Saturday 15 January 2022

Mr Beazley's Floral Suppository

 This has everything, Treasure, coprolites, "amateur archaeologists" and was written by a British journalist who it looks like just scraped through his CSE English (Freddie Webb, 'Amateur Archaeologists find 'extraordinary' Roman artefact dubbed 'paranormal paracetamol' near Havant' Portsmouth News Friday, 14th January 2022)

Amateur archaeologists have discovered what they call an ‘extraordinary’ Roman artefact and have dubbed it the ‘paranormal paracetamol’. They think the silver find is predicted to date back to the Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD) and is suspected to have healing properties. Waterlooville resident Peter Beasley, 80, and fellow enthusiast Lee McGowan, found it while metal detecting near Rowlands Castle. Mr Beasley said in all his years of ‘history hunting,’ he has never seen anything like it. He told The News: ‘We’re calling it the paranormal paracetamol, it’s incredible. [...] ‘It’s made of silver, about three quarters of an inch long and is shaped like a paracetamol tablet. ‘We found it at a site which we suspect to be a Roman temple, and the coins coming out of there date back to Constantine [...] Mr Beasley and Mr McGowan say they have also discovered 800 ‘offering coins’ at the site of the tablet, and they want to research the area in more detail. Mr Beasley said [...] ‘We’re going to very carefully record everything and we’ll see where we go from here’.
Note the use of the future tense there. This silver item is 19mm long:
After cleaning and recording the artefact, which was found five weeks ago, the treasure hunters found the symbol of the Chi Rho. [...] Lilies and daisies are also engraved on the artefact, which Mr Beasley said is common symbology for the Virgin Mary. ‘We’ve come to the conclusion that people would have swallowed it to cure them of sickness.’ The amateur archaeologist explained the artefact was jet black when it was found. He predicts that was due to the oxidisation of the silver, or it was preserved in a fossilised coprolite.
First of all, it is methodologically incorrect to project medieval symbolism back onto the Classical past, secondly no evidence is presented for interpretation of this as an item to be inserted in the body (swallowed or used as a rectal suppository?). Thirdly, the loose use of the adjective "paranormal" is nowhere justified.

This is pretty appalling, more so that a "professional treasure hunter" should know he has 14 days to report a potential Treasure item. He's overshot that by three weeks already.
Jenny Durrant @Durrant_Jenny 4 g.
As the local FLO I am waiting to see this item as potential Treasure, and then examine it for decoration and date. Apparently also 800 coins of which I was unaware [...].
One wonders how long a British archaeologist determining that the law was broken would "wait" before reporting it to law enforcement authorities and why. In any case, waiting gives ample time for evidence to be tampered with or deleted. Mr Beasley is well-known to this blog.

This is what the item looks like (finders' photo):

It does not look much like a silver artefact to me, still less one engraved with a chi-rho or daisies and lillies. How was it "cleaned" to end up with this appearance? This should have been seen by an archaeologist before poorly-worded and demented claims were made about it. Will the FLO confirm this is silver?

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