Wednesday 19 September 2018

Metal Detectorists Better than Dogs? Member of Public Finds Bronze Age Hoard

Poklad Kostelecké Horky, 13 sickles, 2
spear heads, 3 axes and several bracelets. 
In the UK apparently Treasure Hunters need a metal detector to find hoards by actively going out, targeting likely sites. In other areas, hoards are found accidentally (Brigit Katz, 'Who’s a Good Archaeologist? Dog Digs Up Trove of Bronze Age Relics' Smithsonian Magazine, Sept 12th 2018). It is reported that a dog named Monty recently unearthed a rare trove of Bronze Age artifacts near the Czech village of Kostelecké Horky.
Monty was walking with his human, identified as “Mr. Frankota,” in a field when he began pawing frenetically at the ground. Soon, thanks to Monty’s hard work, metallic objects began to emerge in the soil. The cache of relics includes 13 sickles, two spear points, three axes and several bracelets. The objects have been dated to the Urnfield period around 3,000 years ago. [...]  Frankota, Monty’s owner, was awarded 7860 Czech Koruna (around $360) for his role in alerting archaeologists to the ancient treasures.  
Sadly he dug it up himself. But surely this is the sort of thing the Valletta Convention has in mind when talking about alerting 'the competent authorities by a finder of the chance discovery of elements of the archaeological heritage and making them available for examination'. Not the wolesale targeting of 'productive sites' by amateur Treasure Hunters armed with specially-bought treasure hunting machines who then get a handsome reward for blindly digging the objects straight out of their context of deposition in a manner no better than Monty the dog (note the "Gloucestershire" Hoard video showing the rough-and-ready way in wjhich the items were retrieved seems to have now disappeared - probably it conflicted too much with the FLO's praise of the hoikers - what have these "citizen archaeologists" "PAS-partners" got to hide?). Then we have Lenborough where the archaeologist joined in the grabfest before tipping the entire haul out of the Sainsbury carrier bags on a farmer's table for counting. Then there's this one... 

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