Saturday 3 August 2019

Sites "Hammered": Artefacts Abandoned by Metal Detectorists, and One Who Can't see a Moral Here

Allyson Cohen
Detecting Diva July 26, 2019 at 4:03 pm
I’ve only been in this hobby about 11 years or so (don’t remember anymore), but even though it hasn’t been 20 years or more, I still remember how it used to be… most sites I went to were virgin sites, silver quarters, dimes and rings were normal finds, beaches usually produced gold, and coppers and buttons were plentiful at cellar holes. Hardly anyone detected or really knew what the hobby was about, but it didn’t take long for social media and reality shows to take over. The sensationalism made the hobby popular, the stigma was removed (mostly), and now everyone wants to be in on finding “treasure”. Seems every site I hit lately has the tell tale holes (usually uncovered), and unwanted iron targets from previous hunters laying about. The targets, and sites are not renewable resources, so they are much harder to find, and more challenging to hunt. There’s no moral here, just a sad sigh…
Allyson .
It is symptomatic that a metal detectorist would not see a moral here. Now tell us what you were saying about "responsible" artefact hunting... Artefact hunting is responsible for the large scale destruction of archaeological sites and contexts across the world and the destruction (theft of) important information - what is the only responsible reaction to that phenomenon?


Detecting Diva said...

Oh Paulie, Paulie, Paulie are you bored or what? The Metal detecting culture in the USA is different than in other countries. At one time we tried to institute a program similar to the UK, where all finds were reported to the government, but it didn’t get further than the conference room doors because most of our finds are in the scope of the archaeological context, modern. We don’t share the history of other countries, the Vikings came this way, and apparently were not impressed, so they didn’t roam about hiding their hoards of treasure. Well, maybe they did, but we are just such sucky detectorists that we haven’t found it yet. If I do ever find one someday, which is doubtful, because I don’t dig more than a few inches down to locate anything (probably because I am a sucky detectorist), I will definitely contact you first for advice on how to proceed. And at least we agree that the resources are not renewable, but what you’re missing in that context is exactly what I meant. You can twist it to suit whatever your ranting about at the moment, but mercury dimes, silver barber coins, large cents and miscellaneous buttons are what I was referring to. Coins are not considered antiquities in the US, and silver coins and colonial coppers will not replenish themselves, that was kinda my point. The only universal similarity I see, is assholes who leave their holes uncovered.

Paul Barford said...

I think Ms Cohen’s over-familiar tone is engendered by the apparent fact that she is confident that all men fancy her: Hmmm, really?

> The Metal detecting culture in the USA is different than in other countries.<
I see she really does not get it.

Note how the fact that she sees that sites have been collected away (my point) as a problem for fellow collectors. She sees the stripping of metal artefacts out of the historical record as justified by “coins” not being considered by her as archaeological evidence. But, even if they are not (and I'd not differentiate them from any other part of the archaeological record just because they are 'round'), the objects she mentions as thrown aside when the grabby collector takes his pick of what the detector revealed are.

She seems to think that archaeology is only applicable to “very old" sites – apparently oblivious to the sites (Jefferson’s Monticello VA, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Troublesome Creek Ironworks, in NC ) where archaeology - using metal detectors - is being done. The objects in the ground are part of the story of the US – no? They can’t tell that story if they are in the pockets of her camo trousers.

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