Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Britain's "Golden Age" of Digging Up Old Things to Sell ("Citizen Archaeology")

   Gold something (Harriet Sherwood Dix Noonan Webb Guardian Wed 2 Mar 2022)  
Of course, the narrative goes, the people that hoik collectable items out of the archaeological record are not at all in it for the money. That's what all their archaeologist partners say, responsible, responsive and totally altruistic. But funnily enough nobody is pushing to the British newspapers stories about what this or that dot-distrubution map, or finding "one of these" in a specific kind of context, enlightens about the social past. No, all the time, the products of all that expensive outreach consists of a steady diet of an object-centred take of values of another kind. Like this one (Rare ‘leopard’ coin found by Norfolk detectorist expected to sell for £140,000). ...
Carter’s leopard florin is one of three gold finds being auctioned this month. A Saxon gold shilling found by Mark Pallett, a drainage engineer from Essex, is estimated to be worth £10,000, and a 12th-century gold cross, unearthed by Jason Willis, a Norfolk builder, is expected to fetch £8,000. Their discoveries are evidence of a “golden age” of metal detecting, according to Dix Noonan Webb, the Mayfair-based specialist auctioneers and valuers managing the sales. More than 30,000 detectorists were active in the UK and unprecedented finds were rescued from the ground on a daily basis, the company said.
30 000 eh? And 80000 finds on average reported to the PAS? So they all only find three objects a year?
Carter, who takes his metal detector out most weekdays since retiring four years ago, said he “just got lucky”. He found the coin at the end of a charity day, known as a rally, involving about 30 detectorists on a farmer’s field near Reepham, north Norfolk, in October 2019.
Still only three finds annually each, eh? Or are they the exceptions thyat prove the rule, or manybe.... Nah...! And then there's the Anglo-Saxon one:
Pallett, 55, who has been a detectorist for 40 years, had a sense he was going to find something significant when he began searching a stubble field in south Cambridgeshire in early January this year. Turning on his detector, he found it had a low battery “so I knew I didn’t have long”. Within 15 minutes, he got a faint signal and discovered what he thought was a small button four inches below the surface. “I turned it over and saw a helmeted bust, and thought: ‘Oh my God.’” The gold shilling, just 13mm in diameter, was in fine condition

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