Think Twice While Auditioning Please?

A favorite FB page of mine is Detecting History and the founder, Stan Shoemaker recently posted the following….

“I’ve been watching many detecting videos over the last few days and I can honestly say 90% of the folks making them wouldn’t cut the mustard on my crew. I’ve noticed they dig gigantic holes, sling earth wildly like animals, not picking up their trash, making fun of the land owners on camera, I’d be sending them home early”…….

Stan Shoemaker

Stan Shoemaker

I agree wholeheartedly with Stan so please, all you Rick Savage wannabes, shape up. I know you love your hobby and your new camera but please, please don’t screw it up for everyone. Take your time, learn how to recover a find and THEN show off your movie making skills.  Stardom will wait for you trust me…

Thanks from all of us…



Not a lot going on here with yours truly…cold and rainy weekend and in somewhat of a funk lately. On the other hand my beer guzzlin’ pal from the UK has a follow-up to his last update, and I am once again featuring it here as well as in the Malamute Saloon.  John has a way with words and if I could write half as good as he I would run for office!

John Howland

John Howland

Please read, digest what he has to say and always remember that we have much right to history as anyone one else, no matter their background or education, or if we are talking about the gentleman from Warsaw, pedigree….




by John Howland

This little gem from that droll charity’s website, the Council for British Archaeology, under the heading;

Treasure and Portable Antiquities

“Treasure hunting’ appears to be becoming increasingly popular in the US and now the UK. It is therefore increasingly vital that everyone fully understands all the issues involved in the search for ‘treasure’ and the potentially devastating impact this can have on archaeology.”

Never mind all that bullshit CBA…what about the damaging impact archaeology has on metal detecting? It’s about time the CBA got it through its collective s dense noggin that searchers for ‘treasure’ have as much right as CBA members have to search for what they term ‘archaeological items’, and the days are over when they could insult us, and lie without being taken to task.  Them days is over! And on current form, treasure hunters/detectorists are streets ahead in the reporting stakes as the dreadful situation that endures in the UK proves.

If there is a ‘devastating impact’ on the heritage, then it’s one caused by archaeologists themselves by allowing hundreds of thousands of priceless artefacts to lay unrecorded, unclassified, in hangars and sheds across Britain. The Institute of Archaeologists in Ireland (IAI), describes the situation as, “a very serious problem”. Even the CBA’s freelance sidekick, the detector-hating archaeo-blogger and AEC clairvoyant, Paul Barford, was moved to helpfully throw his hat into the ring, “The problem, however, is one that affects museums throughout the British Isles.”

All of which seems somewhat at odds with CBA Director Mike Heyworth’s remarks further down their website’s page:-

‘New discoveries have a lot to tell us about past human behaviour, but this can only happen if we record the fullest information about the finds and the place they are found. Evidence from the past is fragile and should not be damaged or lost in an attempt to generate financial profit for individuals. Britain’s treasures should be available for everyone to understand and appreciate, and kept safe and available for long-term study.’

Indeed, Britain’s treasure should be available for everyone to understand and unlike archaeology, detectorists and treasure hunters log finds with the Portable Antiquities Scheme;  where again, unlike archaeology, hundreds of thousands of artefacts are NOT lying about in plastic bags unrecorded.

I doubt the CBA’s ‘rubber heel squad’ — if they have one — will pour into any passion into the badly needed investigation into the corruption, theft, and cause of the prevailing maladministration of the nation’s heritage. Whether any CBA members or affiliated archaeological groups have been party to the current ‘widespread’ scandal, and in the absence of a definite and positive statement from the CBA’s top brass, then the dark cloud of nudge, nudge, wink, wink, hangs over them.

Conceivably, the CBA ought to seriously consider issuing an edict; that all its members report the fruits of their excavations to the PAS so as to be sure of correct recording, and classifying.

Until then CBA, don’t lecture treasure hunting/metal detecting. You’ve got work to do!!


Two men are approaching each other on a sidewalk. Both are dragging their right foot as they walk. As they meet, one man looks at the other knowingly, points to his foot and says, “Vietnam, 1969.”  The other points his thumb behind him and says, “Dog crap, 20 feet back.”


Un-Organized Crime?

by John Howland

As the scandal of unclassified artefacts piling up in sheds and hangars across the land gathers momentum, there’s one outstanding question that needs answering….security. We know that down the years rogue archaeologists (oh yes, they exist) and those employed on excavations have slipped more than the odd roman oil-lamp down the sides of their Wellie boots, though such nefarious activities have , and still are, deflected towards metal detectorists as the sole cause of dodgy stuff hitting the cobbles. Precisely how a metal detector will locate a ceramic bowl or lamp is never explained by these propagandists.

Nevertheless, the right questions urgently need asking and archaeology put under intense scrutiny, especially where the public funding of excavations is involved.  Daring to even suggest the question is in the eyes of some archaeologists tantamount to Heresy.  It’s never popular and I can hear some in archaeology squealing like stuck pigs at the prospect, or, sticking pins in voodoo dolls of me, hoping that I’ll drop off this mortal coil before the truth emerges.

oillampWith highly collectable (read, pricey) ceramics such as oil-lamps, one has to look at artefact integrity and excavation security.  Once artefacts highly saleable pieces have been hoiked from the ground only the terminally dim are unable to guess their future; currently, a proportion wind up in a shed, unclassified, un-recorded, though for others they with the added bonus that their origin is un-traceable.  In an ideal world, every piece should be traceable back to the precise point from whence it was recovered. But we don’t live in an ideal world and shady archaeologists stride the globe; otherwise this rotten situation such as exists would never occur.

If the security surrounding archaeological artefacts is as porous as some believe, where are these stolen goods heading?  Collectors?  Maybe…but collectors are fully aware that for an item to have any value as a future investment, provenances are vital; and corrupt officials know this only too well also, which brings us the soft underbelly of heritage wheeler-dealing… corruption…who’s providing these faked provenances for stolen items? Though I can’t tell you precisely, I can certainly say who’s not and it ain’t treasure hunters or metal detectorists.



I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it. …. Edith Sitwell

I’ll see you in the bar….






Filed under Metal Detecting

8 responses to “Think Twice While Auditioning Please?

  1. Robbie

    How many of the clay pottery, lead and ceramic items, not to mention ancient stone made tools, arrow points, spear points and stone chipped knives are in archaeologists collections?? None of these items are found with metal detectors, but by sight only. So Mr. Barfords (and his freinds)collective “artifact hunter” description is wrong, by grouping metal detector users in with people who search for non-metal items like arrow points, clay pottery items and other like artifacts.

    • Just easier to blame the tekkie for everything…

      • Hi Robbie:
        From the Chicago Tribune, 1st March, 2011:
        “A Loyola University Chicago professor will serve a year’s probation for his part in a scheme to plunder artifacts from an archaeological site in New Mexico, the U.S. attorney’s office there said in a statement Tuesday.”

        “Daniel Amick pleaded guilty Friday to violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, admitting to removing 17 artifacts, including arrowheads, from public lands on two field trips to New Mexico, according to the statement by Kenneth Gonzales, U.S. attorney for the District of New Mexico.”

        You might think theft is theft, but a year’s probation handed down to an offender can only mean that looting/theft/plundering carried out by academics is not viewed terribly seriously.

        John H

  2. Robbie

    Having a degree seems to have a few extra perks…..guilty in a scheme to plunder artifacts????What will be your sentence??………. OH you’re a college professor and you have a degree?….it’s only a short probation for you ——-and don’t let it happen again !!!! Last time I checked……my degree showed 98.4…………..

  3. Steve D

    This has become all too true Dick. I can’t count the times in the past few year father son teams of freshly new metal detectors come into the local parks, carry the garden shovel! Yikes! I have use many hours passing on the proper technique in retrieving. I even carry a dollar store trowel as a give away. When these brainless movie producers post videos digging up the local school yard without any drop cloth using a relic shovel I cringe! I then post a somewhat question/statement about technique. Rarely does it go over well? I am quite sure the opponents to metal detecting are going to need bigger hard drives soon! As I age (55) I can’t hope but think I’m following your foot steps……
    That might not be so bad.

    • Steve, I just don’t understand why so many think others want to watch THEM detect and then horrify us by doing it badly. Perhaps they are hoping one of the reality(?) networks will see them and they will be able to quit their day jobs. Likewise I am still waiting for a few “good” videos on proper recovery techniques and ones that include how to use a probe.

      As for following in my footsteps? Probably not a good idea. This body has had it (or to quote Willy Nelson…”I’ve outlived my dick!”).

  4. A point well made. I do not watch those shows. I was just forwarded your blogsite. Good stuff! Keep at it!!

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