Tuesday 28 April 2020

Archaeological Principles and the ‘Contextual Detectorist’

proposed IoD: 'Institute of Detectorists'@Detectorists_·3 g.
*New Course* Metal detecting, archaeological principles and the ‘Contextual Detectorist’. With our first course winning the prestigious 2019 Archaeology Training Forum Awards, we are back at the University of Oxford. StopPress: Dr Mike Heyworth MBE and Anni Byard join Keith Westcott, as course tutors .
I am sure we'll all be delighted to learn how one does "contextual" collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record, and why.

I'll just put up this figure from Robbins 2014, p. 72, fig 30. It's a bit fuzzy in the pdf and omitted in the online publication from which it comes, which is a shame as it contains a lot that is relevant here.
There is no scale (or northpoint) but this search area is about a kilometre across EW and NS. Discuss.

Update 28.04.2020
One of the course's tutors has explained what the concept is:
Mike Heyworth @mikeheyworth · 43 min W odpowiedzi do @PortantIssues @TomRedmayne1 i jeszcze 4 osób
This training course is about how to use the metal detector as an archaeological tool to contribute knowledge for public benefit - nothing to do with any "collection-driven exploitation"
Oxford University will no doubt be running parallel shovelling classes too then, I guess. What does the noun "Detectorist" mean in the compound "Contextual Detectorist"? If the tool user is part of an archaeological project (as described in Our Portable Past), then why is the detector user a "contextual" one, and is that in any way different from the rest of the members of the team? And why would they need any training beyond learning on site what the individual project director needs them to do and how as part of his team? All a bit odd, and what's the ex-Oxford FLO going to be doing there, demonstrating detector settings and discrimination?

UPDATE 29th April 2020
Then this appeared overnight in reply to Martin Rundkvist saying "Sweden should have courses like this!" while it is still unclear what actually this "course" is about, except in some way involving metal detectors:
proposed IoD: 'Institute of Detectorists'@Detectorists_ · 15 g.
We have all four UK countries and Ireland now involved in the research and educational institute initiative and I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend Montpelier. Consistency of best practice could be of interest across Europe and perhaps collaborative approach?
I don't know how it is in Sweden, but in most countries across the continent, the metal detector, along with other geophysical equipment is already in use where needed as a tool aiding archaeological projects to create information for the public benefit...

Ironic isn't it that its in Brexited Britain that there is an urge now to tell Europeans that they need to change their "approach" to the use of metal detectorists as an archaeological tool.

But I have a feeling that this is not what Keith Westcott has in mind.

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