Sunday 8 July 2018

'The Complexities of Metal Detecting Policy and Practice' (Summary)

'Clean and wholesome'

The four posts below this address a rather curious text recently published, apparently as part of an academic (I use the term loosely) discussion of  'aspects of no-professional metal detecting' [sic]. It is intended to be a reply, written by as many as six academics and heritage professionals to a recent text by Sam Hardy. The Ixelles Six, Deckers, Dobat Ferguson, Heeren, Lewis and Thomas seem to have written their 'The Complexities of Metal Detecting Policy and Practice' to trash some of Hardy's arguments and conclusions. Since the matter that Hardy discusses is so important, I feel that a response is needed. Sam Hardy himself is preparing a response too but has other important commitments and has graciously allowed me to forestall his comments - and of course here I speak only for myself not him. At least one other more formal response is also believed to be in production, but these blog posts do not overlap with that in neither style nor content.

Hardy's original paper was closely argued, produced data that led to the conclusions reached, detailed the sources from which they came. Deckers et al went on for eleven pages raising a whole array of points aiming to trash the argument (but NB rarely actually referring directly to the figures Hardy presented). My reply is, I am aware, rather too long, so this is a summary of which part says what.

The first introduces the problem and polemises with the view presented by the Ixelles Six that artefact hunting 'does not really damage the archaeological record' and why the discussion of Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record has become polarised.

Part two addresses in more detail based on the evidence of their text the viewpoint from which  the Ixelles Six were writing. I argue that their text very much sides with the artefact hunters (PAS 'parrtners' after all) that artefact hunting is not really all that damaging but the starting point of their deliberations is a narrow 'discovery- orientated view of archaeology and also one that is deeply object-centric.

The third text dissects the manner in which the Ixelles Six go about constructing their argument. Six authors produced six sections, and the loaded (emotional) language used to discuss hardy's work is highlighted. I suggest that they are issue-dodging and engaged in building a smokescreen by attempting to divert discussion of the main theme onto tangents.

My fourth text sums up and discusses the 'way forward'.

A full list of the links to the individual posts is given here.

 All and any of the Ixelles Six authors, should they so wish, are of course and as always, at perfect liberty to add comments below all and any of these posts. I will publish them all unedited (but please note my 'guidelines' however). Go on. You really ought to. 


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