Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Sam Hardy on the Potential and Limits of Netnographic and Market Data for Analysis of Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record

Those 'discovery-focussed' academics intent on poo-pooing the conservation-based concerns of the critics of PAS-supporter-fluff might do well to have a look at the next piece of work by Sam Hardy (Hardy, S A. 2018: “Metal detecting for cultural objects until ‘there is nothing left’: The potential and limits of digital data, netnographic data and market data for analysis”. Arts, Volume 7, Number 3. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/arts7030040). It is a substantial piece of work and adds detail to his earlier study (the one the Ixelles Six/Helsinki Gang incautiously and to their shame tried to trash).*  Here is the abstract:
abstract This methodological study assesses the potential for automatically generated data, netnographic data and market data on metal-detecting to advance cultural property criminology. The method comprises the analysis of open sources that have been identified through multilingual searches of Google Scholar, Google Web and Facebook. Results show significant differences between digital data and market data. These demonstrate the limits of restricted quantitative analysis of online forums and the limits of extrapolation of market data with “culture-bound” measures. Regarding the validity of potential quantitative methods, social networks as well as online forums are used differently in different territories. Restricted quantitative analysis, and its foundational assumption of a constant relationship between the size of the largest online forum and the size of the metal-detecting population, are unsound. It is necessary to conduct extensive quantitative analysis, then to make tentative “least worst” estimates. As demonstrated in the sample territories, extensive analyses may provide empirical data, which revise established estimates. In this sample, they corroborate the detecting community’s own perception that they are ‘beat[ing these sites] to death’.
Sam also summarises it on his blog, where, in addition to all the other useful information, one may glean the snippet:
'in an affluent Western country, the average metal-detectorist may consume 0.32 metal-detectors per year '
So rather like computers and the like I guess. This takes me back to the days when I tried to determine how many detectorists the PAS propaganda of success was not talking of and two metal detector dealers gave me their take on the market size and revealed that they were not as interested in the total numbers sold as much as the number of detectorists who'd be coming back to buy another machine in the near future.

Anyway, the Ixelles Six are a bit tardy in responding to Hardy's answer to their obfuscatory hatchet-job (some of them at this moment are tramping around Lapland looking at what they say is Nazi pottery, an important task, no doubt, that will delay them addressing this issue). Now it seems they have another headache to deal with. 

Hardy, S A. 2017: “Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods”. Cogent Social Sciences, Volume 3, Number 1. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311886.2017.1298397

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