Wednesday 24 June 2020

Spot the difference

Spot the difference...

.... between the 'bad guys' of the anglophone media, brown guys digging in their own country, vilified by the anglophone press, and criticised by the British Museum and other heritage professionals:

Looters dig through the sand to find Roman and Pharaonic
 antiquities to sell on the black market in 2013 in Sheikh Ibada,
 Egypt. (Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images) 
and the allegedly 'good guys' who were praised in the press as heritage heroes and told "you done (sic) right" by the British Museum and PAS for reporting a brooch Greg that Sweetman and the 'Medway History Finders' ripped out, one February 2014 afternoon, of an early medieval grave on a known site in Hollingbourne, Kent:

Greg Sweetman poses triumphantly in the hole he dug
Yes you are right, the WHITE detectorists from the country that colonised the other don't use sieves.

Is it enough merely to decolonise the heritage debate, or do we need to talk further on the methodology of "responsible artefact hunting"?


Brian Mattick said...

Actually, talking about NUMBERS would be good.

Historic England, which has a masterful wordsmith in it's ranks, says "The majority of the metal-detecting community comply with the laws and regulations regarding their use".

So, the endless message is that most are "legal" which gives the poor landowner and taxpayer and APPAG member the impression most report their finds, which of course PAS's figures scream is totally untrue.

Knowledge theft in England and Wales, given the number of artefact hunters here, may well be far worse than in some "looting countries".

Paul Barford said...

So, yes, the British establishment is totally complicit in representing looting of the archaeological record by white males as nothing to be concerned about from an archaeological or conservation point of view, but when it's done by brown folk in former colonies... that's somehow "different", but in what, precisely?

Brian Mattick said...

I guess PAS funding doesn't depend on minimising the latter.

10 words that explain tens of millions of pro-detecting ones over 23 years. Tragic, innit?

southwestpaw said...

Hi Mr Barford

For someone who condemed the toppling of the Statue of Edward Colston in a tweet to then use the term 'white detectorists' in such a way is unfathomable. You cannot on the one hand hold cultural imperialism as a bad thing and on the other decry the removal of statues of Edward Colston by people of ALL races and religions. Not all detectorists are white (unless you have evidence that this is the case).

Or did you jump to a conclusion again for a blog post. There are many female detectorists (including my own daughter).

Comments are yet again, ill conceived, ill judged but perhaps this is the distance from which you view them in Warsaw.

Is this on topic enough for you.

PS update on the charity work...didn't find the ring.

kind regards

Paul Barford said...

I think you are muddling (at least) two things here.

As for the colour of the skin of the metal detectorists of the Medway History Finders shown in the picture look pretty pasty-white to me. But it is an assumption (based on having worked in the country) that Egyptian artefact hunters are predominantly darker skinned.

So in what way does digging a hole in an archaeological site in Islip in the UK differ from a hole in Isin (Iraq)? So why is the guy with a spade in one country treated by the media as "heritage heroes", and the other a vandal? If we were to change the law in Iraq to make artefact hunting legal there and (when Boris scraps the PAS) send teh FLOs over there to work, would everything be OK, do you reckon? IS the whole discussion just about "obeying the law" or are there other factors involved?

Brian Mattick said...

Ah the old Islip/Isin puzzle that no British detectorists has ever, ever been able to fathom, except to say we're legal (which is 98% true) and we report all our finds (which is 90% a lie).

Not wishing to go off-topic Paul but if my daughter was an artefact hunter I certainly wouldn't boast about it. Et toi?

Paul Barford said...

I certainly would not, either. She'd grow up hating herself for it.

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