Wednesday, 17 January 2018

NCMD Feet-draggers Left Behind by New Code

Heritage Action note: 'There’s a new Metal Detecting Code! First, the excellent news…', the good news is that in drawing up the Revised Code last year, 'only those who have the welfare of archaeology in mind have drafted it'. Although, as they point out - given the nature of the 'partnership' called 'responsible metal detecting' - this was a pretty obvious arrangement,
it’s not something that was recognised as sensible in Britain until now. So could this herald a fundamental change in stewardship of the buried archaeological resource? Might the next step be something that’s been equally overdue: a letter from archaeologists to farmers explaining the realities of [collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record] without it being submitted for detectorists to edit, as previously demanded by their National Council? Could it be that the elephant has finally been thrown out of the room and off the backs of heritage professionals?
As the National Council of Metal Detectorists continues to drag its feet and take a back seat in the heritage debate, perhaps it is time for it to abandon its own 'close the gates' Code of Conduct for one which is far more in tune with the public interest. STOP taking our past. The past is not for pocketing.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

James Fielding shoots his mouth off

To James Fielding, loud-mouth tekkie. I posted this on his blog
In a comment on another blog you write: "I find it interesting how purveyors of BS always somehow shoot themselves in the foot at the onset" Your concern with "depth" however belies your own shallow approach - you failed to check what was the sentence following the fragment that in his blog piece your tekkie mate took OUT OF CONTEXT in the text to which you respond. I think it is rather you that shot yourself in the foot writing without actually checking what it is that is being discussed (and how). 

I would contest your hasty assessment that Dr Samuel Hardy is merely a 'purveyor of BS', the paper referred to carefully sets out the methods used and references the sources utilised for critical review. All the tekkies can do is write with insulting 'Daily Mail adjectivisation' - but without citing a SHRED of evidence that Hardy is in error. I think that is rather telling, even if you do not.
This is typical tekkkies seem to think that a belief repeated often enough becomes the truth. There are texts that raise uncomfortable questions about current policies on artefact hunting and collecting, so instead of examining the underlying premises of them (often set out in a form allowing that to be done), tekkies and collectors label them 'lies' and those raising the questions 'liars' and imagine the issue is resolved. I would say that such an approach in itself reveals that the criticism to which they have no substantive answers has merit.

Antiquities Market Kept Looking Licit by Silence on Collecting Histories?

Lynda Albertson in a recent post on the ARCA blog (IDs from the archives in the Michael Steinhardt and Phoenix Ancient Art seizures Posted: 16 Jan 2018) makes an interesting point about what really that  phrase the 'licit antiquities market' - much over-used in dealer and trade lobbyist circles - actually means in real terms:
It would be interesting to know, from the antiquities buyer's perspective, how many private investors of ancient art, having knowingly or unknowingly purchased illicit antiquities in the past only to later decide to facilitate a second round of laundering themselves, by culling the object from their collection and reselling the hot object on to another collector. By intentionally failing to disclose the name of a known tainted dealer these antiquities collectors avoid having to take any responsibility for the fact that they too have now become players in the game. While staying mum further facilitates the laundering of illicit antiquities, this option may be seen as far easier to collectors who have invested large sums into their collections than admitting they purchased something, unwisely or intentionally, with a less than pristine provenance pedigree. To admit to having bought something that potentially could be looted might bring about the loss of value to the asset. Furthermore by confirming that the antiquity has an illicit background as verified in these archives, would then render the object worthless on the licit art market.
Basically what that means is the pretence that a large part of the market in antiquities involves antiquities of licit origins involves a conspiracy of silence about those items where that status is in doubt.  

Monday, 15 January 2018

Discarded Roman Tombstone dug up in America

Tombstone of Tiberius Claudius Saturninus, a tax collector in the senatorial province of Achaea and freedman of the Emperor Claudius. Recently discovered in Westchester, New York, under the former mansion of Josiah Macy, John Rockefeller’s Standard Oil partner. 1st cent, The Met

Saturday, 13 January 2018

BBC considers whether to stop showing ivory on Antiques Roadshow

This would be a welcome move, the BBC is considering whether to stop showing ivory on the Antiques Roadshow as the government looks to a total ban on the material’s sale in the UK (Graham Ruddick, ' BBC considers whether to stop showing ivory on Antiques Roadshow' BBC, Tue 9 Jan 2018 ).
China has already outlawed all trade in ivory and the UK government is consulting on whether to follow suit as attempts to stop the poaching of elephants increase around the world. It is already illegal in the UK to sell ivory from elephants killed after 1947. Campaigners claim it creates a gap in the law allowing dealers to declare items as antiques without providing evidence of their age.
About 20,000 African elephants a year are slaughtered by poachers.  Then maybe they can impose a similar ban on the showing of the valuation of archaeological material and paperless antiquities from abroad.

Friday, 12 January 2018

More 'Cultural Property News'

The American   invites  readers to their imaginatively-named  'Cultural Property News', 'a new source of information on cultural property issues from us here at CCP!' Having glanced at what they offer so far, I think we may legitimately ask of this new venue, to what extent the ideas embodied behind the selection and presentation of the news stories are anytjhingh new. They seem to be the same old, same tired old things the ACCP has been saying all along, singing from the same songsheet as the ACCG, IAPN, PNG and all the rest of the sorry band of self-centred advocates for a free-for-all and no-questions-asked market.

In any case, what is meant by the adjective 'new' is actually a euphemism for 'hardly read', the first post was made by Kate Fitz Gibbon just under a year ago, January 31, 2016. Anyway, take a look at how these people present their case and decide for yourself who they are and what they represent.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

No Shame: Antiquities Collector Barry B. Bastard Will Always Dodge the Real Question

Another of those substantive comments Peter Tompa will not allow on his 'Cultural Property Observer' blog, preferring lowbrow sniping from metal detectorist John Howland. He is complaining that CBS is making a fictional series ('Blood and Treasure') centred around (it seems) stopping a lone terrorist raising money for his activities by selling looted antiquities ('CPO considers the series as yet another effort to confuse "entertainment" with "news" to promote an anti-collecting crusade. CPO has criticized CBS for promoting "fake news" about values of ISIS loot'):
There you go again making your unsubstantiated claims. In your email you say CBS says that Apamea was looted by ISIL. In fact, if we check that video (still, unfortunately for you online at 1:16) the point being made is that the global antiquities trade, which ISIL has tapped into looks like a 'crime ring' which is why the ISIL participation is difficult to police. That is the point being made, and you misrepresent it. If you value your reputation as a competent 'observer', you should correct your mistake.
Of course Mr Tompa's 'reputation' relies precisely on making such claims. Note the bit: 'we want to shame the buyers, we want to [...] make that even more underground and then find out who's doing it, and bring them to justice'. Do you see any 'shame' among US collectors involved in the open purchase of items potentially supplied by 'criminal rings', whoever is behind them? I don't.

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