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History is for everyone

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History is for everyone

Post by AddictedToBleeps on Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:20 am

A piece I wrote regarding who owns the right to preserve and save History:

http://metaldetectinguk.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/history-is-for-all-of-us.html
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Re: History is for everyone

Post by tomtomcs on Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:17 am

An interesting article. I really never knew the hobby had a bad rep- other than Nighthawkers. Id' thought that was more about the act of theft than selfish historical vandalism. It makes sense though...
In an ideal situation 'They' would indeed be coming to a field near all of us, ready to excavate and study everything, everywhere. It would be great to have all the understanding and interest..

But I just don't think all the places are due to be explored by the Archeologists. Many sites are protected and rightly so. And yes there is a contribution being made by MD community.....
Are we thinking that in 50 years we'll be lamented for stripping the sites, or 100 years? Who's to say there'll be an interest?

I get the idea that items are taken out of context and that's not good, but only really makes sense if we are expecting such sites to one day be looked at.

Is it like the crazy hunters who've shot and made trophies of now extinct species?  Their pleasure and interest had great effects on others in years to come.

Certainly a very complex topic that wanders into philosophy as much as anything else. Made no clearer by me!

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Re: History is for everyone

Post by AddictedToBleeps on Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:54 pm

Ha Ha! Thanks for the reply Smile

An (one of the good ones) archaeologist commented on the blog post, and I thought I'd copy and paste it here, as it makes for interesting reading:

It's a good case and in very many instances, detectorists have found key pieces of material evidence both on and off the archaeological field. This is a good thing. However, there are a number of ppl who keep their finds to themselves for their own financial and personal gain - this is one of the reasons detectorists get a bad name. The other is a little more complex in that some archaeologists reel at the thought of treasure being ripped out of context. Fine- if a coin horde is found in a lone pit in the middle of a field then all well and good. But what if a Anglo Saxon gold pommel et al gets torn out of the ground by a detectorist which was actually part of a wider burial, one packed with organic finds (some human) which the treasure would actually help to date, and incidentally, a metal detector would not pick up. In these instances, a full excavation would be warranted from the County Archaeologist but also in these cases, there just isn't the money. Archaeologists therefore have a problem since a greater picture of the heritage is lost with the extraction of these finds, finds that are better left buried and then extracted by professionals who can place this treasure in a wider context which enables a greater understanding of the heritage and the past in general. Metal detecting is a double edged sword. The PAS is definitely testament to it's brighter keener edge. The organised metal detecting clubs are also definitely a positive side to since they introduce some form of process, record and organisation to the activity. The elitist academics and in some cases, archaeologists ,can frown all they like on the clubs and the individuals, but it remains to say that they are here to stay. The dirty side to the coin cannot be hidden though. A great many archaeological sites have been wrecked by " nite-hawkers" eager for the non-ferrous metals, destroying important features and there-through detailed historical detail. When elitists judge ( sometimes unfairly and sometimes justifiably) detectorists, they do so since they are horrified at what information could have been gained had the detectorist not ripped out the treasure/artefact out of context, rendering the object and the surrounding context difficult (and sometimes impossible ) to date.
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Re: History is for everyone

Post by hopenscope on Fri Dec 04, 2015 7:09 am

The chance of something like a Saxon gold pommel is very remote...in fact most of the 'rare pieces' are exactly that with some detectorists going for decades without ever finding a single piece of gold, or any artefacts worth any more than a few hundred pounds. In the meantime they have paid out thousands in fuel costs and for equipment. It is not a 'money spinner' however the media or certain archaeologists would like everyone to believe! Most searchers operate in their own localities and have a great appreciation for the things they find. In many cases the landholder is happy to see and share the items that come up with the finder who has done the literally hours of plodding around in all weathers. These same individuals are often to be found doing displays at schools or for local charities, talks are another way where a keen searcher will share their discoveries with the wider general public and they should be commended for the time they put in away from their field work.
Of course there are some 'bad apples' , as there is in any pastime you can think of. But these are a tiny minority. More finds are recorded with the PAS then are not, and in many of the remainder's cases the detectorist keeps accurate records to pass down in due course. As already mentioned often there is a local connection, the items that turn up might well have belonged to a distant ancestor of the finder. The original owner would be pleased that his loss has been recovered by the average Joe, rather than it being consigned to corrode away on the orders of some one of 'authority' who would rather everything is tucked away in boxes in Museum basements, never to be seen again..

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