Tuesday 17 May 2022

Metal Detectors Across the Sea


Never mind the "environment", look at my butterflies!

On social media we were alerted by Archaeology Ireland Magazine (@Archaeology_Irl) that "an international supermarket chain is selling metal detectors in Ireland for seeking ‘treasure and artefacts’. It is against the law to use metal detectors for this purpose in Ireland without a license", so this is a repeat of the Cadbury's Treasure Hunt fiasco all over again. In response, an individual called "@Dubht1"(who mostly retweets pro-Russian twaddle on the invasion of Ukraine and anti-vax stuff, you get the picture), obviously oblivious to why the law exists as it does (and ignoring the fact that the issue of a licence would have a purpose) asks: So is it better to leave history uncovered??? He seems to be Irish and we assume he means "unrecovered". The usual vacant trope. I decided to address the issue:
Paul Barford @PortantIssues · 5 g.
"Better" than what, @Dubht1 ?

Even in England and Wales where there is a recording Scheme touted as "successful", EIGHT IN NINE "uncovered" artefacts simply vanish into metal detectorists' pockets unrecorded https://paul-barford.blogspot.com/2018/07/a-revised-artefact-erosion-counter.html / As far as figures available show, situation in other countries, such as Scotland and Denmark (also claimed by metal-detecting-groupies as "successes") is no better. Artefact hunting everywhere destroys "Uncovered history"! That's why the use of these tools should be restricted.
Seems pretty unequivocal to me, but not if you are an Irish anti-vaxer:
@Dubht1 · 42 min
Is it better than never being found thou? I'm sure there are some unscrupulous people that pocket finds but the majority of detecorists would report important finds to their Flo.
There we go, the usual "minority of unscrupulous people that are not real metal detectorists like me and my mates" bla-bla mantra. Let's just note that in neither part of Ireland is there a FLO....
Paul Barford @PortantIssues · 22 min

Did you actually read what I wrote? As I said, it is very clear that the majority of detectorists just trash sites and assemblages to hoik out artefacts that never get reported. So from the point of view of saving sites from vandalism, better they don't dig holes all over them. [...] It's the same argument with wild orchids and osprey eggs, in the middle of a field or up a tree, nobody will see them, but if some collector collects them, they can show the world what they've got, eh? This is however not what we call "conservation", in Ireland or anywhere else.
Dubht1 replies:
Um, er, yeah I did but I don't agree with you.There are unscrupulous people in every walk of life you shouldn't tar all detecorists with the same brush...Our museum's are full of artifects that detecorists have found.
It is difficult to imagine a conversation with a detectorist that would contain more cliches.
Paul Barford @PortantIssues · 36 min
W odpowiedzi do @Dubht1 @Archaeology_Irl i @32_ireland
You "don't agree" about what? On which evidence? What are your figures and where do they come from? if a minority of Brits love or have dogs it's not "tarring Brits with same brush" to call them a nation of dog lovers, is it? Majority of detectorist finds NOT reported. Ask PAS.
Later, it came as no surprise that although he disagreed with it, "Dove" had not actually read the text to which I linked, and totally unsurprisingly intones the next cliche: " Archaeologists should work with detectorists as one big happy family unearthing history together".

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