Sunday 30 June 2024

Metal detectorist to sell ‘Nobby’ the fertility figure he found in a field


My Mum told me about this one, she thinks I should be nicer to metal detectorists (Sam Russel 'Metal detectorist to sell ‘Nobby’ the fertility figure
he found in a field
" Standard `13 Jun 2024):
Retired lorry driver Bob Jemmett found the bronze figure, which measures 37mm by 10mm, in a ploughed field in Little Chishill, Cambridgeshire. The 75-year-old, of Manningtree, Essex, was at an organised rally when he made the discovery in September 2018. [...] Mr Jemmett said: “The weather was appalling with the rain lashing down, but I persevered and received a lovely signal from my Minelab 3030 detector. “Digging down four inches, I uncovered a small, bronze, nude, male figure, which featured a prominent erection similar to the Cerne   Abbas Giant, that is carved into a hill in Dorset. “The figure was identified as a Celtic fertility figure and published on the Portable Antiquities website and subsequently used as a logo by the rally organisers in their promotions. “As a result, detectorists from all over Europe at rallies would ask me if they could see Nobby who I always keep in my pocket as a constant companion”.
Sold at Noonans for £3,000. So the landowner will be getting half then? Of course "not in it for the money, eh".

The State of Britain


As Britain heads for a general election, the UK's top business newspaper comes out for Labour because... "Brexit, the defining project of this Tory era, has proven an act of grave economic self-harm". As was clear from their forums, the islands' metal detectorists were overwhelmingly in favour of leaving Europe, and they rejected what they labelled "project fear" (warnings of the consequences from specialists) with an " 'oo needs experts, eh? Wot d'they know?". In the same way as the fate of the country was determined by self-centred opiniated fluff-brains like that, the same country assigns looking after part of the archaeological heritage to the same crowd. Baz Thugwit can hardly string three sentences together coherently, let alone do any kind of documentation of the context from which he blindly hoiked and pocketed this or that 'partifact'. So much for public engagement.

Monday 24 June 2024

Some Opinions on Hancock's Writings and Their Relationship to Various Shades of Supremacism

There is a battle going on on social media, Graham Hancock, author of texts such as The Sign and the Seal, the Search for the Lost Ark of the Covenant 'The Mars Mystery: The Secret Connection Between Earth and the Red Planet', 'Fingerprints of the Gods', 'Magicians of the Gods' and 'America Before', etc. objects to people saying that his theories on a lost Predecessor Civilisation that influenced all the known ancient civilisations have links to the arguments of white supremacists. In particular he has focussed a really nasty hate-campaign on archaeologist Dr Flint Dibble who allegedly referred to this issue. I was interested to see whether it was a point made by "just" one archaeologist, or whether Hancock is shutting his eyes to the fact that this view is quite widespread. Check these out for yourselves (there may be more). Have a read of what other people wrote and the reasons they give, and decide for yourselves:
List of Works

[Book Review]: David V. Barrett, 'Psst... wanna buy a secondhand conspiracy? Talisman: sacred cities, secret faith, by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval' Independent Thursday 19 August 2004 ["It's a mish-mash of badly-connected, half-argued theories. Only in the last chapter, and the misleadingly-titled Appendix, does the authors' purpose become clear. They suddenly start promulgating a version of the old Jewish-Masonic plot so beloved by ultra-right-wing conspiracy theorists. This is a deeply troubling end to a mess of a book. With luck, most readers won't get that far".]

Alexander Zaitchik, 'Close encounters of the Racist Kind' SPLCwatch January 02, 2018

Rick Hellman, 'Professor can comment on Netflix's ‘Ancient Apocalypse,’ pseudo-archaeology', University of Kansas News 25 Oct 2022

Jennifer SANDLIN, 'Archaeologists reveal the white supremacist nonsense behind Netflix's "Ancient Apocalypse" Boing Boing, Sun Nov 27, 2022. 

Robin McKie Science Editor, 'Lost city of Atlantis rises again to fuel a dangerous myth' Guardian Sun 27 Nov 2022.

Hugo Hodge, ' Netflix's Ancient Apocalypse series uses 'racist ideologies' to rewrite Indo-Pacific history, experts say' Australian Broadcastig Company, Pacific Beat, Posted Tue 6 Dec 2022.

Flint Dibble, 'The Dangers of Ancient Apocalypse’s Pseudoscience' Sapiens 6 Dec 2022

J R Leach, ' Ancient Apocalypse and Graham Hancock's 'Dangerous Ideas' Why has the popular Netflix documentary ignited the ire of the media?', Greenjack's Journal Dec. 11, 2022.

Eshaan Sarup, 'Bad science: Local experts call ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ one big lie', C-VILLE Weekly (Charlottesville), Dec. 21, 2022.

Sarah E. Bond, 'Why Archaeologists Are Fuming Over Netflix’s Ancient Apocalypse Series', Hyperallergic January 4, 2023.

Ruth Steinhardt, ' The Real Ancient Apocalypse', GW-Today January 23, 2023

Aaron Rabinowitz, 'Netflix’s Ancient Apocalypse with Graham Hancock: from alien conspiracies to antisemitism' The Sceptic, 15th February 2023

Catherine Upex, ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ Angers Archaeologists, Fueling an Alarming Mistrust of Academia', Nowadays (Edinburgh) 28 February 2023

Erin Blakemore, ' Why the myth of Atlantis just won’t die [The lack of evidence for its existence hasn’t stopped people from hunting for it—or insisting that archaeologists are involved in a cover-up]' National Geographic, April 19, 2023 [Dibble]. Carl Feagans, 'Archaeologist Helps Pseudoarchaeologist find His Lane' Archaeology Review April 30, 2024.

Chris Lazzarino ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ and the consequence of conspiracy', Kansas Alumni magazine Issue 2, 2023.

Summed-up on Quora:
William Hartwell (Writer, Science Fiction and Fantasy) 1y
He’s not hated - he’s laughed at. The man is a farce. His claims are sheer fantasy, his “research” indulges in confirmation bias supporting preconceived conclusions by ignoring context, cherry picking or misinterpreting evidence, and withholding critical countervailing data. Not a single one of his claims has undergone peer review, and he has never published a single paper in a peer reviewed journal.
In other words, the man is NOT a scientist. He has admitted that his writing was inspired by his drug use.
On top of everything else, his writings are full of antisemitic conspiracy theories and white supremacist “white savior” stories.
It really looks like his focus on this issue is a deflection tactic - attempting to draw attention away from other issues with his "theories".


Friday 21 June 2024

Having a Clear Out of Metal Detected Artefacts While Bloomsbury Sleepwalks On

Heaped artefacts from yet another of the UK's
40000 tekkies, one who couldn't be bothered
 to label their finds and record findespots.

 Metal Detecting Finds Job Lot. Having A Clear Out. Norfolk UK. Over 1.2kg

stallionaja06 (1757) 100% positive Feedback 2.2K items sold Located in: Norwich, United Kingdom. Joined Jan 2006

Item description from the seller
This job lot of metal detecting finds is a great addition to any collector's collection. The items were found in Norfolk, UK and include a variety of decorative collectables. The style of the finds is British and they are perfect for anyone who loves to collect unique pieces.

The job lot falls under the category of Collectables and specifically under the subcategory of Decorative Collectables. The items are perfect for anyone who loves to collect other decorative collectables and add them to their collection.

There are a few bits of silver in there too. Plenty of leather mounts and other unusual bits.
"Silver", he says? Has it been looked at by the PAS? Did he declare it?

Not a single onde of these artefacts is labelled in any way to enable them to be linked with any documentation of findspot. "Responsible metal detecting" this is not. No mention of any PAS reports either. This is exactly the sort of thing an effective PAS would be contacting eBay over to get them to withdraw (and warning potential buyers of). But they are asleep in Bloomsbury.

The reason the seller calls these dugup artefacts "decorative collectables" is because for some years now, eBay has stopped selling dugup antiquities, and cancelled that category on their portal, so people selling antiquities get away of mumbling that they are selling "decorative" collectables - you know, like faux-Victorian mantelpiece clocks, framed reproduction antique maps, and china doggies. Is that a lie or not? You decde how "decorative" the artefacts in the photo are.

Among the

eSeller's other items we find a "Job Lot Of Coins. All Metal Detecting Finds. Approximately 1.646kg With Tub". £19.99 2 bids · Time left 8h 34m.   
           Pigs in a poke for sale       
"All coins are in bad condition so if you have the means to clean them feel free to bid. Explore the history of Britain with this exciting job lot of coins, all discovered through metal detecting. This collection, weighing approximately 1.646kg contains a variety of coins from different periods. Each coin is a unique piece of historical artefact that offers a glimpse into the past. The coins are from the United Kingdom, with some dating back centuries. This lot is perfect for collectors or anyone interested in history. Whether you are looking to add to your collection or simply want to own a piece of history, this job lot of coins is an excellent choice. These coins are sold as scrap really as I have no means of cleaning them".
The coins are in uncollectable state, bad is the word. None of the ones we see, none, will clean to a collectable state. Although these are mostly milled British, there are one or two older coins in there. Attention is drawn to the damage already done to some of the items shown by some kind of harsh chemical stripping, destroying parts of the surface of some ("as I have no means of cleaning them"- too bad he came to teh conclusion he did not know what he was doing until after he'd trashed them). There is also what looks like eBay-bought stuff here, a Canadian (?) coin, and a cast Chinese cash coin (photo too blurry to make out).

Looking at what else this seller currently has on sale and what has been sold easrlier suggests that this is not (necessarily) a metal detectorist, but might be a house-clearance shifter ( "categories: Collectables Pottery, Ceramics and Glass, Home, Furniture and DIY, Clothes, Shoes and Accessories, coins, Toys & Games") but then, "Having A Clear Out" in just this one lot suggests that he is getting rid of excess finds of his own.

Wednesday 19 June 2024

More Monumental Disrespect and Damage


Following yesterday's stunt at Stonehenge, we learn of some disrespectful citizens who assume the right to go around defacing individual monuments for victims of the Holocaust to make some point. Stolpersteins in Weimar yesterday. 

Just STOP This: Just Stop Oil Attack Stonehenge With Orange Paint

Two clueless retards, named as Rajan Naidu, 73, and Niamh Lynch, 21,  from "Just Stop Oil" have sprayed orange paint from canisters with propellant gas (!) onto the prehistoric Stonehenge stones on Wednesday.
Posted on You Tube by TalkTV 19.06.2024
Several of the stones were seen covered in orange paint before one protester had his canister snateched away and sat dejectedly on the grass and the other was detained by a member of the public but kept on trying to spray until his canister was taken away (who was that woman?). The group said it had used orange cornflour paint to spray onto the stones, which it claimed would “soon wash away with the rain”. So? It will equally wash into the stone, taking starch and dyestuffs into their surface pores. Not to mention the fact that on the surface of the stiones are old (portentially ancient) lichen colonies that this and the bacteria it will attract may harm.  We have legislation protecting scheduled and Guardianship sites like this (which also has World Heritage List status)* - this time it should be used. These people sdshould be done for trespass and causing malicious damage.  Will it, will Britain show it is willing to protect its heritage now? I'd also like to see some authorities in teh conservation movement iussue a statement on this.  

* I believe in Bonkers Britain, it may actually have a status of a religious building - damage to which has addittional legal sanctions. 

Monday 17 June 2024

Enemy of Archaeology


Jimmy Corsetti (" @BrightInsight6"), seriously??

"No true Archaeologist, or enthusiast of ancient history would be content on living the rest of their lives without knowing what’s waiting to be discovered at Gobekli Tepe. ~90-95% has NOT been excavated. Anyone not championing for full-excavation is an enemy of archaeology.">
I'm not "chanpioning" anything until they've written up what they've already done, fully. And what Jimmy Corsetti thinks of that is up to him. I doubt he really understands what is involved, as do most of his slack-jawed mouth-breathing supporters drinking in every word.

Revealing "A***holes" Farewell from Detectorist Troll

Detectorist Graeme Rushton's sock-puppet associate, "De. William Shephard" has (under that name) been trolling the Portable Antiquities Collecting and Heritage Issues blog since at least the end of March 2021, sending over 430 comments - most of which got rejected for not complying with the guidelines (and in particular not engaging in any way with the subject of the post above). Some were abusive and aggressive in their phrasing.  

"De. William Shephard"​ is not a real name, his claims to have arranged an exhibition of detecting finds [to which he challenged (!) me to add some finds from archaeological work in Poland] in Preston Museum turned out to be untrue - the Museum is closed and the office says they have never met this guy. He claims to be a retired, 83-year old microbiologist, but has no publication record. A time-waster.

 Anyway he has just announced that he is getting a life and is going to take his leave from trolling this blog. Having issued a challenge for me to take part in a public debate with himself AND minor-TV-celebrity-tekkie Graeme Rushton, once I agreed and we started discussing it in detail, he's decided that discretion is the best part of valour and is scarpering off. However in taking his leave, he sent four off-topic comments to the Stahlbridge rally posts that we can reconstruct as a single text as follows. It reveals quite a lot about the tekkie mentality:
Well, Paul, I have had my bellyful of you and your bigoted, unverifiable, jealous, and unwarranted assertions regarding the amateur historians, who, armed with nothing more than a legally operated machine, plus enthusiasm for a love of history, have uncovered more history, and, every week, continue to do so, than either you or your university educated "ubermensch" have ever done. Sorry, my friend, you are going to your grave a miserable man, whilst I, in my dotage, have lovely memories of artifacts (sic) unearthed, joy shared, and museums benefitting. Nice knowing you pal, NOT!!!
All very nice Paul, but what have you found that has made a significant difference to our understanding of the past? F**k all would be the only answer. Now, if we consider those amateurs equipped with perfectly legal electronic devices, looking around fields you and your moronic University educated bigots would not even give a second glance to, what do we find??? Museums full of unearthed treasures giving pleasure to millions, I have had enough of you, as I suspect many of your "fellow" archaeologists also have. You have lost the battle pal, quit fighting...
It is time I said goodbye, I did not spend the biggest part of my youth searching for the truth using methodological naturalism (sic), only to be told by one whose trowel has yet to taste the sweet joy of unearthing history that all I did was in vain. A rather large piece of mistletoe is hanging from the rear of my jacket...
Barford, with whom I have electronically jousted for eons, is a prick, a moron, a disgrace to all things archaeological, he is a pimple on the arse of progress, and, if he wishes to redeem himself needs to apply the ointment of tolerance upon his sore and aching bottom.
Well, I guess he'll now be spending more time with his proud family after that little outburst. Note the immature anal fixation, what's that about?

There is noting original here, the troll is just following the usual tekkie mantras that have been the ONLY basis of their interaction for three decades now:
- Jealousy - archaeologists are 'jealous' of detectorists "finding nice things" (despite archaeOLOGY not being just "digging up old things", its something totally different from that.

- "Uncovered more history":
one- digging up things from the past is not uncovering history, any more than finding a chunk of andesite in my back garden is in any way elucidating the history of the Earth.
two- that "more" comes from a perennial mistunderstanding of the Portable Antiquities Scheme Database. The PAS is  not very good at explaining it in detail to these people or the public - not that they seem overly bothered by that.
-"University educated "ubermensch":
one- is rich coming from a guy not only claiming to have a doctorate, but actively not wasting any opportunity to stress that he "has a doctorate" claiming it as a distinguishing feature of his own identity!

two - as in pseudoarchaeology, the "free-thinker" claims their lack of any qualifications in the field as a badge of honour, they interpret this as freeing them from the learnt dogmas of instituitionalised learning (see "moronic University educated bigots"). They totally miss recognising that it also means they are underinformed about the underlying methodology and the discipline of presentation of their ideas so that they can face the rigours of academic discourse examining their validity, which is why they not only cannot do that, but misunderstand what is happening when they are challenged in this framework.
- What've you found that's made a significant difference to our understanding of the past? Well, it is not about "finding things" per se, but when it comes to what we do with the information acquired, in answer to the question, a damn sight greater number of publications than the demanding troll. The contribution to our understanding of the past made by the written word is up to its readers, the academic community and a whole load of other factors independent of the author.

- "looking around fields you [...] would not even give a second glance to"This too is a thirty-year old PAS "justification" (to politicians who they were trying to convince to give them more funds), the organization never really explained more deeply to anyone.

You see, when UK archaeology for the past half century has been primarily developer funded, and concentrated on sites that are under threat, this mantra postulates digging up just any old place, whether or not there is an active and real threat. In doing so, it ties up resources that would be better expended elsewhere in archaeology, it goes against the dogma of PARIS (preseveration of archaeologicsal resources in situ), something the majority of detectorists have never heard of - most of all from the dozy old Portable Antiquities Scheme.
- " Museums full of unearthed treasures giving pleasure to millions", is this actually true? With Cardiff's National Museum on the brink of closure would a tekkie finding another hoard of silver pennies and a second finding a hoard with a palstave, ingot and spearhead turn things around? Would the crowds keep coming to see them? Would the COST of paying the Treaure ransom, the costs of conservation, cataloguing and display (not to mention insurance in the light of the recent Ely and Preston Museum thefts) leave anything for investing in the museum? Let us have a long hard look at what the British emphasis on ("lottsa luvverly) Treasure is doing to our archaeology and the way the public consume it.
[Raising issues about Collection-Driven-Exploitation of the archaeological record] is a pimple on the a*** of progress", Actually in most disciplines, as well in public policy, progress comes from discussion, debate, confronting different ideas in various and changing contexts.
The UK of 2024 is no longer that of 1996 when the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme were set up. Failing to discuss what is right and wrong with the current stuation is the way to avoid stagnation, and indeed, lead to progress. If one of the casualties of that is the "metal detectorist" and his hobby, then they too have to move with the times, what they are currently doing is unsustainable, there is no question about that.
As is this blog's policy on comment and criticism, I will allow the person mentioned here the opportunity of ONE substantive reply to the above comments. After that I will not be acceptng any more time-wasting pseudonymous "comments" to this blog from "Dr Willian Shephard", whoever he was. Let him start his own blog.

Friday 14 June 2024

"Cosmic Summit" - "Jaw-dropping Earth and Human History Insights".

June 15th/16th 2024 in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.
We are extending an invitation to hundreds of global attendees to explore additional jaw-dropping Earth and human history insights. More attendees, more speakers, and more captivating information await, all shared with like-minded individuals in a relaxed and affordable setting.

Once again the Cosmic Summit will deep dive the latest discoveries on the well-published Younger Dryas Impact Event, More Recent Cosmic Impacts, A Suspected Lost Civilization, Clovis People, The Black Mat, Megafaunal Extinctions, Gobekli Tepe, Forgotten Ancient Technologies, Controversial Archaeology, Atlantis, Megalithic Monument Building, The Knights Templar, Sacred Geometry, Egyptian Mysteries, UFO’s, Old & Cold Fusion, Catastrophic Geology, Carolina Bays…and more.

Grocers' Apostrophes and Bigfoot too? Sounds intriguing, who's doing the experimental archaeology workshops, so that deskbound participants and armchair enthusiasts can replace speculation about "mysterious ancient technologies" with hands-on experience? 


Thursday 13 June 2024

Losing Contact with Reality

Dr. Holly Walters (@Manigarm) highlights this on social media, commenting: "

It's not harmless. It's not "just an innocent thing" to be fooled by AI. You NEED to be able to discern and differentiate reality. You NEED to know how the world works on a basic level. Because fooling you with baby animals and flowers is just the start of something much worse".
The same goes for the pseudo-archaeologists campfollowers 

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Cosplayer Content Creator Poses Jungle Ruins Exploration on Tourist Site

Writing from Texas, Mr Luke Caverns [@lukecaverns] accuses me of "toxic achaeology" for being concerned with context in what I write, as an archaeologist, in the public domain. This guy, after doing some "cultural anthropogy" course, has apparently made a career for himself making archaeology-related "content" - including publishing similarly judgemental material about others too. So it is interesting to look at his own activities in their context. My attention was caught by a recent self-published You Tube film where he is cosplaying as an intrepid jungle explorer ("I've got my snake boots on"):  Exploring an Abandoned Ancient Temple in the Jungle ( 915 Likes, 8,885 Views18h ago)
In this video, Eli and I come across an abandoned ancient palace/temple in the jungles outside of the Maya site "Kohunlich". This is one of my favorite videos we shot on this expedition.
Shockingly, at the very beginning, he is filmed huffing and puffing, 
               ufff, a stiff climb         
climbing around on this protected site
 and throwing a loaded rucksck blindly into an opening in the ancient ruins to come thudding down on the floor before he hauls himself through the hole. All this just to make his YouTube "content", a bit later on he is shown clambering around on and in the ruins at Kohunlich, descernding a steep and low tunnel with no hard hat on. Deep in the jungle, he's filmed dramitically waving a stick at snakes [are they live snakes, or are they photos of snakes?]. His audience is impressed, to judge by the comments.  

But, dear reader, you too can "come across abandoned ruins deep in the jungle" and when you've done pretending to be an intrepid cosplay explorer, can go and get a cool drink in the hotel/restaurant complex just a stone's throw away from this popular tourist attraction. Or you can 'visit it' on Google Street View, it is well-covered. It's nice to know that apart from the restaurant there are toilets by the coach park.

Indeed, if you go there on Google Earth (18°25'9.22"N  88°47'27.40"W), you'll see that this snake-infested jungle depicted in the film is a relatively narrow strip in a thinned forest complex between grassland and fields. In size it is about a quarter of my own Bielany Forest on the edge of Warsaw (where, Mr Caverns, there are poisonous snakes too, though the wild boar are also a serious treat at certain times of the year). 

This film raises a number of issues about the use of ancient sites for commercial activities, and there  surely should be rules about clambering around on the ancient walls, risking their erosion and damage. 

The "Antithesis of Archaeology" According to Archaeo-Conspiracy Theorist

      Look at the stratigraphy
Jimmy Corsetti ( @BrightInsight6) is a clickbait-creating digital media personality specialising in making videos with crap takes on the ancient past [see: Archaeofabulation: "Roman Map shows Atlantis in the Green Sahara"]. He has now pronounced "Archaeology today is in a state of total disarray" and it's because he does not understand what is happening about Gobeli Tepe. He does not understand about excavation research design, sponsorship, site preservation, site presentation. so he's produced this:
You will NOT BELIEVE this Gobekli Tepe update. It’s genuinely shocking and disturbing.
This is probably my most important video yet. The details are explosive ­čĺą

He's upset that not more of the Gobeli Tepe site was excavated, and some of it has even been backfilled. Then there is a walkway and access to the site is a source of concern. Who's going to tell him?  What I note here is the total lack of mention in his rant about proper publication. This is a site with some complex stratigraphy, and most of the photos we see are with the fill taken out. I'd like to find out how the various phases of the infilling (several layers visible in the photos of upstandiung baulks)  relate to several phases of drystone wall construction with inserted megalithic T-stones. I'd like to see how that was documented and how it is interpreted before somebody takes spade to another part of this site. 

Jimmy Corsetti sees only the pictures on the stones of "handbags". and where hands rest on tummies. Then, putting on his best "me, me, entitled" look he fulminates: 

"I honestly cannot believe the current state of modern archaeology today, it appears to have been corrupted or at best totally mismanaged at such a level that is now preventing us from actually learning information about our ancient past. I mean to have an archaeological dig and not dig it up is the antithesis of actual Archaeology, is it not? So at this time I am calling on all archaeolologists, anthropologists, historians, skeptics and enthusiasts of ancient history alike to speak out about this incredible injustice what we now have in front of us is a unique opportunity to come together in one common goal which is to champion for further excavation at Gobekli Tepe. FREE GOBEKLI TEPE!

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