The Latest From Across the Pond, via John Howland

FROM THE MALAMUTE SALOON

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News to gladden the hearts of all treasure hunters.

Lee Rossiter who discovered the so-called Hammerton Ring – a 15th century Tudor gold ring – with his metal detector near Harrogate, Yorkshire, in April 2015, has sold it to for a hefty undisclosed sum in a private sale to a firm of Mayfair, London, dealers.

The ring, a double-bezel chased finger ring, is set with an emerald and a ruby and is engraved in the medieval French style. Mr Rossiter correctly reported his find to the appropriate authorities in accordance with the prevailing Treasure Act whereupon it was declared ‘treasure’ under the Act. It was later returned to him. The money raised from the sale is being shared with the landowner.

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UNESCO branded ‘shameful.

The consortium that seeks to internationally restrict metal detector use, is once again in the news and serves to show that it’s in no position to criticise our hobby. The United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is again embroiled in yet another scandal; this time in a vicious spat with Israel over a Unesco resolution slamming Israel’s policies regarding the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, while supposedly rejecting Jewish ties to the holy site in occupied East Jerusalem and recognising Israel as the occupying power.

The respected News Agency, Aljazeera, reported on the row that: –

“The resolution, which was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, was voted through on Thursday with 24 votes in favour, six against, and 26 abstentions.

Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the UK and the US voted against the resolution, while China, Russia, Mexico, South Africa and Pakistan among others voted in favour.”

In a sharply worded condemnation of Unesco, Israel’s education minister, Nafti Bennet said that it was a ‘shameful decision’ and that ‘Unesco members’ were denying thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Aljazeera further reported Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, as saying in a statement that Unesco has lost its legitimacy by adopting this resolution, and was further quoted:-

“The theatre of the absurd at UNESCO continues and today the organisation adopted another delusional decision which says that the people of Israel have no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,” he said.”

Palestinian critics argue that Israel uses the Jewish connection to Jerusalem as a cover for its political policies that have displaced Palestinians from their homes. However, Unesco’s director-general, the former Bulgarian Communist Party member, Irina Bokova, distanced herself from the resolution: –

“The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city,” she said in a statement.

Dogged by scandals, cronyism, and corruption; both Britain and the US must stop pouring millions into Unesco which is little more than a money pit.

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British Academy Honours PAS Founder

A Press Release from the University of Leicester informs that Professor Roger Bland OBE, a former British Museum Keeper, has been working with the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, contributing to research involving coin hoards, such as the Hallaton Treasure – a collection of more than 5,000 silver and gold Iron Age coins found in Leicestershire.

But it was for his work establishing a hugely successful online database for archaeologists and others to share information about new finds which secured him the British Academy’s President’s Medal – awarded annually for “outstanding academic-related activity”.

The citation from the Academy outlined the reasons why he had been chosen.

It said: “This award is for Roger Bland’s contribution to the protection, and academic and public understanding, of Britain’s cultural heritage…”

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The Portable Antiques Network scheme comprises a website – www.finds.org.uk – and an archaeological database, supported by a nationwide network of finds liaison officers who identify artefacts brought in by the public. The work is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport through the British Museum and a range of local agencies.

Since its launch in 1997, it has amassed information about some 1.2 million objects in England and Wales, recorded by 45 dedicated archaeologists, as well as members of the public. 

“It has proved to be a very rich resource for archaeological research,” said Prof Bland. “The website details more than 500 academic projects, which are using the data.”

The President’s Medal will be presented to Prof Bland on Tuesday 27 September, at the British Academy headquarters, in St James’s, London.

Previous winners include the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, in 2013, and broadcaster Clive James, in 2014, in recognition of major contributions to Britain’s cultural life.

“I am humbled to have been honoured with this prestigious award,” Prof Bland said, “Mainly because it recognises the success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in harnessing the efforts of amateur searchers for archaeological objects who use metal detectors in transforming our knowledge of our archaeological heritage.”

However, over on the vile PACHI blog, the brainchild of our old pal, Paul Barford, the Warsaw-based English language teacher who likes to be known (according to his blog) as an ‘archaeologist,’ is less than thrilled at Prof Bland’s magnificent award. In a bitter remark, the undistinguished Barford, comments on Prof Bland’s statement, Well, that is a falsehood for a start,” as the preface to one of his usual bitchy, abusive, slurs on the Portable Antiquities Scheme and on anyone else who follows the metal detecting hobby.

Whilst the metal detecting community congratulates Prof Bland’s significant award and recognition; there’s no fury, it seems, like an undistinguished language teacher scorned.  

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Remember….

On the seventh day He went treasure hunting….

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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5 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

5 responses to “The Latest From Across the Pond, via John Howland

  1. Coin25

    All very cool articles, thanks I enjoyed them.

  2. Hi Coin:
    If ever there was a heritage template for the world to follow, then it’s the PAS. The 1.2 million detector-found artefacts registered with PAS (and growing daily) have laid the foundations for countless academic research projects. Prof Bland was rightly honoured for his work in setting up the PAS which has proved a phenomenal success.

    As for Unesco, well what can one say? Apparently they are intent on denying thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Unsurprisingly, Unesco has previous form in patrimony negation.

    It’s previous attempt to severely restrict the metal detecting hobby worldwide is another ‘shameful’ example of heritage denial; odd indeed, you might think, for a consortium that calls itself, the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation and funded from the revenues raised nationally from the very class of people its seeks to curtail.

    No doubt, the hobby’s various UK and US governing and national representative bodies will be taking soundings on the potential implications for everyone.

    Glad you enjoyed the articles.

  3. Coin25

    We always admire the PAS setup, at least there is a means to work most finds out and from this side of the pond it does appear to be a good thing for most.
    As for the undead Unesco – we certainly don’t need this new headache but it is a wait and see for now for many of us regular coin shooters

  4. Just a little off-topic. There’s outrage in the British archaeological community as the subject has been dropped from the A-Level curriculum – and I share that outrage! Dreadful and unfair.

    I mean, how on earth are the less bright students ever going to get a degree?

  5. John, excellent reporting, as usual, on the contentious idiocy of Unesco and their continual unwanted and unwarranted interference in everything it seems, from soup to nuts (emphasis on the NUTs). I have written several long-worded requests to my government “representative” (hahaha) about plugging the cash-leak that is UNESCO at the source. I get weasel-worded, packaged replies from, apparently, no one in particular which is basically a form letter, with “insert name here,” “insert subject here”…all of no account. However I am happy to see egg and cow poo once again adorning UNESCO’s letterhead after this incident. Apparently, all we need to do is just let out more rope…they will do the rest! All the best, John!

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