…leave it 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.
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. You see, only they can do this and only when they have the time and money. Of course no one knows when the hell this might be but you know, “sometime” in the future?
Question! 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.
Second question! Should we litter our planet with bottlecaps, pulltabs, gum wrappers, plastic and styrofoam so that two hundred years from now archaeologists can determine that we lived in the “slob” era, circa 2014? Given the definition of context I guess we should….
Okay, my take and one that I am sure will put me on the archaeological hit list…
As detectorists, we can enjoy our pastime, find things of historic significance, share them with the public, make them known to the academics or we can all just disappear. That of course is what the archaeological community would prefer. They don’t like us because we disturb the “context” but more to the point, they hate it when someone without a degree, someone who perhaps never even graduated high school, someone just having fun, finds a Staffordshire hoard or Crosby Helmet. You see these things should be left where they are in the hopes that sometime in the future an archaeologist (with a government grant of course), will somehow, someway, inexplicably, accidentally stumble upon them.
Hmm, yeah, right….
CALLING ALL YOU GALS
Almost a month ago to the day I was chatting up Allyson Cohen’s plan to do a calendar of women detectorists, and she is indeed working on it. So if any of you gals are interested please read the Detecting Diva’s latest blog post here….