Saturday, 22 July 2017

Another Commercial Organization Eroding the UK's Archaeological Record

Apart from Nigel Jones and his happy band of pay-to-exploit diggers and collectors, there are other ones. Make no mistake, organizing commercial artefact grabfests is a money spinner. Here's another one, Let's Go Digging:
Lets Go Digging was the brainchild of Paul Howard, a detectorist who was becoming aware of the difficulties facing himself and his fellow ‘diggers’ when it came to getting permission to detect on farmland. With the rise in crime and other negative factors, farmers were becoming more and more reluctant to allow strangers on their property. Paul realised that the only way to convince landowners to allow detecting was to commercialise it, to recompense the farmers for allowing groups of people onto his fields. In no time at all, Paul’s venture began to gather pace with hundreds of people joining his Facebook page interested in being part of organised group digs. With the farmers seeing it as a revenue stream for their business, permissions began to increase and recommendations and referrals soon enabled Paul to organise frequent events around his home area in the West Midlands. Lets go Digging’s popularity has now stretched to almost 2000 members and land permissions being offered nationwide. Recently he launched Lets Go Digging (Wales) which is already attracting substantial interest.
They are now active in Wales. The first event in Brecon had a good turnout with 'a great range of coins and artefacts recovered, making the day a success for all' (except the main stakeholders, the British public whose heritage was pocketed).
With over 100 coins unearthed, including a few exceptional hammered silver pennies along with a few Romans and various artifacts (sic), the Brecon Rally was a positive start to the Welsh venture and already Paul has been approached by farmers offering permissions. 
Paul intends to take this venture further South and further North 'as further interest in the hobby is becoming increasingly apparent'.
Paul believes that with group digs, the administration and organisation will result in far better records being maintained of what finds are discovered and where. That landowners will be far more receptive to a respected organisation and that the hobby can be promoted to encourage more people to join in digging the history from beneath their feet.
Our archaeological heritage, our feet. I am sure Mr Howard would like to show us all those records of the 100 coins and other artefacts from the 'Brecon dig' on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database. Where are they now?

What, though, is happening to the PAS' concept of 'citizen archaeology' as more and more businesses are being set up to commercialise the Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Heritage? We've had one off or annual commercial artefact hunting rallies on individual sites, now we are seeing the creation of businesses set up with the explicit purpose of identifying exploitable bits of the archaeological record and setting their paying clients loose on them. Surely, this is making a mockery of the claims of the PAS about 'responsible artefact hunting' (because doing it commercially is as far from a 'responsible' approach to the archaeological record as you can get). Will then a 'responsible' PAS be addressing these problems at any of their conferences any time soon? Don't hold your breath.

Tekkies Swap 'Their' Land

On a metal detecting forum near you, land exchange now

Are you a club looking for land?

Post by Oxgirl36 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:14 pm
Let's go digging have land in Wales, Lancashire and Devon that they can't use. They are offering the land to clubs that might need it as it could be lost otherwise. Interested? Contact Paul at LGD either via Facebook or via their website.
Surely, is it not up to the landowner to determine who they will invite onto their property, and from which 'pool' they are selected. Land not ransacked for collectables is not land 'lost'. Why is this land in these regions not profitable to search? 
It seems to me that metal detectorists are getting a bit above themselves, the more money they make from the commercialisation of the Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record. Do you get a PAS FLO thrown into the 'deal' too?

NYC Antiquities Dealer Sues WSJ over Story

A New York antiquities dealer, Hicham Aboutaam, is suing the Wall Street Journal for suggesting he and his brother have sold items looted by ISIS. (Sydney Smith, 'NYC Antiquities Dealer Sues WSJ over ISIS Looting Investigations Story' Media Ethics July 22, 2017).
The Wall Street Journal‘s spokesperson Steve Severinghaus told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “The Wall Street Journal‘s article about investigations into the trafficking of material looted by ISIS was thoroughly reported, fair and wholly accurate. We fully stand by the article and will mount a robust defense to Hicham Aboutaam’s lawsuit.” iMediaEthics has written to Aboutaam’s lawyer for more information.
Courthouse News Service uploaded a copy of the lawsuit, which was filed in New York. In the lawsuit, Aboutaam repeats his denial of buying or selling any looted items, and he accuses the Journal of “ignoring months of assiduous attempts to guide and correct [Wall Street Journal] reporters’ misconceptions, misunderstandings, and incorrect assumptions.” [...]
The lawsuit says that the Journal article caused Aboutaam to lose funding, business relationships and business opportunities. Hicham Aboutaam’s Geneva-based brother, Ali, isn’t suing over the article because his business hasn’t been as affected, the New York Times noted.
I wrote at the time that the article appeared largely built on innuendo. Media Ethics has an interesting breakdown of the manner in which WSJ referred to its 'sources'. Certainly a case that will be watched with interest by journlists and bloggers alike.

Metal detectorist Sells Roman Fleet Diploma

Gavin Havery, ' Metal detectorist finds Britain's first Roman Fleet diploma near Lanchester, in County Durham' Northern Echo 21st July 2017
Mr Houston finds plenty of ring pulls from fizzy drinks cans, and his main artefacts tend to be musket balls. Until discovering the diploma his best find was a Palstave bronze axe head, which dates back thousands of years. He has now sold the diploma to Durham University’s Museum of Archaeology for a five-figure sum, splitting the money with the landowner. Mr Houston said: “For me, the only place it should be is in a local museum for local people because it is part of our local history, and a massive part of our local history. “This is the best place for it.” 
So he "sold" it. To us. And pocketed the munny instead of the artefact this time.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Detectorists Targeting Gloucestershire Farmland at Night

Baz Thugwit,  Nocturnal Citizen
Archaeologist Without Licence
examning one of his finds
Metal detectorists who hunt for buried ancient artefacts are targeting farmland in Gloucestershire. The practice involves people using metal detectors searching at night to hunt for valuable objects without the landowner's permission to be there and to take away their property (Illegal detectorists targeting Gloucestershire farmland  17 July 2017).
Gloucestershire Police said it contravenes the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and is rife during late summer after fields are ploughed. Farmer Graham Nichols, from Kingscote, said the people involved know what they are doing is illegal. Mr Nichols claims there are 150 acres of Roman settlements beneath his farmland. He said: "It's where people come with metal detectors to try and find Roman remains. The problem is all this land is scheduled so it's an illegal activity." "They know what they're doing is illegal as they are coming out at night when it's dark," Mr Nichols added. "This is history, and once they've taken that history away it can never be put back there, and this is the future for generations to come." Gloucestershire Police Sgt Garrett Gloyne said: "It happens at a particular time of year after farmers have harvested crops and fields have been ploughed." He warned if someone is found using a metal detector on a scheduled ancient monument they could be arrested, and also urged the public to notify the force of any suspicious activity.

British 'Responsible Metal Detecting' in Orl its Glory

"from now on anyone asks me what
to do with a find im going to be telling them
what i would do. and thats not whats written in books of rules"

I just found this on Facebook and think it should be shared with all those fans of British so-called 'responsible metal detecting'. It is associated with the band of artefact hunters associated with Nigel Jones, the guy who is going to get his legal team on me to block me discussing his commercial organization. While we wait for that to happen, I will continue discussing what I think needs outing and discussing. 
TO PAS OR NOT TO PAS, THAT IS THE QUESTION? SHOULD WE NOT KEEP ALL OF OUR FINDS AND SAY FUCK THE THIEVING STUCK UP ASS HOLES THAT KEEP LOSING OUR FINDS. Personally I hope all of our heritage gets stolen and sold abroad, because from where im sitting, the selfish bastards in the British museum cant be arsed to record finds correctly and even loose a metal detectorists finds. WHAT YOU GONA DO WHEN NO MORE FINDS ARE RECORDED AND THE MUSEUMS FALL EMPTY BECAUSE YOU LOOSE EVERYTHING............
 #pas #flo #britishmuseum #digitkeepit
Fans of British 'Responsible metal detecting' can also follow the hashtag 'dig it, keep it':  ...where this post is attributed to a certain Mr Jones, the organizer of a large commercial artefact hunting organization, and then we find this is the next call for a reporting strike in retaliation for uncomfortable questions being raised about the effects of current policies on Collction-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological Record.

'from now on anyone asks me what to do with a find im going to be telling them what i would do. and thats not whats written in books of rules' (Nigel Jones)

Of course the official view is that the so-called 'responsible artefact hunter' with a metal detector in the UK does not have to 'ask' Mr Jones or anyone else, he just goes to the FLO with what needs recording (as per Code or Responsible Collecting). That's the responsible thing to do.

So what's the difference between selfish taking of evidence of everybody's past for oneself without sharing the knowledge? That is Knowledge Theft, and I would say just as damaging to the record of our past as Nighthawking. Isn't it?

UPDATE 23rd July 2017
Since this was written, some of the commenters seem to have had second thoughts and the more revealing ones have been deleted... Something to hide, folks? 

Code? What Code? See You.

Nigel Jones (who is threatening to get his legal team on me for debating heritage issues) has set up a commercial artefact hunting organization, he makes money out of getting farmers to agree to some collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record of his land (perfectly legal in the UK). Considerable numbers of artefacts are being decontextualised and disappearing into scattered ephemeral personal collections made for entertainment and profit (when any items are sold off, members are told there is not obligation to return any of the proceeds to the landowner as long as the value of individual items does not exceed 300 quid). Here's a happy customer writing about the range of artefacts he got out of the historical record during one such event (no doubt we'll see the whole range of recordable items found on such a prolific site on the 'rallies' page of the PAS database)  to bulk out the rather poor showing from the commercial events recently.
Peter Lister zrecenzował: The Metal Detectorist5 gwiazdek  24 kwietnia
Had a really good day the event was really well organised and people were very friendly the detecting area was huge with no green waste - I found lead loom weights, trade weights, coins and buttons but left the event on a high when I found my first hammered and silver George 111  Just like to say thanks for a great day and see you all next weekend.
The Metal Detectorist thank you peter see you next week on the ridge and furrow we have to dig over the weekend
Don't forget to take your copy of the Responsbility Code with you.

Vignette: 'Ridge and furra', unploughed for centuries, stuff just there fer the taking... 
Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.