Thursday 20 May 2021

Collectors Preserving the Past, Except when they Don't

We often hear from artefact collectors that they are "saving" the artefacts they collect, including from getting into the hands of the Brown Skinned Folk of the source countries that clearly cannot be trusted (because 'brown') to look after their own heritage. Here's the story of two collectors whose paths crossed. Sadly the second is unnamed ('Worcestershire detectorist finds stolen treasures on first hunt' - BBC News). A metal detector owner took his metal detector out for the first time on 7th May and had been out in a field in Polfields Coppice, near Malvern, for two hours when his machine "went crazy". Two of the usual tropes there in one sentence.
Novice Charles Cartwright, 43, found nearly 300 historic items buried in a field in Worcestershire. At first he thought he had struck lucky with an incredible find - but an Aldi carrier bag they were in raised suspicions. He later discovered they had been stolen from Shropshire in 2017. The rightful owner, an avid collector who wanted to remain anonymous, had resigned himself to never seeing the treasures again. [...] [three inches down, he] saw a large silver jug, so I uncovered that, lifted it it out and it weighed a hell of a lot because it was full of water. "Inside the jug was an Aldi plastic bag and inside that was the other 271 items." He said the find had been "exhilarating" but seeing the plastic bag had made him realise "this isn't quite right" and he contacted the police. The items, which West Mercia Police said are worth more than £5,000, also included Egyptian relics, medieval and Bronze Age pieces. [...] The owner, a lifelong antiques and antiquities collector, said the items had been taken when his home in Ludlow was broken into four years ago.
I suspect that three inches down means he's searching pasture that had been undisturbed at least four years. Those Egyptian relics can't have been in a very good condition after being soaked in water all that time. The photos are very poor, these artefacts dont impress much, just off the edge of one photo is what seems to be a cruddy shabti, not very convincing if it is... but an interesting story, and drawing attention to what happens to the artefacts in these scattered private collections/
hat tip Hougenai

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