Saturday 22 September 2018

Accountable, Transparent, Responsible? Clandestine Facebook Transactions of UK Metal Detectorists

Who says that culture-thieving creeps do not read this blog? A few weeks ago I commented on Jonny, Stephen and Colin Philip's "not-in-it-fer-the-munny, only intrestid in the 'istry mate" 'Facebook Auction Your Detecting Finds Club' (Price it, Auction it, Sell it, Collect it, SOLD). Here is my text on this open group 'nice little earner' sales pitch. Did you see it, dear Reader while you can? If not, following the link today will not enable you to see what its several hundred members are doing with YOUR historical heritage. It is apparently now a 'closed group, Nur für Detectorists'. For all we know, its 2378 members may now be using it to price, auction, sell some illegal or otherwise dodgy material (undeclared Treasure finds from the UK, material recovered from WW2 plane crash sites without a permit, shipwreck material, metal detected finds made illegally abroad and smuggled back to the UK, objects taken from a farmers land that has no documentation verifying that it was done with the landowner's knowledge) and because they've closed the group, nobody will be any the wiser. Without full transparency and accountability, there can be no talk of 'Responsible Artefact Hunting'. This again is simply knowledge theft in its purest form.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion on how, precisely Facebook, with its wide reach and facilities for anonymising and hiding certain activities is allowing and facilitating the doing of huge damage to the archaeological heritage:
See for example also: Amr Al-Azm, Katie A. Paul, 'How Facebook Made It Easier Than Ever to Traffic Middle Eastern Antiquities', World Political Review Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.  and  ' With Facebook’s Help, Middle East Antiquities Trafficking Enters the Digital Age' World Political Review Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.
Also:  Amr Al-Azm, Katie A. Paul, 'The Middle East’s Other Facebook Revolution: Antiquities Trafficking in the Digital Age', World Politics Review Aug 13th 2018
Katie A. Paul, 'Ancient Artifacts vs. Digital Artifacts: New Tools for Unmasking the Sale of Illicit Antiquities on the Dark Web', Arts 2018, 7(2), 12

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