I have always wondered why it is that the archaeological community hates us so much. We are, for the most part, honest, hard working people, who just want to enjoy a pastime. We look for coins, relics and jewelry. A few may be fortunate enough to have the time and money to look for long lost caches and buried shipwrecks, but they are few and far between.
Their pretense or apparent motive is that we “destroy” history, but strangely enough they don’t care about us finding coins or relics. At least that is what I was told when I brought up the idea that perhaps they were jealous of what we were finding. My dear friend and archaeologist of note, Paul Barford, who hides out (and I really mean “hides out”) in Warsaw, Poland, responded as follows (you have to get through the grandiose, self ingratiating, inflated, description of who he is first).
The end of a July 29, 2012 post….
“Finally I really find highly amusing [having worked on, among others, sites from the Middle Palaeolithic, a couple of thousand year old hillforts and urban sites in Poland and Norway, Roman villas and forts in England, Anglo-Saxon villages, Late Iron Age saltworks, and more recently digging in Luxor Egypt not to mention in my career working through boxes and boxes of finds writing them up for publication] to have a Texas metal detectorist suggesting that my critique of the conservation aspects of current policies on artefact hunting and collecting is due to “jealousy”. Of what? Finding Barber dimes, wheaties and corroded Confederate buckles and uniform buttons? He really has to be joking”.
So, if coins and relics are okay, just what the hell is it we do that ticks he and the rest of the archaeological community off? My question is and probably always will be, “if we don’t dig it, who will?” Is it better to let that item corrode, rot and decay in the ground? Should we let it stay there until a bulldozer destroys it while constructing the new shopping center parking lot? Is it better for it to remain bured forever, or is it a matter of waiting until an archaeologist is given a grant to “dissect” that particular piece of land, and if so, how long might that take?
I completely get the local community banning detectors in the park because of holes left by a careless hunter (albeit at the expense of the caring hobbyist), but the idea that we are destroying history because we found a relic from the Civil or Revolutionary War is absurd. These items are found on private property, with the permission of the owner, and are almost always incidental drops or losses. The chances of finding any meaningful, heretofore unknown sites, skirmishes, or caches are almost non-existent, and I feel certain that if one were discovered it would be reported by the finder.
Are there detectorists who abuse our code of conduct, the law, etc…? Of course. The same can be said for the archaeologial community. I simply find it baffling that a group of people are so hell bent on taking away the enjoyment of a few hobbyists in order to preserve something that has not been found or unearthed yet. If we had followed this line of thought, the Staffordshire hoard would still be in the ground instead of a museum!
So let me repeat. If we don’t dig it, who will?
IS THIS DUMB OR WHAT?
I’ve heard about all the various restrictions facing the detectorist in Florida, but I was checking out the Florida Public Archaeology Network and found this paragraph under number 12, “Can I Metal Detecting in Florida”….
“As for metal detecting in the water, all lands that are below the mean high water line are considered state sovereignty submerged lands and, while it is not against the law to possess a metal detector in the water, it IS against the law to disturb the bottom sediments. So, if something is detected, it would be illegal to dig for it”.
All I can say is amazing!….?
LATE BREAKING NEWS FROM THE MALAMUTE SALOON
Once again some late breaking news from across the pond, via the Malamute Saloon. You can find out more by clicking on the Malamute Saloon link above and scrolling down to today’s date.
Wanted to share this one with you…sorry I do not remember who sent it to me. My apologies. Just a nice story, and some good PR for the pastime….