Still Baffling Them with BS!

My March 10th post “We Can Dig It Or” really hit a nerve with my good friend in Warsaw. He was not happy with my comments, my philosophy nor my intent and decided to refute everything I said in order to display his prowess with words…a lot of words…confusing words. It’s called bullshit.  You can read it by clicking  here.

I had to respond…

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I started off my post with…”We can dig it or wait for the next turn of a farmer’s plow, the next shopping mall, highway, used car lot, tornado, flood or earthquake.  We can dig it or let it succumb to the elements, the next fracking well, quarry, man made lake or for all eternity. Then again we can dig it and share it with the public, or wait for that government funded archaeological expedition to discover it, dig it, analyze it, write about it, then store it away in a university or museum basement”.

His response…

“I wonder what the notion of “sharing with the public” of a metal detectorist’s haul actually is. Mr Stout’s lifelong collection of dugup relics for example? I suppose the PAS could be seen in a way as fulfilling this function, but Texas has no such Scheme. What, in any case, is being “shared”? “I’ve got this thing in a carton in my garage”, or “here is the precise information about the context of deposition and discovery of these items”? It’s not really likely to be about the context of anything discovered with a metal detector if Mr Stout continues:”

 

Well first Wally I doubt I have anything that would meet the needs or wants of any museum.  Through the years however I have shared a lot of my finds with scouting organizations, civic groups, senior citizens, adult education classes and schools.  I also know of countless other detectorists who have done the same and also donated many of their finds to local and state museums.  And yes Texas does not have a  PAS, nor does any other state (score one for you… you are so brilliant?)   As for those things “in a carton, in my garage”, they’re junk, as in crap and if you give me your address I’d be more than happy to send all that crap to you…collect of course!  Then you can pour through it, find all those museum worthy items and have fun.

 

Next I stated…Frankly I am tired of hearing the archaeological community talk about context, i.e., nothing should be disturbed less all things historical will be destroyed. Check! Got it! Over and out! Bottom line… they do not want you, I or anyone to bother an as yet unknown, unidentified, undesignated, nameless and “what just might be” historic site.

Wally responds…

“It’s what we call conservation. Likewise we don’t want pressed flower enthusiasts digging up orchid meadows, bird egg collectors climbing the elms to steal wild bird eggs, crazy guys with rifles blowing the heads off endangered species of mammals or birds, and fossil hunters bashing away at pre-cambrian Burgess shale outcrops, or people unscrewing the bronze plaque from a war-memorial. It’s what we call conservation, and most people see the sense in that. The metal detectorist however tries to prove that conservation is not what the public want”.

 

So in essence Wally what you are saying is that any and all collectors need to disappear and leave everything to you and your archaeological cohorts.  And unscrewing bronze plaques from war-memorials? Pressed flower enthusiasts?Bird egg collectors?  Come on please…you really need to take your meds.

 

I then go on…How many visitors to a museum do you think really give a rat’s ass about context? What percentage…50%, 10%, 2%? What do you think? I am guessing that the only folks who care about context are archaeologists. Yes they have gone to school, studied hard, earned their degrees, but by and large their profession is based on a lot of guesswork and assumption. Better than nothing?  Sure it is but let’s not pretend it’s an “exact” science.

His take on this?

“As for the profession, note the disdain for education. I suspect that Mr Stout’s actual knowledge of archaeological method is about as extensive as that of his guffawing and equally self-opinionated mate “Two-lessons Bill”. The narrativisation of a decontextualised find made with a metal detector, is that not far more based on “a lot of guesswork and assumption”?  In what way is it not? Later on, Mr Stout reveals adherence to the misconception that archaeology is done as a haphazard “stumbling across things with a government grant”. If he’s been listening to Missy Lisa, I wonder just what they teach folk on the archaeology course at the University of Florida. According to him:”

 

No Wally I do not have a disdain for education, and if you had one you would know that’s not what I said. I was saying that a degree in archaeology (someday Wally… keep banging away at the books) was well earned, but that a lot of archaeology is guess work and I will stand by that.

 

The following is from Science Forums, and while the pros and cons are further debated this pretty much sums up MY feelings:

 

“I have two objections to archeology’s claim to be a science”…..

“First, it bases its inferences on data samples which would be considered utterly inadequate to prove the same sorts of assertions in history or in a court of law. A few Egyptian coins of the  2nd century B.C. are found in Massalia, and suddenly archeologists conclude that there must have been significant trade going on between Massalia and Egypt, when in fact the find may have been just a chance event, with some Massalian in the 1st century A.D. having been a collector of old Egyptian coins.

Second, its inferences operate on the assumption that peoples in the distant past thought just like us, which we well know is not the case. Often the evidence of beliefs and attitudes even just a few centuries ago is shockingly irrational, illogical, and mysterious in terms of the human motivations which drive our behavior today, and yet when archeologists look at the material and evidence of the past, they draw implications from it about how people in the past lived on the basis of the illicit assumption that those people oriented towards their material surroundings exactly as we would.

When Egyptologists pompously announce that the tiny, painted, wooden figures in some pharoh’s tomb were designed to accompany him to the afterlife so that they could serve him there, I always want to ask, “How do you know that they weren’t intended as toys? How do you know that the whole ritual surrounded pharonic burials wasn’t accompanied by raucus laughter and performed as a type of parody?”

“If archeologists 10,000 years from now find nothing of our present culture except a Jerry Lewis movie, they are going to announce solemly that this cinematic record from the past represents the expected maturation rituals for a young prince in our era”…

 

The next statement I made that he had a problem with….The archaeological community hates it when someone without a degree, someone who perhaps never even graduated high school, someone just having fun, finds a Staffordshire Hoard or Garrett Helmet….

Wally answers…

“The problem with this find was not so much that it was found, but where actually it had been found, why the detectorists were up among the earthworks on unploughed pasture, and what happened to that find afterwards, leading to an almost total loss of information at every step of the way, beyond the simple fact that it “is” and some say its pretty (after restoration). Having “fun” is one thing, having fun at the expense of everyone’s knowledge of the shared past is quite another thing, and I think there is no reason to avoid discussing situations like this to see how we can change things. It is worth reflecting a moment about in whose interest it would be to prevent an change occurring leading to the increase of information deriving from hobby artifact hunting. What kind of people are they, and are they a majority in society, or a minority?”

 

Hmm, I have no clue what the hell Wally said there… I think, and it’s merely a guess (you know what that is, right Wally?) that he’s talking about the Crosby Helmet. Here again I never said anything about what happened after it was found, only that it WAS found by a detectorist, and I can only assume that Wally would prefer it was still buried somewhere. Lastly he never mentioned whether he was pleased that these two treasures were found because obviously he is not.  He is thoroughly pissed. He is pissed with anyone who uses a detector and the only thing that would please him would be if we disappeared from the face of the earth and stopped embarrassing the archaeological community.

Then out of the clear blue sky he finishes up with this..

“Over to you Ms McIntyre. These metal detectorists have been generous with their money and their opinions, now it is time to hear yours.”

Hmm, what? How and why he decided to drag Lisa MacIntyre into this is beyond me. No where in my post was her name mentioned. Apparently he has never forgotten her affiliation with detectorists and that she, in fact, really does have a degree in archaeology.

Don’t be discouraged Wally…someday!

And so it goes in Wally World….

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Still Baffling Them with BS!

  1. Robbie

    So when an archaeologist digs a “location”, they pick a spot that might look like good to find artifacts. Then they dig slowly, inches at a time, sifting the dirt to see if any items are found, and afterwards put the dirt back in the hole. How is this saving the overall context of an area, as they just disturbed it? Detectorists at least know about possible coin spills and targets that could be spread out, whereas the archaeologist might find items where they dig and have an idea what might have happened there but if they dug a few feet in another direction they might get different results entirely.

    I understand the concept of context but in a specific location you could have fill dirt placed over original soil to smooth out the landscape, trees planted, acreage plowed, sections tilled yearly and other disturbances over decades if not centuries, that destroy the context of the original land. How does the archaeologist determine what information is correct in a specific area when they possibly might have different “answers” to the excavated sections of soil as to what happened in the location??? Maybe our “young grad” in Florida, can answer my questions.

  2. Dick:
    “Over to you Ms McIntyre. These metal detectorists have been generous with their money and their opinions…”

    …Because we helped a cancer victim he makes a political point out of it. Can you believe anyone could stoop so low. What utterly repellent behaviour. Take a long hard look too at the cretins who share his views. Some are posing as ‘detectorists’ – God forbid that we harbour such shysters in our ranks.

    Other issues maybe, are at work in this bizarre behaviour. But to Ms McIntyre I’d say… “WE know your views and that’s what matters. Leave this Luddite where he belongs….in your dust!”

    Oh yes, if you hear any background noises, that’ll be Barford scraping the inside of the barrel!

    Happy Hoiking
    John H

  3. John, I hadn’t thought about that…indeed the mention of money must pertain to our assistance to her son. What a nasty bastard to even bring that up….

  4. Easy there…this guy needs help. That said, I wouldn’t throw a dime into the kitty to help him…sorry! He’s at gutter level; his natural environment.

  5. bill from lachine

    Dick,

    Thanks for the chuckles……I take pride in the fact I’m on his sh*t list also.

    He’ll probably have to up the dosage of whatever meds he’s on…..I wonder what they prescribe for people who are delusional these day.

    Regards + HH

    Bill

    • Bill going to do my best to go Barford free for a while here on the blog. He thrives on the attention and suckered me into responding.
      My bad…

      • Dick:
        All that free publicity you’re giving him has doubled his readership, or at least has amongst those of his acolytes with the ability to read and inwardly digest sentences over four words – so that’s the ‘Famous Five’ sorted then!

        Bill….it’s therapy!!!

        Happy Hoiking
        John H

  6. bill from lachine

    John,

    The thing I find amazing is how clueless he is as to how little his
    musings have any effect on shaping things according to his view of the world.

    Myself and pretty much everyone in the detecting community could give a rat’s a*s as to what he thinks….I for one take pleasure in debunking his asinine positions and anyone with a modicum of sense or eduction hopefully realizes he’s a complete joke whether they are on the archeological side of the fence or in our community.

    You and Dick just keep poking pins in the voodoo doll to aggravate him……lol.

    Regards + HH

    Bill

    • Pins? Voodoo doll? Have no idea what you are talking about Bill…..

    • Hi Bill:
      Yep…he’s good sport! We’re having a lot of fun with him and the Barfordistas.

      Best of all, he rarely gets anything right, even something as simple as reading then quoting from my ‘profile’. He’s the ‘Pick ‘n Mix’ Kid.
      As a drowning man might grasp at a straw, so he and his dopey mate cling to the AEC; only difference being the drowning man grasping at a straw has a greater chance of survival!

      Happy Hoiking

      John H

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