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BRITARCH  September 2006

BRITARCH September 2006


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Re: A MD day at the Thornborough Henges


John Carman <[log in to unmask]>


British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>


Thu, 28 Sep 2006 13:26:37 +0100





text/plain (1 lines)

Steve@DDL wrote:

"The hobby takes a big risk in inviting FLO's and archaeologists to rallies, 

it doesnt have to do this, it isnt a legal requirement or even a moral one, 

it is a privalage extended to the archaeological community"

This surely where the division between archaeologists and detectorists resides. As an archaeologist, I would claim that there is a moral duty for detectorists to involve FLOs etc. in rallies because the archaeological resource belongs to everyone and not just those who like to collect bits of it. The privilege therefore actually works the other way: via (e.g.) the PAS detectorists are allowed access to the archaeological record in return for proper recording of their finds. I find it interesting that Steve does not regard metal detecting on archaeological sites to be a privilege that he chooses to exercise. 

The distinction is between a privilege and a right.  Just because something is allowed does not make it a right: and detecting on archaeological sites is something that detectorsts such as Steve should maybe begin to see as a privilege and not claim as a right, because it isn't.

Dr John Carman

Birmingham University Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Heritage Valuation

Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity

Arts Building

University of Birmingham


Birmingham B15 2TT

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7493

Fax: +44 (0)121 414 3595

Email: [log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----

From: British archaeology discussion list

[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Steve@DDL

Sent: 28 September 2006 13:13

To: [log in to unmask]

Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] A MD day at the Thornborough Henges

I dont see Davids views as one sided at all, neither do I see thast he has 

in any way shape or form compromised his archaeological beleifs...

Beleive me, if it was felt that David was in any way ingratiating himself 

with the hobby in a baseless way he awould hold the respct that he has from 


Davids reports is not just a kissasss document, sucking up to the hobby, it 

also highlights its shortcomings and states that we still have a way to go.

I for one am confident enough in davids inegrity that if he had seriuous 

concerns over the conduct at the rally then he would have said so, and quite 

rightly too.

The hobby takes a big risk in inviting FLO's and archaeologists to rallies, 

it doesnt have to do this, it isnt a legal requirement or even a moral one, 

it is a privalage extended to the archaeological community, its leaves us 

wide open for inspection and criticism... rather odd when all we hear is 

that we are secretive and furtive dont you think?


----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Rob" <[log in to unmask]>

To: <[log in to unmask]>

Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2006 1:04 PM

Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] A MD day at the Thornborough Henges


Why do you think always that being banned from a list changes paul's view on

one thing or another.  Many moons ago now he was censured by the council of

twelve on another list along with Gary for their outspoken views, yet he

didn't come to Britarch attacking myself or one of the other eleven.  In

fact he made it clear that whilst he didn't agree with our views he would

uphold the decision.

That aside he has yet again raised some serious questions and shown the one

sided reporting of another.  Now I have no grip with David, far from it

actually but there does seem to be a one sided view appearing in his reports

and I don't see you or the detecting fraternity shouting him down for this

as you do Paul or Nigel.  WHY?




----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Steve@DDL" <[log in to unmask]>

To: <[log in to unmask]>

Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2006 10:10 AM

Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] A MD day at the Thornborough Henges

And of course this tirade has nothing to do with the fact that you have

recently been banned from the BAJR Forum does it Paul....

Sour grapes and all that springs to mind.....


----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Paul Barford" <[log in to unmask]>

To: <[log in to unmask]>

Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2006 9:14 AM

Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] A MD day at the Thornborough Henges

Joanne Duijns writes on behalf of BAJR:

> David Connolly has been kind enough to write a observation report.

> http://www.bajr.org/Documents/Rally_Henges.pdf

A self-gratulatory text with a facile, overdone ‘paper tiger’ introduction

and facile and cloying conclusion.

It merely illustrates how its author (one of the most vociferous supporters

of artefact hunting and collecting in British archaeology today) understands

the issues raised recently about artefact hunting, large "metal detecting

rallies" at sensitive sites, the role of the PAS and this rally in

particular. I think he has somehow totally missed the point.

The very idea of a "metal detecting day" (actually three) at Thornborough is

one that we should be questioning. The site was declared a landscape of

national importance, and yet the landowner was selling off to collectors

access to its archaeological finds like so many pick your-own strawberries.

The area he made “available” goes right up to the edge of the scheduled area

("oh yes, we will be detecting to within ten metres of the henges!" you

could hear if you phoned the organizers a week before the event). In fact

David’s map shows clearly that of the four areas he saw detected, two ran up

to the edge of the scheduled area for a substantial portion of their

boundaries. Many responsible detectorists rightly stayed away. And yet it

went ahead, with 300 people turning up to take away their own little "piece

of history" from this landscape for their collections and sale.

There are a number of questions a truly unbiased report would raise about

such an event and try to discuss. We see none of them here. We are instead

offered a muddled sermon about "respect" and being nice to one another with

some self-gratulatory and autobiographical details thrown in.

Most of the ‘factual’ content of the report is based on what detectorists

told its author, which on the whole consists of the same stuff as we have

all heard from detectorists time and time again. One “Derek” is specifically

quoted, he was the one who said artefact hunters don’t sell their finds.

Well, Nigel has shown spectacularly how wrong this piece of whitewash is.

When David Connolly arrived at the site he saw "stalls selling coins, some

artefacts"… and from the speed at which it appeared on eBay, it seems a fair

assumption that this dealer (for there seems little doubt from

"romanremains'" other eBay offerings

http://search.ebay.co.uk/_W0QQsassZromanremains this is a dealer)*  was

present at the Thornborough Rally ready to snap up the finds as they came

out of the ground. Its a pity that in the interests of objectivity that

David Connolly did not report the results of his conversations with him. I

am sure he has a lot of interesting stories to tell of "detecting practice".

[Is this the guy? [log in to unmask] a metal detectorist from

Shadforth, Co. Durham (from http://www.ukdetectornet.co.uk/index.php?id=94

and http://www.ncmd.co.uk/individual.htm) the 'nick' and address tally with

the eBay seller's....]

David Connolly claims to have learnt and presented to us “the truth”, but it

is clear he has been listening only to one side. For example [on page 8], he

concludes that the “PAS has to learn”.. and then cites the case of an

artefact hunting rally where the FLO was unable to attend. Perhaps before

including this in his “review of […] Portable Antiquities Scheme methods

[sic]”, he should have checked the circumstances surrounding this event and

not just listen to the detectorists’ side. I have, and they do not support

the conclusion that David places on it – rather the detectorists need to

“learn” that the FLO is not there just to service their hobby at their beck

and call to provide finds identifications for their eBay sales pitch at

taxpayers’ expense.

Paul Barford

* Look at the awful Roman brooches, stripped, polished, "silvered" and made

suitable for wearing. Who wears these things? Do they have a real fur stole

to match?


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