Saturday, January 3, 2015

Archaeological Snobs Criticize Significant Reported Find

While the rest of the world is celebrating the discovery of a large hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins that was excavated with the help of a trained Portable Antiquities Scheme finds liaison officer, the archaeological snobosphere is going full out criticizing everything about the find.  Yet, the finders were detecting on private land with the permission of the landowner.  It's highly unlikely that any British archaeologists would have ever surveyed the site on their own and if the find were made in a country like Greece it's also highly unlikely any such find would ever have been properly reported much less recorded.

11 comments:

stoutstandards said...

Definition: jeal-ous-y


1. jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself.

Dave Welsh said...

In this observer's opinion, it is unwise to arbitrarily dismiss archaeological criticism of the methodology of this excavation as "jealous resentment."

I believe that it would instead be valuable to have ongoing discussion of how excavations could best be conducted to preserve as much archaeological context as possible, whilst still addressing the realities of metal detecting practices.

I do not believe that Gill and Barford are arbiters of acceptable practice, but surely British archaeologists with an open-minded practical perspective could and should be consulted as to how important finds such as this ought to be excavated.

If a cooperative international approach to managing discovery and disposition of artifacts is ever to emerge, it is vital to have ongoing communication and serious discussion between detectorist, collecting and archaeology interests.

John H said...

I have to say, Mr Tompa, that the dreadful abuse aimed at the finders the recent spate of coin hoards uncovered by amateurs in the UK, by a Mr Barford of Warsaw, Poland, is probably more an example of ingrained hatred towards personal liberty than of jealousy per se.

The Green-Eyed Monster’s ugly head I suggest, reared not for the discovery itself, but for the excellent accompanying pro-detecting publicity that surrounded these momentous numismatic events.

So why the vile abuse? Though not immediately evident, the source lies deep in the political psyche of the abusers.

For example, Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer wife of Matinee Idol, George, has been told by Egyptian officials she will be arrested if she ever sets foot in that country for having the temerity to expose flaws in Egypt’s judicial system. Currently, Mrs Clooney is part of an international team helping to free Mohamed Fahmy, an Al Jazeera journalist convicted on terrorism charges in Egypt 2013.

In 2014 Mrs Clooney wrote:-

“Sentencing a political opponent to death after a show trial is no different to taking him out on the street and shooting him. In fact, it is worse because using the court system as a tool of state repression makes a mockery of the rule of law.”

Co-incidentally, the aforementioned Mr Barford of Warsaw, Poland, seems quite an aficionado of ‘using the court system as a tool of state repression,’ if his past is anything to judge from, he having taken employment from Poland’s repressive communist regime in 1986: A regime not committed to personal liberty, or compassion, but having an enthusiasm for beating to death political opponents, and Catholic Priests.

Fast-forwarding to modern times, Barford offers little criticism if any, of the current Egyptian regime which Mrs Clooney finds so abhorrent. As an example of the judicial system which Mrs Clooney finds so repugnant can be gauged by Egyptian judge Mohamed Nagy Shehata’s sense of compassion; he recently handed down 188 death sentences in a single trial.

The granting of permits to excavate archaeological sites, Barford has previously assured us, is not connected with the lack of criticism of the Egyptian regime from archaeological quarters generally, or from individual archaeologists.

Let’s hope Mrs Clooney doesn't apply for one.

Warm wishes

John Howland
England

Cultural Property Observer said...

Thanks John. Worth a separate blog.

Dave Welsh said...

Mr. Barford hotly resents comments from Messrs. Stout and Howland (inter alia) ridiculing him appearing in this blog without his having an opportunity to respond. He likewise resents what I have said about him in my blog.

I fear that he has become so embittered and angered that objectivity and clear thought are to some extent impeded.

His reaction to my comments and blog post regarding metal detecting practice was not positive. It is frustrating that the two sides of this issue are so mutually antagonistic that there does not seem to be much hope for the cooperative approach I advocate being adopted anytime soon.

John H said...

Hi Dave:

Barford in my view, fully merits having his outrageous comments put under the spotlight. Whenever he's caught in lie or faces embarrassing questions, lapses into 'victim mode'.

He has nothing to bring to the negotiating table. Despite what he might try to portray, he wields no influence, anywhere. His remarks about collectors and detectorists suggest to me at least, that he's little more than an undistinguished foul-mouthed impotent. He's the oil-rag, not the engine driver.

Besides, I would find it deeply distasteful to even sit at the same table as this man, who in my opinion, betrayed with his support for Communist repression, the entire Polish people. He disgusts me.

However, the PAS system in the UK works exceedingly well, in fact so well, the government pours millions of pounds in to it yearly. Sort of puts Barford in the minority.

Best wishes for the New Year Dave.

Warm regards

John Howland
England

kyri said...

mr welsh says ,
"In this observer's opinion, it is unwise to arbitrarily dismiss archaeological criticism of the methodology of this excavation as "jealous resentment."
i agree with dave welsh hear and that doesnt happen very often.i think the fact that the flo thought it necessary to get the coins out of the ground as quickly as possible,before it got dark,,speaks volumes as to what they really think of some [not all] metal detectors.
kyri.
ps,john,poland was no more a
communist country in the 90s as the uk was.by the mid to late 80s communism was in decline but what that has to do with the topic only you know.

John H said...

kyri:

You write to inform me: "poland was no more a communist country in the 90s as the uk was."

I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you for that.

John Howland
England

John H said...

kyri:

You write to inform me: "poland was no more a communist country in the 90s as the uk was."

I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you for that.

John Howland
England

John H said...

kyri:

You write to inform me: "poland was no more a communist country in the 90s as the uk was."

I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you for that.

John Howland
England

stoutstandards said...

People like Barford and Swift talk about making the PAS work, but in reality they want it, as well as our pastime, gone. Ask them too where we should be allowed to use our metal detectors and they will tell you the ‘beach’ and nowhere else. Compromise is not in their vocabulary.

I spent years trying to communicate and work with the archaeological community here in the states, and they too are not interested in working with us. They view us as a lesser group of people, incapable of adding anything to the historical record, and unless that attitude changes, the bitterness will remain.