Sunday, 19 August 2018

Helsinki Gang and Prof Karl Singing from the Same Copybook

Prof Raimund Karl, defending the British metal detectorist and its 'partner' the PAS. continues his onslaught on Hardy's paper ( 'Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods: A quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property'), quite unjustifiably reducing it to a dichotomy between 'liberal' and 'restrictive' legislation on Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological record. He says 2017, p. 23:
For measuring the efficacy of metal detecting regulation in this regard, it is assumed that all ‘reportable’ finds not actually reported to the relevant authorities (or organisations like the PAS) are ‘destroyed’ (fn 8) while all that are properly reported are (at least) preserved by record.
and that footnote 8 says.
p 23 fn 8 ‘Destroyed’ is used here as a shorthand for the loss of information about their existence and contexts, which might have been archived had they been properly reported to archaeological authorities (or organisations like the PAS); with this information thus not available to future archaeological research. The finds themselves, of course, may well survive their removal ex situ, as may information about their contexts which is retained privately by their finder.
Prof Karl contemptuously snorts earlier of his opponents (fn 7):  'One has to wonder why this has not been done yet, given that heritage agency archaeologists must know stratigraphic theory as well as I do (also see Karl forthc.)', so I'd like to think that Prof. Karl knows a little about what archaeology is as well. It is not about 'digging up finds'. What we are trying to preserve by curbing looting in Iraq, Syria and Egypt is not anyone's 'right' to get their hands on the finds, but the archaeological evidence that is destroyed by the digging. It's surely the same in England and Wales (as it is in Karl's native Austria one assumes). But not only is Karl singing from the same songbook as US lobbyist for the antiquities trade Peter Tompa on this, and the metal detectorists, he is also saying exactly the same as the Ixelles Six/Helsinki Gang in their infamous pronouncement (2018, 323-4):

Is there a reason for these texts to be so similar? Is there, perhaps, collusion in this attempt to trash Hardy? Is one text copying from the other? If so, why do the Ixelles Six/Helsinki Gang not cite Karl's paper as one of their sources? Or is there somewhere a hidden text (a Q- source) which these texts are quoting?  If so, what is its origin and who is its author?

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