Sunday, 13 June 2021

What Happened to your FLO? What Happened to the Artefacts?

"Before i bin them...." Post by Superandersao Metal Detecting Forum Fri Jun 11, 2021 4:33 pm
Hi All,
The 3 "artifacts" [sic] below are about to join my huge waste pile. Unless any of you see something I have missed. Are these just scrap?
The large one looked like spurs but they are too tight to fit a foot.
The round one seems to be hand made and was attached to something
The small one seem a part of a knife, but probably a modern one....
Any ideas/thoughts on these?
Thanks a lot
All three are archaeological objects and if no fellow detectorist can persuade him otherwise the know-nothing finder (who sees no collectable value in them) is going to "bin" them. This is the actual fate of the majority of metal items hoiked out of archaeological sites and assemblages all over the UK. The POAS was set up at quite considerable public expense to be there to answer precisely such questions. 

Meanwhile, there is ample evidence - being totally ignored by Britain's jobsworth arkies - that huge ammonts of archaeological material are not only being discarded by British artefact hunters right under their stuck-up noses, but actually destroyed:

UK Metal Detectorists Melt Artefacts PACHI Wednesday, 4 November 2015;
Detecting Under the Microscope 13: Finds or Portable Antiquities? What is Being Thrown Away?  PACHI Monday, 14 November 2011;

STEPHENTAYLORHISTORIAN ' One Man’s Rubbish, Another Man’s Treasure' Stephen Taylor, WW2 Relic Hunter April 15, 2019;

And so on.
For the same problem in France: Lecroere, T (2016) ‘There is none so blind as those who won’t see’: Metal detecting and archaeology in France'. Open Archaeology 2(1): 182–193. 

And this goes for the whole damn British archaeological community that stand right behind the artefact hunting communities pretending it is not seeing their members trash site after site when the reason for that is that they are simply refusing to look.

And of course, because the metal detectorists think that what they do with bits of the common heritage is their, not your, business, they've blocked you from seeing what the finder in the case-study thread referred to above actually did with those artefacts... I suggest imagining the worst - because for every "SuperAnders" that asked, there are pretty much 27000 of the know-next-to-nothing blighters hoiking stuff out and taking arbitrary decisions like this every time they go out artefact hunting.  Those are enormous losses.

But British arkies (6000 of them, who you pay for) and British tekkies (27000 of them that you enable) will not tell you honestly about it.


Unknown said...

Hi Paul

Many thanks for linking a page of my website, but I have to say I am a little confused as to why you have linked it. Given the title of your blog, and the fact that I saved them from the scrap pile, is the link there just for reference to the everyday detectorist and their disdain for the more 'modern' artefacts that have been retrieved? Or is this something else.

I would like to clarify that when I first started recovering WW2 relics over 20 years ago, I contacted the local FLO to advise them of my finds, along with GPS co-ordinates and pictures of the artefacts in situ. However, I was dismayed to get the reply that they were not of 'historical importance' and therefore did not need recording. I tried again over subsequent years, my last attempt being in 2019, but was again told the artefacts were of no significance. I do agree with you that may artefacts are lost to the historical record, mainly through unregulated and hap-hazard detecting, but some of the blame must also rest with the archaeological community who are over-worked and having to cherry pick what and when is recorded.

Kind regards


Paul Barford said...

Thanks for your comment and putting your name under it (as you came through as "Unknown")

I am not sure where the "confusion" is. This post is about artefact hunters who disturb sites, dig up artefacts and then throw away information-bearing artefacts because they don't know what they are (but nevertheless assume, wrongly, that because "they" don't know, it must be "rubbish"). That is the point you were making. So here we are singing from the same songsheet, so no "disdain" there.

This whole problem of WW2 archaeology is an issue that is not easy to deal with. In fact, I've hit this problem in work I'm doing here in Poland (and precisely in the context of metal detecting in Poland - where it may surprise people to learn that this time I am more or less on the side of the tekkies [!]). I'm hoping to get around to writing about it later on this year when I have three/four other projects out of the way, and a break in my paid work...

Of course the reason why the PAS can't accept this information is that the Treasure Act has a time limit of 300 years. So the PAS that fills in the gaps the TA left also has too. Yet of course it is precisely the UK that is one of the (few?) countries that actually does anything much with the archaeology of WW2.

This is a problem that we are going to have to deal with as WW2 is heading towards no longer being "in living memory" (get those oral sources recorded while we can). In the UK it's not as difficult as here in Eastern Europe, in the UK it's mostly in the form of discrete sites, camps, batteries, pillboxes, aircraft crash sites, here it is entire landscapes - from both World Wars, overlapping in several key regions.

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