Wednesday 24 November 2021

UK Jernlists Wot Kant Spell Luv Th' Metal Detectrists


It's an easy story innit? Local bloke with a metal detector's always finding something for the local newspaper's journalist to write about, even if he cannot spell:

"The hoard of coins which included, shillings, six pence's, three pence's were found in Shap on farmland." 

Five grammatical errors in one sentence (Ben Barry, 'Unearthed in Dalton hits the jackpot in recent dig', The NW Mail 24 Nov 2021). It's another plug for "Unearthed in Dalton", run by Graeme Rushton who "runs monthly digs to see what buried treasures they can unearth", so the publicity will come in handy.
The dig was broadcast last night (Tuesday, 23) on the Unearthed youtube channel at 8pm where people can find out more information and watch how the archaeology process takes place. Graeme said that that they were very fortunate to find the coins when they did as in the future the land they discovered them on will be used for redevelopment. Graeme said: "Potentially with the machinery going in, it could of smashed the coins into bits and pieces so we were very fortunate in finding those coins from future disruption."
"Could of"...

Well, we "could of" made a drinking game from the video of the "archaeology (sic) process (sic) taking place". You take one deep swig from the glass every time you hear the word "folks". You take two in quick succession when you hear the video host urge "keep watching". Don't do this if you plan to drive to the shops or pick up the kids afterwards. And do not by any means skip that loud, excited so-over-the-top beginning.

Note that they are on heavily-grazed pasture, looks to be pretty established pasture to me, and even so they claim "no archilogicil layers wos damigid" because its "near the surfice". Code of Best Practice for Responsible metal Detecting anyone? And look what they are showing us, coin after coin after coin. There are no nails in that field, no iron strip and sheet fragments, no pieces of fragmented copper alloy artefacts, no pieces of lead. Just an entire "culture of coins". The type site of the "Dalton Coin Culture". Even if these things are recorded (like the best practice Code says) it'll tell us very little about the actual archaeology (past landuse/activities, zonation) of the site, just some coins were dropped on it between the 13th and 17th centuries, and probably one bloke lost a purse when he collapsed drunk in some bushes on his way home across the fields after a night out boozing (perhaps he was doing a 17th century drinking game). Note, no mention is made in the film of individual plotting of the hoard coins (or any of the others) as they came up, the hoard is shown to us as a loose group of unlabelled coins, so how has that hoard been recorded in this "archaeological process"? How do we know they were associated? Look at this video:

And the newspaper writeup promises something really cringeworthy to look forward to:
"Currently, Graeme is filming with ITV for a new five-part series, which is due to come on in January. The show will be centred around treasure hunting and will be presented by Henry Cole".

Hat tip: Dave Coward 

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