Monday, 19 October 2020

Archaeologists and Detectorists, the Same?

Left, what detectorists find,
right: what archaeologists are looking for

The headline: "Metal Detectorists strike gold on Crete":
[...] At the end of the day the two were about to give up, but on the way back to the car, one last signal kept them on the site until dusk fell...[...] Because of the spikey brush, Kostas and his 11-year old son had difficulty digging down to locate the source of the signal, the ground was very rocky, so they had to dig a few hours to find the gold pieces that were mixed up with rocks, charcoal and pottery fragments. When they reported the find the archaeologists at the museum were baffled about what they were...:
The alternative headline: Iota Sykka ' Archaeologists strike gold on Crete' Ekathimerini 19.10.2020 :
Everything indicates that an early sanctuary operated there, which the later inhabitants respected and did not strip of its gold. They built a stone altar on top, where the 200 ceramic items were found. As the excavator explains, in the room where they located the xoanon, animal and human figurines were discovered, like those usually found at the most important sanctuaries.


It really beats me how real archaeologists, the ones that have been to university, gained qualifications in the subject and even teach it, can say that artefact hunting is a form of "citizen archaeology". Digging down blind into archaeological deposits because an electronic box detects "there's metal down below" produces decontextualised artefacts, and not only does not recover archaeological information (which the Ixelles Six/Helsinki gang characterises as "zero gain"), but actually trashes it by removing the items from that context - wherever they are. 


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