Thursday 6 September 2018

Oxford University Promotes Collection-Driven Exploiters of the Archaeological Record

This announcement can be found in the current CBA Members Newsletter:
If you are interested in responsible metal detecting then a new course at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education in association with the Association of Detectorists might be of interest. Metal Detecting for Archaeological Projects runs on Saturday 24 November.
I have discussed the problems associated with this venture here: Oxford University Course: 'The use of Metal Detectors in Archaeological Projects' [UPDATED] PACHI Wednesday, 13 June 2018 . Let us note that there is still a crisis of identity, with the associated group being named as the Assocation for Detectorists, but the Gothic/runic-masonic logo used is of a non-existent 'Institute of Detectorists'.

Anyway, let's hope that lots of tekkies fork out the £67.00 to learn  why blindly hoiking and pocketing random artefacts is damaging archaeological knowledge and give up their exploitative and erosive hobby. The only responsible response to the trashing of sites and archaeological assemblages by their Collection-Driven Exploitation is to say no, and STOP it. Stop Taking Our Past.


IoD said...

The course Metal Detecting for Archaeological Projects: An introduction, will be based around mitigation principles (in many cases, pre archaeologists use of mechanical diggers or later construction groundworks) to be determined by our Education Committee comprising of all major archaeological bodies and institutes. The Code of Conduct will include that the practitioners utilising metal detectors, will sign a declaration to hand to the Project Manager of the archaeological practice, stating that ALL artefacts found on the project will be handed to the archaeologists.

Paul Barford said...


I suspect you have not understood the words I wrote or why...

Is this a new "Code of Conduct"?

How about those mitigation principles being determined by the project director where your traineees will be guests to be compatible with the project design?

IoD said...

The NCMD states that it 'does not represent the views of archaeologists'. The proposed IoD initiative, not only represents the views of archaeologists, it will be governed through the Stakeholder and Education Committees comprising of leading archaeologists.

We are developing a new "Code of Conduct' similar to the CIfA code.

The defining principle of the proposal, is that information and knowledge is to be gained from the archaeological record, rather than creating collections or personal gain.

In regard to the logo, I asked an artist to work with the eye as the main portray looking/searching and thinking. It is not supposed to be linked to any sort of masonic image...

Paul Barford said...

The All-Seeing Eye is misplaced here, as the whole idea of a metal detector is to find buried metal that cannot be seen by the naked eye. The whole problem with metal detecting is that the digging is done BLIND (as I said in my post here). Your logo is misleading - and the Gothic script and runes suggest neo-Nazi sympathies. the logo creates a very bad impression, I suggest you'd do well to find an 'artist' with more artistic sensibilities than the designer of this nasty and over-crowded symbol had.

> The NCMD states that it ...<
Eh? Where does the NCMD come into this? I thought we were discussing the PAS?CBA Code of Practice for responsible Metal Detecting, not any NCMD one. Forgive me if I have got that wrong...

> We are developing a new Code of Conduct similar to the CIfA code. <
Why? What is wrong in your opinion for the official code already existing and agreed with several appropriate bodies and already updated?

The CIfA Code is for members and the professional practice of archaeology - metal detectorists are none of these three.

> The defining principle of the proposal, is that information and knowledge is to be gained from the archaeological record, <
A metal detector is a tool that will get isolated metal bits out of the archaeological record. Maybe the PAS has failed to get this over adequately, but 'isolated metal bits' and 'archaeological knowledge' are different things entirely. To construct archaeological knowledge requires more than a tool that will always - by its very nature - blindly find only partial evidence. Pickaxes and mattocks have a place in archaeological fieldwork, but you'll not find anyone (sane) creating a Code of Practice for archaeological pickaxers.

IoD said...

As an explanation, I have spent many years volunteering here in the UK as a leading industry technical expert and as a UK Principle Expert in European Standards. I asked for Runes to be used as an ancient alphabet for the initials IoD, as It seemed a good idea for when we achieve Institute status, in having something to reflect the past. As a past technical engineer, I really liked the symmetrical drawing of the eye and was very pleased with the finished logo...what you have suggested is very worrying to me. If you advise me that academics in general would view the logo as you describe, I will consult with the heads of all archaeological bodies and if in agreement with you, I will take it down immediately and apologise for any potential offence caused.

I'm from a working class background, I left school at 15 to become an apprentice and have worked very hard over decades to make up for the fact that in academic terms, I am uneducated and did not attend university. For me, this opportunity I have worked towards, in developing a course in association with the University of Oxford, is a great honour and would have made my Dad, who's livelihood came from stoking the fires of steam engines, very proud.

I am though, passionate in my belief that the metal detector as an instrument, is an important archaeological tool. My interest has never been in creating a personal collection or in the monetary value of artefacts for personal gain, but in what I can bring to benefit others. The fact that some of my finds (to which I have never claimed any proportional ownership) are on display to the public, has been my reward. It was only when I attended archaeological classes, that I started to understand the potential damage in the loss of contextual knowledge of this finite resource.

In mentioning a Code of Conduct, I was not referring to The Code of Practice in relation to PAS or CBA. We are working with ALGAO and others to embed metal detecting into professional practice, this requires a much greater level of commitment based on archaeological principles. I mentioned NCMD as their principle objects are very different to the proposed IoD, which are archaeologically based.

You ask my opinion on the Code of Practice...I would like to see it more aligned to Historic Englands 'Our portable past' as my thoughts are that the importance of the artefact, is in the contextual knowledge that can be gained, so the code should reflect this and contextual education (which IoD looks to develop) should be widely available. I think that digging down below the topsoil or plough-zone should not be permitted without archaeological assistance, and should not be left to self policing on a voluntary basis. We have also been working on methodologies and reporting, to demonstrate that even in the plough-zone, there is evidence that artefacts are not necessarily out of context from where they lay in antiquity. A extract from a recent national archaeological contractors report reads:
'The results demonstrate the potential of artefacts recovered from plough-soil horizons to aid in the interpretation of archaeological sites and to provide broad dating evidence when accurate locations are recorded'.

Paul Barford said...

Hm, it seems to me the Latin alphabet (in use longer than the runes) also represent the past. Yes, there is a link betweenn the use of runes and the nazis here in Europe, nd neo-nazis (on the television rather than in schools) everywhere. You have used I would guess Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, but the three symbols concerned all appear in the Elder Futhark, and one in particular the Odal/Othala rune (ᛟ) has the meaning "heritage, property ownerhip" is widely used as a symbol in neo-Nazi and White Supremecist groups (the heritage they promote is exclusive rather than inclusive, though they happily appropriate other cultures' symbols as ther own). The use of this rune is forbidden in the German Criminal Code today (Strafgesetzbuch section 86a) I do not think this has anything to do with School, life is (should be) a continuous learning process and anyone over five has the ability to observe carefully the worlds around them and reflect on what they see.

IoD said...

Damn…I was very pleased with the logo. I was aware that there are meanings behind Runes but had no idea of any other significance.

My aim is to try and attract those detectorists, who’s interests are in heritage conservation and assisting the archaeological community. I have not intentionally and do not want to portray any other image or message, other than to raise the respectability of a section of ‘practitioners’ within the interest. I understand that this does not sit well with the majority of detectorists, but I hope we can increase the numbers over time and certainly affect the balance by increasing the influence of archaeologists.

Please see the ITN news coverage, which I hope demonstrates where my message originates:

Back to the logo. In respect to Schooling, I am completely out of my depth in moving forward, I certainly do not want any underling symbolism associated with the initiative.

Is the ‘eye’ still a problem to use without the runes?

IoD said...

What the News item does't make clear, is that when I went out searching to see if I could prove my theory right, I used only my eyes and did not use a metal detector . I was looking for clues in topography and It was not until my third return visit after the discovery, that I took a detector.

This is a point which is important to me, because as a detectorist, the contextual landscape should be an important part of the overall contextual information we are looking to gain. As I do not lay claim to anything I find, my interest is in this information and the huge satisfaction in knowing that finds of any significance will go on display for everyone to see.

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