When the Word Bullshit is Necessary!

I want to revisit a topic that I discussed a few years ago and the reason is because it’s one that still annoys the living hell out of me. It’s the constant whining of two irritating,  joined at the hip, wannabe archaeologists  – Paul Barford (often referred to as Warsaw Wally) and Nigel Swift (usually referred to as Heritage Harry). My take on this is probably not going to sit well with a few of you but here goes…

First off If you’re not familiar with these two weasels you need to know that Wally (lives in Poland) and Harry (UK) hate detectorists with a passion and want the pastime banned. To them we’re the lowest of the low, hoiking, stealing, pilfering, selling and getting rich from our finds. There’s also resentment because we often get noticed in the media after finding historic, rare or valuable items. If there’s a hoard involved forget it, they completely come unglued.

Wally and Harry also spend a lot of their time attacking the Portable Antiquity Scheme. Why? Because the PAS recognizes, works with and appreciates detector users and their contributions to the country’s heritage.  They contend that the majority of detectorists do not notify the scheme regarding their finds and according to Wally, we are “only innit for the money“. They even came up with the notorious and cockamamie Artifact Erosion Counter (AEC), a fairy tale that every single day artifacts are being wrestled out of the soil and secreted away in great numbers. Biased speculation, a.k.a. unadulterated bullshit.

Worn Out Words

Wally loves to use the words provenance (the history of ownership of a valued object or work of art or literature) and context (the place where an artifact is found, not just the place but the type of soil, the site type, and what the artifact was found with or in relation to) when railing against tekkies. Two words we’re supposed to live by and chant every morning and night…..

Understand here in the states when I go detecting and find something the provenance is 9 times out of 10 unknown and impossible to determine. The provenance starts when I stick it in my pocket and it might continue if and when I sell it but for the most part that’s not a given or a promise. I found it legally and unless there’s a prior agreement with the landowner the find is mine to do with as I see fit.

As far as context I guess I could record each and every find I make (coin, pull tab, piece of foil, bottle cap), where it was found (playground, park, farmer Brown’s field, sidewalk strip, in a pile of dog crap), the type of soil (clay, loam, wet, dry, trash laden, grub infested, contaminated) and what other items were found nearby (nail, worm, razor blade, candy bar wrapper) but that too is unlikely to happen. Sorry.

Now I’m well aware that Wally and Harry are focusing the majority of their hatred on tekkies in the UK and not here in the colonies but what matters is the way they do it. These two self anointed holier than thou:

  1. Never, ever mention a notable detectorist find unless they can find fault with it.
  2. Continually criticize the PAS because it’s not always able to keep up with the finds/documentation (see Artifacts Stockpiled for the hypocrisy).
  3. Insult and belittle detectorists, labeling them illiterate, greedy and uncaring.
  4. Constantly insult collectors, claiming they deal in smuggled goods and fakes.
  5. Insult the FLO (field liaison officers) every chance they get.
  6. Disguise their appearances and visit detector shops (UK) to eavesdrop and to look for anything they can make a BFD about.
  7. *Troll 24/7 looking for any mention of misdeed/oversight or irregularity.

*Barford, March 2012  – “It seems that Mr Stout would like to believe I know nothing about – for example – metal detecting and metal detectorists, ignoring the fact that I have spent a lot of time following their activities since the 1970s, have gone to club meetings, been out detecting with them, collaborated with them on at least two archaeological projects, written about the use of metal detected data and not least spent a lot of time on detecting forums observing the chit chat and social norms.”

Okay, I’m done venting…

You won’t find anything positive, funny or entertaining on either Barford’s or Swift’s blogs because that is who they are or should I say “aren’t”.  Their sole purpose is to find fault, to criticize, to insult and to spread negative and erroneous information. The only saving grace is that the majority of their peers have banned them from participating in their groups and online forums.

If you’re interested in reading other opinions….

The Fanatical Flatulist
Paul Barford: Voice of the Archaeological Community on Portable Antiquities?
If the Shoe Fits Wear It




Filed under Metal Detecting

13 responses to “When the Word Bullshit is Necessary!

  1. Well, that’s you off their Christmas card lists! Did you know about Wally’s phantom friends who post on his pisspoor blog? One of them’s old Brian What’s-his-face. ‘He’ posted to my blog during Covid lock-down using Wally’s email address in Poland! Ha ha!

  2. wendell

    Paul told the Romans, beware the experts. Good advice then & now. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year John & Dick & all the detectorists out there who do the research, leave the area better than they found it and just have fun.

  3. john taylor

    Believe what they really want is to be considered “royalty”and dictate to the masses how they should carry themselves. me thinks both had a rather tumultuous childhood. rather unfortunate!

    j.(not goin’ to china anytime soon!) t.

  4. Paul Barford is banned from posting here but I am making an exception this time. This comment is supposed to be from his imaginary friend Brian Mattick (Paul can’t seem to get the spelling right). What a joke….

    Brian Mattock

    “gone to club meetings, been out detecting with them, collaborated with them on at least two archaeological projects, written about the use of metal detected data ” means exactly what it says. The Polish metal detectorist is an entirely different breed. There is no need for an apologist PAS here, there is a permit system and legal detecting adds to knowledge of the past without any expensive state-funded organization. So nothing to write about if it ain’t broke, does not need fixing, but the sloppy shambles in the UK condoned by your arkie supporters does need fixing and that’s why we write about it. As indeed is it our right to free speech, no?


    He made a similar attempt on John Howland’s blog “Detecting and Collecting” on 6/5/2020. It went like this –

    Brian Mattick

    “Intriguingly, and quite out of the blue, a couple of well-placed members of the ‘opposition’ […] contacted me to apologise”

    In what capacity would that be? Spokesman for the hobby?

  5. The word I’m looking for is …counselling. Not sure why, it just sprang to mind. I thought it was only children who had imaginary friends?

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