Sunday 12 November 2023

Meritorial Discussion "Hard" for the Uninformed Thickoes in British Detecting - So We Get This

In a comment to my post '"Metal Detector Use"', a sock-puppet metal detectorist blog-troller going by the assumed name of "De. (sic) William Shephard" decides this is somehow an appropriate response:
Paul, my dear chap, why do you persist in blogging? Seemingly doing nothing else but, at taxpayers' expense, pouring forth bile regarding a perfectly legitimate hobby, and doing sweet F*** A** yourself to justify your pay cheque? I await your answer, but it will no doubt be skewed.
Skewed or not, the answer will express my observations (actually, going back almost half a century!) on the mental, cognitive and analytical capabilities of the artefact hunters like "De. Shephard". Why do I blog I blog because as it says at the top, a primary interest of mine has long been research on artefact hunting and collecting and the market in portable antiquities in the international context and their effect on the archaeological record.Something that does not concern the majority of the people involved in these activities.

In a country where there ought to be freedom of speech, it should in no way be a problem to discuss (be it objectively, or een subjectively - but substantively) something that is regarded as "legitimate" (actually, a term I would challenge, IS it "legitimate" to selfishly take things for one's own private entertainment and profit in a way that totally destroys the resource they come from for others?). "De. (sic) William Shephard" may wish the ability to shout such discussion down, dismiss it, but it is certainly in my rights (and I would say as an archaeologist my obligation - you listening the rest of you?) to explore and share my deep concerns on the matters I raise. AND also expect some answers from those who wish to convince us there is, in fact , "no real problem". Let's hear you, rather than simple dismissal.

This is not a "pouring forth of bile", it is raising issues that need to be discussed, challenging the glib platitudes that the UK's PAS, the Helsinki Gang, the Suzies and Bonnies and all those other archaeologists try to fob off any enquiries from the public sphere about what is actually going on behind the shameless spin about artefact hunters.

According to this Trolling Tekkie, I allegedly "do nothing else" [than blog] but, "at taxpayers' expense [...] doing sweet F*** A** yourself to justify your pay cheque". Hmmm. I live in Poland (but see here) and "De. (sic) William Shephard" [according to my tracking software] lives in the Barrow-on-Furness region right up in the distant North of the UK, far from London, so I really do not know how he has determined "how" I spend my time. Quite apart from what I do out of work (like look after a sick wife, a disabled cat and a number of Ukrainian refugees for starters), I run a company of my own, that is a full-time job in the current economic climate. So the "pay check" is paid to me by... er, myself. The only "taxpayers' money" involved is what I pay the Polish state out of what I earn.

So this blog is an investment of my time, my money. It's part of some wider writing around the issues it discusses. It is not financed by any external agencies (Messers Soros and Gates, I am open to offers - Elon however, no thanks), still less any British archaeological body.

The Trolling Tekkie however repeats a trope that is incredibly prevalent on the British metal detectorists forums, about archaeologists (the ones that fondly think metal detectorists are their "partners") there are a lot of scathing comments. One of them is that they all allegedly live of "are taxes". Very few do, most in the UK are employed at the cost of firms that are contracted by developers, those that work in museums are generally paid from rates rather than income tax. I really find it astounding that all those (40 000 people, apparently in UK) who are metal detecting because they "really passin'tly intrest'd in th' 'istry" have despite over 25 years of outreach (I use that term loosely) by the PAS hae absolutely sod all idea of how professional archaeology works, even such basic things like where the money comes from. So we continue toi get such ill-conceived half-brain ignorant comments from metal detectorists, even the ones (like this clown) who claim to be "educatid".

When is British archaeology going to take metal detecting and the problems it raises seriously?

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