Saturday, 19 February 2022

Credit Where Credit is Due: "Renate"


Readers of this blog will be aware that I have a rather low opinion on carefree collectors of unpapered and decontextualised archaeological artefacts. Their hobby is leading to enormous and irreversible damage to the archaeological record. I also actively challenge the mantra that their site trashing and pocket filling is a form of "studying the past" and "contributing to knowledge" by pointing out that many of them that one can come across in the UK and US can barely formulate a simple sentence in English, and its a shame they took up artefact hunting and collecting instead of Pokemon cards and vintage diecast model cars.  

There are some exceptions, like the collector that I (and not a few others) will always go to with a query about ancient lamps. I'd like to add another, mentioned here earlier. The individual known as "Renate" (I'm not certain if they are a collector, and they deny being an archaeologist), is a knowledgeable source of information on ancient personal ornament, brooches and pendants mostly.  You can find many (838 in fact) of their texts and comments on this subject on the forum (about the only thing worth reading there these days). In particular I'd recommend taking a look at the series of pdfs "Catawiki Notes" from June 2020-Dec 2021 (accessible here, not all will download and some have incorrect links). There is an interesting caveat:

There’s no archaeological expertise here, just a private opinion based on images only. Maybe there’s nonsense although the research has been in-depth. The aim is to encourage you as a collector to look carefully and not to trust every item description. Even serious dealers make mistakes, others sell garbage because they don’t care, and some cheat on purpose. Find out more about your field of interest and form your own opinion! All auctions are still online, even the finished ones. The headline in this text is always the headline the dealer has chosen. Just use it as keywords in a search engine to see. If too many incorrect results are returned, just add the lot number. Or tap on the link next to it.

I do not know who this person is, slight hiccups in the texts suggest that they are not a native English speaker. They read several European languages, including (kudos) Slavic one(s) and their analysis of Eastern and Central European finds is spot-on, which is rare in the anglophone literature (and of course most dealers selling this stuff have not a clue). I agree with most of what is written here, though differ a little on some of the detail why certain items are fakes (I think they are fakes but not primarily for the reason given). The texts are carefully composed, evidence deep research and knowledge of the literature and material, and are fully referenced. It is certainly well worth spending time with these informative texts, whether you are a buyer or not. Dealers would do good to learn here too before they peddle their nonsense. 


Unknown said...

Thanks for mentioning the broken links. From the introduction message on the February issue on, they will work. Complete analyses are not my intention. I miss a lot because I don't have a scientific background, and some things I deliberately don't write for various reasons. It is interesting that we arrive at somewhat similar results with different approaches. Renate

Paul Barford said...

Thanks for getting in touch. Could I have a contact address, in confidence, please? (post a comment here with it and I'll not publish it).

It seems to me that there is a greater similarity in approaches than you think.

Keep up the good work of your research and informing people, please.

It is a shame that Lodewijk dropped out just when he's needed (with the invasion of Ukraine now on the cards, the appearance of artefacts from the region masquerading as something else takes on a new significance)...


Unknown said...

There are some wonderful finds appearing on the Unearthed digs in Cumbria. Things you and yours would never, ever have found. It must be a real kick in the testes for you, what a shame.

Unknown said...

Comment modification, Orwellian newspeak for Gobellsian censorship. You are such a coward.

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