Sunday, 23 August 2020

Studying Broken Bits of Metal


One 'Flipper' (@flipper865: 'Metal detecting, History, Gardening, Photography, being outdoors... finding and studying broken bits of metal since 2010') from the South Wales Valleys does not seem to like the way this archaeologist discusses the trashing of the archaeological record by its collection-driven exploitation:

flipper@flipper865·7 g.
W odpowiedzi do @FLODurhamFLO @PortantIssues i @Bexx_FLO
[...] he's had a run in with almost every detectorist out there. Never a kind word to say! Tars us all with the same brush 
Hmm, basically collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record is collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record. A blue spade is still a spade. I don't think we can paint it any other way without bending the truth. Ask an FLO. And then, the Welsh guy gets more abusive:  

flipper@flipper865·27 min
W odpowiedzi do @PortantIssues @FLODurhamFLO i @Bexx_FLO
I "reckon" you need to chill the feck out and stop antagonising people that are clearly passionate about what they have studied and are sharing with the rest of the world. Positivity springs to mind, you gotta get some ffs
Actually Mr Flipper, this archaeologist has studied a bit more than "bits of broken metal since 2010", and is in his own little corner of the Internet sharing with those in the world that visit it the reflections that engenders on what a minority of self-centred people with an overdose of entitlement are doing to the archaeological resource. OK?

And here's a thing, Flipper shows us all his idea of a systematic search of a productive site (Painting a picture with the @Minelab #ctx3030 gps over 2 years):

So, the finds distribution in that field will look like... (a line going towards the modern gate)?

Grab a Coin, Sit Down, and Tell us About it


Dr Matthew Ball, Oxford academic:

Matthew Ball@Matt0791·1 g. 
W odpowiedzi do @FLODurhamFLO @PortantIssues i jeszcze 3 osób
Its beyond his ability to be civil. Treat a mention in his vile blog as a badge of honour. The pr*ck called me “coin fondler” — was tempted to stick it in my bio.

are you addressing me, Sir? I do wonder just how it is that the Leverhulme DPhil 'Studying the dissemination of imperial messages through coin circulation in the Roman Empire') considers fondling an unpleasant activity. But anyway, if instead of harbouring a grudge because I pointed out that a FLO's coin of Theodora was not 'that' Theodora, he'd look it is not addressed to him personally, but is an engagement with the dealers (incl numismatic ones) spiel about having a "piece of the past in your hand". As for "Vile" and "pr*ck", that must be Oxford/Cummings' Brexity academic talk I guess.

And for the record:

1) The term I used on the blog was in fact "coiney".

2) At the end of that nonsense the Durham FLO snorted and said that nobody would be faking cheap bronze coins like that, which shows how little said "specialist" actually knows about what goes on in the numismatic market today. They do. And to show him that was not idle talk, a few days after that, I bought him several very nice fakes of Late Roman Bronzes that a Polish seller had at the time (they are made either in Bulgaria or the Balkans), I put them in a padded envelope and sent them to his office address with a perfectly civil and, I thought, conciliatory letter... and the lack-culture bounder did not even acknowledge receipt. That shows what kind of people the PAS are employing now. 

Monday, 17 August 2020

How "Hot" Should the PAS Database be?

A PAS FLO has a go at David Knell for "describing a colleagues work as vacuous because you disagree with the way he has chosen to engage with current debate". It seems to me that the adjective vacuous is perfectly apposite to the described case, which is that article about the Shropshire seal matrix that the British Museum really, really wanted to link with the slave trade.

The problem is that the PAS database is supposed above all to be a repository of permanent record about all the artefacts that have been hoiked by metal detectorists and landed in scattered ephemeral personal collections. That is its primary function. That's a long-term process. To use it in the short term for "engaging in current debates" conflicts with that. If we look back at the early posts of this long-running blog, we can see texts about such engagement. What is very clear is that ten years on, the main reaction is "who cares?". The burning matters of 2008/9 are no longer topical subjects of discussion. The same will be the case with the hot topics of 2020. 

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Some Numbers About Metal Detecting


A few months ago supporters of collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record were ridiculing Sam Hardy's estimate of '27000 detectorists'. Perhaps they'd like to take a look at Facebook today. Mr Fudge's 'Metal Detecting' page, 26,102 members. That 27000 does not look at all unlikely does it?  And how many metal detectorists did the PAS say they'd recorded finds from in 2019? Half that, even? 

And what about the doddery old NCMD that has resigned from the forums and wants its members to use its Facebook page? 4,313 total likes,  5,536 total followers. So less than one third of them goes out with third party insurance? (FID has far fewer members than that, it has 154 members). That's not very "responsible is it?

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Critical Issues Concerning Using Danish Metal-Detector Finds as Archaeological Evidence


Most accounts of the "use" of "metal detected finds" as archaeological evidence in countries with liberal heritage legislation are gushingly enthusiastic. It is refreshing to see that not everywhere have archaeologists swallowed the blue pill. 

Torben Trier Christiansen 2016, Recreational Metal Detecting and Archaeological Research: Critical Issues Concerning Danish Metal-Detector Finds pp 23-36 in J. Martens, and M. Ravn (Eds.) 2016, Pl?yejord som Kontekst: Nye perspektiver for forskning, forvaltning og formidling Oslo


Thirty-five years of private metal detecting have had a profound impact on the field of archaeology in Denmark. In particular, the areas of Iron Age and Early Medieval research have benefited from the extensive new find material. Although the detector finds constitute a genuine revelation in archaeology, the handling and use of Danish detector finds for research purposes is not without obstacles. This article discusses several of the critical issues that limit the research value of the detector finds on the basis of find material recovered in the eastern Limfjord region, northern Jutland.


Screwed Minoan Sherd from Palace of Minos on eBay


EBay seller lantz_industries (81) from Reno, Nevada, United States has a Minoan Archeological Shard from Palace of Minos for sale, yours for US $9,850.00. That is all the description says. On the back of the naff homemade wooden plaque to which it is screwed is a label: "found under mud on actual site of palace in spring, 1954". The 'traditional' date for Thera explosion of c 1500 is referred to here. Somehow the mention of the export licence disappeared from the sales offer... The sherd is nice, should not have left the palace site, but the price - apparently for smuggling it off the island and handling stolen goods, hmm. 

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