thousand? Sounds a bit like Hardy's estimate for the number of detectorists in England and Wales. Hmmm. Anyhow, as Ms Fryer notes, there are a lot of people doing Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record, and decontextualising millions of objects from the archaeological record. While some six academics have recently produced the object-centred assertion that pilfering archaeological evidence from sites with metal detectors and spades is not a form of damage ("In order to be considered 'cultural damage', a find and/or its associated information would have to be irretrievably lost."), they are quite obviously wrong. Anyhow, back to the hero of this story:
For more than 20 years now, Len Jackman, 66, has been searching for buried treasure. Every day, come rain, sun, sleet or storms, he buckles on his knee pads, pops on his collecting pouch and wellies and picks up his coffee flask, lunch box, spade and his trusty Minelab Equinox metal detector, complete with customised carbon fibre shaft for better handling. He then waves his wife Denise farewell and heads out into the fields surrounding his home near Witney, Oxfordshire. And there he’ll be for the next few hours, walking up and down the furrowed fields, his £600 gadget swooping backwards and forwards, headphones on and ears cocked and straining for the magical bleep, bleep, bleep of ancient buried gold.  Which, mostly, has proved rather elusive.
But, as attendees at the Treasure report launch know, Mr Jackman instead 'came across a 2,000-year-old Roman figure sitting in a large Flora margarine tub'. 
It all started last December when Len was hunting a new stretch of fields near his home. He was chatting to the landowner who then showed him a small broken statuette, found on the land 15 years earlier by a fellow detectorist, dismissed as a copy, dumped in the Flora tub, and left in a room off the kitchen [...]  when, six months later, he’d unearthed a few bits and bobs himself, he asked the farmer if he could take her along with his own hoard, to be identified and dated at the Museum Resource Centre in nearby Standlake [...] The minute the expert saw it, she was on the phone, one thing led to another and, last week, Len and Denise were up at dawn to attend the big unveiling ceremony at the British Museum.
It is interesting to note that nothing is being said about the several bits of this item having been found  in c. 2003 (NB right in the middle of the 'foot and mouth' outbreak when people were discouraged from going into the countryside) by someone that had been hoiking some fields and getting out substantial metal items like this one and not reporting them (there was no Oxford FLO until 2003). Fifteen years later, Mr Jackman is going over the same area and taking out what was left behind - how many other detectorists have 'done' this area over in the meantime? Where are all these finds? A search of the PAS database for Roman finds made in 2003 shows there are none from even remotely near Whitney. This is exactly what the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter is telling s about. One item survived, because the landowner took it and curated it, what the metal detectorist walked off with in 2003 went into his collection, and thence... a skip headed towards the landfill, a car boot sale maybe, perhaps bought up as a bulk lot and then used to 'seed' a field prior to a commercial artefact hunting rally maybe? But it seems that very little of it entered the PAS database. It's all hidden from the public, whose heritage this is.
 like many detectorists, Len is rightly obsessive about secrecy. His number is ex-directory. He makes me promise not to divulge the name of his village, or include photos of his car, in case he’s followed. The location of the Minerva is top secret and must remain so. He even has a detectoring alias: ‘Alien.’ ‘Last week, a drone was following me!’ he says. ‘You have to be careful.’
Careful indeed that sweet lady journalists who you've sworn to secrecty does not write a caption like the one in the Mail: 'The Romano-British statuette of Minerva which was found in a margarine tub in Hailey, Oxfordshire'. Yep. But actually, Mr Jackman, the public have a right to that information. The past is not yours alone to have and hide.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

'Arguments' for "Bringing Fair laws" for Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record to Sweden

The "Change.org" webpage gives you the opportunity to see the names of some of those who have signed the petition 'Bring fair metal detecting laws to Sweden' that now has more than 1K supporters and an interesting free comment box where signatories can give their 'Reasons for signing'. It's an eyeopener.

The first thing that one notes is the small numbers of people with Scandinavian-sounding names and writing in Swedish. Let's note the odd fact that the petition itself is written in English - so obviously they are counting on brotherly help from foreigners. Note also the verb of the title of the petition, 'bring'. Bring from outside, and bring from you-know-where. As Britain slinks off from having any meaningful position in Europe in March next year, perhaps this will - to its shame - be the only place where Britain has any influence at all in the world, poisoning the heritage debate with the unreflexive narrow object centric view of many of its archaeologists.

So there's a Russian, at least two Danes, a Pole (Igor Murawski, settled in Britain), Mr Nolan from Ireland and lots of Brits. The latter dominate the comments. This means that rather than getting an insight into what Swedish tekkies think, we see rather the standards of adult literacy that the British education system is turning out which manifests itself in the number of people commenting who cannot manage much more than an "OK", one gives his email address as a comment. One thing is clear, very few of the people signing have actually read much of the explanatory text accompanying the petition, a number of people are writing as though they think (despite what they've just been told) that 'metal detecting' is forbidden in Sweden.

Others stress how 'healthy' the hobby is (a mental throwback to DIG and NCMD propaganda from the 1980s and early 90s). Many of them stress how they are 'rescuing artefacts' from: the weather, fertilisers, bulldozers and building, the plough, and other artefact hunters. None of them mention documenting the context, the loss of which turns archaeological evidence into a loose decontextualised collectable. And that is interesting that the two archaeologists I spotted commenting (no PAS FLOs among them, yet) do not mention it either. They come from the 'other' archaeology. The first to comment was Martin Rundkvist of Umeå university in Sweden.
Martin Rundkvist 7 days ago
The current rules are dysfunctional and based on faulty assumptions. As an archaeological research scholar, I want rules that allow Sweden's law-abiding hobbyists to contribute freely to the knowledge of our country's past, while on the other hand keeping our heritage safe from agricultural erosion and nighthawk crooks.
He sees a permit system as based on 'faulty assumptions', the same ones that underlie the 1992  European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage and sees blind artefact hoiking as a way of 'keeping [objects] safe from agricultural erosion and nighthawk crooks'. He represents 'our heritage' however as the objects that artefact hunters hoik out, because context is destroyed by ploughing and nocturnal diggings by looters whether or not they come home with something in their pocket or not. Simply illogical and failing to address the main issue with Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record.  This was followed a day later by remarks by one of the Ixelles Six/Helsinki Gang, Andres Dobat of Aarhus University:
Andres Dobat 6 days ago
Responsible metal detectecting is just another way of entering into a dialogue with the past. @Riksantikvarie: Don't build fences. Educate and facilitate instead.
Relativising Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record as 'just (sic) another way of entering into a dialogue with the past' is not terribly helpful. The two people that scaled the pyramids the other day to pose naked and engage in simulated sex acts there (also Danes) seem to me could also be argued as as 'just another way of entering into a dialogue with the past' and no doubt the symmetrists would say 'why not' allow anyone else just to climb the pyramid to do what they want there? Facilitate, Dr Dobat? Likewise people that find images left by previous inhabitants of the territory they now occupy offensive should surely, Mr Dobat, not be castigated for 'entering into a dialogue with the past' with a sledgehammer and explosives. But then Dr Dobat brazenly recently added his name and reputation to the object-centred assertion that pilfering archaeological evidence from sites with metal detectors and spades is not a form of damage ("In order to be considered 'cultural damage', a find and/or its associated information would have to be irretrievably lost."). I think he is totally wrong on that when we are talking about any form of  Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record.

Yes, we need to educate and facilitate, but instead of going along with the easiest option (shoulder shrugging about knowledge theft due to Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record  as most supporters of relic collecting are doing) we need to facilitate other, more helpful, ways by which the public can start entering into a dialogue with the past.

In Britain there used to be an amateur archaeology that was based on amateur landscape survey, earthwork surveys, hedgerow species counting, mapping, recording standing buildings, collecting oral history in their neighbourhood. Totally benign, useful, non-intrusive and non-destructive. The PAS has in effect basically destroyed that in the UK and now the English disease is spreading.

Heritage Action Helping Conservation Abroad, but at Home?

Heritage Action share the news ('Heritage Journal helping conservation abroad?' Heritage Journal 16th Dec 2018) that a foreign archaeologist has asked to republish the chart from one of their 2014  articles.  Let’s hope it’s widely read elsewhere. And how many British archaeologists have already asked their permission to use it in their deep reflections on their role in encouraging the preservation of the archaeological record from wanton Collection-Driven Exploitation? Has it reached double figures yet?

One of the views in the disturbing survey of British archaeologists' views on the consequences for the archaeological study of the past of the impending Brexit (only 8% voted for it) includes the view that amonge the reasons for the (apparently) dismal prospects of archaeology in the immediate future because of this action is that:
"Archaeology is perceived by thepublic as a hobby rather than contributing to the benefit of community (paradoxically all the outreach with schools, open days etc which are so popular probably reinforces this view)- in that respect we're light years behind environmentalists"
Thank the PAS for that, too. The PAS has done untold damage to British archaeology - "they created an (intellectual) desert and called it Partnership"

Swedish Artefact Hunters Tired of Getting Permits

Tired of the permit system
There's a yellow jacket protest going on in Sweden too, they are petitioning for change ( Sveriges Metallsökarförening (SMF) 'Bring fair metal detecting laws to Sweden') So far 1,074 have signed. Artefact hunting is not illegal in Sweden, but you have to have a permit (issued to a named person for a specified site and period), and some metal detectorists think this is 'unfair'. In a country that has no driving licences, that would perhaps make (some) sense, but it seems to me that  in a country not run on anarchistic principles that adjective seems over-used here. The problem is that Swedish artefact hunters can see that in other countries (where anarchy and stupidity are rampant) there are no such systems in place and artefact hunting is a free-for-all grabfest. There are no prizes for guessing which country is their idol.

SMF claims that there are problems with this permit system because in Sweden there is currently 'little budget for an established system for recording finds' ,
This results in many artifacts declared being forgotten in a drawer, or worse still - sent for recycling! [...] Swedish authorities claim that their strict rules are there to protect history, but it's clear for all to see that they have the opposite effect entirely and, for the most part, encourage finds to go unreported. This is not what we want.[...] Swedish politicians [are] doing [...] a disservice by giving little budget to metal detecting [...]
Somehow they think that a country that has no budget for this can suddenly find the money, paradoxically by scrapping the revenue that comes from processing these applications for permits. Hmm. Tekkies always did want something on a plate - but paid for by others. Sweden, they say, needs to:
Budget for and the creation of an organisation tasked with researching and recording finds. This is one of the biggest issues we face. Swedish authorities have given a figure of 15m Kronor (£1.3m or $1.7 USD) needed to organise this. It is a drop in the ocean of tax paid in this country. This money must be put forward for the creation of such an organisation. [emphasis in original]
Some people are already refusing to work within the system, and here we get the 'celebrity argument' (Bill Wyman, Mackenzie Crook and now a Norwegian athlete):
The urge to search and save this history is so strong for many detectorists in Sweden that they risk prosecution just so they can do the thing they love. Upstanding people like gold medal winning athlete Jimmy Nordin, who currently faces a potential prison sentence for finding a silver coin from the 1700s and writing about it on his blog.
 Jimmy Nordin was characterised by SMF as "brave". Other adjectives come to my mind.

 According to SMF 'The Solution' is:

1) giving landowners the right to give permission for others to detect on their property except registereed monuments ("These areas would be respected as off limits with a 2m (sic!) perimeter"). Here they refer to

"Ref. Scheduled Monuments - England, Wales and Northern Ireland https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheduled_monument
So basically scrapping any existing heritage laws en masse, the whole lot, and adopt a copy of the British legal system, to suit the Collection-Driven Exploiters. 

2) Instituting a "Treasure Act" requiring reporting of only "objects which constitute a legally defined term of treasure" within 14 days of discovery and then "the finder and land owner sharing a monetary reward (matching market value) as an incentive to report the find". Reference? No surprises:
Ref. Treasure Act 1996 - England, Wales and Northern Ireland https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_Act_1996
So, again a wholesale replacement of the existing legislation - again to suit the artefact hunters. 

3) Then they need to "budget for and the creation of an organisation tasked with researching and recording finds" - it unclear whether these are the same finds as in point two, or some other finds and if so, which ones and why. ("This would also provide employment opportunities for the many Swedish archaeologists forced to work part time between digs" - as if that was the only thing archaeologists do). And the reference to that (see a pattern?)

 Ref. The Portable Antiques Scheme (PAS) and Finds Liason Officers (FLO) - England, Wales and Northern Ireland PAS - https://finds.org.uk/ FLO - https://finds.org.uk/getinvolved/guides/pressures 
[FLOs do not operate in Northern Ireland, whichn has a diferent system] They also suggest that the cut off date for finds that must be reported should be lowered from the current 1850 to 1535, "matching that of Danish law". "This would also relieve pressure on any organisation tasked with recording finds, plus reduce its budget requirements and workload". That's nice of them, eh, to think of all the work they are creating by their enjoyment of their exploitive hobby that somebody else "must" pay for. All nice and dandy, except it would also mean that artefact hunters' research on and metal detecting of sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century would not be available to enable research on the history of the Swedish cultural landscape in the past half millennium. That rather conflicts with the stated desire to use their detecting to discover and 'save history' in their country, but in the case of that of the most immediate (and formative) centuries of Swedish history, from Vasa times onwards, they apparently want the law to give them the right to pocket all themselves. I presume that post-medieval archaeology does not have a very high position in the publc consciousness in Sweden. 

Their fifth suggestion is that the current specific permit system should be replaced by a generalist one (a bit like a dog licence)
5) A metal detecting licence with a fee to cover the administrative costs involved. This permanent licence, which could simply be a quotable reference number logged in a database, would be available to anyone and involve no tests. However, it would include a mail out upon application with reading material outlining the law, metal detecting code of conduct and information written by qualified archaeologists on how to best extract, clean your finds and/or preserve finds for handing over to museums. 
I think the qualified archaeologist would surely say that the best way to extract detected individual finds from an archaeological context or assemblage is "not to".  Note no mention on documentation. I guess that too is supposed to be done by "someone else". Perhaps the museum staff would prefer to do their own cleaning. Note that here there is no limit on where once issued ("to anyone with no tests") this licence can be used - so basically a totally meaningless document. 

Then the sixth proposed "solution" is just laughable: 
6) General Discussion, compromise and understanding between Länsstyrelsen, The Department of Culture, Swedish archaeologists and patrons of Swedish metal detecting from Sveriges Metallsökarförening (SMF).
The link they give for their organization goes to an article "Sweden joins ECMD!". I suspect from reading the above that there is pretty little chance of getting any "understanding" from folk who have so little knowledge of what they are talking about that they cite wikipedia and the PAS as sources on anything - and especially how so far everybody has "got everything wrong", hownd detectorists are 'victims' and 'misunderstood'. We've seen this pattern time and time again. Once again collectors are alienating themselves from a discussion before they have even started. I think this is deliberate, they claim they are the ones that want to initiate a discussion (on their terms) and then criticise those (archaeologists, lawmakers - this petition is directed to the Minister of Culture)  whop see no point in taking part in talking about what "they" "must" do to accomodate the exploitive hobby. 

This petition goes to show how utterly damaging the PAS is, not only to British archaeology, but its pernicious influence is spreading across Europe. The sooner we kick Britain out so it can nop longer influence thought in the EU, the better from the point of view of the preservation of the archaeological record on the continent. Let us see the insular point of view on 'partnership' for what it is, a totally narrow and insular view.

Swedish Detectorists Rescue the PASt?

The Swedish artefact hunters who want the current permit system scrapped (SMF 'Bring fair metal detecting laws to Sweden', Sveriges Metallsökarförening) reckon they can get away with the Good Collector argument. Like the underwater treasure hunters discussed by Jerome Lynne Hall, 'The Fig and The Spade: Countering the Deceptions of Treasure Hunters' AIA News August 14, 2007), they reckon they can make a case for their exploitive blind hoiking of collectables into some form of 'rescue':
New roads and housing developments which involve deep earth works go ahead every day and there are no laws saying you can't dig a swimming pool in your garden. So why shouldn't we dig little holes with our spades? Swedish authorities argue history should be preserved for future generations and that metal detecting can damage this history. But when left in the ground, artifacts are being crushed by ploughs, disolving in acidic soil, or at risk of being lost forever under carparks and shopping centres.
Sweden, land use in 2010 (%)
A lot of the land surface of Sweden is neither arable land, nor carparks and shopping centres. As for the acid soil... here we go again...
Industrial farming and the levels of acidity in Swedish soil puts archaeology at far bigger risk. Ploughs destroy metal finds with their blades and the chemicals used in modern farming are highly corrosive to bronze and other copper alloys - the most common metals used throughout history. Plus, Swedens own National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet) have research documents outlining the impact on archaeological material in Swedish soil. Written by Anders G. Nord and Agneta Lagerlöf in 2002, they tell us that soil in Sweden has some of the highest acidity levels in the whole of Europe and how it's quickly destroying archaeology. Read their study here:

Distribution of forest areas in Europe.  

Once again we have the same arguments being trotted out. Certainly the paper they quote makes some claims. I've discussed this document elsewhere and do not intend to rehearse the whole argument again here. Just take a look at the figure of those soil acidities (Fig 2) making the case for Sweden to be some special case. Then take a look at this (esp. Fig 5 showing which landuse is associated with which soil pH) and then glance at the map opposite. See the pattern? Forests cover one third of the surface of Europe and lo and behold, there are a lot of trees in Sweden. And yes, they have acid soils. Forests do. The point is that the area of forests in Sweden has not increased in recent decades to produce this effect, the fiorests are centuries, millennia old. Ancient metal objects buried in the soil have lasted there through all those same centuries and millennia. And they still have enough metal in them to be detected by metal detectors and be collectable. Funny that.

As for pollution, do take a look at the literature concerning forestry in Sweden. No need to worry, a lot of it is published in English. And that concerning acid pollution or groundwater, rivers and lakes. Surprisingly enough (duh) there are quite a number of studies showing the acidity is decreasing - except that which is due to non-anthropogenic sources, like for example the types of trees on a given soil type. Just Google it with a bit of understanding of what you are reading.

Soil acidity is a factor in the underground corrosion of bone (not found with metal detectors) and iron (because hydrogen ions are part of the corrosion process) but copper alloys corrode in a different way and theose processes are less susceptable to pH as other factors (such as organic acids). But many metal detectorists filter out the signals from iron anyway, iron was used for too many mundane things like nails.

This soil acidity argument is a false one, and the shameful thing is that detectorists know that - look at what they are pulling out of the ground and putting on eBay. Where is that "soil chemical effect" visible there?

"Bring fair metal detecting laws to Sweden" and Sort out the mess in the UK

The Swedish recipe 
'Metal detecting laws in Sweden are not fair', we are told by a petition. The current site-specific permit system (see here and here) is said to be 'an astonishing breech of our freedom'.
You must apply for permission to use your detector via the County administrative boards (Länsstyrelsen). Each application, which covers just a small area of land and applies to only one person, costs 700 Swedish Kronor (around £60 or $77 USD). Länsstyrelsen decides if you will be allowed to detect your chosen site based on the known history of the area. This can take months. If there's a chance of making historically interesting finds, your request will be denied with no refund. In the rare event your site is deemed suitable by Länsstyrelsen's overly strict guidelines, there is a time limit on searching. Another charge of 700 Kronor is then required when applying to renew it. [....] Also, if you find anything older than 1850, you must stop detecting immediately and your permission is revoked - with no refund! The 1849 cut off date for reporting finds is wholly unrealistic, especially since there is little budget in Sweden for an established system for recording finds. This results in many artifacts declared being forgotten in a drawer, or worse still - sent for recycling!
The site specific permit system for artefact hunting, with applications approved on the basis of conservation or research needs is - in my opinion - the way forward for British archaeology. The 'responsible detectorists' claim they "want to help", they want to "rescue history", they want to "add to everybody's knowledge of the past" (what the PAS was set up for). It is what RESCUE are also proposing in their 'Policy for the Future' . So, instead of a very costly PAS, why not introduce a permit system in the UK to allow the detectorists there to do what they have all been declaring over 20 years that they want to do, at no cost to the taxpayer? 27000 (or however many) detectorists paying 60 quid a year to remove artefacts from each site they have a 'permission' for is 1,620,000 quid to cover the costs of recording them.

And the costs aspect is pretty important as post-Brexit-disaster Britain faces economic recession and economic disruption. The Swedish petition -owners claim that to set up a Swedish PAS-clone would cost just a 'drop in the ocean' of national tax income:
 Budget for and the creation of an organisation tasked with researching and recording finds. This is one of the biggest issues we face. Swedish authorities have given a figure of 15m Kronor (£1.3m or $1.7 USD) needed to organise this. It is a drop in the ocean of tax paid in this country. This money must be put forward for the creation of such an organisation. This would also provide employment opportunities for the many Swedish archeaologists forced to work part time between digs. Ref. The Portable Antiques Scheme (PAS) and Finds Liason Officers (FLO) - England, Wales and Northern Ireland PAS - https://finds.org.uk/ FLO - https://finds.org.uk/getinvolved/guides/pressures 
[correction: PAS does not cover Northern Irealand of course] yet Sweden has a population of 10.2 million and if we assume they have a proportional number of detectorists to England and Wales (population more than five times that: 56.07 million) using the Swedish figures, the real cost of a comparable PAS in Britain should be £6.5 million quid annually to do the job properly enough to make it worth doing at all. Can Britain afford it? Or would a pay-to-search permit system for law abiding detectorists be the answer?

From the Money section of yesterdays Telegraph

How to find treasure (but avoid prison)
Amateur treasure hunting is booming, but the rules are complicated, find Sam Brodbeck and Sam Barker
Jane Sidell, inspector of ancient monuments, tells Sam Brodbeck how to treasure hunt
Who hasn’t dreamed of stumbling across a priceless piece of treasure that not only turns you into an overnight millionaire but secures your place in the history books? Amateur treasure hunting has never been more popular. Metal detectors can be bought for as little as £20 online, while television programmes such as Detectorists, written by The Office star Mackenzie Crook, has brought the joys of digging around in mud to a new audience.
And the PAS has done its bit too.  And of course they will be reacting to this article, will they not?

Where we Are

Interesting that someone thought this needed explaining in this way

"Who is Juno"? Hmmm. No kids left behind.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

The Sappho Papyrus Again (Still)

On his 'Variant Readings Thoughts on History, Religion, Archaeology, Papyrology, etc.' blog, Brent Nongbri has an interesting set of observations which raise again a question discussed on my own blog: ' The Green Collection Sappho Papyrus: Some New Details' (December 13, 2018) by Brent Nongbri
Once again, some light could be shed on these matters if the Green Collection released information concerning from whom they purchased these papyri (or the cartonnage from which they were allegedly extracted).

Collectors' Corner: UK Metal Detecting - "Not in it Fer the Munny. 'cept When we Are"

Not broken by the plough
A bit of the archaeological record on sale by Ackton Antiquities craig20050 (12819 ) 99.8%: Iron age Celtic bronze chariot enamel terret ring part Metal detecting
Broken Iron age / Celtic bronze terret ring with red enamel cells who knows how it became broken such a robust piece of bronze must of been hacked or smashed either in battle or as a votive piece?? a good starter / study piece, Measures 39mm long, Item specifics Colour: Bronze Material: Bronze
PAS record number unavailable, export licencing procedure not stated upfront. Ackton Antiquities
 craig20050 ('craig slater [...], Pontefract West Yorkshire WF7 6JB') has been an eBay member since Jan 15, 2005 and in that time sold some 12819 items - that's 915 per year.

Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World

Cunies on EBay still
Though this one is a fake
Lord God, Creator of All, caught thousands of Sumerian farmers and mathematicians somewhat off guard ('Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World', The Onion,  15th December 2009)
Members of the earth's earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, looked on in shock and confusion some 6,000 years ago as God, the Lord Almighty, created Heaven and Earth. According to recently excavated clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform script, thousands of Sumerians—the first humans to establish systems of writing, agriculture, and government—were working on their sophisticated irrigation systems when the Father of All Creation reached down from the ether and blew the divine spirit of life into their thriving civilization. "I do not understand," reads an ancient line of pictographs depicting the sun, the moon, water, and a Sumerian who appears to be scratching his head. "A booming voice is saying, 'Let there be light,' but there is already light. It is saying, 'Let the earth bring forth grass,' but I am already standing on grass." "Everything is here already," the pictograph continues. "We do not need more stars." Historians believe that, immediately following the biblical event, Sumerian witnesses returned to the city of Eridu, a bustling metropolis built 1,500 years before God called for the appearance of dry land, to discuss the new development. According to records, Sumerian farmers, priests, and civic administrators were not only befuddled, but also took issue with the face of God moving across the water, saying that He scared away those who were traveling to Mesopotamia to participate in their vast and intricate trade system. Moreover, the Sumerians were taken aback by the creation of the same animals and herb-yielding seeds that they had been domesticating and cultivating for hundreds of generations. The Sumerian people must have found God's making of heaven and earth in the middle of their well-established society to be more of an annoyance than anything else," said Paul Helund, ancient history professor at Cornell University. "If what the pictographs indicate are true, His loud voice interrupted their ancient prayer rituals for an entire week." According to the cuneiform tablets, Sumerians found God's most puzzling act to be the creation from dust of the first two human beings. "These two people made in his image do not know how to communicate, lack skills in both mathematics and farming, and have the intellectual capacity of an infant," one Sumerian philosopher wrote. 

Friday, 14 December 2018

March 2019: Time for a 'Brimusexit' Too

Along with Brexit, now the country officially states it is not part of any community with anyone but itself, Britain should amend the archaic British Museum Act of 1963.

The act as a whole sanctions the BM hanging on to stuff they took from other countries that, in the days of colonialism, it forcefully impelled to become part of the community they called the 'British Empire'. That, thankfully, has all gone now leaving a bad taste in the mouth for some and a smug feeling of nostalgia among another group (and its pretty likely that a lot of that group with their myth of britishness are among the Leavers). As it is written, the Act prevents the Museum from officially doing the right thing and removing inappropriately appropriated artefacts from its collection, except in very exceptional – and rare – cases. The law only reinforces the atavistic social acceptance of Britain’s right to plundered artefacts, regardless of how they were taken (Ruqaya Izzidien, 'Stolen goods: Britain's museums must hand back colonial plunder' Middle East Eye 14 December 2018).

Dutch court throws out case of disputed Buddha statue

(Photo/Xinhua, edited)
A Dutch architect Oscar van Overeem bought a lacquer stature in 1995 for 40,000 Dutch guilders ($20,500) in 1996 from a collector in Amsterdam who had acquired it in Hong Kong and it turned out that it had mummified human remains in it which makes it unique (Nick Squires'Mummified monk revealed inside 1,000-year-old Buddha statue' Telegraph 24 Feb 2015). It then transpired that two villages - Yangchun and Dong Pu in southeastern Fujian province, say that a statue containing the remains of an 11th-century monk was stolen from their shared temple in 1995. They claim it is the one that ended up in the collection of this Dutch art collector. The latter denies that the statue he has is the stolen antiquity. The village committes went to court, the case is one of the first attempts to repatriate Chinese antiquities through a legal approach instead of diplomatic channels. Now:
A court in Amsterdam has refused to resolve a legal dispute over ownership [...] The civil court in Amsterdam threw out the case Wednesday, saying in a written ruling that two Chinese village committees seeking ownership of the disputed statue are not legal entities and are therefore ineligible to file a claim. 
Associated Press, 'Dutch court throws out case of disputed Buddha statue' Idaho Statesman Dec 12, 2018). There however is a snag with such a judgement,
Huo Zhengxin, vice dean of the School of International Law of China University of Political Science and Law, said the Dutch court failed to refer to laws of the plaintiff's country, which is Chinese law in this case. Village committees are entitled to file lawsuits, according to Article 96 of the General Principles of Civil Law. Sun Tian, 'Expert advises plaintiffs to appeal Dutch court ruling on stolen Buddha statue', Global Times 2018-12-14 )
I think the issue here however is why collectors think they have the right to buy human remains and hang on to them like this. Once again, the ethics of the antiquities trade are in question.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

What have we Done to Iraq - and Why?

Remember, "Somewher else", it is now 15 years of this:

Bagdhad Post December 2017

Head of US occupation in Iraq Paul Bremer announces capture of Saddam Hussein (13th Dec 2003)

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Treasure, this time in a Margarine Tub and 'The Right People'.

Another year, another launch of a Treasure report, more silly narrativisation of selected finds to shift attention away from the wider issues (Mark Brown (Arts correspondent), ' Forgotten statue kept in a margarine tub is 2,000-year-old treasure' Guardian Tue 11 Dec 2018)
The British Museum on Tuesday revealed the details of 1,267 finds across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, more than there has ever been since the Treasure Act was passed in 1996.[...] About 78,000 archaeological objects, some of it treasure, were recorded in 2017 on a voluntary basis with the portable antiquities scheme. Metal de[te]ctorists found 93% of the items, with the biggest numbers in Norfolk, followed by Lincolnshire and Suffolk. Lewis said the rising figures were down to greater engagement between archaeologists and hobby detectorists, two communities which have not always got on. In the 1970s and 80s there was a campaign by some archaeologists to stop metal detecting. Lewis said:
“There was a misunderstanding on both sides about what the other was up to. There was an idea that metal detecting was all about finding things for financial gain and ruining archaeology. Over the years it has been realised that there are a lot of people interested in the past, quite happy for the objects to go in to museums. We’re still on a journey, don’t get me wrong … it is very important that the right people are doing metal detecting.
The finds by metal detectorists were welcomed by the heritage minister, Michael Ellis, who has announced a consultation on how the system could be improved.
Mike Lewis tells only half the story, the concerns about collection driven exploitation of the archaeological record were not all focussed on the monetary aspect, but the conservation issue - damage to the archaeological record by random hoiking of collectables with no proper recording of associations and context of deposition, and the artefacts ending up in scattered ephemeral personal collections without proper documentation. Those two problems have still not been solved, but Lewis skips around admitting that by simply ignoring the problem, turning his Bloomsbury back on it. That's the kind of dumbdown and under-informed public that gets you a Brexit.

The fact that more and more Treasure found each year means only one thing (because we are constantly told that the "vast majority" of those engaged in Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record are law abiding, so illegal non-reporting cannot be the explanation). It means that on the PAS watch the number of people going out there and searching sites for such objects (in their 'interest in the past') is quite rapidly increasing. That means the damage to the finite number of accessible sites is also increasing at the same rate, from year to year.

Mr Lewis seems not to have told the journalist how the PAS intends to fix it that with all the people coming into this hobby, only the 'right people' have access to the machines and land.
Mr Lewis says these history-hunters are 'quite happy for the objects to go to museums'. He forgets two things, first of all the ultimate decision in the case of non-Treasure items is not that of the finders but the landowner's and theirs alone. Secondly in the case of Treasure it is clear that the only thing that makes collectors 'quite happy' to part with 'their' Treasures is in the (vast) majority of cases - whatever the Treasure Registrar may for some reason best known to himself pretend is the situation - is a ransom equal to its full market value.

Official: US, France Excavating Sites Illegally in Northern Syria

 A senior Syrian official says the US and France are carrying out illegal excavations in ancient sites in northern Syria with the help of Kurdish militants (Press TV, ' Official: US, France looting artifacts in northern Syria'', Mon Dec 10, 2018) 
Much of the digging work is conducted on the Um al-Sarj mountain near Manbij, head of Syria's Directorate-General for Museums and Antiquities Mahmoud Hammoud told SANA news agency Sunday. Manbij is controlled by Kurdish militants who are heavily armed and supported by US and French troops illegally deployed to northern Syria. According to SANA, the Um al-Sarj mountain in the northern countryside of Aleppo is rich in artifacts. US troops and their allies, it said, are carrying out similar excavations in the ancient souk of Manbij. "The excavations, looting and robbery are also taking place in the archaeological tombs in the eastern side of Manbij," he said. Hammoud said the diggings are a criminal act and a violation of the Syrian sovereignty. His department, he said, is contacting international organizations to condemn the looting of Syria's cultural heritage.
The US has been conducting airstrikes against what it calls Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

Monday, 10 December 2018

UK Artefact Hunting: Most of it Already Robbed Out

Note this is a site under permanent grassland, most likely unploughed in recent times, yet even here some oik has hoiked as many of the diagnostic and other artefacts out that they take a fancy to. And where are they (and any  records they made) now?:
PeaceHavens published 19 mar 2011
Metal detector hints. Even in the wilderness I am walking in the footsteps of some detectorist who has been there before me ... but with a bit of lateral thinking I find a new site that they missed ... nothing spectacular ... but new sites are still out there ... but it ain't easy.
"Someone's had a dig virtually everywhere" (Yorkshire dales 2011). So, in fact, if we were to STOP metal detecting tomorrow and concentrated on getting ll those old dug-up finds and their findspot details documented, we'd still be getting a lot of information about new sites, just the ones that have been dug-over by previous detectorists and not (yet) reported. The Ixelles Six (on pp. 323-34 of their recent joint article) claim that this hoiking on sites like this and the non-reporting of the material and information from them is "not cultural damage" because all that knowledge is not lost, it is just zero-gained, it's not been retrieved from them yet. The FLO says (The Foucault of Baz Thugwit?)  that the 'liminal potential' of these data has yet to be actively utilised through the application of 'the complex of relationships that comprise the 'discursive formation' of Archaeology'. The FLO says that non-recording is not a final denial. Let's see. Time to put those words to the test. Responsible detectorists - all of you - let's get the unreported material on record before any of you dig up and pocket any more!

Is the Crown Estate now Supporting Artefact Hunting?

Searching history....for the Crown Estate.


Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Archaeological Values of the PAS Database (VI): Hauntings, Heads on Poles, Imaginary Data and Clipping, Reporting Archaeological Artefacts PAS-Style

The PAS dumbdown of archaeological outreach continues on the British social media. Several FLOs seem to feel that Brits really need to know the biographies, family relationships and Daily Mail style showbiz tidbits about those fascinating Roman emperors in far-off PASt-celebrity land. There is no end to this superficial show-and-tell using ancient coins to illustrate their gossippy potted histories. Here is one of them from up North:
"A rather haunting portrait of Western usurper Emperor Eugenius on this silver siliqua He ruled for just 2 years, AD392-4, until defeat in battle and execution led to his decapitated head being displayed in the camp of victorius Eastern Emperor Theodosius I" PAS record: DUR-4D6A9E
Yup, just the gory bits folks. Of course the FLO will claim that Twitter character limitations did not allow him to mention the more important features of his reign, as he and the Battle of the Frigidus were not without significance in the wider picture of things. But that is not what the FLO dumbdown version gives you - not even a wikipedia link. Just the 'bloody severed head on a stick' version of the history of Theodosian times.

The first question is why? Why does Joe Bloggs the Twitterer need a picture of 'the head-not-yet-on-a-stick on this coin I've got' to make a tweet to say, 'hey there was this emperor, right and he's really cool, but in the end he got his head cut off and there was blood everywhere'? Why is the coin there? Is it just so you can see what he 'looked like'? Why is this portrait said by the archaeologist to be "haunting"? Is the FLO Twitterer doing this because "I've got a computer full of pictures of other people's artefacts, what can I say about them? I know, a silver coin, the proles will like that", is that it? What is this actually about?

But to come back to that PAS record, here's a thing:
A clipped and worn silver siliqua of Eugenius AD 392-394, Reece period 21. The obverse shows a diademed and draped bust of Eugenius facing right. [DN EVGENI]VS P[F AVG] The reverse shows Roma seated on a cuirass, facing left, holding Victory on a globe and a reversed spear. [VIRTVS RO]MA[NORVM]. RIC IX, 106d: RSC 14b possibly from the Trier mint. Thickness: 1.11mm Weight: 0.7g Diameter: 13.04mm
Then further down we get a duplication of much of the same information, labelled 'coin data (numismatics)' [sic - the reason for that qualifier is unclear] - except there the place of minting becomes 'probably' Trier (not possibly), we get the information that the spear (if we could only see that since both ends are missing on the discssed object) is 'reversed', the issue is stylistically a regular issue (though that's a bit of an odd term in the case of a usurper), the die axis is 12 o'clock and the 'Degree of wear' is 'worn: fine'. And in the section 'Coin references', the reader is told ' No coin references available'. Translated that means, 'I cannot be bothered to explain to you proles why instead of writing in longhand in a public database so you understand, I use the abbreviations above "RIC IX, 106d: RSC 14b", and if you don't know what that means, it means you are unworthy to know, hoi polloi, eff off'. That's how it reads to me (even though I know what those abbreviations mean).

 I'd like to go back to this description of an archaeological find, and look at it as such. Look at the photo. Where do you see a cuirass? Despite what the description says, the guy on the coin in front of us has a neck, but no cuirass. His bust (which we cannot see) is 'draped'. What an odd description of what we see on that coin. What's he 'draped' with? an old curtain, a towel, bedsheet, or flowers? Or is he draped over an imaginary chaise-longue in his imaginary cuirass? An odd verb to use in any context (I presume its supposed to refer to a military cloak or regal stole but these are worn, not draped) - but especially so as no 'drapes' are visible on the object being described. What we have here is a description, not of the object in front of the recorder but an imagined idealised type. This is a coin catalogue entry (in fact the missing parts of the inscription are probably copied from one) rather that an objective record of what the observer can actually see - this is not preservation of that object by record. So what is the point?

The issue becomes more annoying when it comes to the one place in that record where the actual object in hand differs from the idealised iconographic 'coin-as-it-should be' that the recorder has written about. One word, in the description. 'Clipped'. From the photo one can see this, there seem from face-on to have been six cuts, five straight and one smoothly curved. That's what it looks like, but only the recorder who had the coin in his hand can confirm, and document, that. The corners between the straight cuts are rounded. Is this due to wear, or were they filed down, or both? The 'wear' the recorder notes in passing, did it happen all before, both before and after or all after the clipping of the coin? We cannot tell from his photos, but a careful examination of the edges of this coin would probably have revealed this, which is again important information. Again, the recorder should be looking at the tool marks and recording the full biography of this, specific, object - the one in their hand. That's what a description of an archaeological object is, an actual description not an imagined idealistic picture like Inigo Jones' rectangular Stonhenge, becase 'everybody knows' Roman temples were not (generlly) circular.

Numismatists, not karaoke ones, have been discussing this clipping, how when and why this was done. Here is one piece in the puzzle, where an archaeologist had the coin in their hands, and failed to properly observe and record this phenomenon. This means that this object fails to supply the information about this aspect of its use - but this is not because that evidence is missing, but because the recorder did not look, observe, and document it. This coin is now in some unknown private collection - divorced from the fact that it was found (somewhere) in assocition with material that we will never know about in Richmondshire in North Yorkshire. Heap-of-coins-on-a-table numismatics, based on the myriad decontextualised items they use for their tabletop studies, might say something about clipping of Theodosian siliquae but without recording of items like this in their geographical and archaeological context, no progress will be made in knowing the contexts of this activity. A wasted opportunity by the Durham FLO and his team to make a contribution to the knowledge of this phenomenon. This is by no means an isolated case, the PAS database is full of skimpy descriptions where the opportunity was not taken to look at an object more carefully before handing it over to private collectors.

And in the PAS dstabase, can anyone show me the kind of tool that was used to make those cut marks? Nah, or course not because collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record is about kings and battles, named groups, and rusty old iron tools are just not collectable. Do a search for Roman Iron Tool on the PAS database and see how many search results you get out of nearly a million and a half collected artefacts. About as many as you'll find offered by most antiquities dealers. That's what trying to 'do archaeology' through the medium of harvesting information from Collectio-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record gets you. Nothing.

I queried the dumbdown presentation of this coin (its often coins, archaeologists in the PAS seem to spend a lot of time fondling coins) writing:
But volunteer"PAS5970ADF70017BD's"description is a copied and pasted version of the cataloge entry for the type, not actually a detailed description of the current form of that particular object you (plural) are 'recording' before it disappears again into private hands. 'Draped'?
I got the reply
It's a standard coin record. This is how those coin people like them. You'll find most will be similar.
but of course the PAS records are not made only for use by one class of people, an elite that dictates what the rest of us cn have and not have. They are supposed to be a public medium for archaeological outreach and archaeological data gathering, not yet another resource for coin fondlers like Wildwinds, OCRE, Coinproject and all the rest. Coins are archaeologicl artefacts and should be treated by an archaeological organization like PAS as such. The fact that other FLOs are doing the same as we see here is really no comfort. There are 660,948 coins on the PAS database (about half the database!) . If it is true as the FLO says that 'most' are the same kind of description of an idealised imaginary 'type' ('how those coin people like them'), rather than a truthful objective description of the actual piece of metal in front of the observer, that means that potentilly a large part of teh PAS database contains imaginary 'data'. That's food for thought. Rather more than what happened to Eugenius's head.

Never mind the Bollocks, What Happened in Skeeby in 394?

Trier Virtus coin of Eugenius (Wildwinds)
A PAS FLO deems it fit to fob off his public audience with tales of celebrity life in distant Vienne 1090 km to the southeast in his show-and-tell of an archaeological find from a charming place called Skeeby in Yorkshire. I think what the aim of (real) archaeology is instead to tell about the lives of the people in the past community living in that region, around the bloke that carried that coin around on his person at the time the emperors were battling each other and (if we are to believe the tales), the elements on the river Frigidus,* ten years after the earlier bid for power of Magnus Maximus.

We all know the book history, the FLO can use his scissors and paste to put the coin in the context of kings and battles histories. But the objects dug out of the archaeological record are far more than trophy items that can be used to illustrate an external history. They tell their own story, through the material evidence that derivs from their presence, use, reuse and deposition as part of cultural processes. It is the task of archaeological methodology to read that evidence to interpret the material correlates of those past behaviours. That is what archaeology is. 'Artefact hunting' cannot do that.

The world of the man who had that coin in the 390s was not the book-history that the FLO sees. Whever he was, he may have no knowledge of who currently was emperor in Vienne, or Milan, Rome or anywhere else.  He probably had no concept of where the Frigidus river was, even if somebody had told him that 'his' emperor had lost a battle there and was soon to be replaced by a ten-year old boy who'd nominally be in charge of Britain and its interests for a while. But then, did he know that, did he feel the need to know that? The Daily Mail 'celebrity interest' and a feeling of wider-than-local identity are features of our own times. At some stage that coin crossed the La Manche channel and arrived in northern England. How long did it circulate there and how, before it was dropped? At some stage that coin was clipped, somewhere. Who had done that and what did they do with the silver clippings? It was worn and clipped, but nobody was much bothered by the fact they could not read the inscription. When the coin was finally lost in northern Britannia, how had the lives of the Skeeby community changed since the times when it was minted? What was happening there, precisely there in this formative period?

Archaeology - when properly done - could tell us.

Metal detecting cannot, it only destroys the archaeological assemblages that are our only source of information. Why does the PAS FLO not tell that side of the story?

* the Vipava Valley in Slovenia, a pass between the Friulian lowland and central Slovenia.

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