Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Great Mosque of al-Nuri in western Mosul Destroyed


This aerial view taken on June 21, 2017 and
provided by Iraq's Joint Operation Command

 shows destruction inside Mosul's Nuri mosque
 compound CREDIT: AFP
The same area in August 2008 (Google  Earth)

The Islamic State has blown up The Great Mosque of al-Nuri with its distinctive leaning minaret in western Mosul, according to U.S. and Iraqi forces (Alex Lubben, 'ISIS blows up 845-year-old mosque, tries to blame U.S.' vice.com,  Jun 21, 2017). The twelfth-century mosque, along with its minaret, was one of Iraq's most famous buildings. Haider al-Abadi, Iraq's prime minister, said the destruction of the sites was "an official declaration of defeat" by Isil in the eight-month-old battle for Mosul. Probably the aim was to deny the government the possibility of declaring victory there. The destruction of the mosque (apparently by explosives previously placed inside it) has also beebn taken by some as a form of confirmation that the Russian claim to have killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have basis in fact.
The leaning minaret  AFP
The mosque [...] carries symbolic weight in Iraq and the greater Middle East. The Great Mosque of al-Nuri also carries symbolic weight for the terror group: It’s where ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave his first speech as caliph in 2014, days after the terror group declared its caliphate in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has held the city as its de-facto capital in Iraq since then, using it as a central hub for commerce and illegal oil sales, and stealing stores of weapons and cash from the Iraqi forces who had abandoned the city. [...] But ISIS, over their newswire Amaq, contradicted reports from Iraqi forces, claiming instead that the U.S. was behind the mosque’s destruction. The U.S.-led coalition forcefully contested that claim, saying in a statement that the “responsibility for this devastation is laid firmly at the doorstep of ISIS.” The coalition added that it had confirmed through drone surveillance that the mosque was destroyed. An investigation is underway. Taking the mosque back from ISIS militants, who have waged a long and bloody campaign to hold the city since Iraqi forces began their offensive eight months ago, would have been a symbolic victory for U.S. and Iraqi coalition forces.
It is believed that ISIL is still holding up to 100,000 civilians in Mosul, using them as human shields during combat. The taking of the western part of Mosul, with its winding roads and small buildings, has proved more difficult than the eastern part which fell five months ago.
The Old City in West Mosul has been the site of the deadliest fighting in the course of the 8-month-long offensive. The Iraqi army believes there to be only 300 Iraqi fighters left in Mosul; there were 6,000 at the start of the offensive, according to Reuters.
BBC News Battle for Mosul: IS 'blows up' al-Nuri mosque 22nd June 2017. 

UPDATE
I am not fully convinced that the much-published footage of the controlled explosions that reportedly depict this tower being felled are authentic, at least one version in the web seems to have been manipulated. This film (disseminated by 'Palmyra Pioneer) shows the damage on the ground and you can see the building was blown flat by explosions from inside and there are no traces whatsoever of craters.  An air-conditioning fan is represented as a bomb fragment.


Warped Priorities


Ten countries, who account for 2.5% of world GDP, host 56% of the world's refugees. The world's 6 richest countries host The world's 6 richest countries host less than 9%

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But guess where the bulk of the looted cultural property goes. People before trophy artefacts.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Florida Artefact Hunters Face Charges


James Call, 'Arrowhead hunters face felony charges' Tallahassee Democrat June 13, 2017
Florida Wildlife officers arrested two artifact hunters they say were mining Taylor County creeks and river channels for ancient arrow and spear points. Deanna Danielle Ray and James Garrett Taylor faced 3rd-degree felony charges for the unlawful removal of archeological specimens located on [state owned] lands. A Florida Wildlife Commission spokesman said officers were alerted to a suspicious vehicle in the Econfina Wildlife Management Area during the last week of May. Ray and Taylor, according to an FWC report, fled when a trio of officers approached them in a wooded area [...] Further investigation found artifact digging tools, a dig site and female shoes.
The use of a dog was necessary to capture one of the looters.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Well, What DO the PAS think?


Heritage Action have another cogent observation about how Britain treats the nation's archaeological heruitage (Metal detecting: six words that still can’t be said', 18the June 2017)
At a time when detectorists persuade farmers to deep plough to maximise their loot, when a huge registered business called Lets Go Digging is paying up to £1,000 to get access to farms and at a time when Dr Sam Hardy’s work is pointing to between 90 and 98 percent of recordable finds not being reported, we’d like to make the point we made a few years ago: “Ever heard PAS or the Government say “not reporting detecting finds is immoral?” How come? Well, Britain is special. It’s the country where theft of society’s knowledge of it’s past isn’t morally indefensible [...] [This] dates from when it became evident that most detectorists take “voluntary” to mean “not necessary”. At that point, for the Scheme to assert reporting was necessary on moral grounds would be to point out a too-painful truth to their partners and indeed to their funders. Thus, “moral obligation” has been dropped.
HA suggest that it would be an interesting litmus test of attitudes if one was to write to PAS, or one of the FLOs or the Government and ask them straight out “do you think not reporting detecting finds is immoral?” I thought I'd do just that: (the topic name comes from an earlier -bulk post requesting information):
Sunday, June 18, 2017 8:48 AM
To: 'Michael Lewis'; 'philippa.walton@stalbans.gov.uk'; 'vanessa.oakden@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk'; 'anna.tyacke@royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk'; 'c.h.trevarthen@dorsetcc.gov.uk'; 'kurt.adams@bristol.gov.uk'; 'katie.hinds@hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk'; 'Peter.Reavill@shropshire.gov.uk'; 'frank.basford@IOW.gov.uk'; 'stuart.noon@lancashire.gov.uk'; 'dot.boughton@tulliehouse.org'; 'adam.daubney@lincolnshire.gov.uk'; 'julie.shoemark@norfolk.gov.uk'; 'Anna.Booth@suffolk.gov.uk'; 'Alex.Bliss@suffolk.gov.uk'; 'mark.lodwick@nmgw.ac.uk'; 'ABolton@worcestershire.gov.uk'; 'anni.byard@oxfordshire.gov.uk'; 'Mary Chester-Kadwell'; 'Helen Geake'; 'Lauren Speed'; 'Robert Webley'

Subject: Re: Maintaining high levels of reporting by artefact hunters: from Paul Barford

A question for the PAS from myself and Heritage Action:

do you think not reporting detecting finds is immoral?

Thank you
Paul Barford


  

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Metal Detectorist Lost


Someone who I assume to be an artefact hunter asks me to do his footwork for him:
Could you signpost or provide a link to the laws/ regulations relating to metal detecting in France. Despite Google I can only seem to find interpretations which don't refer or link to the source of the knowledge.
He and any other people intending to go artefact-hoiking abroad (and those buying artefacts coming from foreign countries) would do well to have a look at the UNESCO Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws'.
2756 laws of 188 Member States are published on the Database website. There have been 10,812 researches and 1,196.049 impressions in the last three months.
UPDATE 
Uh-oh, though ten thousand other folk have managed it recently, he does not seem to be able to suss out how the search engine works...  metal detectorists, huh?

What you need, Mark is the Code du patrimoine Version consolidée au 12 mai 2017; probably what you are looking for is in Livre V Archéologie/ Titre III: Fouilles Archéologiques programmées et Decouvertes Fortuites (for example (Section 1 : Autorisation de fouilles par l'Etat. (Articles L531-1 à L531-8), Section 3 : Découvertes fortuites. (Articles L531-14 à L531-19)) but probably most of all Titre IV : Dispositions Diverses, in which if you look, you'll find: Chapitre 2 : Utilisation de détecteurs de métaux. Is that it? Can you manage by yourself now?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Thicko Hoikers and their 'Partnership' with the FLOs


Read this thread, note the thicko who cannot read even plain English:
    Nickinstick: [,...] (Camping NOT included) .Camping isn't available onsite but Thorney Lakes Campsite is right next door, (please book separately) [...]  bob79  [...] Hi Nickinstick, is the cost of camping included in the price[?]  Bob  [...]   Hello Bob No it isn't I'm afraid, there isn't room on the site. But Thorney Lakes Campsite is right next door. Thanks Nick [...] bob79: £15 a night, sorry mate too expensive. 
Obviously for some of these folk, pocketing pieces of the past is something that should come cheap.

Now ask yourself if the FLO will be present on the Muchelney Weekend Rally 30th Sep - 1st Oct and if so what he or she will say about the search methodology... and will any thicko understand anyway?

Irresponsible UK Collectors "Refreshing" the Pillage Rate by Inciting Deep Ploufghing



"The farmer has been pursuaded (sic)
to deep plough and sub soil all worked land so
the already productive fields will surely yield more!"  (the the deliberate destruction of a productive
UK archaeological site
for personal
 entertainment and profit)

Heritage Action draw attention this week to the problem of  collectors of archaeological artefacts emptying a 'productive' site of diagnostic and collectable metal artefacts and instead of walking away and fully and informatively recording and disseminating the archaeological evidence they all claim they have 'saved' from obliteration n the active ploughsoil, merely ask the farmer to slice into the archaeological material still in situ beneath the normal reach of the plough. They do this so they can get their grubby scabby hands on more and more of the archaeological collectables they crave and covet. This is by no mens any kind of 'saving' evidence, still less preservation, it is utterly destructive - especially when accompanied by the crude kind of recording of associations that we see from the vast majority of these collectors (the ones that do record and report anything at all which is a minority).

This is appalling and has been going on for many years while the PAS watch on apparently with their hands in their pockets (no chance then, of this being part of the 'best practice' PAS shrinking violets are being paid to effectively instill. Pathetic showing).  I was searching for the source of the quote, but... well quelle surprise, following the link brings us to:  
The requested topic does not exist.
clear evidence that somebody in the metal detecting world knows full well that what was being proposed is completely and utterly wrong and calls into question what these hoikers give as their justification for pocketing the lot. 

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

 
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