The Malamute Saloon (U.K.)

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ABOUT THE MALAMUTE SALOON…

by John Howland

I’ve known Dick Stout, and his fragrant wife Fay – a top notch photographer – from way back, about the time the Dead Sea first reported sick.  During our long association we discovered much in common, foremost perhaps, in both being published authors have scribbled a few lines about treasure hunting from time to time, but with the Old Boy himself knocking out several half-way decent tomes on the subject, I remain in his shadow.   My journalistic background is as a former Deputy editor of a consumer magazine with an abiding interest in military history, history both modern and ancient, the Cold War, espionage, and any other subject capable of turning a dollar or two.

Old ‘salmon and trout’ – Cockney rhyming slang – work it out for yourself,  is the only guy who’s ever got me to write for zilch.  Oh, a friend in need really is a pain in the ass, and there’s more than a few beers riding on this one!

We are both treasure hunters (or in these politically correct times, Detectorists), are aficionados of cold beers and grilling,  BBQ’s, and with a penchant for the odd glass or three of the red infuriator.  We both love cooking with wine, sometimes he’s even been known to actually put it in the dish he’s cooking.  So, with this heady mix of ingredients, a column is born.  Hallelujah!  So, if you’re offended by references to drink, sex, women, treasure hunting, this column ain’t for you.

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July 26, 2017

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Old & Bold

John Howland

The so-called Poole ‘Jackdaws’ are an unofficial, non-aligned treasure hunting group with an average membership age of around 56-yrs, populated by retired folks all of whom distinguished themselves in their chosen professions. Rule #1 of the group’s Rule Book is …” There are no rules.”

That’s it. All done. Finito.

As they’ve all lived by strict rules throughout their working lives they ain’t going to self-impose any now in the running of their group, though adherence to the prevailing laws governing the finding of ‘treasure’ are strictly respected, as is the reporting of any artefact to the PAS that might have a historical significance. The ‘Jackdaws’ don’t have a set meeting place – they meet wherever and whenever they feel thirsty.

Some of them at one time or another, or guise, served democracy against Soviet communism. “Freedom of choice is vital. I’m against faceless bureaucracy,” says one, adding, “Ask any East Berliner, Czech, or Pole.”  

A ‘Jackdaw’ working the cuts….

The two latest recruits to this jovial ensemble are a former forensic investigator who helped bring to justice nine murderers, and a former professional diver and adventurer one of whose diving pals helped recover the £45million in gold bars from HMS Edinburgh sunk in 800-ft of water in the Bering Sea.

Remarkably, neither of them has ever watched a ‘YooToob’ detecting video apart from Garrett’s, nor witnessed any ‘Face-ache’ treasure hunting cr*p. So what’s motivated them to take up the metal detector? “I’ve always wanted to have a go ever since seeing a couple of them on the beach,” says Tony, while the other reckons it rekindles his old adventure days. Both however agree that treasure hunting with a metal detector presents a real opportunity for getting out-and-about on the coast, good companionship, fresh air, coupled with gentle exercise and the added prospect of ‘treasure’ at the day’s end.

“The kind of artefacts to expect in the right parts of the coastline.”

So what machines do the new recruits own? Both have opted for Garrett’s 400i with its DD coil, Iron Audio, and Digital Target ID readout. At 2.9lbs this detector is ideally light for extended sessions on the beach and easy to tote to the remoter parts of Dorset’s Jurassic coast – a veritable ships’ graveyard.

The 400i’s 10-kHz frequency provides increased sensitivity to gold targets – an important consideration for beach work – and its so-called Pulse-Width Modulation gives sharper, responsive audio.

My thanks to Garrett Metal Detectors and REGTON’s Nigel Ingram, Garrett’s UK agent, for helping and advising. For further information about the 400i, go to www.regton.com or http://www.garrett.com

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Finding Treasure is GOOD for YOU

Who says so? Ed Huffman does. Who he? Ed has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Archaeology at the University of Leicester, England. He has researched and recovered artefacts/relics throughout the United States and hopes to go on to recover artefacts throughout the world. The majority of his recovered artefacts/relics he has in his personal collection, or has donated to Museums, Private Collectors and Businesses. Ed reckons that your recreational activity can easily turn into an activity to boost your physical health.

This from Ed’s blog and excellent website: –

Increases Bone Strength and Keeps off Depression.

You cannot hope to find buried riches in your backyard, he says, you have to get out of your house and do the hunting. Beaches, farmlands, parks, underwater, are some of the places where you will get immense scope of finding precious items. So you will get fresh oxygen, which is extremely helpful for your health. Along with that you will be exposed to the sun, thereby getting more Vitamin D. This will keep your bones from degenerating. You will also be able to keep depression at bay as your feel-good hormones will be released with sun exposure.  

Muscle Toning

While searching for metal detecting tips, you can also increase your knowledge regarding the various health benefits of metal detecting. If you desire toned muscles, this hobby can be beneficial for you. When hunting down treasure, you have to walk for a long distance and time and you also need to carry your top metal detector with you. With long distance walking, your leg muscles will be toned and when you use the machine, your arm muscles will get toned, as the equipment will act as weight.  This will lead to a fitter body.  Also the constant bending and squatting from digging and retrieving your finds will strengthen your legs, back and heart.

Strengthens your Heart 

Your heart as well as your respiratory system will be strengthened immensely when you go metal detecting. As mentioned earlier, you need to walk long distances. Not only this, your hobby will require you to hike and climb mountains as well. All this activity provides a great form of aerobic and cardio exercise. These types of exercise will lead to a strong heart and respiratory system.

Decreases Stress

When you are pursuing a hobby with your heart, you tend to forget about any anxiety. It will also help you to concentrate and the headphones will keep out noises from your surroundings. You can carry out your hunting without any disturbance thereby giving you mental peace. This in turn will decrease your stress significantly.http://treasuremtndetectors.net/blog/item/122-metal-detecting-a-great-way-to-keep-you-healthy

Still not convinced? Then give this one a go:-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/like-uncover-buried-treasure-metal-detector-do/

Good, eh?

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What’s the difference between a good treasure hunter and a great treasure hunter? A good treasure hunter knows the law. A great treasure hunter knows the Coroner…..

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The driving force on some fact-free blogs: “Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” …  E.B. White

That’s all folks!

I’ll see y’all in the bar.

June 25, 2017

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NEL COILS/AT PRO/AT GOLD

John Howland

Size Matters #1

Back in May this year – on this upmarket blog – I wrote that I’d swapped Garrett-made coils between my ATPro and ATGold. Even taking into consideration these detectors’ respective operating frequencies, 15kHz and 18kHz, the results were excellent. The ATGold performs spectacularly well when kitted out with the ATPro’s ‘standard’ coil with oodles of depth, but, quite not so vice versa. But, read on!

Whilst the ATPro when kitted out with the ATGold’s standard 8”x5” coil it suffers only a slight drop-off in depth, BUT, has the advantage of being lighter thus affording longer hunting periods and better target/junk-separation – a win, win, situation. BUT, there’s more!

Size Matters #2

What follows might come in handy if you own both an ATPro and an ATGold but only have a Tornado coil for the ATPro. Give this a go, all is far from lost; you won’t be disappointed!

Made in the Ukraine by the NEL company (Neoteric Electronic Labs), founded in 2009, began life producing ‘after-market’ search coils with the intention of improving  stability and depth.

Currently NEL produces a comprehensive range of these coils suitable for use on nearly all the major manufacturers’ metal detectors in sizes ranging from 5-inch ‘Sniper’ types up to those nearly half the size of the Ukraine itself.

I use one of their factory tuned coils, the 12”x13” ‘Tornado’, on my ATPro, BUT, when I fit it to my ATGold, the performance is stunning – despite the frequency differential – and is the one I choose if hunting on pasture where depth is paramount. So, if you own a Tornado 12”x13” try popping it on to the ATGold…you’ll miss very little and the faint tones will be deep targets. Imagine the results you’ll get with a Tornado specifically tuned for the ATGold!

The downside however is weight; Tornados because of their increased size are heavier, a fact unfortunately, that goes with the territory. The upside – greater ground coverage per sweep – is significant. NEL’s ‘Big Coil’ at 15” x 17” is a specialized bit of kit that is even heavier in use; a salient fact that MUST be seriously considered before buying at around $230-ish. Designed to locate large targets at depth – hoards and caches spring to mind – it is nevertheless, a valuable tool in the treasure hunter’s armoury.

Tornados for your ATPro/ATGold are at current UK prices: – £125.95.

NEL 12”x13” Tornado Coil for Garrett ATPro

 

NEL coils are available in the UK from: –

REGTON Ltd, 82 Cliveland Street, Birmingham B19 3SN. Tel: 0121 359 2379

http://www.regton .com

*Photo courtesy of REGTON Ltd

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Animal Welfare 

I don’t know how true this story is, but it does seem to have the ring of Truth about it.

Apparently, some months ago a certain zoo [name deleted] had a female Gorilla from which it hoped to produce baby Gorillas, this primate being on the endangered species list. The problem was after searching the country for a zoo with a suitable male mate, none was found.

Following a top-level meeting with the [name deleted] Zoo’s Trustees, one of them, who we’ll call him ‘Fred’ (to protect his identity), reckoned he could solve the problem and would report back in a few days’ time. Apparently, he knew a ‘heritologist’ who we’ll refer to as ‘Paul’ (to protect his identity), who was a known lover of animals in the fullest sense of the word and phoned him. The conversation went thus: –

Fred: “Hi, Paul, Fred here, how would you like to have sex with a gorilla to help us out?”

Paul: “Hmm, well, I dunno. But it sounds interesting.”

Fred: “Would you do it for £1,000 [$1,300]?”

Paul: “Hmmm, if I did there’d have to be certain conditions.”

Fred: “Such as?”

Paul: “I wouldn’t want anyone to know about it – that’s most important. Also, there’d be no kissing on the lips. If the resulting baby was a boy I’d want him brought up to study archaeology.”

Fred: “Ok, that all seems fair enough. Is there anything else?”

Paul: “Yes, you’ll have to give me a week or two so I can raise the £1,000!”

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If only some on our side could take this on board…

Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room….Winston Churchill

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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June 12, 2017

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WAS JUST DRINKING THINKING….

John Howland

Jesus H Christo!

I love Bourbon. I love Makers Mark.  I went on to the MM website and they actually – and I can hardly believe this – but they advocate COOKING WITH IT! If I was MM’s CEO I’d have the proponent of this desecration dragged out into the street and shot in front of his family.

Jesus H Christo, this fabulous Kentucky juice is for sipping NOT for putting in to crappy recipes. Such criminality is only once removed from putting lemonade in to TALISKER Scotch single malt, and I hold in high regard the barman at a certain hostelry not a million miles from Inverness, Scotland, who resolutely refused to commit this sacrilege when my wife asked for a Scotch and lemonade.

If the guys at MM want to contact me with samples, I’m easily bought. Just sayin’. Ok?

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Bizarre!

If you’d have been caught doing this stuff in Salem in 1692 you’d have been neck-deep in doo-doo – the Devil’s doings; a black art. Practitioners say it only works if you truly believe it does. Seemingly, there’s no in-between position; either you’re ‘in’ or ‘out’. Don’t ask me to explain how it works, I simply don’t know. Map-dowsing, the subject herein, is spooky off-the-wall stuff.

I first encountered this hocus-pocus some years ago when I was asked to recover a couple of buried vintage shotguns. During the search I was asked if I could find a wooden cap to a very deep well (located somewhere on the gravelled forecourt of a large 17C house) which posed the danger of collapse. No one had any idea of its location, hence the urgency to find it. The idea being that any iron bolts in the cap might register on my metal detector. The search failed to locate the well-cap.

On behalf of the mansion owner, I contacted a friend who had the reputation as an accomplished map-dowser so I sent him a chart of the area in question, about half an acre. It came back to me with a single ‘X’ marked in a circle. When the ‘X’ location was later examined by the building contractors, the wooden, and by now rotten cap, was uncovered!!

Significantly, my map-dowsing friend was totally unaware of the mansion’s location. Equally staggering was that he’d previously located the positions of treasure sites, which in turn and following searches with metal detectors, proved accurate. He claimed that he could even give the depth for that which was searched for! Some practitioners claim they can even narrow down the precise type of treasure – gold, silver, or whatever, even burial sites.

In every case the final recovery is made at the marked position using a metal detector.

For more information on map-dowsing your local library, or, online, will prove a good starting point.  Good luck.

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Up With This You Should Not Put!

Little pisses me off more than half-witted Tekkies, the Neanderthal ‘knuckle-dragging element’ who leave holes unfilled and worse still, after finding junk targets, move on, leaving the recovered junk target alongside the hole. Who breeds these imbeciles?

These cretins are either newbies to treasure hunting in which case there is a modicum of forgiveness due to their ignorance, but when a seasoned member is involved there’s no excuse whatsoever.

We don’t need these people who regard congenital cretinism as a Badge of Honor. By their inconsiderate behaviour, they demonstrate to the world their brand of idiocy. Fortunately in a minority, these Tekkie morons roam the beaches and countryside generating bad publicity which the rest us must shoulder.

The UK’s Government-recognised NCMD Code of Conduct, and the US Code, are simple rules to follow. Rocket science it ain’t! If anything at all, these morons simply prove the adage that… you can’t educate bacon.

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That’s the way to do it!

One Tekkie friend, now sadly passed to the Grand Hunting Ground above, was flawlessly proficient. I saw him invited to search a manicured lawn resembling a putting green at St Andrews to the rear of a Georgian mansion. He retrieved a huge solid silver piece of jewelery, returned it to the house owner, leaving absolutely no trace of where he’d been. The owner of the house, deeply impressed by his skill gave him permission to search several hundred acres at his leisure whenever he fancied.

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Let’s hear it for Edith…

“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”

Edith Sitwell

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

 

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June 5, 2017

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The Ties That Bind

John Howland

Wireless is the future. No doubt about it. So, some months I thought I’d join the charge and shelled out my ‘hard earned’ for the Deteknix system and very good it’s proved to be, BUT, the system maintains a charge for only six hours. I went further, buying the special receiver unit that allows the use of non-wireless headphones. Again, an excellent innovation.

And what happens next? Garrett launch their dedicated Z-Lynk system – a system that maintains a charge for up to thirty hours allowing any set of headphones to be used in wireless mode on almost any make and model of metal detector. Now they’ve incorporated the Z-Lynk system into their latest ATMAX detectors along with other innovations.

The big dividend with any wire-free system is that it allows the user – not being tethered to the detector – to move freely when digging or extracting a find from the ground. I’ve yet to examine or try the Garrett Z-Lynk system but knowing how the ‘Big G’ operates, then build quality I’m certain, is 24-carat.

Waiting in the wings and due for release is the new Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk Wireless Kit (Part Number 16277200 MRSP $189.95 (US)

And will include: –

  • Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones
  • WT-1 wireless transmitter
  • 2-pin AT connector to Micro USB cable—connects AT detector to transmitter
  • 1/4″ Jack to Micro USB cable—connects detector with 1/4″ jack to transmitter
  • USB charging cable
  • Mounting band

Which Garrett tell us is suitable for any style metal detector with 2-pin AT connector, or, 1/4″ headphone jack.

Garrett’s UK distributor is REGTON Ltd, 82 Cliveland Street, Birmingham B19 3SN (Tel: 0121 359 2379)

So, if you’re not into bondage … go wire-free!

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“Buried treasure hope for Brexit farmers”

Was a headline that caught my eye on page 12 of Saturday 27 May’s edition of the UK’s Daily Telegraph.

It went on to say that, “Farmers reliant on EU subsidies are plugging the gap caused by Brexit by inviting metal detectorists on land in the hope they find treasure.” Mike Barker, who runs the metal detecting club, Midweek Searchers, was quoted in the write-up, “Attitudes have definitely changed. Farmers might not get the grants they are used to. Now they might let you on to find some treasure, and if you do, they are made.”

The report also quoted Minette Batters of the National Farmers Union who warned, “Farmers must be aware of restrictions which apply.”

In their search for increased incomes, farmers are diversifying into providing camping and caravanning sites, golf courses, driving ranges, along with and many other country pursuits; so why not treasure hunting/metal detecting. The advantage with treasure hunting and metal detecting is there’s no financial outlay to hit the jackpot…just say ‘YES!’ and get a written Finds Treasure/Agreement signed.

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Remember

Employ every economy consistent with thoroughness, accuracy and reliability.

Arthur C. Nielsen

(Demonstrably, not all those who should, do!)

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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May 22, 2017

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This time around John Howland talks Garrett, a Viking hoard and would yo believe tuna? 

Son of ATPro – AT MAX International

John Howland

My crystal ball prediction wasn’t a million miles off target. The fruit of the ATPro and ATGold’s loins produced twins – AT MAX and AT Max International! They look a bonny pair but we need to know a bit more about their futures and with whom they’ll likely be rubbing shoulders as they grow up. But for our purposes we’ll be looking AT MAX International.

Among the countless ATPro (USA) and ATPro International (European) owners worldwide, many own dedicated after-market NEL coils of various sizes representing sizeable monetary investments to the users concerned. These excellent after-market coils are specially tuned to the frequencies of the machine on which they are intended. The ATPro models for example operates at 15kHz*; the ATGold at 18kHz* and the new AT Max models at 13.6kHz* though NEL have yet to produce a range of dedicated coils for these new kids on the block it’ll only be a matter of time I suspect.

Some of you will already have ‘sussed’ where I’m going with all this particularly if you’ve invested a sizeable wedge of your ‘hard-earned’ in after-market NEL coils. The big question is will they prove satisfactory on the new AT MAX if you’re thinking of upgrading? It’s a bit of a conundrum and no-one yet, has a definitive answer. I put the question to Steve Moore, Garrett’s Marketing Communications Director.

He tells me; “The frequency adjustments are very minor tweaks, not that big a jump. As far as I know, the NEL coils should work […].” adding that he was scheduled to be out in the field with the MAX and would consider the question in more detail. Though I’m unqualified to give an authoritative answer to such a technical question; what I can tell you is that when I’ve swapped Garrett-made coils between my ATGold and ATPro bearing in mind these two operate at different frequencies, the results were astonishingly good. Consequently, and based on this coil swap experience, the differential between the two operating frequencies – 15kHz and 18kHz – certainly seems to bear out Steve Moore’s assertion that in practical terms it’s “…not that big a jump.” The implication is that NELs should be okay.

Pressing on for clarity, I had a word with Nigel Ingram, Director of Garrett’s UK distributor, REGTON LTD, who reckons it’s; “…too early to know what will work and what won’t sadly, my guess? Yes it will work fine, however, maybe not to the maximum potential as NEL are masters of making coils to exact frequencies enabling every last inch of performance.” So, it’s not all bad then.

Apart from being fully wireless, the MAX also sports a couple of great features lifted from the ATGold; an adjustable threshold tone and the more than useful Ground Cancelling ‘window’ allowing little or no change when say, moving from dry sand to saltwater soaked sand.

The Garrett blurbs have it thus: “Near-zero delay (17-milliseconds) from your detector to your headphones. Six times faster than Bluetooth speed, and up to four times faster than other wireless headphones.” I have absolutely no idea what 17-milliseconds is comparable to, except that it’s Speedy Gonzales’ “Ándale arriba” fast!

*Data source: – Garrett website (www.garrett.com)

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£2,000,000 Treasure Payout for UK Detectorist

Metal detectorist Derek McLennan who uncovered a cache (in UK-speak, ‘hoard’) of more than 100 gold and silver items of Viking jewellery in the south-west Scotland in September 2014 – who at the time of finding the fabulous cache was accompanied by two detectorists; churchmen Rev Dr. David Bartholomew, and Pastor Mike Smith – is now well on track to receive, quite rightly, a £2,000,000 Treasure Trove reward. The find is described by distinguished experts as Scotland’s most significant find of the Viking era.

Derek McLennan

The fabulous cache, duly and correctly reported to Scotland’s Treasure Trove Unit initiated an excavation by county archaeologist, Andrew Nicholson, assisted by Derek McLennan. Digging deeper they discovered further items jewellery. Following the initial removal, Derek McLennan undertook a further search with his metal detector and discovered more treasure buried beneath the first items.

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Sending Coins Abroad

Do you remember that Dupondius of Domitian that wrote about some months ago? Well, it’s currently winging its way across ‘The Pond’ as a gift to a treasure hunting friend in Florida.

Dupondius of Domitian

If you ever send coins by post, anywhere and especially overseas, it helps to mark the envelope….’Numismatic Specimen’ rather than ‘roman coin’ thus helping to deflect the attention of prying eyes.

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Marinated Tuna Steak

…in a mixture of orange juice, soy sauce, and garlic.

Chef John

Got this from a pal of mine and thought y’all might like to give it a go. It’s brilliant. It serves four.

60ml orange juice (Tropicana with juicy bits is great)
60ml soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (NOT the bottled cr*p)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Four tuna steaks weighing about 110g each

Method
In a large ceramic dish, mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, oregano and black pepper. Place the tuna steaks in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat barbecue to high heat. Grill the tuna steaks for 5 to 6 minutes (in one of those square fish basket thingies), then turn and baste with the marinade. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or to your desire.

Ice cold beer goes well too!

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Finally….

For some the ‘YooToob’ generation of treasure hunters, this will doubtless fall on stony ground…

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”…..Colin Powell

 

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May 4, 2017

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“Where’s the best place to find coins and relics?”

John Howland

It’s a common enough question and one that’s often asked by newbies to our pastime. If I’d a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question I’d sure be a rich man. The answer of course depends on what type of coinage, or relics, you’re looking for; modern spendable cash, or historic. Most of what follows is broadly applicable to all in our pastime. For the sake of illustration I’m using Roman Britain as an example and the parallels can be applied to any period of history in any country.

In the first instance if it’s modern spendable coinage or other trinkets you’re after then head for the thousands of miles of coastline and beaches. In the second however, particularly if you want to find say, Roman coins and relics, then look closer to home. In Britain, there exists a network of Roman roads totalling an estimated 10,000 miles, comprising main arterial highways; inter-connecting local roads and tracks linking villas, temples, farms, and other habitation sites to the main Roman highways themselves. This road network is a rich seam and always repays careful investigation.

Denarius of Antoninus Pius and The Man Himself: Emperor Antoninus Pius

Along this road network at roughly 15-mile intervals you’ll discover the remains of the Roman equivalents of modern motorway service stations, comprising the sites of mansiones favoured by the wealthier travelers, and mutationes, the less salubrious stop-overs generally frequented by robbers, cut-throats, assorted dodgy-dealers, pimps, and whores.

It all kicked-off in 43AD when a Roman invasion force consisting of four legions stormed ashore in southern Britain. The legions were the II Augusta; the XX Valeria Victrix; the IX Hispana, and the XIV Gemina, amounting to 20,000 fighting men with a similar number of auxiliaries. By 82AD, the Romans had built a network of fortresses serviced by 1,200 miles of roads. The Romans remained in Britain until 410AD.

With thousands of miles of Roman roads for hobbyists to explore and scores of habitation sites – many yet to be discovered – the relic and coin-finding potential is superb. But how do you get your hands on all this stuff? First, arm yourself with a map of your locale; either a 1:25000 OS (Ordnance Survey) map, or the OS map of Roman Britain. Now find a marked Roman site; this could be a town, or a wayside stopover. Measure on the map about 15-miles in either direction from it, but be aware that Roman miles are not quite the same length as modern miles (1,760-yards); they being 1,613-yards. The word mile comes from the Latin, milia passuum, meaning one thousand paces.

Carefully examine the map at a point two or three miles from the 15-mile point. This is best done by homing-in on the selected area using Google Maps’ satellite option arguably the best treasure hunting tool second only to your metal detector. Having found your suspected site make a visit to the area and walk any footpaths in the vicinity to get a feel for the place. Indeed, the presence of a short, straight road/track no more than five miles long leading off the main road and coming to an abrupt end, is an important indicator of a Roman habitation site, or possibly a temple site.

Roman pottery and a 3rd Century AD bronze brooch

While walking the area look for mussel shells, pottery shards and rusting iron nails in the plough soil. Both indicate habitation. The presence of natural springs also signposts temple sites and many of these remain undiscovered. Other tell-tale signs are votive offerings; coins, miniature figurines, pottery, and glassware, all left at the site as offerings to the gods without any intention of recovery. The fact that votive offerings were rarely, if ever, declared Treasure Trove by a Coroner, was the archaeological lobby’s driving force behind the introduction of the 1996 Treasure Act. Prior to the ’96 Act, votive offerings – items of gold or silver deposited without intention of later recovery – were always returned to the finder who was then free to sell them much to the infuriation archaeology.

The next step in your quest is making contact with the landowner, in person, for permission to detect. Don’t expect to get it if you turn up looking shit-order; go smart and remember you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression! Leave the camo, sweaty T-shirt and trainers at home. When asked what you are looking for, say straight out and with a smile, “Gold, and lots of it.” Explain that should your research lead you to a find within the meaning of the Treasure Act rewards are shared equally between the finder and landowner. Mention that all other finds belong to the landowner and you will show them following each detecting session. Ask if there is any objection to your reporting finds. Respect that decision, whatever it might be.

Success in coin and relic hunting depends entirely on you and the accuracy of your research. The more thorough you are, the more successful you will be.

Sniper-type coils are invaluable when search nail-strewn habitation sites

Always carry a notebook to jot down snippets of local information, gossip, place and field names. Often these morsels of information lead to bigger things. If you have a camera on your mobile phone then so much the better. A small pair of pocket binoculars of say, 10×25, size can prove invaluable. Good hunting.

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Overheard in downtown Rome: –
Mark Antony: “Where’s Cleopatra?”
Man Servant: “In bed with laryngitis.”
Mark Antony: “Damn those Greeks!”

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Sports result from the Coliseum: Christians 25. Lions nil.
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Hmmm…

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Julius Caesar

Faciam te in taberna

April 20, 2017

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The Times are a-changin’

by John Howland

Contrary to how I’m usually depicted by archaeology’s Warsaw wing as a wholly unsavoury anti-archaeology bast**d (not that I give a damn anyway) I’m more than happy to report that mutual co-operation continues to grow between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

Over thirty years ago at the height of the Council for Archaeology’s ill-starred STOP (Stop Taking Our Past) Campaign when they tried to snuff out the hobby in the UK, I was in there, unlike some gutless, modern ill-informed commentators, kicking and gouging for the freedom to detect. We won!

During my many meetings as General Secretary of the National Council for Metal Detecting with representatives of British archaeology, I touched base with a couple of influential arkies, who like me, shared a common interest; enjoyed a beer or three played Second Row in the amateur game and who, also like me, knew some of British archaeology’s ‘pretty boys’ were, tossers.” The consensus was that the ‘pretty boys’ were effectively (at the time) steering archaeology into the abyss and taking the detecting/archaeology debate nowhere. I asked my Rugger chum, “Why not say so?” He replied, “Are you taking the piss? This is my career. I’m sorry, but I can’t, officially. Not yet.” I got the message.

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For UK ‘Hoikers’ Only

For those beachcombers operating Garrett ATPro Internationals I can tell you that the new £1-coin reads at ‘77’ or ‘78’ depending on distance from the searchcoil; ‘77’ over 3-inches from the coil and ‘78’ closer or immediately under it.

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Son of ATPro?

The ‘Big G’ has a new machine in gestation and due on 6th May. Precise details are currently rarer than rocking-horse sh*t and unsurprisingly, the Men-in-White-Coats in downtown Garland remain resolutely tight-lipped about the new arrival. However, the images in my crystal ball suggest the Marketing Midwife will deliver the new kid on the block in the shape of a wireless, all-terrain jobby, with added depth and even more whistles and bells.

Sired by the ATPro and born of the ATGold, I name this child…ATPro II. Maybe.

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Rare flowers discovered in Roman hoard

Published by PAS Wednesday 8th February 2017

(https://finds.org.uk/news/story/287)

The two stories below underline the extraordinary degree of mutual respect, co-operation and artefact reportage existing in the UK between Detectorists, right-thinking archaeologists, and heritage professionals. It also serves to illustrate why the loony wing of archaeology eking out a living on the barren slopes of insanity along with the increasingly dim-witted Council for British Archaeology (who’s Director, Mike Heyworth, curiously supports the fact-free, laughable, guess-work based Artefact Erosion Counter) has become the entertaining, amusing, Vaudeville act so widely enjoyed by Britain’s thousands of Detectorists and I dare say, FLO’s.

In contrast, the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) website carries (among many others) details of yet another amazing recovery by metal detectorists this time in the County of Wiltshire, a find consisting of a bronze cauldron inside which were carefully packed and padded with foliage, two other vessels – possibly cooking utensils. What follows regarding this major find is taken from the PAS website written by Finds Liaison Officer, Richard Henry:

“…The bronze vessels had been removed from the ground by the detectorists, but crucially, they had not attempted to clean the bowls and the delicate remains of the packing material were preserved in place. Finds Liaison Officer Richard Henry has led the exciting quest to discover more about the find. He brought in a team to excavate the site of the discovery, led by David Roberts of Historic England and with the Assistant County Archaeologist, members of the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group and the finders. Richard then brought in more experts, including Dr Ruth Pelling of Historic England and Dr Michael Grant who identified the plant remains and pollen. Peter Marshall, also of Historic England, coordinated the radiocarbon dating of the flowers and undertook analysis of the results. The project has been led by the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme and supported by Historic England, Southampton University, the Association for Roman Archaeology and Wiltshire Museum.

Museum Director, David Dawson, said “Richard Henry has led this remarkable partnership project, drawing specialists from across the country to piece together the fascinating story of the burial of Roman bronze cauldrons that took place on a summer’s day 1,500 years ago. We are thrilled to be able to display this important material”.

Richard Henry said “Such discoveries should be left in situ to allow full archaeological study of the find and its context. The finders did not clean or disturb the vessels which has allowed us to undertake detailed further research. If the vessels had been cleaned none of this research would have been possible”

Ruth Pelling commented that “It has been an absolute pleasure to examine this unique assemblage. By combining the plant macro and pollen evidence we have been able to identify the time of year the vessels were buried, the packing material used, the nature of the surrounding vegetation and the likely date of burial.”

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Launch of PAS and Treasure Annual Reports

(Published by PAS Monday 28th November 2016)

“The PAS has recorded over 1.2 million archaeological finds to date (since 1997). This data has been widely used by academics, students and many others by searching the PAS database (www.finds.org.uk/database). PAS data has been used in over 528 research projects, including 25 pieces of large-scale research and 110 PhDs.

The PAS is a partnership project, managed by the British Museum working with at least 119 national and local partners to deliver the Scheme’s aims. It is an important part of the British Museums’ National Programmes activity which extends across the UK.

As part of the HLF [Heritage Lottery Fund. JH] funded project PASt Explorers, the PAS is working with volunteers across the country to record archaeological finds made by the public and get involved in archaeology. In 2015, 259 volunteers, including 100 self-recorders (metal-detectorists who record their own finds on the PAS database), have contributed to the work of the Scheme.

Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage said “It is fascinating to think that, thanks to the PAS and Treasure Act, the public are rewriting the history and archaeology of this country. That so many amazing finds are made each year is testimony to the diverse and long history of England and Wales and it is marvellous that these finds then end up in museums across the country for all to enjoy”.

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To paraphrase the legendary ‘Yogi’ Berra (success in our pastime like Baseball is); “Ninety percent mental: The other half is physical.”

I’ll see y’all in the bar.

**************

March 28, 2017

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UPDATE FROM THE MALAMUTE SALOON

by John Howland

A Great Read: –

“Dean Crawford – Living among the Dobunni: A discussion with one of England’s most successful metal-detectorists”

Renowned Canadian author, antiquarian, academic, and numismatist, John Hooker, is a serious advocate for the mentally mature and meticulous wing of our pastime (that’s the overwhelming majority), has written and ably assisted by Dean Crawford, one of Britain’s most successful finders of ancient and Celtic coinage, a superb Kindle E-book that not only puts metal detecting where it should be – in the ranks of serious historical research – but also lets loose metal detecting’s cat among the heritage circus’s anal-retentive stool-pigeons and all for the must-read, bargain price of £2.42.

Oh yes, it’s a belter.

The mouth-watering photos of Celtic gold staters and medieval hammered gold coins that have fallen to Dean’s searchcoil are testimony to his near legendary expertise. The writing style is superlative and easy to understand (always the hallmark of a gifted writer).

I have little doubt there’ll be a serious wailing and gnashing of teeth, whining, and moaning; toys chucked out of ‘academic’ prams at what is surely destined to become a reference work for serious students of the genre; penned by a forward thinking Celtic coin expert, and an equally dazzling, expert detectorist.

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Dates to Remember!!

The UK’s new twelve-sided, bimetallic £1 coin that went into circulation on 28th March this year is heralded as the world’s most secure coin bristling with anti-forgery features including a hologram.

The old ‘round’ pound coins remain in circulation until 15th October 2017, whence they cease to be legal tender. People are urged to cash-in their ‘round’ pounds to the banks before the 15th October.

It’s reckoned that around 1.3 billion ‘round’ pound coins are out of circulation across the country stashed away in piggy banks, jam jars and bottles; a figure that must include countless millions of round pound coins lost on the UK’s beaches.

After October this year, we’ll no doubt be cursing finding the old ‘round’ pounds much as we do with pull tabs! Never thought the day would dawn when I’d whinge at finding a £1-coin (‘76’ on my ATPro International).

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Consider: –

Every narcissistic pseudo-archaeologist wants a detectorist to look down on.

March 16, 2017

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COFFIN DODGERS

by John Howland

The very young John Howland

They say that there’s no future in getting old; and they’re right. But age is no bar to a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle evidenced by some sturdy 90-yr olds running Marathons. I know man who has regular sex at 78; the problem is he lives at number 72!

Though metal detecting is hardly in the Marathon category, it is nevertheless, widely recognized as both a health benefit and an enormous contributor to the overall archaeological record. In the UK alone over one million detector-found artefacts are logged with the Government sponsored Portable Antiquities Scheme database. There are definite health advantages to the pastime as any detectorist will testify; it provides fresh air and gentle exercise. For those of a certain age it’s a ‘well-being’ windfall.

The temptation, as we get older, is naturally to lift our foot off the gas but reduced inactivity can also be an unintended and premature invitation to the Grim Reaper. Absence of physical activity in old age – and for our purposes here we’ll define old age as ‘60’ – leads to more time spent in doctors’ waiting rooms; increased medication; more lotions, potions and Heaven knows what else to alleviate all manner of ailments. One day we all come face-to-face with ‘The Reaper’ but with a canny outlook, that date can be delayed by simply following a few basic health rules.

Health professionals tell us that as we age so we should aim to be as physically active as possible. Regular physical exercise is proven to be important both to physical and mental welfare especially for ‘Oldies’ and by remaining active, many long-term health benefits are up for grabs; even improving in some cases the well-being of those who already have minor problems.

As exercise and physical activity are among the healthiest things we can do, some ‘oldies’ are loathe to exercise, often in the mistaken notion that exercising is in some way harmful. There is no need to take out gym membership or invest in expensive or special equipment, though both options are extremely valuable. Nevertheless, repeated research shows that leading a sedentary life in old age is a precarious undertaking and ‘undertaking’ is this instance being operative word!

So how much exercise should ‘Oldies’ engage in each week? Well, how long’s a piece of string? It’s reckoned that at least a couple of hours of moderate exercise a week is about right; and a couple of sorties walking and swinging a metal detector, bending and digging to retrieve targets would seem to fit the bill with the added attraction of hoiking out some treasure – maybe!

There are countless clubs and societies catering for ‘Oldies’ whose members are simply aching for speakers to address their meetings. Everyone loves the thought of finding treasure – elusive as though that might be in reality – and I guarantee that taking along a few finds and a couple of detectors to say an Over 60s Luncheon Club, or similar, will be welcomed.

Why not then, get your club to get involved in what is a great PR initiative for the pastime?

February 28, 2017

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After a Few Beers….

John Howland

beer5“The times they are a changing” as Marshall Dillon (I think) once said, and today, the Intertube rules with de rigeur homemade videos on the pastime. It’s the new media – “Turn on, tune in, drop out” as some smart-arse 60s icon once spouted. I’m a 60s child too, and lived through the so-called ‘swinging era’. I once asked my then girlfriend if she really believed in free love, “Have I ever charged you?” she replied. Sheesh!

These Intertube hobby videos are fun to watch with many of them high calibre productions and certainly interesting. Some of course are the ‘kin pits, written by knuckle-draggers for knuckle-draggers – but that’s enough about archaeology! The Intertube is the way to go and why shouldn’t detecting enthusiasts record their experiences and/or finds online? Every other conceivable hobby or pastime has them, so why not ours?

What I’d really like to see – apart from more cammo and wet T-shirts – is a Night-hawking video. How do these people find this alleged ‘treasure’ in the black of night? Jeez, I have enough difficulty finding it in broad daylight let alone in total darkness. Better still, I’d like to know why, when they find this alleged ‘treasure’ they risk their liberty for a fraction of the items’ actual monetary worth.

To my way of thinking, if you’re staring at being a guest of Her Majesty for potentially six-months (or longer), having been nabbed in flagrante at a protected site, then perhaps you really do deserve what’s hurtling down the track towards you. Consider the ‘receiver’ of your ill-gotten gains – sometimes a bent archaeologist (yes, they do exist). He paid you in used, untraceable notes, at a fraction of the true market value and all risk-free. Who’s the mug?

Some years ago, when I wrote the regular angling column for a major magazine, I received an email from a guy who’d been caught fishing without a licence. “What can I do?” he wailed. “Simple’” I wrote back,” Wear a suit and tie in court, comb your hair, plead guilty, pay up, and look big.” The moral being, if you are detecting where you shouldn’t and get caught, my sympathies are with the authorities; you deserve all that’s coming.

The publication of the so-called Nighthawking Report, undertaken by Oxford Archaeology (OA) at a cost of £60,000 was the best thing that’ happened to the hobby in years. This influential report exposed ‘Nighthawking’ in the UK as being almost non-existent. The report confirmed that alleged looting incidents averaged out at less than two a month; but only if one assumes (without hard evidence) the holes in archaeological sites were indeed dug by rogue detectorists; though the more probable explanation being the natural, nightly doings of badgers, rabbits, and the like. The report was effectively, a kick in the teeth for metal detecting’s opponents.

I doubt the address of OA’s Oxford headquarters, Janus House, Osney Mead, has been lost on some of the ‘antis’ ensconced in the depths of the Council for British Archaeology; Janus being the Roman God who’s often depicted as having two faces. Oh, how I feel their pain!

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In one hilarious media incident, some years ago, holes that regularly appeared overnight in the grounds of a ruined abbey were attributed to illicit detecting by one prominent archaeologist – widely known for his opposition to metal detecting. The culprits were in fact abbey ‘residents’; a healthy colony of rabbits. To the casual observer his ludicrous assertions appeared factual. To the less relaxed – including some in his own sphere – it raised questions about his ability as an archaeologist; if he couldn’t differentiate between shallow holes in close proximity to rabbit droppings, what price then his excavation reports?

Indeed, the Nighthawking Report proves what we in the hobby have known for over three decades; that a well-connected and noisy claque of anti-hobbyist ‘spinners’ – mostly comprised of jaundiced and undistinguished archaeologists and the heritage circus’ Luddite faction are still trying to feed the media with diet of fact-free propaganda to counter Oxford Archaeology’s excellent report.

The UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) has left these rabble-rousing activists in its dust as the metal detecting hobby and the PAS continue to gain in stature while adding considerably to the UK’s archaeological knowledge. The PAS’ database is now eagerly sought out by free-thinking researchers and unprejudiced academics who recognize the magnitude of detectorists’ extensive input to the common good.

February 14, 2017

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Sensitive souls

John Howland

You can almost always find John Howland on the beach (if not there check the closest pub)

John Howland

High ‘Sensitivity’ settings equate to deeper and increased finds? WRONG! BIG STYLE!

Of all a metal detector’s controls, proper understanding and dexterous handling of the ‘Sensitivity’ knob is crucial. This vital element to success is arguably the most widely misunderstood control of all. Trying to persuade a detectorist to ‘turn it down’ to usable levels, or, desensitizing the machine to make life easier, is harder than trying to nail jelly to the ceiling. It’s easier to get a treasure hunter into Heaven than to persuade one to turn it down or knock it back a few segments.

Here’s an analogy. If yours is an automobile sporting quartz-iodine or halogen type headlights, then you’ll know these state-of-the-art illuminators are absolutely piss poor on ‘main beam’ in heavy fog; reflecting a near-impenetrable wall of dazzling glare. However, drop the beam to ‘low’ and you’ll see further ahead. The same goes for lowering the ‘sensitivity’.

If you’re an experienced hand at the game, go and put the coffee pot on the stove and come back later while I try and convince the newbies.

Let’s take an actual machine – the Garrett ATPro. Mine is the International version. There are certain stretches of local coastline where old coins regularly put in an appearance but only when the Sensitivity control is knocked back three or four segments from ‘Max’. Such is the contamination and spurious electrical interference, that the ATPro starts chirping as soon as I take it out of my car’s trunk in the car-park!

First of all, ground balance the machine to the prevailing conditions then, if it’s still chirping away, lower the Sensitivity until the machine becomes stable. At this point you’re ready to go and the machine is correctly set up.

If your particular metal detector doesn’t sport a ground balancing facility, simply drop the Sensitivity if the detector ‘chirps’ or becomes ‘noisy’. Some time ago, I read a field test on the Garrett Ace 250; it was a serious contender for the Booker Prize for Fiction with the ‘advice’ not to use it anywhere near saltwater! The Field Test, so-called, said more about the reviewer’s shortcomings than those of the machine describing it as an entry level machine (read here, ‘not serious, for newbies only’).

The Ace 250

The Ace 250

In fact, the Ace 250 is probably one the finest medium-priced metal detectors on the market and in the right hands, will outperform any of the most expensive machines in a novice’s hands. Some years ago, Whites brought out a 4000D as I recall, and those in the know, realised it was huge value for money in performance terms. Nowadays, this niche, medium priced market has a choice of machines and nearly all of them are excellent buys proving high price tags are no guarantee of success.

Recently I met up with a beachcomber armed with two Grand’s worth of metal detector.

“How do you like it?” I asked.

“Yeah, brilliant,” he replied, “But this is a bad beach. Nearly unworkable. You won’t find much here. Lots of false signals.” We said our farewells and he headed off to an ‘easier’ beach.

Curiously, my finds pouch was stuffed with assorted spendable ‘shrapnel’.

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Another one bites the dust

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For some inexplicable reason the following story which has been in the national UK press for some weeks, has failed to make it to the pages of the smugger, holier-than-thou anti-detecting, anti-collecting blogs. Odd that, innit?

Under the headline, ‘Historian jailed for theft’ (page 17, Daily Telegraph 11 February) Alexander Bateman, 48, earned himself a two-year stay at one of Her Majesty’s hotels for stealing a ‘treasured document’ – an aircrew log-book – from the widow of airman, F/Sgt John Fraser, who was a bomb-aimer with the RAF’s 617 Squadron and who took part in the famous World War Two ‘Dambusters Raid. John Fraser died in Canada in 1962.

Shere Lowe, John Fraser’s daughter, flew in from Washington State to attend Bateman’s trial at Wood Green Crown Court and saw him sentenced. Bateman has steadfastly refused to reveal the whereabouts of the log-book which has yet come to light.

Sentencing Bateman, the Telegraph quoted the Judge: –

“It is in my view this offence is so serious as to call for a term of imprisonment […] It will, be plain to you that I consider this a despicable offence […] abusing the trust placed in you presenting yourself as a genuine historian by the widow of a war hero. You decided to keep the log-book, misleading the family when they sought for its return. It remains a mystery as to what you did with that log-book.”

More proof then, if proof were needed and regardless of the despots’ lies to the contrary, this particular criminal case shows yet again that detectorists and treasure hunters don’t have the monopoly of the heritage villainy.

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Hmmm…

Hate is the complement of fear and narcissists like being feared. It imbues them with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence. Sam Vaknin

I’ll see y’all in the bar

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January 24, 2017

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SNOWBALLS-UP

John Howland

The UK Highways Agency’s plans for a 1.8-mile tunnel to ‘bury’ traffic on the busy A303 arterial trunk road by diverting it away from Stonehenge, the World Heritage Site in Wiltshire, is well under way. The multi-million-pound scheme will, it is hoped, return the surrounding historic landscape to much as it was 4,500 years ago, leaving the ancient stones to dominate. The plan has widespread and influential support.

The United Nations cultural organisation, UNESCO, along with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, for example, recognise the benefits of the scheme which is also supported by the National Trust among other prominent supporters.

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Retired Minnesota architect and site visitor Paul Tunison reckons, “If this was a monument in the US, we wouldn’t have vehicles passing so close by. This is the place to visit in the UK […] a tunnel seems a very sensible option. I’d go for it.” He is not alone.

But not everyone’s happy; oh dearie me no! Opposition to the plans emanates from all the usual quarters – mainly dissident archaeologists, undistinguished archaeo-bloggers and their fellow travellers, who cite all manner of ills ranging from famine, to plagues of locusts and death of all the firstborn.

But as so amusingly happens (and often) within archaeology, not everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet. Not wanting to be left on the side-lines of the argument, the Council for British Archaeology’s, President, the television presenter and historian, Dan Snow, wades in to the debate with unfortunate, ill-judged, lily-gilding comments by comparing the UK’s Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling’s tunnel option plan, to that of the terror group Isis’ destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra, likening the tunnel scheme to, “vandals and zealots who destroy ancient artefacts.”[1] To use a football manager’s vernacular…”the boy dun bad.”

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[1] Simon Jenkins writing in ‘The OBSERVER’,The Stonehenge tunnel is monumental folly’

Mike Heyworth, the CBA’s Director, on the other hand, shows a deal more diplomacy (the boy dun good-ish) than his President, having found it seems a comfy seat on a nearby fence, “There are potential benefits from a tunnel to bury the A303 in the area of Stonehenge, but any proposals need to be carefully scrutinised and we need to think of the long-term implications, not just the short-term needs.” Heyworth told The Telegraph[2] that he even favours the longer 2.7-mile tunnel option, adding that “obviously” he had to be “realistic about the state of public finances.” Evidently Heyworth is familiar with the old adage that ‘you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.’

In further sidelining the hapless Snow, Mike Pitts, British Archaeology magazine’s editor who directed excavations at Stonehenge told The Guardian newspaper that, “When you visit Stonehenge now you see traffic, you feel traffic […] but the tunnel is not just about that traffic. It will open up an extraordinary landscape to the south of the road that is known to only a few nutjobs like me. It will change the way we engage with that whole landscape.”

A spokesperson for the UK’s Department for Transport tells us that, “Stonehenge is one of Britain’s greatest treasures and it is important to note that English Heritage and National Trust support our plans. It is essential that we ensure this site of cultural and historical significance is safeguarded as we progress with the upgrade.”

“As with any road scheme, we will consult with interested parties before any building begins on the A303.”

Therefore, if given the chance, all UK Stout Standards’ readers can cast their votes and make their voices heard and so to a lesser extent can US readers, all in support of the 1.8-mile tunnel option (I have already done so).

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2 Stonehenge tunnel given green light after nearly 30 years of delays, by Steven Swinford, Deputy Political Editor – 12 January 2017

January 2, 2017

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A NEW YEARS DISPATCH FRO THE MALAMUTE SALOON…

First off, my best wishes to you all for the very best of health, wealth, and good fortune in 2017. This year is promising on several fronts not least with the Portable Antiquities Scheme which looks set to remain as the role model for the rest of the world despite ill-mannered, loutish comments by those who don’t know any better and sadly, from those who do.

You can almost always find John Howland on the beach (if not there check the closest pub)

You can almost always find John Howland on the beach (if not there check the closest pub)

STATESIDE

2017 could be a ‘vintage’ year. Size really does matter…

This year could also see US hobbyists putting together a viable lobby group to represent the much-needed voice of rank-and-file detectorists at national government level. Indeed, such a group will be welcomed by Capitol Hill since they have no way of gauging hobbyists’ views when considering legislation. Their only way of gauging what the hobby entails, or what it’s is all about, is by asking archaeologists! Now that’s like asking a Vegan to recommend a decent cut of steak.

Rights or wrongs don’t make laws…but lobby votes do!

GARRETTS GOING WIRELESS

Judging from the promos and from Garrett’s own site, their new ‘Garrett Z-Lynk™ Wireless System’ (wireless headphones) looks a winner; one where you can use your own favourite headphones. With the systems’ rechargeable batteries lasting up to thirty hours from a single charge puts them, in one respect, well ahead of their nearest rivals. The claimed response speed with a 17-millisecond delay (six times faster than Bluetooth it is claimed) is superfast but how this compares with the rivals I know not. But knowing the big ‘G’ as I do, they won’t want to be anyone’s runners-up!

The UK price has yet to be sorted, but I reckon somewhere in the £120.00 region. Garrett’s UK dealer, REGTON Ltd (0121 359 2379, or, sales@regton.com), might be worth an enquiry. 0121 359 2379

IN THE UK

Hanky-panky in York, or, who’s working late again at the office? Ho, ho!

I can’t help wondering whenever I hear or read about the so-called damaging ‘hoiking’ allegedly perpetrated by detectorists, whether the accusers (usually the Brothers Grim) are less concerned with archaeology per se, or more concerned with trying to pull a fast one over what is seen by many in archaeology as a chummy, but gullible media, with fatuous and carefully crafted malicious, fact-free stories.

The sheer desperation to smear legitimate detectorists along with the Portable Antiquities Scheme is plainly evident in one loathsome individual’s vile name calling and personal attacks, clearly suggesting irrational and near paranoid behaviour. It’s also clearly evident that some in archaeology are incapable of conducting both themselves and their arguments in neither a civilised, nor gracious manner, choosing instead to employ craven ad hominem attacks of the kind they wouldn’t dare utter face-to-face. Neither are archaeology’s mandarins keen to censure this dishonourable conduct. Cowardice is fast becoming a common facet in archaeology.

Despite the ersatz hand-wringing angst within its ranks, archaeology is not a science nor ever likely to be, despite attempts of some to scam casual observers into believing otherwise. It all amounts to guesstimation. Even imbeciles can hazard inaccurate guesses, but such guesses are hardly science and since the archaeological world in the shape of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) lends tacit approval to that monumental fraud masquerading as ‘fact’ – the so-called Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC) – it’s small wonder that archaeology is ridiculed, lampooned and gets the drubbing it does.

They’ll keep the Red Flag flying high…

…but the huff ’n puff of those who apparently lead the CBA by the nose, is in reality, a cunningly devised smokescreen to mask their ultimate goal; that of gaining complete control over all private property. One advocate writes: –

“…property of the state on behalf of ALL of its citizens, a point which the dealers and their idiot lobbyists fail to understand because of their perception of the state as an instrument of repression.”

A noble and honest political sentiment you might think. But coming from someone who voluntarily left the liberal West in the 1980s to live under to the distinctly intolerant Communist regime then in power in Poland for money and position is indeed as bizarre as it is revealing. Simultaneously as he was climbing into bed with the CommissaЯs, the Polish people were fighting to free themselves from communism’s yoke of tyranny; their perception of the state, was indeed, as an instrument of repression. Strange, eh?

Idiocy is not it appears, the monopoly of ‘dealers’ or their ‘lobbyists’.

Does it really matter…

…that the CBA is enjoying a bit of ‘extra-marital’ on the side with the fraudulent AEC notwithstanding that some AEC devotees are the political progenies of the tyranny who murdered Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children in 1918? By their comЯades shall we know archaeology.

However…

…It might be wise for all archaeologists of a royalist bent, to keep a beady eye on the comЯades should they ever take political power.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

December 8, 2016

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santabubbaMany will I’m sure be relieved to know that this is my final write-up for 2016 (emergencies excepted) and I suspect many of my US readers will already be thoroughly pissed-off with ‘that bloody Limey’ (me) again pleading for the unification of US hobbyists to get organised at national level. I make no apology. There has to be people out there with the balls and fire of Roger Barbrick. There has to be people out who won’t take shit off anyone. Surely?

J.H., Bournemouth, UK

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For those you who like me, love extracting the urine out of the archaeo-blogosphere’s dim-witted slack-jaws, here’s a heart-warming tale:

One afternoon an archaeologist was riding in his limousine when he saw two poor detectorists eating grass at the roadside. Disturbed at the sight, he ordered his chauffeur to stop, and got out to investigate.

He asked the first, “Why are you eating grass?”

“We don’t have any money for food,” the poor detectorist replied. “We have to eat grass.”

“Well, then, you must come with me to my house and I’ll feed you,” the archaeologist said.

“But sir, I have a wife and two children with me. They are over there, under that tree.”

“Bring them along too,” the archaeologist replied.

Turning to the other poor detectorist he stated, “You may come with us, also.”

The second detectorist, in a pitiful voice, replied, “But sir, I also have a wife and SIX children with me!”

“Bring them all as well,” the archaeologist answered.

They all entered the car, which was no easy task, even for a car as large as the limousine.

Once underway, one of the poor detectorists turned to the archaeologist and said, “Sir, you are too kind. A wonderful, warm, human being. Thank you for taking all of us with you.”

The archaeologist replied, “Glad to do it. You’ll really love my place. The grass is almost a foot high.”

Oh, come on, grow up! You didn’t really think there was such a thing as a heart-warming archaeo-blogger story, did you?

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Forewarned …

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.” Abraham Lincoln.

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In 1986 the metal detecting hobby had become firmly established in the UK following a hard fought battle against archaeological lobbyists; many of whom had impeccable Socialist credentials of an extreme nature. Some – often widely described as ‘scumbags’ – even espoused communist sympathies.

Simultaneously on mainland Europe another freedom fight was well under way: –

“Thirty years ago Poland’s Communist government was forced to release 225 political prisoners. Following the amnesty on September 30 1986, Lech Wałęsa created the first public, legal Solidarity entity since the declaration of martial law. Soon afterwards, the new Council was admitted to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

“By 1988, Poland’s economy worsened. International sanctions, combined with the inefficient government’s unwillingness to introduce reforms, intensified the old problems. There were no funds to modernize factories and the promised “market socialism” materialized as a shortage economy characterized by long queues and empty shelves. Reforms introduced by Jaruzelski and Mieczysław Rakowski came too little and too late, especially as changes in the Soviet Union had bolstered the public’s expectation that change must come, and the Soviets ceased their efforts to prop up Poland’s failing regime.

In February 1988, the government hiked food prices by 40%.” (Source in part: Wikipedia).

I’m not alone in wondering why anyone – apart from the most dyed-in-the-wool apparatchik apple polishers – would want to live under the heel of the Soviet’s repressive political regime; one that enslaved millions in the Communist Bloc during the Cold War?

But in all fairness I have to say that the Stasi, KGB, Vopos, SB, StB and all the other dedicated communist enforcers, never shot anyone climbing over the Berlin Wall to get into East Berlin. Plenty died trying to get out of the ‘Workers’ Paradise’ though.

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An apparatchik is a full time employee in any position of bureaucratic or political responsibility who served either in Communist Party structures or in the government.…

The importance of being an apparatchik (or worker bee)

“However, there were also some educated apparatchiks. They were university professors whose job was lecturing factory and collective farm workers on the advantages of Socialism. Most of them preferred to tell people about interesting things that the workers missed in their life. One of these apparatchiks said: “I’m pleased with my job because I’m giving people something they don’t have. And I see smiles on their faces. “Though the Soviet era is over, many apparatchiks have survived. They quietly transferred themselves to well-paid jobs and posts and prosper to this day. Nevertheless, their memory lives on, and apparatchik is still used to describe a person, who causes unnecessary trouble with a bureaucratic approach to work.”

When I first read this piece, for some reason I thought of UNESCO.

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NO JOKE

There’s a nasty disease doing the rounds and it’s rearing its ugly head predominantly in Southern England. In common lingo, it’s a real bastard. Period. It goes by the name Lyme Disease.

Those at principally risk of infection are walkers, ramblers, dog-walkers, and others who enjoy the Great Outdoors; a list that unfortunately includes detectorists. The southern counties, principally Hampshire and the New Forest are hotspots for this at present incurable disease.

So what is Lyme Disease, or Lyme Borreliosis?

It’s a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. I quote from the National Health Service (NHS) website: –

Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures found in woodland and heath areas. They feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including humans. Ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.

It’s estimated there are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year. About 15% of cases occur while people are abroad.

Lyme disease can often be treated effectively if it’s detected early on. But if it’s not treated or treatment is delayed, there’s a risk you could develop severe and long-lasting symptoms.

Early symptoms

Many people with early-stage Lyme disease develop a distinctive circular rash at the site of the tick bite, usually around three to 30 days after being bitten. This is known as erythema migrans.

lyme_disease_

The rash is often described as looking like a bull’s-eye on a dart board. The affected area of skin will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised. The size of the rash can vary significantly and it may expand over several days or weeks. Typically, it’s around 15cm (6 inches) across, but it can be much larger or smaller than this. Some people may develop several rashes in different parts of their body.

However, around one in three people with Lyme disease won’t develop this rash.

Some people with Lyme disease also experience flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as tiredness (fatigue), muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, a high temperature (fever), chills and neck stiffness.

Preventing Lyme disease

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease. The best way to prevent the condition is to be aware of the risks when you visit areas where ticks are found and to take sensible precautions.

You can reduce the risk of infection by:

  • keeping to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking
  • wearing appropriate clothing in tick-infested areas (a long-sleeved shirt and trousers tucked into your socks)
  • wearing light-coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes
  • using insect repellent on exposed skin
  • inspecting your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband) – remove any ticks you find promptly
  • checking your children’s head and neck areas, including their scalp
  • making sure ticks are not brought home on your clothes
  • checking that pets do not bring ticks into your home in their fur

When to see your GP

You should see your GP (doctor) if you develop any of the symptoms described above after being bitten by a tick, or if you think you may have been bitten. Make sure you let your GP know if you’ve spent time in woodland or heath areas where ticks are known to live.

For more information on this horrible affliction please visit: – www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Lymedisease/Pages/Introduction.aspx

____________________

James Bond walks into a bar and takes a seat next to a very attractive woman.  He gives her a quick glance, then casually looks at his watch for a moment.

The woman notices this and asks, “Is your date running late?”

“No,” he replies. “Q’s just given me this state-of-the-art watch and I was just testing it.”

The intrigued woman says, “A state-of-the-art watch?   What’s so special about it?”

Bond explains, “It uses alpha waves to talk to me telepathically.”

The lady says, “What’s it telling you now?”

“Well, it says you’re not wearing any panties…”

The woman giggles and replies, “Well, it must be broken because I am wearing panties!”

Bond tugs, taps his watch and says, “Damn thing’s an hour fast.”

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There are certain people in the archaeo-blogosphere who are a living proof that total brain failure does not always lead to physical death.

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Q: Why won’t sharks attack archaeologists? A: Professional courtesy.

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Q. What’s the difference between the Treasure Trove Awards Committee and terrorists?  A. You can negotiate with terrorists.

_____________________

A treasure hunter goes to his lawyer and tells him,

“An archaeologist owes me $500 and he won’t pay up. What should I do?”

“Do you have any proof he owes you the money?” asks the lawyer.

“Nope,” replies the T’Her.

“OK, then write him a letter asking him for the $5,000 he owes you,” says the lawyer.

“But it’s only $500,” replies the T’Her.

“Precisely. That’s what he will reply and then you’ll have your proof!”

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Bubba’s Bournemouth Beachcomber’s Cake

(great for Christmas)

ovd-rum

  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 or 2 Quarts of Rum (My favourite is OVD Demerara Rum)
  • 1 Cup Dried Fruit
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Soda
  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Baking Powder
  • 3 Juiced Lemons
  • 1 Cup of Nuts

Before starting, sample rum to check quality. Now proceed…..

Select large mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc..

Check rum again. It must be just right to be sure rum is of proper quality, pour one level cup of rum into a glass and check sample.

Repeat

With electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 seaspoon of thusar and beat again.

Meanwhile, make sure rum is still alrighty. Try another cup. Open second quart if necessary

Next add leggs, 2 cups of fried druit and beat til high. If druit gets stuck in beaters, pry loose with drewscriber.

Sample rum again, checking for tonscisticity.

Next, sift 3 cups pepper or salt (really doesn’t matter).

Sample rum.

Sift 1/2-pint lemon juice. Fold in chopped butter and strained nuts. Add 1 bablespoon of brown sugar-or whatever color you can find. Wix mell. Grease oven. Turn cake pan to 350 gredees. Pour mess into boven and ake.

Check run again and bo to ged.

ADN HALPIE HOLIGLAZE TWO YA’ALL!

My best wishes to my readers for a happy and peaceful Christmas.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

John

***************

November 9, 2016

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The Ultimate Coin?

howlandscriptBy spring of 2017 Britain’s current £1-coin will have undergone a facelift; a coin the Royal Mint is confident enough to brand it as the ‘most secure coin in the world’ – a counterfeiter’s nightmare.

The new £1-coin will have a number of features making it virtually counterfeit free. Departing from the current circular design, the new coin is 12-sided, a distinctive shape that makes it instantly recognisable even by touch. It’s also bimetallic – made of two metals. The outer ring is gold coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver coloured (nickel-plated alloy) similar to the current £2-coin.

one_pound_coin_one_side_v2-2

It’s Latent image – like a hologram changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is viewed from different angles. On the lower inside rim on both sides of the coin features micro-lettering: One pound on the obverse ‘heads’ side and the year of production on the reverse ‘tails’ side; for example, 2016 or 2017. The coins’ milled edges have grooves on alternate sides and a hidden high security feature is built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting in the future. The new UK £1-coin is scheduled to enter circulation in March 2017, and The Royal Mint will produce 1.5 billion of them.

The coin’s final specification and method of introduction followed a ten-week public consultation period which looked at the physical and material characteristics of the coin, as well as the parameters for the transition. Her Majesty’s Treasury and The Royal Mint are continuing to work with industry to introduce the new coin in a manageable way. Vending machines, slot machines and parking ticket machines will all have to be adapted to take the new coins. To view the government’s published consultation response please visit the below link.

The new 12-sided £1-coin’s dimensions differ slightly from the current round £1-coins.

The new coins will be thinner and lighter; with a thickness of 2.8mm and the weight reduced to 8.75g. The diameter however, at 23.43mm, is slightly larger than the current £1-coins; the maximum diameter (point to point) is 23.43mm.

In metal detecting terms, the increased diameter means most metal detectors will be able to locate them at slightly greater depths – especially on beaches. Currently, £1-coins register at ‘77’ on the Garrett ATPro International.

NB My thanks to the Royal Mint for allowing the use of the photograph of the new £1 coin. For more information, visit their website at http://www.thenewpoundcoin.com/

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Winter Draws On

If like me you’re undaunted by the depths of winter, then you’ll also know there’s little more warming than a decent hot drink après hunt as a reviver. My favourite cockle-warmer is a teaspoon of Bovril in a mug of boiling water into which is poured a generous measure of medium/dry sherry. The equivalent measures can be made in a thermos.

Contrary to popular belief (a falsehood put about by Stouty) I never drink alcohol while out hunting – it lowers the body’s temperature after the initial ‘warming’ rush. Nevertheless, back at home after the hunt it’s a vastly different story; two-fingers (vertical) of Jura, feet-up, by the fire.

Now part of the Unilever Group their website (https://www.unilever.co.uk/brands/our-brands/bovril.html) gives a brief history of this superb product: –

Bovril has been exported to countries around the world for many years. As well as expatriates looking for a taste of home in countries like France and Spain, Bovril is extremely popular in Malaysia, Singapore and China where generations of people have grown up with the iconic British drink.

bovril_250g

Way back in 1871, Napoleon ordered a million cans of beef for his hungry army. A Scot, John Lawson Johnston, rose to the challenge with his invention “Johnston’s Fluid Beef”. This was renamed Bovril back in 1886, and so the beefy drink we know and love was born.

16 years later, on Christmas Day of 1902, and far, far away near the South Pole, Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton supped on a cup of Bovril after a chilling four-hour march.

By 1909, it wasn’t just explorers and soldiers that took strength from Bovril – hundreds and thousands of football supporters up and down the country were gulping down steaming hot cups of Bovril. In fact, by this time, Bovril was so popular with Brits that an electric advertising sign was erected in London’s Piccadilly Circus.

By 1968, the Bovril empire owned Argentinean beef ranches that totalled the equivalent to half the size of England. Production was also moved from London to its current home in Burton on Trent.

Today, Bovril is as popular as ever, providing three and a half million jars of strength every year to Brits in need.

Enjoy!

_______________________

Consider…

“There’s one way to find out if a man is honest – ask him. If he says, ‘Yes,’ you know he is a crook.”…….Groucho Marx

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October 16,2016

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howlandscript

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…”

pas44

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.

________________________

Remember….

On the seventh day He went treasure hunting….

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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September 7, 2016

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Metal Detecting – ‘Everyman’s Archaeology’?

by John Howland

howlandscript

Archaeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of artifacts, architecture, and cultural(?) landscapes. The method one chooses to examine any of the aforementioned facets can be either orthodox, or unorthodox, and for hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, the latter equates to the leisure pursuit of metal detecting. There will always be archaeology in its orthodox form and likewise there will always be metal detecting – but whether they will ever rub along together in harmony is a moot point; so much of what follows will undoubtedly send some of archaeology’s old war-horses apoplectic.

Unquestionably, a handful of archaeology’s Luddite intransigents want full control over, or a complete ban of the pastime and fiercely resist any method of searching for the Past unless it conforms to their outdated attitudes. Mercifully this absurd Luddism is inexorably though slowly giving way to free-thinking and refreshing outlooks and mutual respect; the rays of dawn’s early light are slowly becoming evident on both sides. The American archaeologist, Lisa Macintyre, is a glowing example.

Flushed with Success

Many hobby practitioners are specialists in particular aspects of history whose knowledge is often sought, not so much by the Luddite wing of sniffier archaeological clique, but by film producers, writers, authors and the like, wanting accuracy in such things as period dress particularly with shoe buckles, old military cap badges and buttons. The hobby has also produced many informed and respected writers on all aspects of history and their books and works proliferate. Unsurprisingly, fewer people are regularly involved in orthodox archaeology than in metal detecting, which has its own methodology, ideology, and terminology. It empowers the ordinary man to seek and search out his own Past, in the way of his choosing. This new breed of heritage enthusiast asks pertinent questions of orthodoxy often putting it embarrassingly, under the spotlight. There’s an old adage that reckons, ‘BS baffles brains,’ but not so with these guys; they are educated in the ways of archaeology and want answers; and the Luddites (with apparently something to hide) don’t like it one bit…no Siree!

In the UK the metal detecting pursuit has over the past three decades become firmly established. During this time and owing to the huge and valuable contribution its practitioners have made to the common heritage, has led to the formation of the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) backed by government funds and run under the auspices of the British Museum in London. The PAS has a million-plus detector-found artifacts on its database becoming the model template for the rest of the world and I’m given to understand – at the time of writing – that some countries previously ‘anti’ are now looking at what the PAS has achieved and the benefits derived from this kind of modern heritage thinking and public involvement.

It’s important to mention that once an artifact is properly recorded there is absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever in selling it on to a collector, or putting it up for auction, or indeed starting one’s own collection. When a landowner baulks at finds-data being handed to ‘officialdom’ (apart from the legal requirements of the Treasure Act) then keep your own records.

Practicalities

Imagine for the moment you’ve been given access to acres of land, a ranch even: You’ve countersigned the mutually agreed profit-sharing Landowner/Searcher agreement with the landowner. So what’s the next step? Probably not what you think. Keep your metal detector securely locked in the car; pull on your boots on and go and explore the lay of the land, map in hand.

Seasoned hunters know instinctively where to look first; anglers too have a similar uncanny knack of knowing where the best fish are hiding-up which is probably why so many former anglers have turned detectorist. For example, I can look at the rolling chalk downlands of Wiltshire, and Dorset (where I live) and identify with more or less certainty where ancient coins or other artefacts have an odds-on chance of turning up. These areas I mark on a large-scale Ordnance Survey map with a soft-graphite 2 or 3B pencil and further comparison at home with Google Maps. Other detectorists use drones to identify cropmarks; sure signs of former habitation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Keep an eye out for pottery pieces, especially the broken bases; these if stamped with the potter’s name are highly prized and collectable.

Areas of land under the plough repay attention especially on chalk downlands where flint tools and arrowheads will surely put in an appearance. Don’t assume that you have stumbled on a stone age site either. Stone tools being cheaper and easier to fashion than iron or bronze were being made well into the roman era as evidenced by the numbers of these implements that regularly come to light on non-scheduled Celtic and roman sites where hobbyists have unfettered access. This is not so much an ‘archaeological’ reality but a fact derived from metal detecting. Once again ensure these flint tools are reported to the landowner (they fetch good prices at market) and to the PAS subject to the landowner’s permission; many landowners have – and in some cases rightly so – an uncompromising distrust of archaeology so be aware of your responsibilities to your farmer or landowner. Look after them and they’ll look after you.

Fieldcraft – dating hedgerows

Hedgerow dating is an essential tool in the wise detectorist’s armoury and to my mind is crucial to success. The best way of doing this – though not a precise science – is as follows.

Place a maker in the ground then pace out one hundred yards along any part of a hedgerow bordering the field. Then place another marker in the ground and count the number of prominent hedgerow plants and shrub types (not grasses) between the two markers – and be thorough. For every plant-type add one hundred years. For example, five different plants equals to (roughly) five hundred years.

Fieldcraft – field names

In the UK – and I suspect the same is true in the US – that every field and plot of land has a name. In the UK, field names date back many hundreds of years. Names such as ‘Drop shot’, ‘Shot over’ and ‘Drop short’ indicate fields where medieval archery practice took place. ‘Drop shot’ and ‘Drop short’ is where you’ll uncover iron (ferrous) arrowheads. The field names indicate that the arrows either ‘dropped short’ or ‘shot over’ the targets – so don’t hunt such fields with the DISCRIM turned up, or on! Go, All Metal!

The Enclosure maps dating to the early 1800s repay close inspection and comparison with modern large-scale maps of ‘your’ newly acquired land. Similar maps also exist in the US. Where an area features a patchwork of small fields is indicative of Anglo-Saxon origins and the coins will be likely as not, early hammered silver types. That said, and with the grubbing up of hedges to make larger fields for agricultural machinery, this patchwork feature will be less obvious, therefore so reliance on Enclosure maps is vital.

K.I.S.S

Keep It Simple Stupid. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80’s my detecting pal ‘Pete the Hat’ (who’s exploits are mentioned in earlier Mal Sals) owned an Arado 120b arguably the best inland use metal detector of its day and could still certainly outperform many of today’s machines. By modern standards it was uncomplicated; certainly deep-seeking, and featured as I recall, just a couple of knobs and a large easy-to-read meter. Neither did it come cheap.

Above all, especially if you’ve only recently discovered the pastime, please realise that expensive machinery sporting twiddly knobs, SatNavs, or even a micro-wave oven, is no guarantee for success. Neither is a high retail price.

Remember; the watchword is…KISS!

………

  1. What’s the difference between ‘erotic’ and ‘kinky’?
  2. ‘Erotic’ is when you use a feather; ‘Kinky’ is when you use the whole chicken.

……………

Good hunting, I’ll see y’all in the bar….

John

August 10, 2016

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howlandscript

‘Tell a lie a thousand times and it soon becomes the truth’… by John Howland

… was Communism’s propagandist mainstay. The more astute among the UK’s Communist archaeological community dropped it like a hot brick once they realised their obscurantist game had been rumbled and ran for cover. For the dimmer, more zealous ’Reds’ in their midst, the maxim stuck fast like shit to a blanket. It still does.

Some US treasure hunters are doubtless thinking at this juncture, “What the hell is this Limey talking about?” Listen in Bubbas; what happens here in the UK, sooner or later happens Stateside. It’s perhaps for the same reason that US detectorists can’t or won’t go on the offensive or organize a defensive barrier, that US archaeologists can’t change up to a higher offensive gear. Luckily for the hobby it’s down to archaeological apathy. For the moment.

I’ve been fighting these people for the best part of forty years. From the late ‘70s when the Council for British Archaeology’s ill-advised and ill-fated anti-metal detecting STOP campaign was in full swing, the metal detecting hobby was, and to a certain extent still is, media blitzed with all manner of supposed ‘facts’ and ‘figures’ designed to bamboozle the public at large. Nowadays, this scatology comes courtesy of a mish-mash of ardent, vocal, but dim-witted claquers populating archaeology’s anti-collecting, anti-detecting, anti-US, anti-capitalist, (and some say anti-Semitic) periphery. Many commentators see them as ‘basket cases’. One in particular belongs in a secure mental hospital.

Their meagre media gruel is not so much as dug up, as made up; comprising a mix of personal abuse, personal insults, ad hominen attacks, and lies; prompting many on the receiving end of this lunatic barrage to believe there are serious psychological issues at play. One such ‘basket case’, and the libel laws forbid me from naming names, is an utter, out-and-out, ‘nut case’ – completely off his trolley.

The portrayal of Detectorists by many of these ‘fruitcakes’ who pose Detectorists as the major threat to the heritage by alleging all manner of illegal activities leading to the haemorrhage of valuable (but as always, unspecified) relic data is unsurprisingly, simply untrue. Their adherence to Soviet leader ‘Uncle’ Joe Stalin’s dictum that, “The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, it’s the people who count the votes who do,” these claquers have had limited success (it must be said) in spinning the truth. Of course, you can fool some of the people…

So what is the ‘truth’ behind heritage theft in the UK allegedly carried out under cover of darkness (known colloquially as Nighthawking)? It depends on who you ask: But if you want it kosher and straight from the horse’s mouth, look no further than the Nighthawking Survey.

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Some eight years ago an investigation into ‘Nighthawking’ was commissioned and paid for by:-

English Heritage; Cadw; Historic Scotland; National Museum; National Museum of Wales, and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, are funding Oxford Archaeology, with support and help in kind from Archaeology Guernsey; Jersey Heritage Trust; Manx National Heritage; National Museums Scotland and Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service, to undertake a project entitled Nighthawks and Nighthawking: Damage to Archaeological Sites in the United Kingdom and Crown Dependencies caused by illegal searching and removal of antiquities.

All of them chipping-in where possible, to raise over sixty Grand to pay for it.

Oxford Archaeology Ltd (OA) is, as their website claims; “one of the largest and longest established independent archaeology and heritage practices in Europe” and was chosen to undertake the investigation. OA’s report, The Nighthawking Survey, was published in 2007/8. It makes for sobering reading, not for detectorists I hasten to add, but dissident Luddites in the archaeological community on the fringe (of what I’m unsure, but certainly not reason).

So what did OA uncover about detectorists’ alleged felonies? I quote from their report:-

The Nighthawking Survey

Nighthawks are not to be confused with responsible metal detectorists. It is clear that many metal detectorists follow good practice guidelines, record and/or report their finds, abide by the Treasure Act (1996) and are valued contributors to archaeological understanding.

A total of 240 sites were reported affected by Nighthawking between 1995 and 2008 of which 88 were Scheduled Monuments. The number of reported attacks on Scheduled Monuments has decreased from 1.3% of the resource to 0.41% since the last survey in 1995. A total of 152 non-scheduled sites have also been raided (this category was not examined in 1995). Results suggest that from 3-6% of archaeological excavations are also raided, although the number of archaeological units that reported instances of Nighthawking was down from 37 out of 50 in 1995 to 15 out of 54 in 2007 (19 units responded, reporting 35 affected sites).

The figures are official. No question. The data reveals startling results when closely examined and doubtless came as a bitter disappointment to some of the Survey’s commissioners. OA seems to have put a brave face on things and to their credit, reported the data ‘as found’.

For example:-

240 sites are cited as being “affected by Nighthawking” over a 13-year period (1995-08). Thus, 240 divided by 13 equates to an average of 18.461 incidents per year.

Or put another way:

If the number of sites, “affected by Nighthawking” per year (18.461), is divided by 12 (months in a year) it equates to 1.538 incidents per month.

Or put another way:

If the number of sites per year, 18.461, allegedly “affected by Nighthawking” is divided by 52 (weeks in a year), averages out at LESS than ONE incident a week: That figure being 0.355.

Yes…that’s 0.355 incidents a week. A crime tsunami? Nope!

Nevertheless, those who responded to OA’s questionnaire might well have confused the ‘evidence’ of so-called looting with that caused by nocturnal animal activity – and there’s no evidence in the survey either way apart from photographs of holes in the ground. This of course is the Survey’s major investigative flaw rendering the whole Survey utterly misleading and useless.

But let’s be generous here; let’s go along with the data and let’s further suppose for the moment the ‘looted’ sites really were excavated clandestinely; so what was stolen? Anything, or, nothing? No one knows.

The Nighthawking Survey – despite its imperfection – clearly shows metal detecting (in the UK at least) is not, nor has been, a threat to the heritage. So when next some archaeological dingbat shouts the crap, quote the Nighthawking Survey in reply.

Remember….

You can prove anything by statistics except the truth.

George Canning

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July 25, 2016

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“Oh, what a beauty, I’ve never seen one as big as that before…”

…Is a line from popular risqué song made famous by the legendary ukulele-playing entertainer, George Formby.

Now, I know there are certain names we don’t mention here on Stout Standards, but this one really is too good to miss and a prime example of scatter-gun insults, not to mention possible libel. A certain émigré Brit currently resident in Warsaw since 1986 who now teaches English and who describes himself as an ‘archaeologist’, regularly heaps invective and venom on detectorists, coin collectors and relic hunters in the manner of a kindergarten brat unable to have its own way, has thrown his toys out of the pram yet again. Only this time the target of his child-like spite is Britain’s archaeological community – yep, he’s ‘arkie’ bashing, the same ones who ran to his defence when the dodgy science behind his now widely-derided Artefact Erosion Counter was lambasted and expertly unpicked by experts in these columns.

He demonstrates what skills he has with the English language with this sample of his expertise:-

“There is actually a great silence from the British archaeological community (apparently for the most part, limp-wristed, pandering jobsworths who could not give a tinkers[sic] about any of this). It is good that there are archaeologists elsewhere [in Germany, apparently] keeping their eye on the ball.”

Thus, according to our English language teacher most of Britain’s male members of the archaeological community are “limp-wristed”, which for our US readers, means effete, mincing, homosexual, or in the current patois, ‘gay’.

How he arrives at this conclusion is anyone’s guess? A little extra-curricular activity on the subject perhaps? Does he include HRH The Prince of Wales, heir to the throne? HRH studied archaeology while at Cambridge University and who went on to become the Patron of the Council for British Archaeology?

And what about all his so-called pals in amateur archaeology; you know the ones, all those well-meaning folk who gather for Megameets at Standing Stones in Wiltshire….?

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July 22, 2016

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A Real Gobsmacker!

I was recently browsing the ‘Club Websites’ section (above) and one US club, the Tidewater Coin and Relic Club (http://www.tc-rc.com/ ) really grabbed my attention. Its homepage is simply stunning and I being an avid beachcomber it really made an impression. I absolutely recommend you give it try. It’s phenomenal, moody, sets the tone, and best of all, it makes you want to pick up your detector and head for the surf.

What’s even better is that someone at TC&RC has thoughtfully provided a link to local sea fishing conditions, tide tables…the lot. The Tidewater Coin & Relic Club (TC&RC) was established in 1973 and meets on the second Tuesday of the month at the Mary Pretlow Library, 111 W Ocean View Ave, Norfolk, Virginia. Doors Open at 6:30pm and meetings kick off at 7:00pm.

To discover more about this superb club, log on to the link above or give the club’s Facebook page a whirl at www.facebook.com/groups/141109545958462/ Interestingly and something I’ve never come across before is that this club awards special pin badges to members who have found, and reunited Class Rings, wedding bands and other valuables to their owners.

tidewater

That which sets this club apart from many others is PR, certainly one of its officers (presumably) is wearing his/her Baseball cap hat at the right angle. In this hobby, image is king and the TC&RC leads by example.

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And now for something completely different…

Okay, all you oldies who’ve been in the hobby from the time when Long John Silver’s parrot was an egg, go and put the coffee on, or pour two fingers – what follows you may have heard before; this is for newbies and those who have the occasional ‘Senior Moment’. (That’s you Ricardo, er… 20 Bucks. Remember? Huh? Huh?)

Back in the late 70s and early 80s it was discovered (by a detectorist, I believe) that high pH (alkaline) readings in soil indicated evidence of human presence. Where there’s human presence or habitation… it’s highly likely that tangible evidence in the form of coins for example, will show. Sure enough, there was a mad rush to get one of these pH gizmos from local gardening centres. They were back then and still are today, available at nickel and dime prices. These pH meters are invaluable little gadgets for determining human habitation/activity in a given area. What do high pH readings make? Yep, you got it, prizes!

Using a pH meter will increase your finds potential. Though not an exact science – much like Dead Reckoning navigation – it will give you a definite edge and is probably the most useful bit of kit you can have after your metal detector.

pH Range

  1. Ultra -acidic….3.5
  2. Extremely acidic….3.5 – 4.4
  3. Very strongly acidid….4.5 – 5.0
  4. Strongly acidic….5.1 – 5.5
  5. Moderately acidic….5.6 – 6.0
  6. Slightly acidic….6.1 – 6.5
  7. Neutral….6.6 – 7.3
  8. Slightly alkaline….7.4 – 7.8: humans probably
  9. Moderately alkaline….7.9 – 8.4
  10. Strong habitation evidence….8.4 – 8.5
  11. Strongly alkaline….8.5 – 9.0
  12. Very strongly alkaline….9.0 Settlement site. JACKPOT!

Take several readings across the area you intend to search so as to ascertain its acidity or alkalinity, or to ‘outline’ the habitation area. Readings above ‘7’ are indicative of human existence. The higher the pH reading, then the higher the probability of extended human habitation; settlements, turnpikes, and the like, all of which transmits to…FINDS.

Areas reading in the acidic ranges, 3.5 to 5.1-5.5 are corrosive to metal objects (coins, etc.), so don’t expect them to be pristine. Many areas are also corrosive owing to the use of agro-chemicals and in those areas detectorists are doing a brilliant job in saving relics and coins.

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The Ashes of Self-importance

However, the self-proclaimed experts on metal detecting, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), an educational charity, has its head firmly up its rectum in advocating that detector-found artefacts are better off left in the ground. Why? Here’s their encyclical:-

“As long as it remains safe then it is better to leave the evidence for future generations to investigate with better techniques and with better-informed questions to ask.”

Idiocy? You do the math.

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July 15, 2016

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For the moment at least, we’ll leave our two ‘favourite’ serial whingers to wallow in their own unique brand of vulgar and loutish prose that sets them apart from ordinary society while we get on with the serious biz of treasure hunting. The two aforementioned mites though good for the occasional chuckle really are too tiresome for regular inclusion in our blog. Indeed, it makes little sense to regularly bestow their piss poor down-market, semiliterate blogs, with the exposure they are unable to achieve.

Roman/Iron Age

Many British newcomers to the hobby read Dick Stout’s blog, along with those US enthusiasts heading over here on holiday and looking for advice. In my experience the most efficient way of extracting roman coins from ploughed fields is by using a SMALL (4”) coil.

Two of the loudest indicators that you have a roman site on your hands is when you begin finding small pieces of lead dross (often used in roman pipework), closely followed the presence of well-rusted nails both of which scream out, “Use a smaller coil”.

Garrett ‘Sniper’ coil (other coils are available).

Smaller coils work well by getting in between the ferrous junk; their highly concentrated electro-magnetic beams miss nothing and by working them slowly, will soon repay the investment.

Another signpost that screams “roman habitation” is the profusion of (usually) freshwater mussel shells suggesting the presence of a temple and thus, votive offerings – gold and silver coins in abundance. Find such a place and both you and he landowner will be in clover as the finds will always be declared ‘Treasure’ under the provisions of the ’96 Act.

The most successful machine I ever used on a roman site was Tesoro’s Golden Sabre hitched a 4”coil. Designed to run without a threshold tone, the Golden Sabre featured a built-in null on ferrous targets, only sounding-off over non-ferrous targets. We called it the what-you-don’t-hear-you-don’t-miss system and what a great system it was: No distracting spurious noises, it sliced through the ploughsoil like a hot knife through butter.

My preference was for large-scale OS maps on which to plot finds plot when on inland sorties, though nowadays some of you might prefer the latest sat/nav gizmos. By using a large-scale map provides all the data you need to see the broader picture of the area on which you will be hunting. Footpaths that seemingly end in the middle of a field for instance demand investigation, not so much the path itself, but the place where it ends abruptly. Buckles, buttons, and casual losses abound on paths so it’s back to clipping on your larger coil in these circumstances. Paths can be dated from the finds, so plot them all especially coins, and slowly you’ll build a greater in-depth picture of the area.

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Footpath coins…..

I’m not a supporter of private reporting schemes as alternatives to the PAS, though I understand the reticence of some to confide in local FLOs. Sharing data helps to build a greater picture of the area and helps us all locate other lucrative areas.

Provided you have reported your finds there’s no reason why you shouldn’t sell them for profit and if you do manage to drop onto a decent find which makes a few quid, the look on your farmer/landowner’s face when you press a ‘century’ into his hand will stay with you for years. Be aware too for flint tools and arrowheads as these are highly collectible especially on sites on the chalk hills known as downlands. The term particularly describes this chalk common to the countryside of southern England. Areas of downland are often referred to simply as ‘Downs’, deriving from the Celtic word for ‘hills’

Roman pottery and bronze brooch.

Some amateur archaeology groups especially those who campaign vociferously against metal detectorists, field-walk farmland collecting flint tools without telling the farmer what they’ve found, or their financial worth. Worst of all they do not record their finds with the PAS – check the data! It’s always as well to drop a word in your farmer/landowner’s ear to keep these woolly-hatted grubbers out of the loop.

Gold or silver Iron Age coins (staters) are often present at or near roman sites and these types have even been found on sites dating from as late as AD 200 and well after the roman invasion of Britain and doubtless used as trading pieces.

At the end of the day, report any finds to the local Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) though I realise some of you prefer to play your cards close to your chest. Above all, get familiar with the Treasure Act and if you are a visiting detectorist from the US for example, ensure you don’t board the plane back home with unreported finds as you’ll undoubtedly fall foul of antiquities export licence legislation. If you are fortunate enough to make any finds, the FLO will explain the rules of the game. You’ll get them back…eventually, but you’ll be legal and above-board.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme offer this advice (taken from their website) https://finds.org.uk/treasure/advice/export

“It is best practice for finds to be recorded with the PAS before they are exported, although the Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) may be selective in recording finds shown to them, especially if the objects are less than 300 years old or precise findspot information is lacking. Whilst FLOs welcome the opportunity to records finds prior to export and can provide advice on the export licensing process, they are not able to make applications on behalf of exporters/finders. Exporters/finders (particularly those based abroad), including those attending metal detecting rallies, should make arrangements themselves (perhaps via the landowner or a metal-detecting tour operator) to deposit finds with the FLO for recording. It is the exporters/finders responsibility to collect the finds from the FLO, apply for an export licence, and post them overseas.”

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A man in a butcher shop: – “I would like bull’s testicles”

Butcher: “Yeah, me too pal.”

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Hmmm…..

I don’t read books by people who have betrayed the Motherland.

Vladimir Putin

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July 6, 2016

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howlandscriptGive a dog a bad name.

The Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act became law in 1979 whereupon swathes of countryside were designated ‘off limits’ to anyone using a metal detector without official permission. Consequently, many prosecutions followed and some people found themselves branded as thieves picking up criminal records along the way.

However, someone in the depths of the Civil Service having responsibility for Scheduling the UK’s 166,000 monuments and archaeological areas to bring them under the umbrella of the 1979 Act, didn’t! In consequence, there are people probably reading this who were convicted for illicit detecting when in fact no offence was committed.
If you think you fall into this category, then maybe you need the services of a lawyer with a view to compensation for having your name besmirched by an undeserved criminal record?

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Q. What’s the difference between a large pizza and a degree in archaeology?

A. A large pizza can feed a family of four.

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Don’t be a Muppet!

A Surrey man has been ordered to pay a fine and legal costs totalling over £1,000 by local magistrates after having been found guilty of theft and failing to report a find to the Coroner. The man who had been metal detecting on private land without permission found a gold Bronze Age ring which he failed to report to the Surrey Coroner. He was summoned to appear before magistrates in April but failed to turn up at court and an arrest warrant was subsequently issued; he was arrested some days later.

To avoid getting into the kind of scrape the Surrey man got himself into, become firm friends with the Treasure Act; it’s not rocket science. By understanding your legal obligations; by liaising with the PAS and FLO’s, avoids any later misunderstandings. Inadvertently straying onto neighbouring land where permission to hunt hasn’t been granted or sought and finding an object within the definitions of the Treasure Act present is undoubtedly problematic. First and foremost report the find to the FLO and take advice. The fact that you have reported the find despite it being found in a place where you did not have permission to detect demonstrates a degree of honesty on your part which goes a long way in your favour.

Navigating and map-reading errors happen; if you’ve strayed inadvertently, admitted the error, and reported the find in accordance with the law, that to my mind is the end of the matter though you may receive a ‘reminder’ from officialdom to take more care in the future.

The vast amount of significant discoveries made by detectorists – numbering over one million registered on the Portable Antiquities’ database – illustrates the colossal contribution they have made to our cultural heritage. Most level-headed people recognize detectorists are Treasure Act literate as the PAS statistics show, something that has catapulted the metal detecting hobby into the limelight; they being the prolific heritage contributors.

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Two blokes were walking through a cemetery when they happened upon a tombstone that read:

“Here lies John Sweeney, a decent man and an archaeologist.”

One asks the other: “Why the hell have they put two people in one grave?”

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Bah! Humbug!

The Council for British Archaeology’s website cites four reasons for parting with one’s ‘hard-earned’ in order to become a member which includes is this little gem:-

‘Encourage good practice in reporting archaeological finds.’

Which of course raises a couple of salient points:-

1. This strongly suggests bad reporting practice actually exists in archaeology (as many of us already suspected).

2. For the po-faced CBA to sniffily suggest detectorists are lacking in good reporting practice is unalloyed humbug especially when their website also carries this:-

Evidence from the past is fragile and should not be damaged or lost in an attempt to generate financial profit for individuals.

To which I say….physician, first heal thyself! It’s entirely wholesome to generate or make a financial profit from the past; the CBA is not the arbiter of good taste, moral values, or ethical standards despite its lofty imaginings.

Being an educational charity, the CBA ought to follow its own dictum and gets its reporting house in order. Its high-horse posturing might be taken less risibly if for example it withdrew its tacit support for (as a start) the widely discredited, bizarre, and inaccurate, Artefact Erosion Counter, a cock-and-bull story masquerading as scientific. Presumably the AEC in the CBA’s eyes constitutes ‘…good practice in reporting archaeological finds.’ So much for archaeology being a science you might think.

Quite how, as the CBA puts it that: ‘The best way to extract evidence from the ground is via controlled, high-standard archaeological excavation,’ gels with both the aforementioned AEC and the CBA’s desire to, ‘Encourage good practice in reporting archaeological finds,’ is anyone’s guess. The CBA should ensure good practice among its members in reporting archaeological finds by aligning itself and its members to the PAS and by taking a leaf out of metal detecting’s book.

In the meantime, it’s still, Bah! Humbug!

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Vsign

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WHERE I SHOP

If and when you visit the UK make it a point to stop at Regton Ltd., and tell Nigel Ingram I sent you. His shop will knock you over. Be sure to peruse the goods in this 365 tour…

A VIRTUAL TOUR – REGTON, LTD., BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND

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Remember…

Hypocrisy is great fodder for comedy (Mo Rocca)

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June 9, 2016

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Dinosaurs Facing Extinction? You Betcha!

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One archaeological blogger who’s vehemently opposed to an eminently sensible piece of planned UK legislation, is predictably apoplectic judging from his panic-stricken banner headline plastered across his dire and ‘silly’ blog:-

“Sign this Petition to Stop Destruction Of British Archaeology” he yelps.

The truth of course is that ‘British Archaeology’ is far from facing extinction (more’s the pity, some might say). In his now familiar, tedious, teenage over-the-top style, the Prophet of Doom forecasts all manner of dreadful things facing the UK’s army of diggers should the proposed Bill become law; it can only be a matter of time before he announces plagues of locusts, and death of all the firstborn. He urges people to sign an on-line Petition in protest:-

“The current requirements that force developers to carry out archaeological and wildlife surveys before starting housing projects are to be abolished in the new Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill.”

The On-line Petition however reads: Stop Destruction Of British Archaeology. Neighbourhood and Infrastructure Bill. But there’s a problem; the Neighbourhood and Infrastructure Bill doesn’t exist. However the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill does.

Nevertheless, if the Prophet of Doom’s claims are correct that the proposed Bill will seriously clip archaeology’s wings, then this is indeed, excellent and exciting news. At last, here’s a potential victory on the horizon for those in the collecting/detecting/treasure hunting fraternities who have for years maintained that archaeologists have had their size twelves wedged in legislators’ and developer’s doors forcing them to subsidise archaeological surveys, excavations, and jobs.

With UK archaeological units having morphed into private, for-profit businesses (er, making money out of the heritage) many people now believe that archaeology is little more than a lucky dip; not so much for the sparse data they uncover, or the excavation reports that regularly fail to appear, but for the big money rewards forcibly wrenched from house-buyers, councils, and local authorities who have to acquiesce to the archaeologically inspired laws.

Current legal requirements maintain archaeological jobs – unlike everyone else’s – safe and secure bringing in shed loads of folding dosh (nice work if you can get it – and they do) leaving developers with the dubious privilege opening their wallets and repeating the archaeologist’s chant, “Help yourself.”

If this proposed Bill passes into law it will be the long-awaited good news signalling the end of what amounts to years of legalised mugging. After all, if archaeology ceased as of midnight tonight, what effect would it have on everyday life? NONE! Would that really matter? NO! Would the hungry be fed? NO! The sick healed? NO!

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“The World has just lost a great man who was arguably, the most charismatic sportsman of all time…Mohammad Ali. Many readers will know I am a boxing aficionado; I regard Ali as the supreme Heavyweight of his generation. Moreover, he was a great wit, humourist, and a man of principle. I doubt we’ll see his like for many a year. Rest in Peace…Mohammad Ali.”

I’ll see you in the bar…..

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May 23, 2016

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howlandscriptBREXIT!

by John Howland

Is the name of the campaign to take Britain out of the European Community in June’s UK Referendum. Anyone who enjoys metal detecting ought to support BREXIT in order to return Britain to the sovereign position of being able to make its own laws, protect its own borders, and to be governed by UK ELECTED representatives and not by UNELECTED European bureaucrats who cannot be voted out of office. So how does this affect British detectorists?

Easy! Older detectorists will remember Alan Beith MP who presided over a Stasi-like enquiry to limit the hobby of metal detecting over twenty-five years ago. Beith, a Liberal, called ‘witnesses’ from across the European archaeological spectrum to give evidence at what effectively was a ‘show trial’. Mysteriously, and perhaps unsurprisingly, no-one from the detecting community was invited put counter views. That is, until the Detector Information Group (DIG) got to hear about the ‘trial’ and rocked-up on their European doorstep demanding to be heard which really put the detecting cat amongst the archaeological pigeons. In the event, Beith and the Gang allowed DIG limited time to give evidence mainly for cosmetic purposes to ward off accusations authoritarianism and of doing a done deal. Effectively, Europe’s detectorists were ignored. The serious limitations we don’t enjoy today are direct descendants of that ‘show trial’.

Many believed back then – and still do – that Beith was the poodle of the politically motivated archaeological lobby determined to snuff out the hobby across Europe. Having seen European ‘democracy’ in action I urge all UK detectorists to vote…. OUT! Say NO! to David Cameron and his Remain in Europe Group and (‘F*** Off’) to Brussels’ dictatorial, red-tape loving Eurocrats.

Council of Europe/1981 Metal Detectors & Archaeology

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Now ‘Ere’s a Funny Thing

Dining recently in a halfway decent eatery in Ipswich, East Anglia, I was privy to a curious incident at a nearby table where a boisterous but merry group of specialist dealers in antique Japanese prints and museum types, were apparently enjoying a reunion of some kind and playing host to a couple of guests of whom the older of the two was a bearded fellow in his early 80’s and a farmer by all accounts. The other, who I reckoned to be in his early 70’s, bore the smarmy sartorial style of a 1930s Brighton ‘lounge lizard.’

I couldn’t help but overhear and fell about laughing at the following exchange when the waiter asked the group’s leader for their order:-

“What will you have, Sir?”

“We’ll have the steaks,”

“How would you like them Sir”

“Medium, please.”

“What about the vegetables?”

“Oh, those two will have same as us.”

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Consider…

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.

February 16, 2016

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Knickers in a Twist?howlandscript

At first glance, this hobby particularly in the UK seems to be armpit deep in Codes of Conduct. There’s one from the UK’s national representative body, the NCMD, another from the Federation of Independent Detectorists, and the hobby’s sparring partners the Council for British Archaeology are in on the act by publically supporting the NCMD’s Code which is also recognized by the UK Government. In seemingly to be seen supportive there’s a lot of embarrassed hand-wringing going on in York as the CBA has to come to terms with Item 3 of the Code which states:

It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground without digging a great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground), extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully, and even you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.

Finally, the CBA agrees with what detectorists the world over have been saying for years. For the sake of clarity these minor differences between FID’s Code and the NCMD’s ought to be identical?

NCMD Code of Conduct

  1. Do not trespass. Obtain permission before venturing on to any land.
  2. Respect the Country Code, leave gates and property as you find them and do not damage crops, frighten animals or disturb nesting birds.
  3. Wherever the site, do not leave a mess or an unsafe surface for those who may follow. It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground without digging a great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground), extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully, and even you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.
  4. If you discover any live ammunition or any lethal object such as an unexploded bomb or mine, do not disturb it. Mark the site carefully and report the find to the local police and landowner.
  5. Help keep Britain tidy. Safely dispose of refuse you come across.
  6. Report all unusual historical finds to the landowner, and acquaint yourself with current NCMD policy relating to the Voluntary Reporting of Portable Antiquities in England and Wales and the mandatory reporting requirements in Scotland. See: http://www.treasuretrovescotland.co.uk/index.asp
  7. Remember it is illegal for anyone to use a metal detector on a designated area (e.g. Scheduled Monuments (SM), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), or Ministry of Defence property) without permission from the appropriate authority. It is also a condition of most agri-environment agreements that metal detecting access is subject to certain rules and regulations including mandatory finds recording. Details of these agreements and the access conditions they impose are detailed on the NCMD website.
  8. Acquaint yourself with the terms and definitions used in the following documents: –

(1) “Treasure” contained in the Treasure Act 1996 and its associated Code of Practice, making sure you understand your responsibilities.

(2) Advice for Finders of Archaeological Objects including Treasure 2006.

(3) The voluntary Code of Practise for Responsible Metal Detecting to which the NCMD is an endorsee.

(4) Advice for finders in Scotland: see http://www.treasuretrovescotland.co.uk/html/finders.asp

  1. Remember that when you are out with your metal detector you are an ambassador for our hobby. Do nothing that might give it a bad name.
  2. Never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about it.

Federation of Independent Detectorists’ “CODE OF CONDUCT”

  1. Get permission before detecting on private land. Never Trespass.
  2. Make an agreement on sharing finds with the landowner to avoid any later misunderstandings.
  3. Report all your finds to the landowner, even those that must be declared to the Coroner as well.
  4. Remember to shut all gates, never walk through standing crops, do not startle animals or nesting birds.
  5. Fill all holes, even on ploughed land or beaches. Never leave a mess or damage grass, a sharp trowel will cut a neat plug and once replaced and firmed in, the find spot will almost be invisible.
  6. Most metal rubbish can be recycled, the Planet belongs to all of us, so dispose of your unwanted iron, lead, cans, silver paper etc. With care for the environment, and never leave junk on the site.
  7. Never detect on a scheduled archaeological site, to do so is a criminal offence unless you have permission from the Secretary of State for National Heritage.
  8. Report all Gold or Silver artefacts over 300 years old to the local Coroner, also hoards of coins or plate of any age or material.
  9. All bombs, mines, ammunition or chemical containers, should have the find spot marked and be reported to the Police. Never attempt to move them yourself.
  10. As a FID member you have a lot to be proud of, so always be friendly to people who ask about your hobby, help them find lost metal objects when requested and never break this “Code of Conduct” or give the hobby a bad image.

The UK Government’s Department of Culture Media and Sport Guidelines :-

The Treasure Act 1996 Code of Practice (2nd Revision) ENGLAND & WALES

“If finders or others need further advice about any matters relating to the Treasure Act or this Code, then they are recommended to contact the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the British Museum or (for Wales) the National Museums & Galleries of Wales or their local finds liaison officer. Addresses and telephone numbers are given in Appendix 2.”

Appendix 6: The National Council for Metal Detecting Code of Conduct

As Revised February 2000

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/77532/TreasureAct1996CodeofPractice2ndRevision.pdf

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What does the pompous Council for British Archaeology have to say? [Unsurprisingly, they simply can’t avoid archaeological arrogance and it races to the top. JH]

“Read our guidelines to find out more about best practice. If in doubt – it’s always best to ask the experts. [They mean, them, not you. JH ] “If you are thinking of rushing out to buy a metal detector to search an area near you and seek out your very own ‘treasure”, CBA Director Mike Heyworth comments, “There are reasons why you should think again or ask the experts.” [So that rules out the CBA then. JH] And so this institutionalised self-importance prattles on:-

“Contact us using the ‘to discuss’ any aspect of the search for finds, or the use of metal detectors, and we will be happy to guide you.” [I’ll bet! JH] But there’s more of this CBA tosh:-

Why should we leave archaeology buried?

“Archaeologists try to piece together information about the lives of people in the past from small fragments of evidence and it is important that we gather as much evidence as we can when opportunities present themselves. But in many cases, it is better to wait, to leave objects and other evidence in the ground where it has been lying safely for hundreds or thousands of years.”

“As long as it remains safe then it is better to leave the evidence for future generations to investigate with better techniques and with better-informed questions to ask.” [Some might think this is a bid to protect future employment. JH]

“Usually, intervention is only justified if the evidence is at risk of being lost or damaged, through development, climate change, or agricultural practices. In this case, any excavation work has to be carried out carefully to ensure that we extract as many clues as possible not just about any objects that are found, but about the full circumstances of the way in which they were initially buried and any materials or evidence buried in association with them.” [That then, puts the case for responsible metal detecting. JH]

Why should I leave finds where I find them? [Blah-de-blah-de-blah. More excruciating hogwash as the CBA tries to ‘Big-up’ its importance. JH]

How do I report a find?

[Here comes the U-turn of all U-turns. Having previously and piously preached about NOT digging and to LEAVE artefacts in-situ, is this little gem. JH]

“Report any object that is undisturbed in its primary context – in a container, or below the plough-soil – to the landowner and (with their agreement, unless it is a legal requirement) to an appropriate archaeologist.” [Legally, wrong! If it’s NOT ‘Treasure’ it’s up to you and the landowner whether to report to the Finds Liaison Officer. I recommend that you do. JH] “It is important to leave the find where it is so that the setting and circumstances can be assessed by an archaeologist.” [Nope! It’s only important to them. Not you. This one’s your call, not theirs. JH]

What’s missing from the CBA’s website, guidelines, and Best Practice sermons? There’s no advice for amateur archaeologists who field-walk removing thousands of pottery shards and flint tool every Sunday afternoon without record. Far better, these amateurs join a metal detecting club and learn how to do the job properly.

As CBA Director Mike Heyworth reckons, “If you are thinking of rushing out to buy a metal detector to search an area near you and seek out your very own ‘treasure there are reasons why you should think again or ask the experts.” That means, Mikey, the NCMD, FID, or any metal detecting club and NOT the CBA.

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Well, Fancy That!

UN Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the general assembly in 1948 declares “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Article 17

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

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Finally

Two cannibals are eating a clown.

Says one to the other: “This taste funny to you?”

……………………………………………………….

An elderly man is driving down the M1 Motorway when his mobile rings. Answering it (hands-free), he hears his wife on the other end.

“Albert”, she says, “Please be careful when you`re driving back. I just heard on the radio that there`s a maniac on the M1. He`s driving the wrong way!”

“It’s not just one” Albert replies, “There’s ******* hundreds of them!”

……………………………………….

It has been so cold here in the UK of late, that I recently spotted an archaeologist with his hands in his own pockets.

……………………………………

Consider…..

…Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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December 17, 2015

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Watlington Hoard Update: Nationally significant, say experts and archaeologists

by John Howland

Ed Vaizey, the UK’s Minister of State for Culture, announced the discovery of the highly significant Viking Hoard near Watlington, Oxfordshire, the contents of which date from when the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Mercia, and Wessex, were fighting for their survival against the Vikings; a fight which led to the unification of England. “The British Museum now runs the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which puts online lovely images of thousands s of people’s discoveries,” adding reassuringly, “The future of the past has never been healthier.”

Watlington Hoard

The Watlington Hoard…. “Reproduced by courtesy of The Portable Antiquities Scheme/ The Trustees of the British Museum”

The hoard of rare silver coins of King Alfred ‘The Great’ of Wessex (871-99) and King Ceolwulf II of Mercia (874-79) also contained Viking silver bracelets and silver ingots. The hoard was excavated by an expert team from the UK’s world renowned Portable Antiquities Scheme, in response to a report by the finder, James Mather. The team lifted the cache in its entirety which was then taken for expert analysis at the British Museum where the soil-block was examined under laboratory conditions and the hoard’s contents – 186 coins (some fragmentary) seven items of jewellery and fifteen ingots – were studied by leading specialists from the Ashmolean and British Museums.

The PAS reckons, “The hoard was buried around the end of the 870s, in the period following Alfred’s decisive defeat of the Vikings at Edington in 878. Following their defeat, the Vikings moved north of the Thames and travelled to East Anglia through the kingdom of Mercia. It seems likely that the hoard was buried in the course of these events, although the precise circumstances will never be known.”

Detectorist, James Mather’s discovery of the cache dubbed the ‘Watlington Hoard’, said of his find:

“Discovering this exceptional hoard has been a really great experience and helping excavate it with archaeologists from the PAS on my 60th birthday was the icing on the cake! It highlights how responsible metal detecting, supportive landowners and the PAS contribute to national archaeological heritage. I hope these amazing artefacts can be displayed by a local museum to be enjoyed by generations to come.” The Treasure Trove reward which will be equally shared between the landowner and the finder could run to a six figure sum.

Gareth Williams, The British Museum’s Curator of Early Medieval Coinage is equally excited by the discovery:

“The hoard comes from a key moment in English history. At around the same time, Alfred of Wessex decisively defeated the Vikings, and Ceolwulf II, the last king of Mercia quietly disappeared from the historical record in uncertain circumstances. Alfred and his successors then forged a new kingdom of England by taking control of Mercia, before conquering the regions controlled by the Vikings. This hoard has the potential to provide important new information on relations between Mercia and Wessex at the beginning of that process.”

The PAS reports that since the introduction of the 1996 Treasure Act under which finders of ‘treasure’ have a legal obligation to report such finds, treasure reports (overwhelmingly by metal detectorists) have rocketed from 201 in 1998 – the first full year of the Act – to 1008 in 2014.

If the hoard is declared ‘Treasure’ as defined under the 1996 Act reports the PAS, the world famous Ashmolean Museum in Oxford along with the Oxfordshire Museums Service will be working in partnership with others, and potential funders, to try to ensure that this important find can be displayed for local people to learn about and enjoy.

Crucially, the significant words are “[…]…This hoard has the potential to provide important new information […]” and is yet another awe-inspiring find made by detectorist with a passionate interest in history.

Your Heritage Needs YOU! (And your metal detector)

Would you like to help add to our knowledge of how people lived in the past through the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS)? You do? Then the PAS will be very happy to hear from you!

You can support their valuable work in two main ways: by reporting any archaeological objects (over 300 years old) you have found, or by volunteering to help record finds.

To report your finds get in touch with your local Finds Liaison Officer (FLO). They will identify and record your finds onto the database for you and others to see and researchers to study.

PASt Explorers

This is a five-year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to enhance the PAS’s volunteer programme. Under PASt Explorers, volunteers operate as Community Finds Recording Teams (CFRTs) based around their local Finds Liaison Officer and the teams are organised into ten regional training areas. Volunteers receive training in order to identify and record archaeological finds from their local area, increasing the number of objects recorded onto the PAS database. The teams also promote the activities of the PAS to new audiences in their areas, and recruit others to volunteer with the PAS and engage with the history and archaeology of their local areas. As part of the project, two Project Officers, an Outreach Officer and an ICT Officer have been appointed to help support and coordinate volunteers.

“Reproduced by courtesy of The Portable Antiquities Scheme/ The Trustees of the British

PASt Explorers….. “Reproduced by courtesy of The Portable Antiquities Scheme/ The Trustees of the British

If you are a detectorist with a passion for local history, or are concerned about the proper recording of your heritage, why sign up to this ground-breaking initiative. Britain’s metal detecting community are making enormous strides and contributions as the Watlington Hoard amply demonstrates. Contact the PAS for further details.

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December 12, 2015

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UK Metal Detectorist Rewrites Medieval History

John Howland

howlandscriptThere’s going to be a wailing and gnashing of teeth in certain pseudo-archaeological anti-metal detecting quarters following a detector-found mixed hoard. Note the words ‘metal detectorist’ and not amateur archaeologist, or even, professional archaeologist. Detectorist James Mather’s hoard find in Watlington, Oxfordshire, is set to rewrite the medieval history books with his spectacular find of 186 Anglo-Saxon coin, seven pieces of jewellery, and fifteen ingots. Why? Experts are saying that the find shows that Alfred the Great – one of England’s most revered historical figures – ‘airbrushed’ a rival king from history.

The little known Mercian king, Ceolwulf II, mostly forgotten by history and known only as the “Unwise,” helped Alfred to historical prominence not to mention a battle victory or two, but who Alfred later dropped faster than one of his hot, burnt cakes (US readers check put the Burnt Cakes story).

The British Museum’s early medieval curator and Viking expert, Dr Gareth Williams, said of the find, “Here is more complex political picture in the 870’s which was deliberately misrepresented in the 970’s after Alfred has taken over the whole of Ceolwulf’s kingdom.”

Detectorist James Mather alerted the Portable Antiquities Scheme and returned repeatedly to the scene to ensure its protection. The hoard is likely to be displayed in Oxford’s world renowned Ashmoleum Museum.

Ed Vaizey, the UK’s Culture Minister said of the hoard, “Fascinating finds like this Viking hoard are a great example of the one million discoveries that have been unearthed by the public since 1977.” The heavyweight broadsheet, The Daily Telegraph, said in its Editorial of the 11th December 2015, “The British Museum now runs the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which puts online lovely images of thousands s of people’s discoveries. The future of the past has never been healthier.”

Doubtless, the find will be declared ‘Treasure’ and the reward – which could run into six figures – will be equally shared between the finder and the landowner. All of which highlights the fact that detectorists, and NOT that ever-whingeing amateur rabble posing as heritologists are forcing the pace in advancing historical knowledge.

Well done Mr Mather (whether he was wearing cammo at the time of the find is unclear.).

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Reading Andy Baines’ recent comment I was struck by his obvious and genuine common sense though I expect that much of what he said fell on stony metal detecting ground: That it’s local knowledge that gets the results and ANY machine in the right hands will confirm that knowledge.

What’s even more edifying is that Andy – who has been in the game for four years – not only understands what’s writ large but has taken on board what’s been handed down through generations of treasure hunters. When I and Dick have shuffled off this mortal coil, it’s good to know the baton will be picked and carried by someone who knows which way is up.

There’s nothing wrong with metal detectors costing a Grand or more. The problem is that some novices buy these expensive machines as a perceived shortcut to expertise – the ‘badge’ if you like that suggests to others…’Look at me, expensive machine, I am an expert’ only to discover they ain’t. Club meetings become painful when they realise others with lesser machines are coming up roses.

All I can advise is to start the hobby slowly and if your finds rate is satisfactory and you’re getting good results, why change? But if you need increased depth…buy a larger coil. If you really need in-built satnav…go for it.

Best of all, enjoy the pastime.

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Showing the right image

“5. You night laugh at this one, but if you like to take a break for lunch, think about where you are. Nothing shouts out trouble like popping a beer on the tailgate of your truck. I’ve experienced that here in Texas, and I wanted to crawl under a rock….” writes our man Stouty.

He’s quite right, popping a beer can is just sooo coarse, whereas a civilised glass of lightly chilled foot alcohol, or methylated spirit….

Showing the bright image

Jim Fielding commenting under “A Spoonful of Sugar” with; “I promote the “Hiding-In-Plain-Site” uniform, bright neon-colored shirt (orange or lime-green), reflective vest, beige cargo pants, hiking boots, dark glasses and a beige cap with sun-shield on the back. I usually work busily and even along roadways, folks completely ignore me,” has it right on the money.

Firstly, wearing a Day-Glow vest when working near traffic and/or busy roads makes obvious sense that more people should follow. Indeed, decked out in a fluorescent vest you could probably stroll into any building unhindered if you top the whole caboodle with a hard hat, tool-belt, and a document board. When challenged you only have to say, “Hey, look, this Kowalski guy who runs your telecoms section ordered this urgent inspection. Look pal, just gimme your name and I’ll go back and report to our people.” Open sesame!

My detecting pal, Jack, once ventured onto a local beach wearing a fluorescent Day-Glow coat having forgotten to bring his usual beach hunting jacket. Throughout the session several people approached him asking if he might recover recently lost items and keys, thinking he was a local authority official. He was even approached by a detectorist asking if it was alright to hunt the beach and if a permit as needed. Keeping a poker face, Jack told him it would be alright to hunt but to get a permit later. “Aw, thanks mate,” says the detectorist.

I used to know a guy whose girlfriend, who also hunted, went and knocked on farmer’s doors asking for permission for them both. To say that she was attractive was something of an understatement; raven haired, with an hour-glass figure and (from behind) when she moved, she moved like a Swiss watch. The pair were only refused once because the farmer’s wife thought her husband was becoming overly accommodating and had suddenly developed an interested in metal detectors.

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To Whom it Concerns:

Stupidity is when you can’t help it – ignorance is when you choose not to understand something…….Sarah McLachlan

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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December 2, 2015

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howlandscript

FROM JOHN HOWLAND VIA THE MALAMUTE SALOON

BS Rules, OK!

The other day while taking a break with a flask of coffee, I noticed several detectorists (all using arm-and-a-leg jobbies) flogging the low tide foreshore apparently to no avail, when one shouts out (for the benefit of everyone else) that he’s made a find about 18” down. Ho, Ho, thinks I, 18” down in wet sand….who’s he kiddin’….he’d be lucky to recover anything eight inches down let alone eighteen…..

What big-mouth didn’t realise and had no way of knowing, was that I already had 7-grams of 9-carat in the bag recovered from the top end of the beach where the sea-weed decorates the high-tide line. Then again, I suppose when you’ve shelled out a shed load of hard earned mazuma and are finding ‘Henry Hall’s’ brother, a little embellishment rarely goes amiss.

And Talking of 18”…

There he was, coming towards me, like the Grim Reaper…swinging – or more correctly, flailing – one of those top-end machines that costs in excess of $1,500. “Found anything?” Says the Reaper?

“Nah,” I lie, “You?”

“Only a penny,” says the Reaper, then looking down at my detector, “These are so light I can go all day, and deep,” he says triumphantly, waving his machine aloft. Certainly the Reaper’s detector is arguably one of the lightest on the market with good depth. After exchanging further pleasantries he heads off down the beach a la, Dim Reaper, swinging the coil in an arc with lowest part a minimum of 18” off the sand and at the end of each swing his coil is 24” above the sand.

Why, I pondered would anyone spend the kind of money his brand commands, then use it in a manner that wouldn’t outperform a child’s metal detector? Beats me. On the downside, I see this technique replicated many times over. On the upside, the goodies are safe!

Consider…. (A real favourite of mine)

….Don‘t get mad, get even!

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

July 9, 2015

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THEY KEY TO THE VAULT – A METAL DETECTOR

by John Howland
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There’s a colossal fortune of unimaginable wealth in lost coinage and it’s up for grabs – quite apart from all the jewellery – hidden beneath the sands of the world’s beaches simply waiting discovery by anyone sufficiently savvy in the art of treasure hunting with a metal detector.

In the UK alone for instance, official Government figures confirm that between 1983 and 1993 (when the last survey was done) 1,161.6-million £1-coins were minted. During that decade, 191-million of them went AWOL, all classified as “wastage,” meaning they went out of circulation for any one of a number of reasons. In its January 1995 report titled Economic Trends No. 495, the UK Government’s Central Statistical Office, attributed the “wastage” thus; “…they may be dropped in accessible places, taken abroad by foreign tourists, converted into souvenirs, put into permanent collections or lost in a number of other ways.”

If just 1/100th of the 191-million coins were lost on the UK’s beaches, and continue piling-up at the same rate as the ten-year study (1983 to 1995) then 1.91-million x 32 years (1983 to 2015) equates to 61.12-million £1-coins just waiting collection. US Treasury figures will be even more mind-blowing.

Therefore getting your hands on even a wafer-thin slice of this incredible stash largely depends on using the right kind of metal detector over the ground to which it is best suited, in much the same way that few self-respecting golfers would handicap their game play by using only one type of golf club.

Where to start then? Firstly consider Benjamin Franklin’s 250-year old political maxim, “Don’t think to hunt two hares with one dog,” is as good a piece of advice as you’ll find anywhere. Ideally, you’ll have a low-frequency metal detector operating around the 6.5 to 17 kHz frequency and a selection of coils: Standard, Sniper, and Large Diameter (for ground coverage over low tide wet sand). What follows will sound like a commercial for the US firm, Garrett Electronics Inc., and I make no apology for that whatsoever. I use their products and fully recommend them.

Arguably one of the very best metal detectors in terms of performance and price, is the Garrett Ace 250 (the World’s best-selling metal detector) fitted with the larger coil it easily outperforms many others (save another Ace 250 perhaps) costing twice the price. Some of the so-called ‘reviews’ of this little gem (along with some others) in parts of the detecting press beggar belief, scribbled by numbskulls who don’t know their arses from their elbows evidenced by the crap they’ve committed to paper and very wisely write under pseudonyms.

Given the fact that seawater holds all kinds of mineral in dilute form, including gold and silver, detecting in or over seawater-soaked sand is akin to trying to locate valuable targets against a vast sheet-metal background. But with the inexorable advance in electronics technology, this sheet-metal background can be filtered out allowing access to the coins and jewellery.

Without going into the rocket science of ‘treasure-onics,” pulse-induction machines have the overriding advantage of being unaffected by saltwater, punching their signals deep into the wet sand and because of this, many beach hunters own two machines; a pi, and a VLF. However, with the new emergent technologies coming onto the market, VLF’s are fast approaching pi performance, except perhaps for Garrett’s new ATX Extreme Pulse Induction model, a beast of a machine if there ever was one. I’ve not used one over wet sand (yet! Ahem, Garland) but it has an iron audio type gizmo.

Above the High Water Mark, in the dry sand areas where iron bottlecaps are over abundant, and bearing in mind the pi’s super sensitivity to all things ferrous, this is definitely not the best environment for the pi. Here VLF’s holds court, especially those machines equipped with ‘Iron Audio’ where wasting valuable hunting time by digging bottle caps becomes a thing of the past, and this is one of the reasons I use the fully water and dustproof (all terrain) Garrett ATPro International along with a selection of coils.

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My Arsenal…

Where there’s muck there’s brass…

…Is an old saying meaning where there’s muck (of any kind), there’s money (brass). Now comes the difficult bit and no amount of engineers-in-white-coats, nor technology, can help – you are on your lonesome! And now for the obvious: No matter how thorough or forensic your search patterns, grids, circles or whatever else, you won’t find what’s not there; though some people actually believe a two Grand jobby will do just that!!! There’s no short cut to knowledge.

Working the cut....

Working the cut….

But to get you on your way first recognize and note the popular parts of the beach. Work the same beach day in, day out. It’s almost a living thing with its own moods and every visit will produce if you take the trouble to understand those vibes. Then recognize that people bring rubbish of all kinds, ring-pulls, bottlecaps, soda/beer cans et al ad nauseam. Because of this abundance of buried junk, most hunters give these places a wide berth and fortunately spend their time hunting for other stuff further down the less polluted beach. Now, if you remove your ‘standard’ coil, and clip on a Super Sniper coil of around 4.5” diameter, you are about to get rich.

Love my Super Sniper...

Love my Super Sniper…

On one of my local beaches certain areas are designated for BBQ’s and these places are crammed full with junk and crap of all kinds. The key to unlocking the vault where people play, get drunk, lose their coins, phones, and jewellery is the Super Sniper coil – it cuts through garbage as a hot knife through butter.

Once you have unlocked the secrets of your beach; direction of longshore drift; how the sands and pebble move; which winds denude the beach, the beach will be yours, and yours alone, forever.

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Roman dupondius minted in Rome around 64 AD…

And it’s not just modern coinages that come within range either. The oldest coin I’ve found on a beach came from a Cornish cove, was a 2,000-yrs old Roman dupondius minted in Rome around 64 AD. This indicates to me that more are out there probably washed in from a Roman wreck. Why did I find it? Because I can read a beach and can spot the natural coin traps. This ability is not some kind of powerful ju-ju, just raw experience.

Enjoy your local stretch of coast.

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A good treasure hunter knows the law; a great one knows the Coroner.

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Co-operation?

Arkies and Tekkies are working together on an archaeological excavation, when one of the arkies accompanied by a Tekkie, walk down to the nearby village bakery.

On entering the bakery, they notice that the cakes and cookies are very expensive so the arkie whips three cookies off the counter and into his back pocket with such lightning speed that the baker doesn’t even notice.

The arkie whispers to the Tekkie, “You see how clever we are? You Tekkies can never outsmart us!”

“Really? Watch this,” says the Tekkie. “Any Tekkie is smarter than any arkie and I’ll prove it,” and says to the baker, “Gimme a cookie, and I’ll show you a great magic trick!” The baker gives him the cookie, which he promptly eats.

Then he says to the baker, “Gimme another cookie for my magic trick.” The baker is getting suspicious, but he gives it to him anyway. The Tekkie eats this one too.

Then he says to the baker, “Gimme one more cookie.” The baker is starting to get angry now, but hands one over. The Tekkie eats this one too. Now the baker is really mad, and he yells, “OK! So where is your famous magic trick then?”

The Tekkie says, “Look in his trouser pocket!”

………………………………………………………….

It was so cold today I saw an arkie with his hands in his own pockets.

……………………………………………………………

Hmmm…

“Strategy is buying a bottle of fine wine when you take a lady out for dinner. Tactics is getting her to drink it”……Frank Muir

I’ll see y’all in the bar

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John Howland – 2012 Garrett video

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May 20, 2015

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Cammo? You Betcha!

Why do T’hers wear camo? Simple. When you go out treasure hunting in the country you need clothing that will stand up to the rigours of the outdoors and in the absence of other suitable clothing, moderately priced ex-military kit fits the bill. On the occasions I foray into the interior, I usually wear a waxed-cotton thornproof jacket, though not in summer. A British army Dennison smock over a T-shirt is English summer ideal.

camo989

In any case, why worry about what Joe Public thinks, or Joe Arkie for that matter. Take a look at the sartorial elegance of some arkies: Matted beards, filthy corduroy trousers, ragged sweaters full of holes, T-shirts reeking of BO, breaths stinking of booze, and unkempt hair – and the men are even worse!

So let’s have less of this ….”I don’t want to look like a looter’ balls. Don’t let’s get too precious about this. Personally, I don’t give a toss what the arkies say about the way I dress behind my back; just so long as they don’t say it to my face.

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Patriot Games or the Idiot’s Delight?

Let’s face it, thieving of archaeological artefacts is – we are told by some pious arkies – is of epidemic proportions. Oh really! Compared to what’s going elsewhere in the world, it’s small beer and hardly a minor consideration in the greater scheme of things when stacked up against world hunger, disease, and despotism. UNESCO, allegedly the world’s heritage guardian is little more than a shambling, ham-handed, cowboy outfit with a history of corruption scandals. It’s general seen as a ‘gravy train’ critics say, awash with dosh where high salaries paid to utterly useless operatives is the norm, and where few UNESCO-ists dirty their hands doing what they supposedly are paid to do, preferring where unsurprisingly it seems living high on the hog is job perk.

UNESCO takes the easy way out by laying the world’s heritage ills at the door of so-called ‘looters’ and ‘collectors’ (always US collectors!) as the root of all heritage evil. UNESCO ought to be disbanded or put on show as the perfect example of ineffectual internationalism.

Why? Simply because the world’s heritage – comprised mostly of trinkets looted from nations, by other nations, that most normal people wouldn’t give house room. The miserable even myopic UNESCO is unable to take on board that a partisan archaeological agenda exists mostly for the benefit of politically motivated archaeologists and their wheeler-dealer henchmen. Ironically, treasure hunters are innocent of any involvement this international racketeering since archaeology’s fat cats have cornered the lucrative market. Those arkies who are balls-deep in the corruption are hell-bent on twisting the situation to persuade the world at large that it’s US collectors, and detectorists worldwide, who are the real heritage villains.

In truth, as some well-placed journalists now claim, countries such as Turkey, Greece, Syria, and Egypt, to name four in the heritage cess-pit, are corruption-rife from the top down. Now we have that pillar of the heritage community, and former coin collector, Lord Renfrew, wringing his hands and advocating that Syria’s’ heritage be protected by the UN. Oh yeah? Big deal. So who’s going to do the protecting Renfrew craves? Yep you’ve guessed it, the UK and the US …again.

Why not I suggest, let Renfrew raise a new regiment…Renfrew’s Fusiliers, recruited from archaeology’s ranks and let his wretched pals spill their blood fighting for what the rest of us call junk? Would you want your sons or daughters to be conscripted to die in the cause of protecting Middle-Eastern knick-knacks?

We’ve lost enough good men and women without losing more to the whims of the likes of Renfrew, et al ad nauseum. Renfrew…should resign from whatever it is he does, or retire from whatever it is he does; but for God’s sake go, and go now, shut up and take those like-thinking morons with you.

You are past your sell by date.

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Some Treasure Hunters – Like Some Arkies – are Thicker Than Whale Omelettes

No matter what advice experienced treasure hunters try to pass on to newbies, some – to paraphrase the Good Book – always falls on stony ground. Take the new Whites detector due to come on stream soon as a prime example. Take the Garrett Ace 250 too. Both are superb bits of kit and will find you a fortune if you know HOW and WHERE to use it/them. Both are reasonably priced from two well-respected manufacturers. Sure enough, the price of those so-called ‘advanced’ machines that even purveyors of Columbian marching powder might find eye-watering, will find treasure, and in common with those aforementioned moderately priced jobbies, won’t find what ain’t under the searchcoil either!!!! In short, I’m afraid to say, price is no guarantee of success.

I use a Garrett ‘ATPro International’ that checks in at around the £500 mark. It gives me improved target data over the ACE 250, though the latter, produced a huge amount of coins. Indeed, it never ceases to amaze me that metal detector manufacturers allow their products to be test driven by (so-called!) near illiterate detectorists who don’t know their arses from their elbows. The detecting press is not above censure either. My heart sinks when the opening paragraph of a review begins…” I opened the box with excitement…..” God save me from these morons.

The new Whites will have good depth penetration…why? Read Dick Stout’s piece to find out. If you still look dazed and can’t fathom it out, read one of his books. One thing’s for sure, buying an expensive machine won’t compensate for ignorance.

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Good Ole Fred

An archaeologist called Fred, dies in a fire and his body is badly burned. The morgue sends for his two best friends, archaeologists Wally and Harry, to identify the body. Harry arrives first, and when the mortician pulls back the sheet, Harry says, “Yup, his face is burnt up bad. You better roll him over.”

The mortician rolls him over, and Harry says, “Nope, that ain’t Fred.”

The mortician thinks this is strange. Then he brings in Wally to identify the body who takes a look at the face and says, “Yup, he’s pretty well burnt up. Roll him over.”

The mortician rolls him over and Wally says, “No, it ain’t Fred.”

The mortician asks, “How can you tell?”

Wally replies, “Well, Fred had two a**holes.”

What? He had two a**holes?!” exclaims the mortician.

“Yup, every time we went to town, folks would say, ‘Here comes Fred with them two a**holes.'”

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Remember….

Never underestimate the power of archaeological stupidity.

I’ll see y’all in the bar.

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April 11, 2015

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200 – Not Out! We’re on a Roll!

Howl5

When Stouty first asked me for a contribution to this blog (unpaid of course) I foolishly thought it would be a one-off (Ha! Some hopes).

Working to the principle that ‘a friend in need is a bloody nuisance’, I went along with the con er, I mean…meagre offer. But now this – the 200th time I’ve pressed up to the Malamute Saloon’s bar – is something a milestone. I’m not precisely sure what it marks out, though I’m certain our favourite ‘dead-heads’ will have something to vomit about. Nevertheless, the journey’s been a whole lot of fun, still is, and along with some pretty astute readers, we’ve lifted a few scalps en route.

One favourite clump of hair hanging outside the Malamute Saloon’s tepee represents an illustrious victory for the hobby and a deservedly, inglorious drubbing for archaeology’s oafs. I am of course referring to the absurd Artefact Erosion Counter, that widely-derided, widely-discredited, piece of comical fibbery dreamed-up by the Brothers Grimm – Warsaw Wally and Heritage Harry.

Wally, along with his guru, Heritage Harry – who gives the impression of being marginally brighter than a ‘Toc H’ lamp in matters heritage – tried to pass it off as Kosher archaeological data. Nevertheless, its iffy chat-up lines got some to drop their knickers; not least among them, Prince Charles’ outfit, the Council for British Archaeology, who fell for it all faster than a drunken sailor for a $20 tart (my apologies to all $20-a-time tarts for comparing you to archaeologists. No offence intended).

This devastating exposé underscored the CBA’s key weakness; ravenous for any kind of BS that shows the hobby in a poor light. In my opinion, the CBA is no friend of ours, never was, and never will be. Indeed, why would detectorists would want to buddy-up with such a pack of ingrates is beyond me, particularly with their desire to inflict of what they think passes for a detectorists Code of Conduct? Cheeky arrogant sods! Look inwards, plebs, and see the thieving that’s rife within your own ranks.

Nevertheless, a side-effect has been to inspire other detecting-bloggers to develop a low-tolerance towards all kinds of arkie BS, and to speak out against the customary ad hominen abuse hurled by devious, self-styled heritage ‘experts,’ who along with the UK’s (and US’s) resident, heritage knuckle-draggers, apparently overburdened by that uncanny, archaeological inability to distinguish fact from fiction. Predictably the CBA demonstrates its commitment to its charitable status by remaining tight-lipped about the kindergarten antics of Messrs Barford and Swift.

Speaks volumes, Eh?

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It’s Not Just Finds They are Good at Identifying….Julie Cassidy, a Finds Liaison Officer with the UK’ s Portable Antiquities Scheme sent an email to her colleagues which, according to the serial moaner and fierce anti-PAS/ collecting/detecting/US Foreign Policy/Malamute Saloon/critic Paul Barford, contained the following sentiment:-

“I tend not to read Barford. I have enough depressing crap to deal with without looking for more! Good luck with this one everyone.”

Well spotted and said, Julie! Hat Tip to you!

And there’s more…..

…. ComЯades! Gissa Job?

“As I have said before, we need a PAS. We need a PAS which has a fixed legally-constituted place within the UK’s heritage management (I use the term loosely) system and which has the ability to get tough with bad practice and of course steady and assured access to adequate resources to do the job while the need exists due to current policies. That is what needs to change, more than the personnel.” Blimey! Now there’s a fine piece of oily, grovelling, toadying, if there ever was one.

Is it possible the Warsaw Warbler, that pisspoor blogger, PAS-hater, anti-collector, anti-relic-hunter, anti-American, is going to take the British Museum’s shilling and a menial position with…. the PAS (perhaps one of his old comЯades in the former Polish Communist regime is about to take command). It remains unclear what precisely he’s qualified to undertake, or, more likely perhaps, it’s all simply nothing more than arrogant “depressing crap” from a non-UK resident; one who abandoned democracy years ago in favour of the delights of Polish Communism?

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Would you buy a second-hand trowel from this man? Heritage Action’s (HA) blogger-in-chief and co-architect of the AEC the abysmal Nigel Swift, is evidently seriously embarrassed by the fact that HA’s cover – supposedly, that of a well-informed, heritage outfit – has been blown sky-high by the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Lapsing into its now familiar victim routine (the usual refuge when it’s caught in a lie), this sandaled ensemble of would-be heritage Polkovniks (полко́вник), treated us all to another, classic, lily-livered epistle. The first, and last paragraphs of their ‘Dear John’ are reproduced below (Have sick-bags at the ready). Here goes:-

“For years PAS has dismissed us as “trolls” and this week they have added “prejudiced and ill-informed” to the list. Their complaint is never about what we say (how could it be? If our PAS and thousands of detectorists misinform thousands of farmers weekly in that way and have been doing so for years and years and years.” There follows the usual “Depressing crap” al la Barford, concluding precisely with the very same ‘prejudiced and ill-informed’ claptrap the PAS rightly accuses HA of indulging in:-

“PAS and thousands of detectorists misinform thousands of farmers weekly in that way and have been doing so for years and years and years.”

Unsurprisingly, this kind of showboating baloney attracts the gullible – like flies to a turd. Being the vaudeville act they are, HA supporters wisely use aliases when leaving comments on the blog!

One could be forgiven for thinking that, somewhere, a village has misplaced its idiot.

Yup! The PAS got it right again: ‘Trolls.’ ‘Prejudiced and ill-informed.”

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I’ve recently bought an Irish Setter pup. His coat is red. He belongs to a breed with a tendency to ‘play deaf,’ so careful training on mastering the recall is required before allowing him off-lead.

I’ve named him, ‘Barford’.

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Ha, So!Whereas karate means ‘empty hand,’ the little known martial art, Wi Li, or ‘empty head’ developed from the indigenous martial arts of Ryukyu Islands in Okinawa under the influence of Chinese martial arts, particularly Fujian White Crane, has a minor following in Europe and on the UK mainland.

As opposed to karate which is predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, and elbow strikes, Wi Li relies on non-contact techniques to overcome an opponent, by using language instead of blows.

Students are taught to use idiot phrases, hopefully to devastating effect, such as:

Moron. You’re a Thugwit.

Not all my fault….I only wrote half the AEC.

US collectors support ISIS

Just because I call you all morons, does not mean you can insult me.

I think perhaps it’s time I wrote a succinct statement about the PAS, as is my prerogative being a prejudiced and ill-informed troll, one which actively condemns bad practice and acknowledges for the information of taxpayers and landowners that the evidence indicates what a shower of bastards all detectorists are. If that doesn’t work, we’ll put on a show! So there!

Students are belt-graded as either White (Capitulator) or Yellow (Fabricator).

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To all writers of “depressing crap” who avidly read this blog:

There seems to be no lengths to which humourless people will not go to analyse humour. It seems to worry them.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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March 24, 2015

Bubbaflag

You couldn’t make this up!

“I keep coming to your blog but never see information on how to find treasure, and please can you show pictures of what you find,” writes a Stout Standards enquirer. Huh? Pardon me?

It never ceases to astound how some people actually believe there is a shortcut to success in this game. ‘Marcus’, the aforesaid enquirers, might just have well asked, ‘how to play golf,’ or, ‘how to catch bass,’ or ‘how to score with women.’

It also depends on how you define ‘treasure’? For some, it’s finding nickels, Dimes, and quarters. For others it’s uncovering relics, or jewellery; but for many, ‘treasure’ means simply being out there in God’s great outdoors enjoying the hunt and the sense of anticipation and camaraderie treasure hunting with a metal detector engenders.

If you have to ask the question on a blog, ‘how do I find treasure’, you’d be better off selling your metal detector and taking on board trumpeter Louis Armstrong’s advice that, “If you has to ask what jazz is, then you just ain’t got it.”

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Richard III, England’s last Plantagenet King –

With due pomp and ceremony, the bones allegedly those of King Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485), dug-up on 24 August 2012, under what was believed to be the Church of Grey Friars (now a car-park), are to be laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral. But, are they really his bones? Have archaeologists made history’s most monumental cock-up? Certainly some experts believe so.

Carbon dating tests, according to author Dominic Selwood, date the bones to between 1430 and 1460, and 1412 and 1448. “These dates,” he wrote recently in the Daily Telegraph, “Were then adjusted with a statistical algorithm because he ate a lot of fish, resulting in a new range of 1475 to 1530. Really you might as well stick a finger in the air.”

Selwood remains unconvinced, inasmuch that the expected male-line DNA is not present, meaning that either the bones are not Richard’s, or that the Plantagenet blood line was broken by illegitimacy.

Foremost Richard III scholar, Professor Michael Hicks, calls into question Leicester University’s assertion that a 99.999% certainty exists of the bones being Richard’s, pointing out that all anyone can be sure of is that the bones belong to someone having the same female-line DNA .

Historian, Nigel Jones, takes another tack that even if the bones are Richard’s, there should be no homage or burial ceremony of a Holy nature for a man who he describes as a “psychopathic serial killer who eliminated his imagined enemies: friend and foe, adult and child.”

The infamous ‘Princes in the Tower’ murders were doubtless choreographed by Richard III when he had the young princes, Edward, and Richard, smothered by hired assassins. His equally notable victims include the last Lancastrian monarch, Edward VI, who Richard is reported to have strangled with his bare hands while Edward knelt at prayer.

Others on his murderous shopping list of victims included Lord Hastings; Henry Stafford the 2nd Duke of Buckingham; Lord Rivers, and Sir Richard Grey, among others.

The question that must be considered is can we believe what archaeology tells us, or has this find of bones subsequently attributed the English king, little more than worthless hype posing as fact at a time when archaeology was trailing in the wake of a series of fabulous, headline-grabbing, detector-found hoards.

arkie2

Is it likely, doubters ask, that archaeologists would gild the lily? Indeed, are their methods accurate? Well, they certainly have ‘form’ on both counts. One has only to look at the Council for British Archaeology’s tacit but shady approval of the now widely-discredited embarrassing ‘guesstimate,’ known as the Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC) , a cocktail of fabrications and falsehood; effectively the modern-day version of past cock-ups such as the Hitler Diaries debacle, and the earlier Piltdown Man fiasco.

Is the heritage safe in the hands of archaeologists? Maybe not, but who guards the guards? Inevitably, archaeology must come brought under greater scrutiny and control rather than allowing the dog’s breakfast of the AEC kind to run wild, thus bringing archaeology into even greater disrepute. Perhaps the PAS needs to be extended to curb the excesses.

__________________________

Consider….

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”….. Albert Einstein

I’ll see y’all in the bar…

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February 28, 2015

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GOT THE GEAR BUT NO IDEA?

In the trout fishing world ‘tackle queens’ are not an endangered species, quite the contrary. You can spot these peacocks strutting the banks of most (expensive) game-fishing venues bedecked in, and carrying, the very latest Hi-Tech reels (or line holders, as they are known amongst angling’s impecunious proletariat), Hi-Tech rods made from a mix of NASA space alloys and carbon, along with all manner of ‘must have, guaranteed to catch’ flies and lures dangling from their designer fishing vests. Designer Baseball caps, and designer shades complete the ensemble.

For some unfathomable reason these ‘birds’ are rarely seen at the weigh-ins; this being the exclusive haunt of the sports ‘hobos;’ guys (and gals) with more fishing savvy than money who regularly catch fish….big fish on well-worn tackle that in some cases, cosmetically speaking, has seen better days.

Nevertheless, ‘quality’ in the hands of the skilled angler comes close to perfection; elsewhere, in lesser hands, ‘quality’ is as much use as a concrete parachute. The legendary US angler, Swiss-born Charles C Ritz once said, “It’s not the rod that catches the fish, but the hand that wields it.” The same axiom applies to treasure hunting with a metal detector, and Ritz’s words for some reason are ringing in my ears with the announcement of a new all-sing, all-dancing, offering from the Antipodes.

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GPZ 7000 – THE FUTURE OF GOLD DETECTION IS NOW HERE!

trumpet

TAH – DAH!

Who says so? Minelab says so, and are according to their panting blurb, are, “…excited to announce our new flagship gold detector, the GPZ 7000. Equipped with exclusive Zero Voltage Transmission (ZVT) technology, developed by Bruce Candy, and state-of-the-art features, the GPZ 7000 offers the deepest ground penetration and represents the most significant advancement in gold detecting technologies in years. This revolutionary gold detector will discover the deepest gold in mineralized ground and has the highest sensitivity available to detect even the smallest traces of gold.”

“While ideal for the professional gold miner,” a Minelab spokesperson continues,“ The GPZ 7000 is also a perfect fit for relic hunters who demand superior performance and want to recover targets deeper than ever before possible.” Or, is that likely to be pull-tabs deeper than ever before? Not at ten Grand a throw, surely? It’s all down to Zero Voltage Transmission (ZVT) technology? Huh? Y’all got me there sports! For an explanation in layman’s terms of what this “deepest ground penetration” technology is all about, I checked Minelab’s Patent data:-

Constant Current Metal Detector with Driven Transmit Coil

US 20140232408 A1

Abstract

A metal detector transmitting, through a transmit coil, a repeating transmit signal cycle, which includes at least one receive period and at least one non-zero transmit coil reactive voltage period; and sensing a current in the transmit coil during at least one receive period to control a magnitude and/or duration of the at least one non-zero transmit coil reactive voltage period such that the average value of the current during at least one receive period of every repeating transmit signal cycle is substantially constant from cycle to cycle, and the current during at least one receive period is substantially independent of the inductance of the transmit coil.

Ah, now I’ve got it…simple!

Kellyco are doing deals for those Tekkies into ZVT technology, and are knocking out GPZ 7000 units at the amazing discounted price of …Kellyco price…ONLY $9,999.00. (Retail $12,499.00).

Worth every penny I suspect.

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When asked if they would have sex with Bill Clinton, 86% of women in D.C. said, “Not again.”

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GRILLING, SMOKING & COLD BEER

As some of you know, one of my favourite occupations is stalking second-hand book shops, and it was on such a foray I secured a copy of John Manikowski’s 2004 book, ‘FISH – Grilled & Smoked’.* For me, this tome is the ‘mutts nuts.’ It’s sheer, unadulterated, brilliance…so if you’re into grilling, smoking and cold beers, this book is for you. Orgasmic!

fishbook

Back in the late ‘70’s and early 80’s when I was doing the biz on a lucrative, hi-yield, ploughed roman site, Ron Scearce, and Pete ‘The Hat’, our winter’s fare was usually a large pot of chilli con carne and crackers, courtesy of a recipe Ron had garnered on one of his many treasure hunting sorties to Arizona and west Texas. We’d reheat the cauldron on-site.

It was ideal UK winter grub, loaded with chillies which had one of two effects: either it made you sweat like you was pickin’ Alabama cotton, or propelled you to the nearest hedgerow about two hours after digestion? “You sure the yanks eat this stuff,” Pete always demanded, emerging from a convenient hedgerow; eyes invariably watering.

Since those heady days I’ve got well into après hunt smoking and grilling (or BBQ-ing as we say over here) following my introduction to waterside smoking via the Swedish tackle company ABU with one of their streamside trout smokers. These brilliant gizmos measure about the same as an army mess-tin, but with a lid and easily fit into a tackle bag.

For a finger-lickin’, lip-smacking, al fresco treat, involve nothing more than laying the fish on a griddle under which is scattered a handful of hickory dust, or other wood dust, such as oak, Mesquite, Apple, or Cherry wood, depending on your taste. But use never pine wood unless you like your food with more than a hint of lavatory cleaner. When I’m out sea-fishing, mackerel are a delight done this way; head and gut the fish, slash the flanks a couple of times diagonally on each side and rub salt into the cavity and the slashes.

Leave for about fifteen minutes. Chuck a handful of your chosen sawdust into the bottom of the pan, lay the fish on the grill over the sawdust and slide the lid shut. Light the methylated spirit burner and place below the smoker. Twenty minutes later you’ll be tucking into some great food.

However, most species of fish are suitable for smokers, and ‘oily’ fish, such as bass, plaice, mackerel, trout and salmon are perfect.

If you’re smoking at home with freshly-caught fish, it’s a neat idea to ‘brine’ the fish in a ‘cure’. One that I’ve tried and can recommend, the Bourbon Cure, comes directly from John Makinkowski’s book (p199) and I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing it with you.

  • ¾ Cup Bourbon
  • ½ Cup salt
  • ¼ Cup corn syrup
  • ¼ Cup triple sec (I used Gran Marnier)
  • ¼ Cup cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 Teaspoon vanilla extract (1/2 Teaspoon if using the weaker ‘essence’)

Method:

  1. Bring all the ingredients to the boil in a 4-quart saucepan over a medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. After an hour, or when completely cool, place in a tightly covered jar and refrigerate until needed.

It will keep for between 1 to 2 months in the fridge. In use, first rub salt into the fish and let it stand for about 15/20-minutes, rinse under running water, then smother the fish with

the ‘cure’, and rub it well in to the slashes and cavity. Being on the sweet side, limit ‘curing’ to no longer than 30 minutes. Place in the smoker. Enjoy.

*ISBN 1-58017-502-3. Storey Publishing

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Did you hear about the archaeologist who accidentally swigged from a bottle of Tippex thinking it was liquid Viagra? He woke up in the morning with a huge correction.

________________________________

Interviewer: “What’s your greatest weakness?”

Candidate: “Honesty.”

Interviewer: “I don’t think honesty is a weakness.”

Candidate: “I don’t give a f**k what you think.”

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A Nugget of Wisdom…

“Success comes to those who have an entire mountain of gold that they continually mine, not those who find one nugget and try to live on it for fifty years…John C. Maxwell

________________________________

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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February 17, 2015

Bubbaflag

GREEN-EYED AN RESENTFUL

Detectorists in Britain have really grabbed the headlines following the recovery of a hoard of Saxon coins at a Metal Detecting Rally much to the chagrin of some in archaeological circles.

Though some in orthodox archaeology welcomed the find as did most non-archaeologists, the press and public, many on archaeology’s Luddite wing reverted to type and spat their usual bile. In short, ‘archaeology’ is good – if it’s found by them – anything else is a ‘no-no.’

Evidently an increasing feeling amongst some of them – and this is applies equally to the US – is that we are encroaching on what they consider is their sole preserve; and because we are coming up with the goodies they should be finding, is excuse enough for them to cover their inadequacies by lobbying for the hobby banned or restricted to the extent where their shortcomings remain under wraps.

Have you noticed for example, how when WE find anything of importance, it’s ALWAYS the common heritage, but never when that when they get their sticky fingers on something allegedly important? Who for example is responsible for the hundreds of thousands of artefacts currently languishing unrecorded and unclassified in sheds and outhouses across Britain? All at a time when, the detector-fed PAS is clocking-up over one million artefacts. Perhaps it’s archaeology that should be banned? Can the common heritage be left in their buttery fingers?

The hobby’s problem however, is we lack viable governing bodies. We, the hobbyists at the coalface, know we are ill-represented and that our pastime survives not because of what passes for representative bodies, but IN SPITE OF THEM.

Maybe however, we don’t need them after all…..The following is taken from the UK’s, government-funded Portable Antiquities Scheme website:-

“Largest Anglo-Saxon coin hoard tops list of latest nationwide treasure finds”

Saxon coins

“The coins were found wrapped in a lead sheet and buried in the ground for safekeeping. The coins are of Æthelred II (978-1016) and Cnut (1016-35), and were buried towards the end of Cnut’s reign. The lead wrapping provided protection against the elements while the hoard was in the ground, with the result that the coins are very well preserved. The hoard contains coins from over forty different mints around England, and provides a rare source of information on the circulation of coinage at the time the hoard was buried.

“Under the Treasure Act 1996 there is a legal obligation for finders to report Treasure. Since the advent of the Act the number of finds reported has increased fivefold from 201 cases in 1998 (the first full year of the Act) to 993 in 2013, and 1008 in 2014. If declared Treasure such finds may be acquired by museums, with preference going to the local museum. Of the 990 finds reported Treasure in 2012, 368 were acquired by 100 local museums, so they can be displayed to the public close to where the items were discovered. These include the Bedale, North Yorkshire Hoard of Viking jewellery, weaponry and ingots (2012 T373; YORYM-CEE620) acquired by York Museums Trust, and a Roman silver bracelet from Dalton area, Cumbria (2012 T627; PAS-A7DC11) acquired by the Dock Museum.

“Increasingly finders and landowners have waived their right to a reward, enabling museums to acquire Treasure at reduced or no cost. In 2012, 137 parties waived their right to a reward in 93 cases; more than double the number of cases five years ago. Museums have also benefited from funding being made available through the Art Fund, the Headley Trust, The Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and the V&A Purchase Grant fund, which all funded museum acquisitions of Treasure in 2012.

“Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, said:

“I’d especially like to thank the finders and landowners who have graciously waived their right to a reward so that local museums can acquire Treasure. It is an initiative that the Government has been keen to support, and it demonstrates that metal-detectorists have a genuine interest in the past, and are not just interested in archaeology for personal gain.” [My underlining. JH]

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All of which raises the ugly prospect that the picture painted by archaeologists about metal detecting is a deliberate misrepresentation of the FACTS. More disturbing though, is that some of these same propagandists who are actively posting false accounts about detectorists are let loose to interpret – equivocally and without strict examination – excavation ‘data.’ If they can tell lies about detectorists, then why not about their own work to bolster claims for increased subsidies for further ‘research’ or even job security? Can they really be trusted? There must be an independent, archaeologist-free, third-party oversight.

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ENVY, BUNKUM, OR JUST PLAIN ILL WILL?

RESCUE (The British Archaeological Trust), not widely known for its love of detectorists, or indeed of Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, is forever yapping about detectorists damaging the heritage with unskilled retrieval techniques; yet curiously scores an own-goal with this laughable (and telling?) emblem as its official badge:-

rescue

Ho…bloody, ho! We all know the damage these machines do when they rip through the upper archaeological layers just to get down to whatever heritage feature is currently in vogue. As to the fabulous detector-found, Lenborough Hoard, RESCUE mounts its high horse again:-

“Whilst this might represent a tasty windfall for the finder and the landowner, for the rest of us – the other 60 million plus inhabitants of the British Isles – it represents nothing but yet another lost opportunity to add to the knowledge we have about the Saxon period ….Unfortunately these hoards are rare, so there might never be another one and we might never be able to answer the many questions surrounding them. But you won’t read about that in the papers.”

Over on its website, RESCUE witters on about the Lenborough Hoard:- “The question of who, how, when and why will just have to wait for the next time. If there is one. And if that hoard is not excavated similarly poorly.”

Note also, the RESCUE’s airy-fairy claims that information has been lost…though they don’t, can’t, or won’t identify that information. The FLO who supervised the hoard’s retrieval performed an excellent job. Still, anything to smear the hobby, eh? Pull the other one RESCUE.

Consider carefully…as a registered charity you’re on thin ice with this kind of baloney. You’re in the cross-hairs. Now, that would be a feather in someone’s cap!

It’s better to practice silence than to preach bullshit…either that, or change the name RESCUE to ‘Jackanory.’*

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PAS UPDATE

Official Figures from the Portable Antiquities Scheme Website.Current research projects based on, as the PAS describes it, the ….”many thousands of objects are discovered, many of these by metal-detector users, but also by people whilst out walking, gardening or going about their daily work.”

Level of research

  • Undergraduate 61
  • Master’s degree 122
  • PhD level research 93
  • Large scale research AHRC 17
  • Major publication 21
  • Magazine or journal article 5
  • Desk based assessment 17
  • Major research (Leverhulme funded) 3
  • Personal research project 88
  • Archaeology society project 3
  • External project (UK only) 11
  • External project (International) 3
  • A-Level archaeology project 5
  • Total projects: 449

(Unsurprisingly, no figures for academic research projects based on the Artefact Erosion Counter are available).

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I’m happy to say….

The world is not full of assholes. But, they are strategically placed so that you’ll come across one every day…

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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* Old English nursery rhyme:

I’ll tell you a story about Jack a Nory

And now my story’s begun

I’ll tell you another

Of Jack and his brother

And now my story is done.

(The rhyme was first recorded when published in The Top Book of All, for little Masters and Misses around 1760).

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February 4, 2015

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FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

….John Howland

Howl5

Over thirty years ago metal detecting in Britain reached crisis point; the arkies compared to hobbyists came across as generally brighter, glibber, better-educated, and generally on the political Left. Their case for the outlawing metal detector use along with the nationalisation of all antiquities, sounded to the casual observer, convincing.

Of the many academics advocating the Robin Hood approach to private property that of ‘robbing the capitalist rich to feed the Marxist elite,’ one an archaeologist, with impeccable ‘Hard Left’ credentials, demonstrated his Socialist principles by living in fine, baronial splendour that wouldn’t have disgraced the worst excesses of a medieval Robber Baron. One of his less-well off subordinates described him to me in rhyming slang as a ‘Merchant Banker.’

During the hobby’s battle to exist, over a protracted period of in-fighting, eye-gouging, and fighting ‘blind side’ of the Referee, the hobby won its freedom. It took time, money, and a deal of hard work by volunteers. We had some very shrewd operators on our side who stymied the European Council’s directive to limit the hobby across Europe when they turned up at the hearing – Chaired by Liberal MP, Alan Beith – where a heavy archaeological presence dominated the proceedings. After a deal of haggling, the metal detecting representatives from the Detector Information Group (DIG) were finally allowed in much to the irritation of those already present who’d imagined it was all a done deal. Strangely, no-one had thought to invite DIG to the meeting. Odd that!

Some European delegates winced and shifted in their seats somewhat awkwardly when DIG gently pointed out by to the assembled throng that the attempted outlawing of the hobby in France was based on an un-repealed 1942 law brought in by the Nazi Occupation of that country. Oh, dear!

Nevertheless, European countries are slowly coming to realise the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, along with its 1996 Treasure Act, is the way forward and that they’ve been taken for a ride by the men in trenches.

In the UK finders are fairly rewarded for their honesty by reporting finds as opposed to the European alternative of unrewarded, state confiscation. In the UK instances of looting are less than the number of convictions for cycling without lights. Small wonder then, that some single-issue, compulsive obsessives, campaign vigorously against the PAS and ever eager to concoct untruths to undermine it, or to fabricate databases based on speculation. The infamous and now widely discredited Artefact Erosion Counter is one such example. I am told b some in the archaeological community that one infamous archaeo-blogger along with his bullet-makers are a severe embarrassment.

Threats to the hobby also exist in the US where influential lobbyists are spoon-fed a diet amounting to an unbalanced meagre gruel; the main ingredient being the amount of exaggeration supplied. When pressed, the ‘evidence’ is always clichéd hackneyed. Nevertheless, the diehards are constantly probing for a way through. By comparison with hobbyists, these politicos’ while lacking apathy, are fanatically driven, and it surely can’t be long before they deliver the final coup de grace in one or more States. Ask yourselves…who comes over as the more convincing…a smart-suited, narcissistic, clean-shaven, expressive arkie/lobbyist, or, someone who looks and talks like an extra hot from the cast of Duck Dynasty? You choose.

Many experienced metal detecting commentators know the US will only get the hobby it deserves – no fight, no hobby. While UK hobbyists enjoy multi-million pound government funding in the shape of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the US is letting in through the cat-flap, hoary socialist dogma in the form of antiquities nationalisation. On present form, the US metal detecting hobby lacking eloquence at the top end, and where no-one is prepared to pick up the gauntlet, the future ain’t that bright.

Part of the overall degeneration seems to be a famine of club newsletters and a lack of inter-club communications whereby a ‘bush telegraph’ warning of impending legislative problems can be quickly shared and remedial action taken.

Maybe, what the US hobby really needs is a paid-for-by-subscription organisation staffed by skilled people well able to represent the many thousands of decent folk who want to follow and enjoy a wholesome, healthy, and educational hobby, at State and Washington level. Only you can supply the answer. Good luck.

Remember….Time is running out. Fast!

“We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.”- Calvin Coolidge

TREASURE COMES IN MANY FORMS…

…John Howland

FORMS

No doubt about it, angling is therapeutic and frees its adherents from Life’s anxieties which according to the old maxim that goes…“The man hasn’t been born who can fish and worry at the same time.” As a lifelong angler I can attest to the saying’s accuracy. Perhaps an additional phrase could be inserted here….“Or, metal detect….”

I’d go further and say that while virtually hermetically sealed from the outside world cocooned in headphones, detectorists’ concentration is focussed in anticipation on the signals coming up from the coil. But there’s more to metal detecting than uncovering lost coins, just as there’s more to fishing than catching fish.

Firstly, there are the health benefits to consider. Apart from getting its practitioners outdoors into fresh air, there’s the exercise of bending to dig, walking and clambering, all of which improves both mental and physical health. The more hobbyists get out and about the more we absorb our surroundings. Ours is a continual learning curve not only about metal detector’s performance but absorbing the facts behind the history of what we find.

It’s also a truism that hobbyists are often anglers – or former anglers – and here’s the connection. Experienced anglers know precisely where the fish lie in the river and the riverbank features that draw the fish to that to that particular spot. They ‘read’ the river. This uncanny ability is present in experienced detectorists.

I know hobbyists who can ‘read’ a landscape and pick out the features where they ‘know’ they’ll find coins or whatever and often from a particular era. Beachcombers show the same ability to ‘read’ a beach or shoreline. Some years ago I discussed this phenomenon with an archaeologist friend (who’s since climbed high up the greasy pole of archaeological promotion) who admitted forthrightly that few archaeologists have the ‘gift’ adding that for many, it was a simply a job to be left behind when the whistle blew at knocking-off time and get down to the pub.

He accepted some hobbyists often possess a superior knowledge of history than many of his colleagues especially those who ‘pontificated’ rather than get their hands dirty in the trenches. “I don’t what this lot,” he said, thumbing in the direction of a couple of senior CBA types, “Have got against you all. We should be welcoming and capitalizing on their expertise and knowledge.”

Today in the UK the Portable Antiquities Scheme is producing superb results as the foundation for academic research. Unfortunately, a tiny minority of yappy Luddites exist on the fringes of archaeology dedicated to sabotaging the PAS. This species often found herding with the ‘pontificators’ are readily identifiable by their unexceptional, even undistinguished, archaeological ability. For anyone even loosely connected with archaeology to set out to denigrate this superb research tool, is a heritage vandal of the worst kind and just as damaging to the heritage as clandestine excavators. Their words and actions speak volumes – not about the PAS – but about them.

Nevertheless it’s imperative that records of finds are kept – whether in a private finds diary or passed on to the relevant data collators such as the PAS. There is nothing inappropriate about selling finds provided a written record exists of the find-spot. Even historic finds found on a beach should also be recorded. This coin found by me might signify an offshore roman shipwreck, for it’s unusual to come across this class of ‘find’ on a beach.

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Dupondius. Rome mint. Emporer Domitian. Circa AD 85. Found with Garrett ATPro and Super Sniper coil in among an exposed low-tide, rocky reef.

Despite what the empty-headed and mouthy critics yelp, the number of class and wedding rings, medals, lockets, and badges of sentimental value that are returned to their original owners through sheer detective work by hobbyists rarely ceases to amaze, or indeed, the local media. Apart from the usual twaddle of the pompous grousers, treasure hunting/metal detecting has added a million times more to the common record that it has ever taken away. The number of fabulous hoards and treasures brought to the light of day by detectorists – all properly recorded – is evidence of the fact and the inspiration for dedicated television programmes. The Archaeo-Luddites are left coughing in the dust as the caravan roars on.

When I spoke with my archaeologist friend those years ago, neither of us could have imagined that so many people in archaeology would owe their livelihoods to this hobby of ours. The PAS is both inspirational and world-class, and UK Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, is to be heartily congratulated for his achievements.

I’ll see you in the bar…

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January 21, 2015

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BARFORD UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT – AN OCCASIONAL LOOK AT THE BIZARRE

If you’ve ever wondered why the PAS and detectorist-hating Paul Barford, who describes himself as an archaeologist living in Poland, is such a buffoon and seemingly incapable of reporting simplest facts (God knows what his excavation reports contained!), then this shining example of his turgid, tabloid style of sensationalism, taken from his preposterous blog should provide the answers.

“Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A Portable Antiquities Scam in Parliament

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham, Conservative) asks the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 20 January 2015, cW)

Mr Vaizey acts like he did not understand the question, and dodged the issue:

I have made no formal assessment of the effectiveness of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

He then goes through the official spiel about what the PAS “does”. Bonkers, bonkers Britain. That’s like asking “how effective British hospitals are” and instead of hearing some statistics on waiting lists and patient-doctor ratios, being told by the health minister that a hospital is where ill people go to get better and they provide opportunities for the British public to learn about their illnesses and so on…”

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What the Minister, Ed Vaizey ACTUALLY said was:-

I have made no formal assessment of the effectiveness of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The Portable Antiquities Scheme, through its network of Finds Liaison Officers, does an outstanding job in encouraging the voluntary recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public. Since 1997 more than one million finds have been recorded in this way and made publicly available online through the Scheme. The Scheme also has an important educational role and allows children and adults alike to learn about archaeology, get involved, and discover the past. The Scheme is managed by the British Museum and funded through DCMS’s grant-in-aid to the British Museum, with local partner contributions. The funding allocation for the Portable Antiquities Scheme for the period between 2011/12 and 2014/15 has been ring-fenced with the funding reduction over this period minimised to less than 5%.”

Hardly the picture Barford would have us all believe. Still, his economy with the truth is hardly surprising, given Barford’s hapless expedition into the realms of bullshit in the shape of the widely and now thoroughly discredited Artefact Erosion Counter. I am told that it caused guffaws in certain Whitehall corridors.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at Barford’s behaviour, Mr Vaizey. Hardly surprising for someone who left the Free West to work for the Communist regime in Poland in 1986. Do YOU really want to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record to him? Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a “policy”.

LIARS

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January 8, 2015

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The Centre Historique Medieval…

Sixty kilometres south-east of the northern French ferry port of Boulogne – about one hour’s drive – brings visitors to the hamlets of Azincourt and Tramecourt. On farmland between the two, under leaden autumn skies on Friday, 25 October 1415 (St Crispin’s Day), a tired, hungry, ragged, and dysentery-ridden English army of 6,500, commanded by King Henry V, engaged a French army of 26,000 in perhaps the greatest battle of the Hundred Years War. By the day’s end, the name of one of those hamlets would burn itself into English history.

Today, visitors will find a very fine museum dedicated to that day’s events; one of modern design, but lacking period artefacts, save for four arrowheads found by metal detectorists. All the medieval weapons are superbly made modern copies. In a fusion of technology, innovation, and a dab of the dramatic, history comes spookily alive, not least by the eye-ball rolling, mouth-moving life-size figures of the battles’ two commanders – Henry V and Conetable D’Albret: Which comes as a shock to the system in the wake of a hearty lunch and a few glasses of Chateau Latour. The Centre is tactile and designed to interact with visitors able handle a variety of weaponry. The longbow simulator for example, where one can try drawing an 80-lbs pull longbow brings the physical attributes of medieval bowmen into sharp focus.

Here some 600-years later over lunch with Claude Delcusse in Agincourt’s first-rate Charles IV Restaurant, we discussed the events of that fateful day. Delcusse, who is not only the Director and locomotive force behind Agincourt’s Centre Historique Medieval, but at the time of my visit 2002 was arguably the greatest living authority on the battle. “How could 6,500 English defeat 26,000 French?” I asked him.

“Snobbery,” was the unexpected reply.

The French commander, Conetable D’Albret, a minor aristocrat, was held in low-regard by many of his more blue-blooded knights, some of whom held him in outright contempt. Between the hamlets of Tramecourt and Azincourt lies a narrow strip of funnel-shaped, open farmland, bordered to the north and south by woods; 1,200- yards wide at the northern end and 900-yds wide to the south. D’Albret massed his troops across the wide end of the ‘funnel’.

On the 24th October, the English troops marching north for embarkation at Calais to England, found their way barred by an overwhelming French army. Battle was inevitable. The French positioned themselves at the northern end blocking Henry’s route to Calais. That evening Henry ordered his bowmen to cut themselves stakes between six and eight feet in length.

Henry V formed his men across the 900-yard southern end, positioning 2,500 bowmen on each flank, lined up from the centre where his 1,500 men-at-arms and knights were stationed and out to the edge of the woods. He sent some his best bowmen into the woods on either side to act as ‘snipers’. It was a common problem for enemy knights riding into battle against the English, that if they lowered their helmet visors too soon, the narrow slits tended retain their exhaled breath with its inherent carbon dioxide making them disorientated. Hence, they rode into battle visor up, looking to one side or another, breathing fresh air, but importantly to avoid a full-on arrow in the face well knowing how the English bowmen volleyed their arrows. As the French knights began their slow advance, visor up, became easy targets for the English bowman ‘snipers’.

Henry organized his forces into three divisions: the vanguard, commanded by the Duke of York; the main division commanded by Henry himself; and the rear-guard commanded by Lord Camoys. Sir Thomas Erpingham marshalled the bowmen on the flanks in two herce (inverted ‘V’ formations). The stakes, sharpened at both ends, were driven into the ground at about 45-degrees – the standard English defence against cavalry. The French, to the north, formed up over a 1,200-yard wide front on freshly ploughed fields. Spirits were high and defeat impossible. They were eager to crush the English and anxious for battle. In the English lines, the mood was naturally sombre.

Army chaplains took the final Confessions of the English troops, all of whom were resigned to their fate with few expecting to see another sunrise. All captured English bowmen, the French announced, would suffer having their first two fingers lopped off so they’d never draw a bow again. Henry V knew he held the advantage of the ground. Somehow, the French had to be lured into charging the English line. Henry signalled Erpingham, who gave the famous order….”Nestroque.” (Now, strike!). Five-thousand archers fired en masse, high into the air, the so-called ‘cloud’ shot. Arrows fell like bolts from the blue into the ranks of the French knights who had advanced fortuitously, without waiting for orders, heads down into the withering hail of English arrows that came pouring into their ranks at the rate of up to 50,000 a minute.

Those horses struck by special, crescent-shaped, flesh-tearing arrows became unmanageable unseating the French knights at the feet of the English bowmen, who stepped from the line to deliver the coup-grace to the fallen with swift dagger thrusts through the eye-slits of the helmet visors, or deep into the armpits.

Behind the mounted knights came the lines of foot knights and men-at-arms whose line of advance had compressed from the 1,200-yard front to the width of the English line of 900-yards. Into this densely packed line bolted the fallen knights’ hideously wounded horses trying to escape the pandemonium. All the while English bowmen poured volley after volley into the seething mass of humanity. Those knights that did manage to get to their feet found themselves stuck fast in the mud; and easy meat for the dagger-men.

Being only 150 yards from the English line, individual French knights were prey to the legendary accuracy of English archery. Specially designed armor-piercing arrows struck these hapless and helpless souls at speeds estimated at over 125-mph fired from longbows with draw-pulls of 100-lbs or more. Many knights were pierced through.

The screams of the dying and wounded amplified by the sheer terror of the ripped-open horses is a scene we can hardly imagine today. Finally, the English men-at-arms moved in for the coup-de-grace.

The French reserves seeing the appalling tragedy unfolding before them failed to counter-attack, unable to break through the mass of dead, dying, and wounded, strewn in front of the English line. Estimates vary, but certainly between 10,000 and 15,000 Frenchmen died that day at a cost of 800 English dead.

There was however, a horrendous postscript to the day’s unbridled slaughter. Henry, fighting at the head of his troops received news that units of French were attacking his wagon train well to the rear. Fearing they might free his captives creating a second front, ordered that all prisoners immediately have their throats slit; an order that was met with severe misgivings and, reluctance. Nevertheless, the order went ahead. Only later did it dawn that far from it being French troops attacking the wagon train, but unarmed local peasants foraging for food and anything else of value. The French naturally enough, regarded the killings as a gross act of butchery earning Henry V the soubriquet, ‘The Cutthroat King.’

Immediately following the battle, the English swarmed onto the battlefield to retrieve their valuable arrows – yanking them from the bodies of the dead and wounded alike – and looting anything remotely valuable. After which came the turn of the peasantry to ransack whatever was left. Seven days after the battle, one French chronicler recorded what he saw and referring to the 15,000 dead: “The bodies,” he wrote, “were as naked as when they were born.”

Of the English dead, only the corpses of the Duke of York and Earl of Suffolk were brought back to England, but not before these had been boiled in a cauldron to render them skeletal. The bones were laid to rest in the Tower of London.

Clearly, Agincourt was a battle ‘lost’ by the French – not because of any inherent lack of courage, quite the reverse – but through a potent mix of ill-discipline, snobbery, and English good luck.

English bowmen went into action carrying two sheaves of arrows (48) and these were stuck into the ground point first next to the bowmen’s left feet: A practice that led the French to believe the English used poison-tipped arrows. In fact, arrow wounds were contaminated by traces of soil picked up when the arrowheads were stuck into the ground. The ‘poison’ is known by modern medicine as Tetanus.

Though the English fired over 500,000 arrows, only four arrowheads have ever been recovered from the battlefield. “This was due to the fact that the English retrieved most of their arrows after the battle,” Claude told me. Why only four, I wondered. “Some time ago,” Claude said, “We had a controlled search with a group of people with metal detectors. They only found four arrowheads.”

That said, the Agincourt battlefield is a protected area and off-limits to clandestine excavators with, or without, metal detectors.

The famous two-finger ‘V’-sign of disrespect, dates back to Agincourt, when some of the defeated French were paraded through the ranks of English bowmen, they, to a man held up the first two fingers of their right hands to say…Look, we’ve still got them! Over the years, the ‘V’-sign, has become a symbol of impolite defiance to pomposity; the modern vernacular equivalent of …Up Yours!

As Henry rode from the battlefield, he saw a village church to his left. Turning to an aide, he asked,

“What is the name of the village?”

“Azincourt, Sire”

“Then let the battle be recorded as fought at Azincourt.” Thus, a tiny French hamlet carved its place in English history; known forever by its anglicized name…Agincourt.

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I agree…

There is no disease that I spit on more than treachery….Aeschylus

See you in the bar!

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December 24, 2014

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WHO PAYS FOR ARCHAEOLOGY?

Cash for archaeological digs doesn’t grow on trees. Someone, somewhere, always has to stump up the cash, either voluntarily or through taxation. Every excavation as every skeptic knows, is labelled (by the excavators, who else?) as either, ‘nationally important’, or, ‘vast’, or, ‘will extend our knowledge…’, or, ‘vitally significant’, and so on, ad nauseam. And so it came about that I took a sideways look at a recent splurge on the gormless Heritage Action (HA) archaeo-blog….

Persimmon Homes “have been most generous” to archaeology. Will they go the extra mile? Screams the headline on Heritage Action’s God-awful blog, padded out with:-

“Persimmon Homes are building 120 new homes and Archaeological Solutions have been carrying out the site investigation. Many Anglo-Saxon and Bronze Age features have been excavated and the day before work was to finish they unearthed their most significant find, a warrior buried with his sword and dagger…”

Golly! Gosh! Many Anglo-Saxon and Bronze Age features, eh? Hmmm.

The deluge continued, but the gobby, self-styled expert, Paul Barford, seems to have put a damper on things if his recent comment that, “digging up “such stuff is not what archaeology is primarily about,” is to be believed. Er…um, so why bother then, you might ask? It’s not as though this is the first time a Bronze Age site has been unearthed. So, why all the fuss, or, has it more to do with employment?

The gushing HA puffery piece ends with:

“Let’s hope the people of Exning get their way. They may not as investigations are very expensive of course. However, according to Andy Peachey of Archaeological Solutions, “Persimmon has funded the excavation and as a developer they have been most generous and flexible in their approach to archaeology”. [My highlights. JH] So maybe they won’t resist the idea of extending the dig. Building 120 houses presumably nets them a pretty massive amount of money so they can probably afford a bit more generosity!”

Which enticed one of Swift’s, Heritage ‘Actioneers’, to ask the cat-outta-the-bag question seldom used in polite archaeological circles:-

Why are archaeological digs so expensive?

The embarrassment was palpable. The answer, simply and evasively put, came via ‘Alan S’ (Who he? Dunno, don’t care) :-

Simply put? To do it right (and thoroughly) takes time and care and training. You only get one shot as an archaeology dig is by it’s [sic] nature destructive. And a great deal of the cost can come post-excavation: finds processing, writing up the investigation results etc.

All of which raises several significant questions, not least among them… how much? Obviously it’s no one’s business outside that of Persimmon Homes and Archaeology Solutions Ltd, just how big a wedge AS slipped into its back pocket. Or is it? Indeed, are all archaeological expenses to be added to the cost of the 120 new homes, or, is Persimmon Homes generously digging deep into its own coffers to cover all the costs which won’t be added to the final selling price of the new homes. One hopes it’s the latter of course, but who knows? Currently AS charges around £240 ($384) per hour for the kind of post-excavation reports, finds processing and writing up the investigation results, that ‘Alan S’ soothingly reassures us is so expensive.

If as he claims that, “an archaeology dig is by it’s [sic] nature destructive” then there is a strong case some might feel, for not doing the excavation in the first place thus saving hardworking families from the possibility of extra debt.

Moreover, as ‘Alan S,’ writes, “And a great deal of the cost can come post-excavation: finds processing, writing up the investigation results etc.” Now we all know thanks to information published by the archaeo-blogger and detector/collector-hating Paul Barford, a Brit who lives in Warsaw and who styles himself as an ‘archaeologist’ (albeit an undistinguished one), that there’s a major heritage scandal hanging over Britain. In one of his rants he reckons that hundreds of thousands of unreported excavated items are laying unclassified across Britain, languishing in sheds and hangars; which does not bode well for any excavation. As for, “finds processing, writing up the investigation results,” only time will tell.

While the UK’s detectorists have taken recorded finds with the PAS well past the million mark leaving archaeology sprawling, the likes of Swift, Barford, and Gill, to name three of archaeology’s intelligentsia not known for their approval of detectorists, continue to play the ‘profiting from the heritage’ card against them. But is there any difference between hobbyist detectorists making a profit from their legal and wholesome detecting and collecting activities, and private commercial archaeological outfits doing precisely the same? The well-respected AS describe themselves thus:-

Archaeological Solutions Ltd is an independent archaeological contractor specialising in the full range of field archaeology investigations (consultancy, archaeological assessments and evaluations, archaeological excavations, building surveys and post-excavation services), nationwide. It provides an archaeological service to both public and private sectors.

Perhaps Persimmon Homes should adopt Heritage Action’s (read, Nigel Swift’s) advice published earlier this year, “The Portable Antiquities Scheme is to advise landowners to “ask to see all archaeological finds”. It’s the equivalent of the Government or police warning old ladies not to agree to let someone take things away unseen from their loft.”

AS, being the professional outfit it is, will I suspect, have already adopted Swift’s advice.

ANOTHER HERITAGE ACTION OWN GOAL…HAHAHAHAH! I LOVE IT!

Under the banner MUSCULAR OUTREACH WORKS, LIMP-WRISTED APPEASEMENT DOES’NT *, was this little gem:

Well back in July we highlighted that Britain’s largest metal detecting shop, Regtons, was marketing lots of the night vision equipment loved by nighthawks as “metal detecting accessories” and we asked the public to write and ask them to stop. It took a while (and our reminders in August and September) but at last they’ve deleted all such items from their site. Well done Britain, you look a tad less oikish today.

The same types of night vision equipment I’m delighted to report, are currently on sale and have been for many weeks, at Joan Allen’s excellent detector shop at Biggin Hill. The other lie being that it was not letter-writing pressure that Regton’s gave up the night vision franchise as Swift would have the world believe.

So, all staff at Joan Allen had better be on the lookout for a furtive looking, trench-coated, bespectacled, bearded ‘Sam Spade’ character with a striking resemblance to actor, Anton Rogers, lurking among the optics.

*With more than a tad of irony, the headline wording is somewhat unfortunate given Nigel Swift’s unfounded allegations of ‘muscular outreach’ by detectorists objecting to his insults.

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Consider…

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages…..Henry Ford

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I’ll see y’all in the bar!

Have a great ‘hoiking’ Christmas season and I’ll see y’all in the New Year!

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December 21, 2014

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Dateline: Bournemouth, England – December 21

santabubba

Wise Words (1)

Going through Bob Sickler’s outstanding book, Detectorist, first published in 1993, two of his musings leapt from the page. The first of which concerned PI machines and their propensity for elongated iron/ferrous objects: Bob poses the question if it’s technically possible for the signal to be transformed to visual display or readout which would go a long way in helping to overcome this tiresome aspect of PI machines. Garrett’s have something similar with their awesome GTI 2500 machine so why can’t this technology be adapted to PI machines? I cannot image that since 1993 when Bob put pen to paper, the men-in-white-coats in downtown Garland have not considered the prospect. On the other hand of course…

Wise Words (2)

Probably the most succinct aspect of Bob’s book, is at the back, where he says that it’s not so much the price of your metal detector that will fill your goody-bag, but how, and where you use it. The most expensive piece of kit in the world won’t find coins where none exist. However, if you use it where coins are EXPECTED, then even the lowest priced machine will do the business.

The late Colin Hanson (FID’s former Secretary) often used a simple to use, entry-level metal detector and time and again, whether on a Roman site or on the beach, he invariably did better than me.

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IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PLANE? NO! IT’S…..SUPER PRAT!!

We have absolute proof that those who fancy themselves as ‘archaeologists’ often have poor memory recall, are usually coy about their employment record, and a tendency to lapse into hypocrisy. Self-described archaeologist, detectorist, and collector hater, Paul Barford, demonstrates his prattery to perfection; this utter (but funny) garbage posing as intellectual comment appeared on his blog:-

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Why are US Authorities Letting Culture Criminals off the Hook?

“Why are US authorities and politicians protecting cultural racketeers […] Why are US police and prosecutors routinely failing to investigate and prosecute cultural heritage traffickers?”

…and so he whined thereon, et al, ad nauseum.

For some reason, Barford, made no comment when it was reported that Daniel Amick pleaded guilty 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.

Amick received just ONE YEAR’S probation for the heritage crimes of which Barford so bitterly complains. Could it be in the Barford psyche, ONLY non-academics (read, you and me) should face the firing squad?

What a 24-carat plonker he really is!

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‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY…YO, HO HO HO!

Bubba4

My thanks to the wags who sent in these jokes which I happily reproduce below. (And ‘Lisa Mac’, if you’re reading this none of these jokes refer to you, though I suspect you know the direction of my aim) :-

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A man in a bar stands up and proclaims, “All archaeologists are ASSHOLES!”

A man at the front of the bar stands up and says, “Oi! I resent that!”

So the first man asks, “Sorry, are you an archaeologist?”

“NO! I’m an asshole!”

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At a convention of biological scientists, one researcher remarks to another, “Did you know that in our lab we have switched from using rats to archaeologists for our experiments?”

“Really?” the other replied, “Why did you switch?”

“Well, for three reasons. First we found that archaeologists are far more plentiful, secondly, the lab assistants don’t get so attached to them, and thirdly there are some things even a rat won’t do.”

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An archaeologist dies and goes to Heaven. “There must be some mistake,” the archaeologist argues. “I’m not ready to die. I’m only 95.”

“Ninety-five?” says Saint Peter. “According to our calculations, you’re 22.”

“How’d you get that?” the archaeologist asks.

“We added up your excavation reports,” St. Peter replies.

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Q: What do you call a smiling, sober, courteous person, at an archaeological convention?

A: The caterer.

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Q: What’s the difference between Wally and God?

A: God doesn’t think he’s Wally.

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As the archaeologist awoke from surgery, he asked the nurse, “Why are all the blinds drawn?”

The nurse answered, “There’s a fire across the street, and we didn’t want you to think you had died.”

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A woman and her little girl were visiting the grave of the little girl’s grandmother. On their way through the cemetery back to the car, the little girl asked, “Mummy, do they ever bury two people in the same grave?”

“Of course not, dear,” replied the mother, “Why would you think that?”

“The tombstone back there said… ‘Here lies an archaeologist and an honest man.'”

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What’s the difference between a bad archaeologist and a good archaeologist?

A bad archaeologist makes people wait an eternity for the excavation report: A good archaeologist takes longer.

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Remember…

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

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Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous, lucky
New Year….

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

************

November 26, 2014

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TREASURE HUNTING IS GOOD FOR YOU!

The gentle exercise involved in walking and swinging a metal detector not only burns up calories but also exercises the cardio-vascular system, strengthens the heart and lungs, and increases fitness giving a sense of overall well-being. Add to this the prospect of stumbling across the ‘Big One;’ that potentially life-changing reward for reporting a trove of ancient gold or silver coins, Viking, or Saxon treasures, than hunting with a metal detector has a lot going for it.

For retired hunters who are able to spread their treasure sorties of say, an hour or so, over three or four days a week, the health benefits increase dramatically. It’s recommended by scientists and other health professionals that adults take at least two-and-a-half- hours of moderate physical activity a week, or put another way, five thirty-minute sessions as recommended by the Harvard Medical School’s Dr I-Min Lee is the minimum ideal spread and will do very-nicely-thankyou.

Beachcombers for example, will typically cover several miles in a session and one of my favoured places is a remote stretch of coast requiring fair old hike to reach it but one where some very collectible items are known to roll in with the tide. Exercise coupled with lungful’s of clean, fresh, sea air, is doubly exhilarating – and there’s more. According to the UK’ s National Health Service walking estimates, just thirty minutes of walking will help a 60kg (9.5 stone) person lose 99 calories. Exercise peps up the system and increases libido. My detecting pal told me the other morning when I picked him up that he hadn’t had ‘it’ since 1959. “Jeez”, I said. “Yeah,” says he, “And it’s only half-past eight now.”

Nevertheless, there are some other thoughts to consider before sallying forth and not least of these is breakfast, and a proper breakfast will set you up for the day ahead. My own preference is for a couple of poached eggs on toast, or a potato waffle, fresh coffee, toast and marmalade. After which you’ll need to consider what food to take with you.

Treasure food needs to be a cocktail of good nutritional value, portability, and light in weight. In summer it’s imperative to carry ample water. However, one litre of water weighs 1-kg (approx. 2.2lbs) which reduces through the day as it is consumed. So what about the type and amount of food to take on your treasure sorties?

He swears it's tea?

He swears it’s tea?

I always carry a handful of boiled fruit sweets along with a bar of chocolate so as to maintain blood sugar levels, but only in winter when temperatures are colder preventing the chocolate from melting, otherwise in summer, it’s a fruit bar or mint cake. Lunch is invariably an apple/banana, 2-ozs of Cheddar cheese, and a portion of flapjack. If the hunting area is close to where I park my car, I’ll return for a sandwich and Thermos of tea/Bovril.

It’s worth remembering that even on the coldest days in winter, cold food is as nutritious as hot food, though nowhere near as morale boosting. To this end, especially if I’m doing a remote coastal spot, I carry an ultra-lightweight butane gas stove; small aluminium backpackers’ kettle. Believe me, a mug of tea/coffee/Bovril on a bitter winter day is life’s greatest pleasure…well almost. I limit my all-up weight in the backpack to seven pounds including water.

Now fishing, that's a totally different story!

Now fishing, that’s a totally different story!

Probably the worst thing you can do in winter is to carry a hipflask loaded with whisky or brandy, which at first gulp delivers a warming sensation but within minutes, lowers the body’s temperature. Neither is it much of an advantage if you get pulled over on the way home by the Highway Patrol or Traffic Police and breathe whisky fumes over the cops. No problem if you’re the passenger, but otherwise you’re in doo-doo.

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Holiday Instant Savings

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ON A VERY DOWNMARKET BLOG…ANOTHER FAIRY TALE FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM
23/11/2014

“Professor David Gill has just asked a very direct question that challenges the whole basis of the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s database: “How far can we trust the information supplied with the reported objects? Are these largely reported or “said to be” findspots?“

Prof. Gill (aka the ‘Ginger Whinger’) makes the bullets Warsaw Wally and Heritage Harry fire, and judging from the question posed, shows that Gill is attempting (and failing miserably) to sabotage the ground-breaking work of the widely and well-regarded, factual PAS, that currently – and unlike the AEC – is the firm basis for a host of on-going academic research projects.

The answer to his question is obvious…Researchers can and do trust the information of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as opposed to the wholly invented fictional data masquerading as ‘scientific’ in the now widely discredited Artefact Erosion Counter that he supports.

Parody

Indeed, Gill, Barford, and Swift, are in no position – holding the moral low-ground as they do – to question the veracity of anyone or anything so long as they keep administering the Kiss-of-Life to ludicrous AEC. In the meantime, the mighty PAS rolls on.

However, on the website Academia.edu, Gill lists his antecedents thus:-

Professor of Archaeological Heritage and Director of the Heritage Futures Research Unit at University Campus Suffolk. He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome, and was a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was previously a member of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University (where he also chaired the university’s e-learning sub-committee). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He is the holder of the 2012 Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) Outstanding Public Service Award, and the 2012 SAFE Beacon Award.

Curiously, Gill makes no mention of his association (wisely perhaps) with the Artefact Erosion Counter. Understandable of course: A hand-in-bra relationship with the AEC is perhaps not the best thing to have on one’s CV?

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Remember…..(And it’s Not Just Politicians, Either)

“A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation”….Adlai E. Stevenson

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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October 30, 2014

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DO YOU THINK THEY REALLY KNOW WHO HE IS?

Here’s a perfect example of unalloyed, industrial strength narcissism by the man himself, the anti-collector, serial insulter, and anti-metal detectorist, Paul Barford. It’s one of his best yet! This is a collectors’ piece. ENJOY:-

Monday, 27 October 2014 PAS: “Working Across the County”

I re-sent my query to my local FLO on the Langham Hall rally, and got this:

“Thank you for your email. I will be working across the county and therefore out of the office until Wednesday 29th October. I will have limited access to emails during this time, however please rest assured that your email has been received and will be addressed as soon as possible. If you have an urgent finds related issue or Treasure declaration please contact the Portable Antiquities Scheme Treasure Department on +44 [….]”

While I am resting assured that if I were a metal detectorist I’d now get a reply, I really wonder whether the FLO has a mobile phone for use when “the other side of” an English county, and why Treasure declarations are not being directed to the Coroner, as the Treasure Act requires.

Er…um…since when has a FLO been local to Warsaw? Someone take the lad aside and explain geography to him, huh? For some unfathomable reason HE THINKS his query is more important that anyone else’s, simply because he is a British (undistinguished) archaeologist of unknown provenance, living in Warsaw (Poland) which in his mind demands an immediate reply! Hahahahah! Oh dearie me! Hahahahah!

The words; ‘dickhead’, ‘pompous,’ ‘a,’ and ‘what,’ spring to my mind. Barford as usual is seemingly incapable of grasping the kindergarten fact that his local Fields Liaison Officer (FLO), is NOT actually…er… local to him; since by no stretch of the imagination can Warsaw be described as local to the English county of Essex. In days past, when having deserted his homeland and cuddling-up to Polish Communists in 1986, then he might well have had a higher profile to command immediate action.

What a stupid Comrade!

Remember….

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits”….Albert Einstein

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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October 26, 2014

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$5,000 UP FOR GRABS?

Sunday July 24, 1892 was not a good day for John Ruggles and his brother Charles….

About two months earlier John and Charlie held up the Wells Fargo, Weaverville to Redding stagecoach at a point some five miles north-west of Redding, settling on a location on what is now known as Middle Creek Road, at a point where the stage would be moving slowly and the horses tired from the uphill gradient. They ambushed the stage on May 12, 1892, and all went according to plan, until the guard riding shotgun inside the coach opened-up peppering Charlie with buckshot. More shots rang out, and passenger George Suhr, and Johnny Boyce the stage driver, along with guard ‘Buck’ Montgomery were all wounded. John Ruggles ran up to the seriously wounded ‘Buck’ and finished him off by shooting him in the back with his revolver at point-blank range. Johnny Boyce managed to regain control of the team and drove off as fast as the horses could manage.

Thinking his brother Charlie was mortally wounded, John grabbed the express box he believed to hold $20,000 in gold coins – but in fact it held only $5,000 – made off. The stage finally made it into Redding where a posse was organised and returned to the scene and found the wounded Charlie still lying in the road. He was taken into custody to get medical attention, though at this stage his identity was still unknown. He had been hit thirteen times with buckshot; his most serious wounds having knocked out some teeth and exiting out via his neck.

In custody, he soon recovered well enough to be questioned though refused to say who his partner in the robbery had been; the shrewd Wells Fargo detective John Thacker quickly figured it out. Charlie finally admitted to Thacker his accomplice had been his brother John.

A bounty $1,100 was posted for John’s capture, and on 19th June, in his hometown of Woodland, California, while eating a meal in the Opera Restaurant, he was arrested by Yolo County Deputy Sheriff, Wyckoff, who walked in, sat down at the table next and levelled his pistol at the outlaw’s head. Taken by train back to Redding, John was overcome with joy at seeing his brother was alive and a tearful reunion ensued.

lynching

Their trial was set for July 28, 1892. In an effort to save himself and his brother, John sought a deal with the Wells Fargo detective Thacker that the stage guard, Montgomery, had been in on the hold up with them. He told Thacker that he’d hidden the gold in Middle Creek, saying that he’s attached to the strong box a floating device that came within a foot of the top of the water that would help him in finding it later. True or not the $5,000 in gold coins remains unrecovered.

Though precise times vary, nevertheless on the 24th a vigilante group seeking to avenge the cold-bloodied killing of ‘Buck’ Montgomery, forcibly entered Redding jail, dragged the brothers from their cell to a spot where Shasta Street meets the railroad, where they were summarily hanged from a derrick. No one was ever prosecuted for the lynching.

If you ‘google map’ Middle creek Road Redding, this will give you the scene of the crime. Good luck!

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A DAZZLING NEW SCHEME

This from the Portable Antiquities Scheme website:

Unearthing the past: Heritage Lottery grant supports new initiative to get the best from archaeological finds

Every year, metal detectorists, farmers and walkers discover archaeological finds that could have important stories to tell us about the past in Wales. But do we get the most out of these discoveries?

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in partnership with The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales has attracted a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to fulfil the exciting potential of new discoveries. The project Saving Treasures, Telling Stories has been awarded £349,000 to work with finders and communities and enhance the archaeology collections of national and local museums across Wales.

As part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures initiative, which supports museums, libraries and archives in developing their collections through strategic acquisition projects, the Saving Treasures, Telling Stories project will create a long-term collecting culture to underpin responsible discovery and reporting.

The Saving Treasures project will establish collecting networks across Wales, enabling museums to share skills, expertise and knowledge and offering training to interpret collections in new and strategic ways. It will also allow for targeted purchases of newly discovered artefacts to develop national and local collections over a four-year period 2015-2019. This will involve discoveries covering many periods, from the Stone Age to Medieval times.

The project will deliver a three-year programme of community projects, taking inspiration from significant artefacts or treasure discoveries. Museum staff and partners will collaborate with community groups and participating audiences to develop their responses to the portable heritage on their doorsteps. Community project outcomes will be co-presented in local museums and the national museum, with a range of digital media presentations created and captured online.

A lively and engaging website will be developed for the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales, as a point of access for profiling discoveries, stories, successes and creative responses relating to the portable heritage of Wales.

There will be bursaries for journalism or media studies students and additional volunteering opportunities linked with collecting, community projects and Portable Antiquities Scheme work.

Peter Wakelin, Director of Collections and Research, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said:

“Each year hundreds of objects of archaeological significance are found by metal detectorists in Wales and there are some 20-30 discoveries of treasure. This is a crucial resource for understanding the past”.

“Targeted purchases of newly discovered artefacts for national and local collections, collecting activities, ongoing resources and community projects will make a lasting change in bringing together detector clubs, local museums and communities around the stories new discoveries reveal.

“This five-year project will help to create and celebrate a new culture around collecting the portable archaeological heritage in Wales and this generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help us save more treasures and make them more accessible to wider audiences to tell their stories for future generations.”

Rachael Rogers, The Federation of Museums and Galleries of Wales:

“We are delighted that this scheme is going ahead. It is a great opportunity for museums across Wales to work both with Amgueddfa Cymru and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales to develop their archaeological collections. We particularly welcome the opportunity to work with local communities that this project will bring”.

Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, added:

“Collecting Cultures was a hugely popular grant programme and we have responded to this positive feedback by bringing it back a second time. Our first Collecting Cultures grants made a real difference to how cultural institutions approached and planned their long-term collecting strategies. Now, five years on, we’re pleased to be able to help a much wider range of applicants, including Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in partnership with The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales.”

Proof, if proof were needed, that collectors and metal detectorists are getting a big thumbs-up from government as they continue to swell the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s database. Worryingly though, few archaeological societies, especially the amateur kind lauded by Nigel Swift, Heritage Action’s ridiculous, gobby, Chief Mouth and Barford bag-carrier, and one of the loudest, empty-headed detractors of metal detecting, contribute hardly anything.

One has to ask:- Why, if metal detecting is how Barford and Swift would have everyone believe it is; founded on greed, theft, trespass, lies and deceit, why is the government pouring £-millions in to it? Perhaps the smell of bullshit has I suggest, finally reached the nostrils of those in power.

I guess the ‘Chuckle Brothers’ have been ‘sussed’?

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Remember…

“Jealousy is the fear of comparison”….Max Frisch
and
“The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents”…Salvador Dali

I’ll see you in the bar…

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COUNCIL TELLS THE MUSEUM ASSOCIATION TO GET STUFFED

In the wake of the Museums Association’s decision to suspend Northampton Borough Council’s membership for the heinous heritage ‘crime’ of selling its own property – the Sekhemka statue – a Council spokesperson told the pompous Museums Association (MA) to stick its membership where a monkey stuffs its nuts.

Replying to the MA’s action a Northampton Council spokesperson put it somewhat bluntly:-

“It is curious that the Museums’ Association is choosing to review our membership when we have already notified them that we have resigned from the Association and have no desire to ever re-join. Having reviewed the value of membership we could not see what benefit it offered to our museums. We are focusing on the future and our exciting plans to invest in improving both museums including the huge expansion of the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery rather than the odd bureaucracy of an organisation we no longer belong to.”

Source: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/BREAKING-Northampton-Borough-Council-BARRED/story-23026153-detail/story.html#MlDPkL2jhDwBxrjY.99

Unsurprisingly, one archaeo-blogger put his own spin on events by racing to the MA’s defence:-

“Northampton Borough Council is only the fourth organisation that has been barred from membership in the MA’s 125-year history.” Oooh! And I doubt they’ll be the last.

Hat’s off to Northampton Borough Council for giving the bossy-boots, po-faced MA the Agincourt Salute.

2fingers

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RODNEY TROTTER* LIVES!

Talking of po-faced organisations, the Daily Express’ Adrian Lee, writing about the new BBC sit-com, Detectorists, a gentle comedy ‘ revolving around the bizarre world of metal detecting,’ quotes the National Council for Metal Detecting’s General Secretary Trevor Austin, on the self-important and near-impotent NCMD’s decision to wash its hands of any involvement in the making of the new detectorist sit-com because, “We didn’t think it was something we wanted to be involved in. It does worry me that they are taking the mickey out of metal detecting. It is a serious hobby.”

Really Trev! And to borrow a line from another famous sit-com, Only Fools and Horses, “What a 24-carat plonker you really are!”

*Rodney Trotter a main character in the UK television sit-com series, Only Fools and Horses.

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Is a treasure hunter an archaeologist who’s been mugged by reality?

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WHAT’S MISSING FROM THE BOVINE SCATOLOGY LIST?

A ‘hoiker’ hater writes:-

“[…]…archaeology per se does not fight world poverty, ebola, capitalism, globalism, industrial pollution, global warming, terrorism, the progressive extinction of the world’s wildlife, child abuse, drink-driving, drive-by shootings, police brutality, or anything else.”

Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that his list is the recognizable face of academia’s self-righteous, smug, and detector-hating political Left Wing; though this particular ‘hoiker’-hater, maintains his woeful standards by tritely avoiding revelations that some archaeologists have thrown their lot in with brutal regimes where the violent crushing of political dissidents, and State-sponsored murder was commonplace. Pre-democracy Poland is a perfect example. Bizarrely, he expects the world to take him seriously. Ha, ha, ho, ho! Oh, dearie me, not on this form!

Small wonder his anti-collecting, anti-detecting blog, is a burlesque of absurdity.

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“LUSTRATION”…someone, somewhere, reading this edition of the Malamute Saloon, knows precisely what the word means, and knows too, that I know what it means.

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SOMEONE OUGHT TO TELL HIM

The first episode of television’s new sit-com, Detectorists, is receiving critical acclaim. “It is a classic sitcom set-up which has been executed well here […] viewers have already struck gold,” writes Rupert Hawksley in The Telegraph.

Sam Wollaston, writes in The Guardian equally enthusiastic, “It’s sharp, nicely observed, good to look at, with lovely understated performances from Crook and Toby Jones.”

The series will – on current form – greatly inflate the public profile of the detecting pastime and generate new hobby-interest which augurs well for the retail section. It bodes less well for the green-eyed naysayers, the whingers, the whiners, the ill-mannered, the ill-educated and the rest of the detritus at the arse-end of immoderate archaeology’s pantomime horse and pecking order.

Meanwhile, over on a familiar unrestrained and downmarket blog (where, horseshit rules OK!), there’s a typical piece of the Knows-F**k-All-About-Detecting genre. Indeed, while trying to carve a new career as a TV critic and somewhat disastrously it must be said, the writer validates his trifling comprehension with a pubertal effort worthy of a work experience ‘yoof’s’ first outing with a pen:-

“The detectors used are not the cheapest […] During the first meeting with a landowner we see, there is no signing of any search-and-take agreement. We were shown no checking to see if the land was protected, no organised search technique… How typical is that? And when will the Essex FLO feature?”

So, the nit-picking plodder – who’s obviously never heard the maxim of writing about what you know – wants ‘typical’ eh? Never mind the Essex FLO, what he should do is introduce is a bearded, spectacle- wearing chinless wonder, into the equation; one with a nause-rating of ‘8’; dresses like his mum buys his clothes, and typically, squeals, bawls, and throws his toys out of the pram whenever metal detecting or the PAS hits the headlines.

Detectorists is a sit-com my old son, not a documentary. Better not give up yer day job, eh?

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Over on Washington DA Peter Tompa’s blog, Cultural Property Observer, he posed the question:-

Archaeological Assault Brigade?

There is some talk in twitterdom about the need for archaeologists to team up with the military to defeat ISIS/ISIL. CPO is all for it. Committed archaeologists should sign up, get some basic military training, and be inserted into Syria and Iraq to help reclaim archaeological sites from terrorists.

What could this mean if hordes of arkies mobilise?

Can we expect then, to see that threadbare fighting unit, Vlasov Barford’s Kommissars, who always fight to the last Heritage Action man, or who surrender en masse (as they did when Communist forces marched into Poland), and again, when faced with withering Truth Missiles fired by high IQ metal detecting ‘special forces’?

They will of course be supported and well to the rear, by Swift’s Mercian Fibbers, known colloquially as the ‘long range snipers,’ who avoid hand-to-hand combat at all costs preferring to report fictional attacks to the police. Behind these will be the Canadian, Knell’s Pioneers, experts in digging latrines when under heavy fire. Their Vocal Support Division (Infantry) will try to halt the enemy’s attacks with shrill cries of; ‘It’s Soooooo unfair!’ or the coup-de-grace, ‘You utter bastards’.

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Remember….

The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy….Corrie Ten Boom

I’ll see you all in the bar….

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September 15, 2014

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Here’s One for ATPro Beach Hunters

As most proficient UK beachcombers are (presumably) aware, 5p and 10p coins (along with 1p and 2p coins) are iron-cored. However, when they are found in ‘recently lost’ condition the ATPro reacts favourably to the copper wash exterior of the 1p’s and 2p’s, or the nickel wash of the 5p’s and 10p’s. BUT, when these coins have been exposed to prolonged periods in a saltwater environment the iron core ‘bursts’, whereby the coins invariable register as ‘Iron’ – similar to bottle caps – by setting-off the ‘Iron Audio’ mode. In this condition they are worthless anyway…or ‘Barfords’ as me and Jack Dey call them…as in:-

”Found anything Jack?”

“Yep, a couple of £1-coins, and a Barford.”

Though the ATPro’s ‘Iron Audio’ feature is a superb innovation – like when the first loaf of bread came sliced – relegating steel bottle caps to the dustbin of history, which on the face of it is no bad thing…but… BEWARE!

On a recent beach sortie and for some fortuitous and unfathomable reason I dug a dubious ‘iron’ signal and into the sandscoop came a ‘burst’ 5p. I checked the hole agan, and a strong ‘77’ digital signal sounded indicating a £1-coin. Sure enough, in the next scoop of sand , up came a shiny £1-coin. The 5p had partially ‘masked’ the £1-coin having been directly above it or at the very least, overlapping it, thus presenting a dubious ‘Iron’ signal to the ATPro. The ‘Iron Discrim’ was set at ‘35’ my normal beach setting. I doubt whether a smaller coil would have separated the two, BUT, that £1-coin could have been a gold ring! You get my drift? The odds of a ‘burst’ 5 or 10p coin masking a gold ring are, well, who-knows-what, but certainly possible has as happened with the £1-coin.

John Howland taking a tea break....honest!

John Howland taking a tea break….honest!

I now operate the ATPro with the ‘Iron Audio’ facility ‘ON’, but with the ‘Iron Discrim’ to ‘15’ or less, in the hope that ‘bigger’ more valuable targets will overpower ‘burst’ 5 or 10p’s.  I don’t how these settings affect US and Canadian users, though I understand that some Canadian coins can be more than a twinge in the rectal region. Perhaps ‘Bill from Lachine’ will chuck in his ten cent’s worth – all contributions gratefully received.

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Tired of Life? Then DON’T Read This…

If you hunt beaches and bays where huge tidal ranges are the norm, what follows just might save your life. Those of you already aware of the ’12-ths Rule’ then I suggest y’all put the coffee pot on, or pour large Bourbon, or go and get your leg over, while I explain to the less knowledgeable.

Right! For you newbies it’s all about numbers…..Remember…..1, 2, 3 …. 3, 2, 1.

The Flood Tide (incoming) runs for six hours from LOW and HIGH Water; not at a constant flow, but slowly gathers speed galloping in during the 3rd and 4th hours of the flood, with the pace decreasing towards High Water. On some slightly shelving beaches where there might be up to, or over 400-yards of exposed foreshore, it races in faster than some people can walk and cutting off the unwary an consigning them to an untimely death. You can work out the speed of the tide by knowing its range and if you don’t know what ‘range’ means…don’t go out on a beach until you do; and that ain’t negotiable. An incoming (Flood) tide runs approximately for six hours at roughly the following rate:-

1st hour is equal to 1/12 of the tidal range… Rises 3-ft

2nd hour is equal to 2/12 of the tidal range… Rises 6-ft

3rd hour is equal to 3/12 of the tidal range… Rises 9-ft

4th hour is equal to 3/12 of the tidal range… Rises 9-ft

5th hour is equal to 2/12 of the tidal range… Rises 6-ft

6th hour is equal to 1/12 of the tidal range… Rises 3-ft

If say, there’s a 36-ft tidal range in your area, then you’ll see from the above scale, the greatest movement of water occurs during 3rd and 4th hours of the Flood (incoming) Tide.  This is especially critical if you’re say, wreck hunting, at the back of a horseshoe-shaped bay backed by high cliffs.

Assuming then, you are hunting in a 36-ft tidal coastal location, the speed of the Flood Tide during the 3rd and 4th hours is rising at the rate of 1.8-inches per minute. Once the ‘tips’ of the horseshoe are covered by the Flood tide – your escape route is now effectively blocked – you are in deep, very deep, doo-doo! Your only ‘out’ is by climbing the cliffs.

I never ceased to be astounded by the number of beachcombers who cannot read, or even grasp the rudimentary essentials of a Tide Table… after all, it’s basic knowledge not rocket science, as is getting a handle on local weather conditions. Here in Dorset, sadly, we lose at least one angler every year somewhere along our magnificent coastline and often on the deeply shelving, and unforgiving Chesil Beach, which in a fierce ‘South Westerly’ is a death trap….locals avoid it like the plague in these conditions; they know the fish will still be there the day after!

There’s a place I know where high value Spanish gold and silver coins can be found washing ashore where on a Spring Flood Tide the window of treasure hunting opportunity is about one hour.  Whenever I hunt here, I ALWAYS carry a mobile phone and a smoke distress flare – just in case.

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Remember….

“The archaeo-blogosphere is stuffed full with Richard-heads, thus:-I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it”…..Edith Sitwell

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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September 3, 2014

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TO ALL MY NEW READERS…WELCOME

Some of you newbies will have arrived here out of sheer of curiosity I dare say – morbid or otherwise – others will have been shepherded to the Malamute Saloon by very second-rate, down-market, archaeo-bloggers, who want you to experience how a real blog is run and written; one where self-deprecating humour rules and where absolutely no-one has their heads stuck up their arses. Read the intro to this section of Stout Standards and you’ll get the drift of what to expect…if that’s not to your liking then you’d be well advised to ‘Foxtrot Oscar’ immediately.

You can almost always find John Howland on the beach (if not there check the closest pub)

You can almost always find John Howland on the beach (if not there check the closest pub)

Herein, as you’ll discover, we defend our excellent, educational, and wholesome hobby and give full support to the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), which, unlike the heavily discredited Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC) – no doubt spawned by Wyborowa and Wincarnis-fuelled scribblings on the back of a beermat in a downtown Warsaw speak-easy – the PAS’s database has solid foundations and has proved its worth time and again as the launch pad for countless academic theses and formal studies. To date, no one has yet based any formal academic study based on the admitted guesswork upon which the AEC is founded.

We at Malamute Saloon are avid and unapologetic defenders of coin and relic collectors, and coin and relic collections, both private and public. Neither is this a forum for debate. If you don’t like what we stand for, then bugger off back to the twerps who sent you here; but I know you’ll return.

Contrary to what the hare-brained numpties on the fringe of the archaeological world profess is ‘The Truth’ (more correctly their Truth) herein you’ll find the facts…not the gangrenous propagandist claptrap of the hard Left – mostly driven by washed-up, peripatetic sock-puppets of Polish Communism – but good old fashioned, common-sense and fair play. We do not believe that private property (or collections) should ever be grabbed and state-owned. Ours, in the UK at least, is a property-owning democracy and long may that continue. You disagree? Then North Korea is your Shangri-La.

The Malamute Saloon is the metal detecting blog the nutters and psychos on the fringe of radical archaeology hate the most and I am arguably, the most hated detectorist, writer, and an author of the lot. Why? Because I/we fight my/our corner; take no prisoners, and continually shred their specious arguments against metal detecting and collecting. Mostly though, we ignore them, as entering into debate with the kind of souls who pull wings off flies is a futile endeavour. Nevertheless these are the kinds of people archaeology allows itself to be represented by – without comment – and who are …frit, yes, frit, to rein them in. Small wonder some many people regard some UK archaeologists as …gutless shysters.

Simultaneously as detectorists are being berated by the loony fringe for all manner of heritage ills, hundreds of thousands of unrecorded and unclassified artefacts from so-called ‘proper’ archaeological excavations are languishing unloved in sheds and hangers across the British Isles. The scandal of the archaeological record is a shambles unlike the database of the Portable Antiquities Scheme now nearing to record its one millionth artefact on its infinitely valuable database, of which the overwhelming majority of its records are detector-found pieces. The current outrage is not of detectorists’ making but of archaeology’s own, prompting the serious question of whether the nation’s heritage ought to be left in, or indeed is safe in, the hands of archaeology. On present form, it’s unfit for purpose.

Incredibly, archaeological finds are normally NOT RECORDED on the PAS database – though they are encouraged to do so. The loss of vital archaeological data is incalculable. Vitally heritage data has gone down the drain; lost forever by the UK’s bumbling excavators who as the evidence shows, don’t know their arses from their elbows. Even the most vitriolic of anti-detecting evangelists and archaeo-bloggers, Paul Barford, was inspired to write, “The problem, however, is one that affects museums throughout the British Isles.” I doubt there will be a public enquiry into the scandal. There never is… when arkies are involved.

So there you have it…the stall is set out…take it or leave it…but I know you’ll come back.

Welcome to the Malamute Saloon.

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Here’s one for the propaganda sock-puppets…

Celebrity and secrets don’t go together. The bastards will get you in the end….George Michael

I’ll see y’all in the bar….

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August 15, 2014

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MY ROMAN COIN UPDATE

Some of you might remember that some time back while beachcombing I found a Roman coin? Well, after a lot legwork it turned out to be a Dupondius (Latin two-pounder) of Domitian, a brass coin used during the Roman Empire and Roman Republic valued at 2 asses (1/2 of a sestertius or 1/8 of a denarius), and probably shows Fortuna the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion, on the reverse.

Romanfinds

Dupondius Domitian (obverse left/reverse right)

Though she might bring good luck or bad: she could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Justice, and came to represent life’s capriciousness. The dupondius was introduced during the Roman Republic as a large bronze cast coin, although even at introduction it weighed less than 2 pounds. The coin featured the bust of Roma on the obverse and a six-spoked wheel on the reverse. Though not in the best condition, being the best part of 1,800 years old, it represents a rare piece for the particular area, and maybe an important piece in the local archaeological record owing to its find spot. I shall carry it as a good luck token. In the hope it leads me to buried gold.

It shows, yet again, the value of metal detectors in heritage research. I am keeping the record of its find for future referral.

Financial value? Not a lot.

John Howland, somewhere in a pub, on the Southern coast of England…

August 8, 2014

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For those of you following Bubba’s first trip to the US and to Atlantic City in particular….heeeere’s Johnny!!

AC ‘86 – PART TWO…WHAT A REVELATION…THE LIMEYS HAVE LANDED

For the two Limey guests at the FMDAC’s 1986 Atlantic City bash (yours truly and Gerald Costello) the whole shabang was a revelation: Indeed, Atlantic City itself was a revelation: Trump’s Castle Hotel and Casino our home for a couple of nights was, yeh you guessed it, a revelation. The huge laser display board flashing out the message; Atlantic City Welcomes the Federation of Metal Detector & Archaeological Clubs, was, well,… illuminating! Geddit?

Before heading to Atlantic City John had to get provisions

Before heading to Atlantic City John had to get provisions

Trump’s Castle as one would expect from a hotel Donald T puts his name to, was A1, First Class, Top Hole; resplendent with its glitzy décor and general razzmatazz that makes Buckingham Palace look like a hovel. We’d been a long time on the road and Gerald and me were ‘Donald Ducked’ [Cockney rhyming slang for exhausted] by the time we reached our destination. The prospect of crashing-out in our room on the zillionth floor of this cultural edifice, beckoned enticingly; like a $20 trollop to a sailor. They say that on a clear day, from the zillionth floor and looking south, you can even see poverty.

Slinging my suitcase and valise on my bed, I settled into a comfy chair, feet up, and spun the top from a bottle of Rebel Yell, and with full ice bucket on tap, a soft-pack of Winston King Size, and the prospect of a great two days ahead of me, all was fine with the world. “Good God,” says Gerald, “You’re not going to drink all that tonight are you?”

“ ’kin watch,” I says, “Shit, bourbon makes me sooo horny.” It sure cured Gerald’s snoring: he never slept a wink that night, while I however, slept the ‘Sleep of the Just’; I’d teach him to buy ‘dry’ plane tickets.

At the following evening’s pre-dinner drinkies do, I bumped into Dick Tichian; bumped into former US Marine, Cliff Stefens; stepped over Dick Stout; bumped into several pleasant ‘suits’ from Whites, Garrett, and Tesoro, along with characters who’ve passed into treasure hunting folklore lore. “Hey, over here!” shouted the now sadly late Sam Abramo, an attorney of some repute, clutching a replica of the Hand of Faith gold nugget, the largest at the time ever found with a metal detector, and something ‘on the rocks’ in the other.

“You drinkin’ Jaarn?”

“You kiddin’ me Sam? C’mon, get ‘em in ya bloody cheapskate, I’m thoisty.” I liked Sam. He was the kind of guy who if he couldn’t do you a good turn, wouldn’t do you bad one – which is saying something for a lawyer – his wit was as sharp as his fees. He lived respected and died regretted. A good bloke.

The sun came up early the next day, and Stouty having surfaced from his pit and lurching into the real world rendezvoused with me in the Breakfast Bar, where over bagels, orange juice, and coffee – good US coffee – conned asked me, if I’d like to address the assembled throng later that morning on the topic of treasure hunting in the Old Country. “Yeh, no probs,” I lied, “But what do you want me to speak about?”

Ever the diplomat, “You’ve bull-shitted your way in the hobby so far, so do what your good at,” he charmingly reassured me.

According to the billing I’d be the second act following what was in the event, Charles Garrett’s spellbinding talk about electro-magnetic fields in relation to treasure hunting with metal detectors, followed by an equally engrossing tale of his search for the Nez Perce Indian Treasure. Yeh, ‘preciate, Dick!

Leaving them rolling in the aisles...

Leaving them rolling in the aisles…

There was no way I was going to compete with ‘Charlie G’s’ offering notwithstanding his reputation in the treasure hunting fraternity, his scientific background, and his role in the Apollo missions. Talk about after the Lord Mayor’s Show has gone past all that remains is the crap!

Nevertheless, diving straight in I regaled them heartily with stories about ‘mud-larking’ on that section of River Thames that flows through London, along with tales about hunting for Roman, and Celtic coins, and all about the one guy who hunts ‘eyes-only’ on the banks of the Thames to feed an unfortunate habit. “Great Jaarn,” one said later, “Really soporific!” I think that’s Arkansas patois for super-duper. Eat your heart out Charlie G!

Well into my stride I threw out challenges:-

“Any questions?” expecting in-depth treasure hunting queries.

From the back of the auditorium came…”Do you have ring-pulls in Britain?” (Oh by the way, and for the information of anyone from rural Arkansas reading this, we have running water, street lamps and electricity here in the Old Country).

“Yeh,” I shouted back, “And if I’m not mistaken they’re a bloody US invention.” He seemed proud of the fact they were. I guess he was from Arkansas.

“What about archaeologists?” someone else enquired.

“What about them?”

“Do you have good relations with them?”

Recalling the sharp wit of a cockney NCMD member who shall remain nameless, I adapted his legendary retort to a similar question some years earlier and luckily, failed to quote him verbatim, “Well not personally, but I know one detecting club secretary who’s fu…er… sleeping with one”.

“Do you have any trouble from them?”

“Only the fact that a bunch of the loony fringe [yes, we had nutters even in those days] have been seeding fields with tin-tacks to disrupt metal detectors. The farmers aren’t best pleased since these creeps are doing this at night and cattle are picking them up on their tongues and legs.”

John having fun...note though the cop is not laughing!

John having fun…note though the cop is not laughing!

The following day’s AC Beach Hunt was, yeh, was you’ve guessed it… unlike any detector hunt either I or Gerald had seen before or been involved in. Back in the UK hunt prizes where mostly trowels, finds aprons, a metal detector donated by a manufacturer if you were lucky, but here, they were giving away the kinds of prizes people wanted; cars, metal detectors in profusion, and ancillary kit like you’ve never seen. What an eye-opener, but most of all, it was a supremely enjoyable treasure hunt populated by guys and gals, who from what I could fathom, were the cream of the rank-and-file of the US treasure hunting community. I even won a Compass metal detector and managed to stow it aboard on the plane home. We made many new friends too, which in a way gave way to the infamous incident of the ‘Twenty Bucks’.

What happened was this:-

On the AC Boardwalk with Stouty, we met up with some of the above mentioned treasure hunting reprobates. “Hey, Jaarn, loved your gags last night at the dinner. Fancy a beer?” What? Has the Pope got a balcony? So off we all trooped – detectors and all – into a Boardwalk bar where the draught ‘Bud’ flowed copiously accompanied by equally plentiful Bourbon chasers. “I didn’t know you English guys drank Bourbon chasers,” said a guy from Arkansas, “Well,” I said, “We don’t all drink medieval mead and dress like Robin Hood.”

“Yeh, but you guys got all them ancient ruins,” a guy from Little Rock said.

“We lost a lot of them, not so many nowadays,” I countered.

“How come,” he says.

“In the late 1940’s and 50’s most GI’s stationed in the UK married ‘em and took ‘em back home.”

“Ah, I see. Right!” Yep, definitely from Arkansas.

“Hey old buddy, old pal, my old mate,” whispers Stouty, “Any chance of a loan, say $20? It’s my round soon…and well…you know how it is.” As the saying goes; a friend in need is a pain in the ass. I coughed up the dough.

“Yes sure,” I replied, thinking to myself, ‘shit,’ another Lend/Lease deal!

John was winner....

John was a winner….

Any suspicions I had about Stouty’s connections where confirmed when he took me and Gerald to the best table in one of Noo Joisey’s top eateries where the clientele all bore striking resemblances to the likes of ‘Bugs’ Moran, ‘Bugsy’ Siegel, ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd, John Dillinger, ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly, ‘Legs’ Diamond, and Frank Costello, all of whom had a Jean Harlow type blonde ‘broad’ hanging from their arms. The rest looked like they’d tried to go the distance with Rocco Francis Marchegiano.

The Italian proprietor, a real one-off, whose only word in English in which he was fluent which began with the letter ‘F’ and who realising Gerald’s surname was Costello, his Sicilian bon hommie really came to the fore. I kid you not, it was a night to remember.

More next time.

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The “New Joisey eatery” John is referring to was the “Lighthouse” in Weehawken, New Jersey, without a doubt one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever eaten in and that includes Italy as well. The only name I knew the owner by was ‘Romano” and he was a delightful man. Unfortunately the Lighthouse is longer in business….

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FEELING THE HEAT

Following on from the previous curry recipe here on the Malamute Saloon I’m relieved that no-one has yet complained about having the red-hot rectals, or of marking out the hockey pitch as we sometimes refer to the morning after effects. I live in hope, ha, ha, ha! A good hot curry should induce sweating which in turn cleans the pores of the skin and what follows, though a little cooler, will do precisely that.

Hot curries are addictive in that they cause the body to release endorphins (a natural pain-killer). The same effect is possible with hot Tex-Mex chili too I suspect. But hot curries are for Sahibs, the menfolk, not wimpy gringos.

British Beef Raj Curry

This curry is finished off with serving bowls of sultanas, chopped boiled eggs, chopped fresh tomatoes, and desiccated coconut, crispy poppadums, from which the diners add according to taste, along with a dollop of apple, mango, or tamarind chutney. A sprinkling of sliced bananas is a useful addition to counter the fire of the chillies. Always serve with boiled rice.

Ingredients

  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 750g/1lb 10oz steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Madras chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1½ tablespoons garam masala
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 600ml/20fl oz. beef stock
  • 50g/1¾oz desiccated coconut
  • 100g/3½oz sultanas
  • Two chopped red chillies with seeds

Preparation

1. Melt the butter in a large, sturdy pan (a cast-iron skillet is ideal) over a medium heat. Add the steak, in batches, and fry for a few minutes until browned and then remove to a plate. Add the onions to the same pan and fry for 10 minutes, or until softened and golden-brown.

2. Add the garlic and fry for one minute, and then return the meat to the pan, along with any juices on the plate. Stir in the chilli powder, turmeric, one tablespoon of the garam masala, and the salt, and cook for one minute.

3. Add the stock, followed by the coconut and sultanas. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes to an hour or until the beef is tender. Stir in the remaining garam masala and serve. Often, a good dollop of straight-from-the-fridge yoghurt (Greek style) over the beef soothes the heat. Enjoy!

Remember the Golden Rule about drinks with curries….it’s water always, beer sometimes…wine NEVER.

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NOT-SO-DUMB AND DUMBER

An archaeologist and a treasure hunter are sitting next to each other on a long flight. The archaeologist thinks (as they all do) that treasure hunters are so dumb that he could get one over on any one of them dead easy…

So the archaeologist asks if the treasure hunter would like to play a fun game.

The treasure hunter is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks. The archaeologist persists, and says that the game is really, really, a lot of fun.

“I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me only $5; you ask me a question, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $500,” the archaeologist says.

This catches the treasure hunter’s attention and to keep the archaeologist quiet, he agrees to play the game.

The archaeologist asks the first question. ‘What’s the distance from The Earth to the Moon?’

The Treasure hunter doesn’t say a word, reaches in his pocket, pulls out a five-dollar bill, and hands it to the archaeologist.

Now, it’s the treasure hunter’s turn. He asks the archaeologist, ‘What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?’

The archaeologist uses his laptop and searches all references he can find on the Net. He sends e-mails to all the smart friends he knows, all to no avail.

After one hour of searching he finally gives up. He wakes up the treasure hunter and hands him $500. The Treasure hunter pockets the $500 and goes right back to sleep.

The archaeologist is going nuts not knowing the answer. He wakes the treasure hunter up and asks, ‘Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?’

The Treasure hunter reaches in his pocket, hands the archaeologist $5 and goes back to sleep.

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This from the greatest Heavyweight of all time:-This from the greatest Heavyweight of all time:-

Why waltz with a guy for 10 rounds if you can knock him out in one?...Rocco Francis Marchegiano,(aka, ‘Rocky’ Marciano, aka, ‘The Brockton Blockbuster’)

49 fights, 49 wins,43 by KO

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I’ll see y’all in the bar

July 20, 2014

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GOLD, LIKE LOVE, IS WHERE YOU FIND IT

One of the best sights in my part of the English Riviera is seeing treasure hunters out on the wet sand at Low Tide and keeping well away from the ‘Dry’. Sure, they will find coins and rings but not in any profusion. Some will find more than others but the one thing they all have in common is they are following a dictum penned when UK beach hunting techniques were in their infancy. That dictum states the best place to hunt for rings and jewellery is out on the wet sand at Low Tide.

In those early days over thirty-five years ago, the development of successful UK beach hunting methods was a ‘suck-it-and-see’ learning curve, and yes, sure enough the early pioneers did find gold and silver below the High Water mark; and that apparently, sealed the deal. But it ain’t necessarily so.

Like inland hunting, the best finds (usually) come from habitation sites or where people gather in number: The equation is, High People Numbers + Habitation/Meeting Places = Casual Losses. However, on beaches it’s a little different in that in the UK where water temperatures are generally nippier; most beach users tend to stay up in the dry sand areas, with only a small percentage venturing into the briny even on the hottest summer days. In Florida, Spain, and in the hotter beach resorts, the opposite is true; more people are in the water, thus, losses are commensurately higher.

Rings (for example) found below the High Tide Line, have been washed there by eroding wave action having originally been lost in the dry sand. Some of course will have fallen from the fingers of swimmers and medallions torn from their necks by wave action. Indeed, popular swimming holes in lakes or non-tidal places will see a gradual build-up of lost items.

Photo 1

9-carat ring found amongst sea shells of same weight – 2.8 grams.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hallmarks explained

Certainly wave action tends to distribute items by weight and shape. The 9-carat ring* in Photo 1 weighs in at 2.8-grams and was found ( by Jack Dey) amongst sea shells of the same weight close to the High Tide Line, dry sand side, and the inference is clear. Nonetheless, quality finds will nearly always come from areas where:-

(a) Beach users gather, usually signalled by an abundance of trash (a sure sign of treasure)

(b) Using the correct coil configuration (size and type) for the prevailing conditions

(c) Working slowly amongst the junk

Had Jack assumed the digital readout of ‘52’ was a pull-tab it would still be there waiting for another more thorough detectorist. Injudicious use of the Discrim Mode can be costly – I and Jack dig all signals…we also have an enviable collection of pull-tabs.

My best piece of jewellery to date, can be seen on the Garrett website, and came from way up in the dry sand with a Sea Hunter II pi, having drawn a blank on the wet. It’s hardly forensic proof I know, but I’m quite content that the dry sand is the vault, and a carefully operated metal detector the key.

Good Hunting!

*Registered ‘52’ on the Garrett ATPro International – as do pull-tabs.

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KRAZY KORNER

Q: What’s 6” long, 2”wide, and drives women wild?

A: a $100 bill!

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“Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.” – George Carlin

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I asked God for a good Roman site to detect, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I went out Nighthawking and asked for forgiveness. – Me.

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What they’d have you believe…

All archaeological research is groundbreaking.

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Quid2

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Hmmmm….

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum…

“The Portable Antiquities Scheme and Treasure Act have revolutionised archaeology, ensuring that finds found by ordinary members of the public are rewriting history. Many of the most important finds have ended up in museum collections across the country, thanks to the generosity of funding bodies. The PAS is a key part of the British Museum’s nationwide activity to support archaeology and museums through its network of locally based Finds Liaison Officers (FLO). The Museum is committed to the long-term success of the scheme.”

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How True…

The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism….William Osler

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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July 1, 2014

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AT PRO & AT GOLD TIPS

My reader emailed to ask for a reprise of some earlier tips about getting even better results out of a couple of Garrett’s detectors – the ATPro and ATGold — so here goes. But first a word of warning: Though these tips will not invalidate your Warranty, they could fast-track newbies into a twilight home for the terminally ga-ga.

ATPro – Going Deeper, Going Gold!

If despite owning a Garrett ATPro International (ATP), your haul of gold rings is a tad on the lean side, try this over the next three/four beach outings. Dig all signals of ’45’ and above — it’s soft sand after all — in PRO ‘Custom’ with Iron Discrim at ‘30’, or, in PRO mode with ‘All Metal’ and ‘Iron Discrim’ set to ‘00’ out on the wet stuff. Besides digging pull-tabs, you’ll also be digging platinum too!!!! Let Stouty how you get on, with pics if possible for publication on here.

Indeed, you can ‘sharpen’ the ATPro by dropping the GB to between ‘12’ and ‘14’ when working over dry, or saltwater (wet) beach sand. It’ll be noisier than normal, popping and crackling and liable to take those among you of a tense disposition to the edge of insanity….but you will find deep coins and rings especially when harnessed to the ‘45’ technique. Give it three/four goes, eh? But I have to say, that I cannot pay the medical bills should you go completely doolally!

The ATGold

Despite what Garrett’s blurb writer says about the ATGold (ATG) not being up to the mark in a saltwater environment, this supreme nugget hunter actually turns in a not half-bad performance over the salty wet stuff. So, if you’ve got one of these jobbies and fancy a few hours on the beach…give it a go! It’s superb up in the dry sand when in DISC 1 mode.

However, if during your beach sortie and for some inexplicable reason you’re tempted out onto the wet sand, then DISC2 (US coins mode) is where it’s at! It’s a pre-set mode that eliminates one pixel of foil and two pixels in the pull-tab range, and Ground Balance accordingly. You’ll soon start digging coins and if you’ve been a good Boy Scout, heavier gold rings will start to show – at least those weighing in excess of 4-grams. You can forget smaller, thin-section gold rings, but then again, half a loaf is better than nowt in an area previously thought to be off-limits to ATG’s. How do I know this? Garrett’s Steve Moore tipped me off when I had a problem with a section of highly mineralised beach known to contain some tasty bits and pieces.

The ATX

I haven’t a clue about this latest Garrett (pi). Sorry folks!

WHAT A GUY!

A Scotsman and his wife were walking past a chic new restaurant.

“Did you smell that food?” she asked. “Incredible!”

Being a kind hearted Scot, he thought, “What the heck, I’ll treat her!”

So, they walked past it again…

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Ferrari ‘375 Plus’ Fetches £10.75-Million at Auction

auto

A fine example of the legendary ‘375 Plus’ was sold at Bonham’s Auctioneers for the record sum making it the most expensive car sold in Britain. Only five were built and they competed in the 1954 World Sports Car Championship; at Le Mans, Silverstone, and in the Italian classic, the Mille Miglia. This particular car still bears traces of the 1957 Cuban Grand Prix race colours.

But let me play Devil’s Advocate for the moment. Following the dictum of archaeology’s ‘Hard Left’ faction who promote the notion that all land, artefacts, and collectibles should belong to the People (read; them!), would this Ferrari be better served – as would all other collectibles presumably – by being taken into public ownership, as opposed to being stored in a private collection where it will (according to them) only be appreciated by privileged few? But as an archaeological artifact, one has to ask; has this superb example of automobile heritage lost its contextual importance? Further, is it ethically right to deal and profit in or from collectables?

Perhaps it all depends who’s in power at the time, and who defines what constitutes a ‘collectable’. I suspect Stalinists, Marxists, Leninists, Ho Chi Minn-ists, Pol-Pot-ists and émigré Englishmen of the Burgess, Philby, and Maclean manqué, will have little doubt.

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“They Got an Awful Lot of Football in Brazil… “

My apologies to Ole Blue Eyes, but this is serious. Can you believe it: The USA getting so far in the World Cup when England went out in the early stages? I mean, it’s the English national game! It’s simply not cricket, old boy. How would the former-colonists like it if an English team went to the US and won their World Series? Huh? Huh? And what’s the FMDAC/NCMD or Task Force, doing about it? That’s I’d like to know?

I reckon ‘Yogi’ Berra (NY Mets, and Yankees) had it right when he said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

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Oi Vey!

(1) An old Jewish man is dying in his hovel in the Steppes of Stalinist Russia. There is a menacing banging on the door. ‘Whose there?’ the old man weakly enquires. ‘Death,’ comes the ominous reply. ‘Thank God,’ he says, ‘I thought it was the KGB.’

(2) A KGB officer is walking in the park and he sees and old Jewish man reading a book. The KGB man demands, “What are you reading old man?”

“I am trying to teach myself Hebrew,” the old man replies.

KGB presses on, “Why are you trying to learn Hebrew? It takes years to get a visa for Israel. You would die before the paperwork got done.”

“I am learning Hebrew so that when I die and go to Heaven I will be able to speak to Abraham and Moses. Hebrew is the language they speak in Heaven,” the old man replies.

“Ah,” says the KGB man triumphantly, “What if when you die you go to Hell?”

“Russian, I already know,” replies the old man

(3) Why do communist archaeologists operate in threes? A. One to read, one to write, and one to keep an eye on the two intellectuals.

Remember….

“Those who are weak don’t fight. Those who are stronger might fight for an hour. Those who are stronger still might fight for many years. The strongest fight their whole life. They are the indispensable ones.”…..Bertolt Brecht

I’ll see y’all in the bar….

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June 24, 2014

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C’MON, LET’S HEAR IT LOUD FOR ROGER BARBRICK!

They say ‘Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man’ and when the ‘hour’ came the ‘man’ was there. Recently, Roger Barbrick got all fired up, and took on ‘City Hall’. This hobby of ours owes him a huge vote of thanks, and we are all the beneficiaries of his tenacity. He recognised a breach in the wall, stepped in and went after the ill-informed local legislators to win a major victory in protecting the future of metal detecting on Massachusetts’ beaches.

Yet again, another piece of arkie-inspired anti-metal detecting legislation was defeated, and yet again, a local authority acting on spiteful partisan prejudice masquerading as ‘evidence’ came seriously unglued.

Roger inspired thousands of detectorists to sign his petition. ‘City Hall’ backed down. Why? Perhaps the elected counsellors realised that thousands of very angry detectorists amounts to thousands of very angry votes that wouldn’t be coming their way. It’s a truism that for every vote lost, TWO have to be won to break even. It’s probably the first time the power of metal detecting votes has been marshalled in this way.

Nevertheless, the depressing element of Roger’s magnificent victory was that it happened in SPITE OF the national detecting organisations (who pocket your cash to supposedly defend your hobby) NOT BECAUSE of them. To me at least, that sounds their death knell.

Nonetheless, just imagine what a committee of ‘Roger Barbricks’ might achieve nationally!

Large ones all round!

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NUT(TER)S CRACKED!

If you have any doubts whatsoever about the sanity of some of the more vocal anti-metal detecting archaeo-bloggers’, check out a couple of the more vociferous cess-pits where the outbursts are likely to confirm your suspicions. Here you’ll learn – according to one of the outpatients — that ISIS terrorists are financially supported by anyone who collects coins or relics, which certainly includes metal detectorists. Yep, you read it right!

The psychosis lurking in these unhinged logic illustrates perfectly the extent of their phobias and the fragile grip these people have on reality. In the terms of their warped logic then, you, your family, and anyone else who supports your hobby, supports terrorism. Arguably what’s more disturbing, is that these people are not getting the counselling they so obviously need.

On the other hand, they could simply be; repugnant, malicious, ignorant, wilfully ill-informed, and certainly ill-mannered specimens of the human race – nutters!

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MINORITY RULE?

Over on the Peter Tompa’s excellent Cultural Property Observer blog the Washington, DC Attorney poses a question:-

“It’s estimated that there are only approximately 11,000 archaeologists in the United States […] of this small number, only an infinitesimal few seem to be active in lobbying against private and museum collecting, perhaps 50-100 or so.

“So, why all the influence? Could it be because this small group works hand in hand with foreign governments (including most recently the Egyptian military dictatorship) that offer excavation permits? Or that they are joined at the hip with cronies in both the State Department and in US law enforcement? Or that their time and efforts are effectively funded by tax or tuition dollars? Or that lazy media outlets are all too often ready to take what they say at face value rather than actually check sources? Or, all of the above? “

Er…all of the above Peter!

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Some of our critics already know and abide by Mark Twain’s celebrated quote ….

“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please”…

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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Wifethat

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June 19, 2014

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GETTING TOP DOLLAR FOR YOUR COINS

Here in the UK roman, Celtic, and medieval hammered coins are regular ‘keepers’ but some hobbyists to my knowledge are selling too cheap. How then do you get the premium rate for your finds, especially coins? Well for starters every British treasure hunter should have on the bookshelf a copy of Seaby’s Coins of England (often available in charity shops at a fraction of the new price), and Roman Coins and Their Values, as guides of what to expect pricewise. However, bear in mind that the figures quoted are the buying, not the selling prices. The principle of what follows applies equally Stateside.

However before we get into the meat of the subject let’s get one thing out of the way first; that of Nighthawking and the illegal acquisition of coins and finds. Trespassing on any land at any time of the day, not just at night, with the intention of stealing coins and other valuable artefacts is theft and covered by the Theft Act.

In truth, the £66.000 Nighthawking Report (paid for by the taxpayer!!) showed less than 1.5 incidents of so-called ‘Nighthawking’ per month; or put another way and to put this so-called ‘heinous crime wave’ into perspective, more people are caught and prosecuted for riding their bikes at night without lights. The ‘1.5’ figure is a worrying statistic in that there are some really dumb asses out there, but like death and taxes, the brain dead will always be with us.

It works like this:- Fred and Jim are going out to trespass and steal roman coins (for arguments sake) from a protected archaeological site under the cover of darkness. The penalties if caught are severe with the possibility of several months in the ‘slammer’ a real prospect. Let’s further suppose they find ten roman gold coins, each worth on the legitimate market, a Grand apiece. But these coins have no provenance, and the dodgy dealer knows this so offers them a fraction of their real worth in cash, say, £50 per coin. That’s a total of £500 split two ways for a night’s work which works out at £20 per week in wages over the three months. Oh, these guys are smart! Not!

The moral of the story is to do the job properly; get the requisite permission of the landowner, do the agreement, then sell them fully provenanced and recorded at the highest price! Simples! If you later call in on your farmer/landowner and drop say, £500 ‘smackers’ in his/her mitts, you’ll be held in the highest esteem and offers of other farmland will come rolling in as other landowners clamor for a slice of the action. Works for me!

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A Fistful of Celtic – The Man With no Name is Back: The Dodgy Dealer is Waiting!

green44Never mind trying to identify stone circles in metal detector adverts, here’s a real poser: ‘Horn-rimmed Harry’ another bad-mouthing ‘anti’ arkie; he of the girly shoulder length hair is at it again and looking decidedly shit-faced when recognized by two of my informants as he was leaving a London coin-dealer’s premises in somewhat of a hurry and tucking what appeared to be a bulging wallet into an inside coat pocket. Why the haste one wonders? Perhaps he was bursting for crap? Yes, of course, that must the reason……

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A man who had been caught Nighthawking thousands of pounds worth of Roman Gold bracelets went to a lawyer seeking defence. He didn’t want to go to jail. But his lawyer told him, “Don’t worry. You’ll never have to go to jail with all that money.” And the lawyer was right. When the man was sent to prison, he didn’t have a dime.

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The two arkies were having lunch when suddenly one of them jumped up and said, “I have to go back to the office – I forgot to lock the finds safe!”

The other arkie replied, “What are you worried about? We’re both here.”

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Remember (the words of Mighty Confucius)….

Swinging chain denotes a warm seat…

Man with no lining to trouser pockets, feel cocky all day…

 I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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May 23, 2014

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SEARCHER/LANDOWNER AGREEMENTS

There’s a lot of confusion particularly amongst some UK novice detectorists as to the ins and outs of written agreements with landowners. In fact, it’s all very Straightforward. If you want it Kosher then go to the fountain’s head for refreshment: The Portable Antiquities Scheme is the source, handing down excellent advice on the subject from its website http://finds.org.uk/ (much of it applicable in principle to the US too, by the way). I quote:-

Guidance for landowners, occupiers and tenant farmers in England and Wales

Metal-detecting, Field-walking and searching for Archaeological Objects: guidance for landowners, occupiers and tenant farmers in England and Wales

This guidance had been jointly produced by the Country, Land & Business Association, the National Farmers Union and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, September 2010.Finds Agreement…

*It is recommended that landowners/farmer occupiers have a written ‘finds agreement’ (available from the CLA or NFU) with anyone wishing to search, outlining the nature of the permission, the area to be searched and what happens to any objects found.

*Many people go to the countryside to search for archaeological objects. They mostly search on cultivated and arable land.

*The majority of people looking for archaeological objects are metal-detector users, and are likely to be members of the National Council for Metal Detecting (www.ncmd.co.uk) and/or the Federation of Independent Detectorists (www.fid.newbury.net). Both organizations have a Code of Conduct by which their members are required to operate as a condition of membership and also provide members with public liability insurance.

*Field-walkers and/or other amateur or professional archaeologists also may seek permission to search. In most cases they will recover finds from the soil surface, such as worked flint or pottery, but (with the landowner/farmer occupier’s permission) may also wish to excavate. Such individuals may be affiliated to a local museum, archaeological society, university or be professional archaeological contractors. Many archaeologists will be members of the Institute for Archaeologists (www.archaeologists.net) and follow its Code of Conduct.

*A Code of Practice on Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales (see http://www.finds.org.uk) has been endorsed by all key archaeological bodies & metal-detecting & landowner/farmer organisations. This is the first time that these bodies have joined together to define responsible metal-detecting and provide a clear definition of what constitutes good practice.

*Landowner/farmer occupiers also have a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and 1984

Bill Pearlstein, a principal of the US law firm, Pearlstein & McCullough, summed-up the basis of it all when he wrote on Washington, DC, Peter Tompa’s authoritative Cultural Property Observer blog, that, “The fundamental principal of US and UK law that no one can ever take title of stolen property has been the basis of numerous successful claims for the return of antiquities.”

Some of the more astute and better organised detecting clubs and groups retain their own firms of solicitors (attorneys in the US) – whose names appear on the clubs’ headed notepaper – and who negotiate mutually agreeable search contracts with third parties. The contents of these contracts are nobody’s business except the signatories: It’s their deal, their business. The same goes for rallies. These are legal and wholesome events enjoyed by many and the fact the usual suspects foam at the mouth in protest, is hard luck on them!

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A group of terrorists burst into the conference room at the Hilton Hotel, where the British archaeologists were holding their annual convention. More than a hundred archaeologists were taken hostage. The terrorist leader announced that unless their demands were met, they would release one archaeologist every hour.

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THE CAN OF WORMS THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO OPEN….DAYHAWKING!

It’s manifestly obvious, even to the terminally dim, that anyone venturing forth on land that’s not theirs requires permission – Rights of Way accepted — to do so from the landowner. Though it’s mainly metal detectorists who chase down this permission, other pursuits requiring similar access include among others, ‘field-walkers and/or other amateur or professional archaeologists’ who all need the same agreements to some degree or another. Precisely how many amateur fieldwalkers/archaeologists ride roughshod over landowner’s rights by wilfully ignoring written permission, or how they divvy-up of their ill-gotten pottery shards and flint tools without the landowner getting a fair shake — though figures are apocryphal – is at best rare; at worst non-existent. There’s little more frustrating than researching a meadow or field only to have had these ‘Sunday Strollers’ removing artefacts willy-nilly and all going unrecorded. Is this ‘irresponsible’ archaeology? Of course it is!

What at first glance appears to be a new phenomenon, currently dubbed, ‘Dayhawking’, has been going on for years, especially by well-meaning bumbling amateur history societies. Indeed, archaeology has a long and distinguished record of looting other country’s artefacts mostly craftily cloaked in the mantle of ‘research’. Yeah, right!

The total sums ‘earned’ from this insidious mugging is anyone’s guess; but assuming the miscellany of items hoiked from the UK’s arable farmland as just one prime example, pans out at £1.00 per item, yes just one pound, for every pottery shard and flint tool stolen without written permission since 1900 say, must run to millions of pounds.

I often come into contact with landowners in a social context, and many tell me they have given verbal permission to non-detectorists (arkies, etc.) on the basis that, “they seemed harmless enough,” and are astounded when I tell them pottery shards and flints are worth good money. “What b******s”, one NFU man told me, “Thanks for the information.”

Whereas all NCMD/FID affiliated metal detecting clubs initiate written agreements as a matter of course, sadly similar ‘agreement templates’ are unsurprisingly, you might think, missing from archaeological websites. This suggests amateurs of the Sunday afternoon, rambling ‘Bobble-hatted Brigade,’ dupe landowners to ‘opt in’ – or put crudely…. ‘If they don’t ask, we won’t tell ‘em.’ One has only look at the PAS database to discover the huge discrepancy between the over-abundance of detector-found items compared to what amounts to a famine of artefacts from archaeological activity. Why is this I wonder? I’ll leave that for you to answer!

So, be alert to the threat of Dayhawks. Tell your landowners about them and negotiate where you can; sole search rights!

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A guy goes down for breakfast and it is quite obvious his wife has the hump with him. He asks he what’s the matter? She replies, “Last night you were talking in your sleep and I want to know who Linda is?” Thinking quickly on his feet he tells her that Linda was ‘Lucky Linda’ and was the name of a horse that he bet on that day and won him £50. She seemed quite happy with the explanation and he went off to work. When he got home that night, his wife had the hump with him again. Asking her what the matter was now, she replied “Your horse just phoned.”

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May 14, 2014

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Pirate’s Treasure Up For Grabs!

Born near Calais in northern France between 1688 and 1690 into a wealthy middle-class family, Olivier Levasseur after a good education, became an officer in the French navy and fought in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714); a period of hostility between the European powers, including a divided Spain, over who had the right to succeed Charles II as King of Spain.

France’s King, Louis XIV, conferred on Levasseur Letters of Marque, effectively licensing him as a privateer — or pirate — to attack foreign shipping and seize cargoes for the French crown. Privateers were an accepted part of naval warfare and were authorised by most of the major naval powers.

By the cessation of hostilities and he and his crew had developed an unquenchable thirst for the adventurous, not to mention lucrative, pirate life; a lifestyle they were reluctant to abandon. In 1716 they threw in their lot with master pirate, Benjamin Hornigold.

A born leader, Levasseur was every inch the pirate figure, and looked the part; sporting a livid cutlass scar across his face. His bold, swift, attacking and raiding style, earned him the soubriquet, ‘The Buzzard. ’ The legend of Levasseur was born. He had found his niche in life. He was successful, very successful, amassing great wealth from his nefarious activities and is widely regarded as the wealthiest of all pirates and much of his vast wealth remains undiscovered.

In one of piracy’s most renowned exploits he captured the Lisbon-bound, Portuguese galleon ‘Nossa Senhora do Cabo,’ loaded to the gunnels with treasure. Levasseur boarded her without firing a single shot because the Cabo, having been seriously damaged in a violent storm had jettisoned her cannons to avoid capsizing.

The captured booty was vast; gold and silver bars, chests laden with golden Guineas, precious stones, pearls, silks, and religious icons belonging to Goa’s, Se Cathedral, including the fabulous, so-called, ‘Flaming Cross of Goa’ made from the purest gold, inlaid with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds (valued at around £10,000,000). The Cross was so heavy, three crewmen were required to carry it aboard Levasseur’s pirate ship!

As was the pirate custom, the captured treasure was shared amongst the crew with each man receiving some £50,000 in golden guinea pieces, and forty diamonds apiece. Levasseur naturally, took the ‘Flaming Cross of Goa’.

In 1724 the French government issued a pirate amnesty. Levasseur despatched an emissary to the Indian Ocean island of Bourbon (now known as Réunion) east of Madagascar, to talk terms with the French government’s representative. However, the amnesty came with strings attached… the French wanted the return of their stolen loot. Levasseur was having none of that!

For next few years he kept a low profile living a quiet life in a hideout in the Seychelles. However, French agents eventually captured him on Madagascar, where taken prisoner, he was shipped in chains to the town of Saint-Denis, on Réunion. On 7th July 1730, he was hanged for piracy.

Standing on the scaffold, he tore off a necklace which he threw into the assembled crowd with his final words, “Find my treasure, the one who may understand it!” The necklace bore a code of seventeen lines leading to, legend says, his fabulous treasure. The whereabouts of the necklace remains unknown. Many tried to decipher the code; it remains unbroken.

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The code is reproduced along with an alphabet believed to have been used by Levasseur previously which some believe, believe has masonic undertones.

Key1

If you think you want to tackle this be sure and read the following first…..

Seychellois man tormented by treasure hunt

Good luck.

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Congrats to Odyssey Marine

The world leaders in underwater exploration have done it again with the recovery of gold bullion from the wreck of the Central America which went down in a storm off the Carolinas.  Their success again highlights the fact (unpalatable for some) that private enterprise leads the way in underwater exploration and treasure recovery projects.

Investing in these ventures is a gamble but one worth taking, as opposed to what might one expect in the way of financial returns from sinking one’s ‘hard earned’ into (presumably) for-profit private archaeological companies? Not a bloody lot I suggest.  I can already hear the gnashing of teeth and the whining and moaning from certain quarters at this obvious truism.

Critics of Odyssey Marine are more often than not, green-eyed heritologists rampant with jealousy, or others of this ilk with radical axes to grind. Naturally enough, they very conveniently forget to mention that Odyssey funds its own explorations, unlike archaeology that relies on financial support often arm-twisted out developers, builders, local councils, or unwilling tax .

The result? Simply look at the appalling situation across the country where millions of artefacts hoiked from archaeological digs are languishing unloved, unrecorded and unclassified. The loss to the historical record by some of these so-called professionals, beggars belief.

All of which raises the question: Should ‘private-enterprise archaeology’ be more accountable to its financers, particularly where the term ‘professional’ is the incestuous metaphor for ‘excellence’? Some people earnestly believe the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, consider primary legislation to put an end to this shameful state of affairs.

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Ty Brook – The Thinking Man’s Treasure Hunter

Following on from Dick Stout’s comments on Ty Brook, I have to add that if one thing in this life is for-sure, Ty Brook, will never see the inside of the US Diplomatic Corp’s staff canteen!  No Suh! I doubt they’d even give him the key to the Janitor’s toilet! He is to diplomacy what the Boston Strangler was to door-to-door salesmen; you see, he’s possessed of this very embarrassing gift for saying things the way they are. He takes no prisoners. Oh yes, he’s an A-1 electronics engineer; A-1 treasure hunter and writer who he knows what he’s talking about!

His book, Inside Treasure Hunting, is a revelation; what he writes is equally applicable to the UK. The section on buying and selling used equipment for example, is a real-eye-opener. His comments and advice on over-twiddling with the controls, especially the DISCRIM and SENS, will as usual, fall on the stony ground of the terminally dim.

It’s all good stuff and well worth a read and well deserving of a place on every thinking treasure hunter’s bookshelf.

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Oh Yes, Size Really Matters…

I sometimes wonder – not so much how many hobbyists really understand this hobby – but how many really understand the workings and capabilities of their machines. During a recent sojourn in the Duchy of Cornwall I managed a couple of beachcombing sorties to a particular cove; mostly sandy but with a rock-strewn reef exposed by the Ebb tide.

During one of the sorties I met up with a fellow traveller searching the boulder-strewn and rocky reef section of the beach, an area screaming out for a small-diameter coil and a sharp thin-ish trowel, or screwdriver for hoiking out coins wedged into, and between the rocks. He was searching with a hard-wired, 10”-coil, and a spade-type digging tool.  Me?  I had my ATPro kitted out with a 4.5”-Super Sniper and a 25-yr old Alligator trowel.

During conversation, he grassed-up his detecting mate, “My pal searches here with a 15”-coil.”

“Well good for him,” says I, “That leaves more for the rest of us.”

He looked baffled.

“And he takes ages to dig down through this stuff. I don’t even bother! This area has been picked clean,” he advised, then looking down at my machine (the ATPro), “Ah, there’s a lot of them down here. They’re very popular.”

“Surely,” I says, “You both must be missing lots of stuff, especially that mate of yours?”

He again looked baffled.

“Anyway, have you found anything?” says I.

“Nah. You?”

“Only this,” says I, “Right where you were hunting along the edge of the rocks. It was end-on, with a crisp clear signal,” fishing out what appears to be a sestertius of Emperor Commodus (31 August 161 AD – 31 December 192 AD). According to the Cornwall Heritage Trust, ‘Roman sites and finds in Cornwall are few and far-between, providing only tantalising glimpses of their presence…’.

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The coin weighs 10.6 grams and is 26mm in diameter, and struck from oricalcum, a golden bronze alloy. It may have been washed inshore from a roman shipwreck, particularly bearing in mind that the romans evolved a lucrative trade exporting tin-ore mined in Cornwall, to Europe.

“Those small coils don’t miss much do they,” he said.

This time I looked baffled. This is not rocket science, I mused to myself.

Why, I wondered, was my new pal using a non-changeable, 10-inch hot-wired coil in an area where he must have known a 10”-coil would be as effective as a concrete parachute? More to the point why does his pal insist on using a 15”-incher over the same ground; where all coins will be end-on, wedged in rocks and ‘blind’ to most coils over 8”-diameter and where a screwdriver or thin trowel, not a shovel, is the ideal recovery tool?

I’ll tell you why. He’s a beachcomber who works the sandy areas out on the extremes of the foreshore; rightly he opts for depth. But mistakenly, he imagines he’ll find the same degree of success over rocky reefs. The problem for him is that he’s trying to cover the entire beach with a single machine and one that doesn’t allow for coil interchangeability. His metal detector was the type that’s perfect for deep, wet/dry sand work only.

As I’ve written previously, I’d always opt for a smaller coil before buying a larger diameter one especially something half the size of Texas. On beaches where rocks and rubbish rule…go small!

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Consider….

“Gold is a treasure, and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in this world, and succeeds in helping souls into paradise…”

Christopher Columbus

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I’ll see y’all in the bar,…arrrgh!

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May 2, 2014

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THE LOVE THAT DARES TO SPEAK IT’S NAME…TREASURE HUNTING!

My apologies to Oscar Wilde; playwright, wit, and celebrated homosexual, who first coined the phrase, though in the example above I substituted ‘To’ for his original ‘Not’.  In the late Victorian era, when dear old Oscar was holding court in Victorian London’s artiest haunts and affecting minor outrages with his mon amour, Lord Alfred Douglas, being ‘gay’ was punishable with incarceration in one of Her Majesty’s hotels. Oscar finally wound up doing two years Penal Servitude (hard labor) in Reading Gaol – the inspiration for his famous ballad.

marxistThank goodness in these enlightened times society is more understanding.  Nowadays, tyrants are narcissists, hard-Left archaeo-politicos who peddle the Marxist line that private property is a no-no, along with other assorted dross posing as academics (even detectorists!) whose life’s work is portraying detectorists/ treasure hunters — that’s YOU by the way – as the kind of thing one might inadvertently step in on the sidewalk. They get their rocks off insulting anyone they consider their intellectual inferiors…usually detectorists/treasure hunters.

Of course, there’s nothing unethical in being a treasure hunter – far from it. Neither is there anything wicked about hunting for profit PROVIDED, I suggest, that what you find is legally found, and suitably recorded somewhere; in a diary perhaps; on a pack of Marlboros (other cigarettes are available); or better still, with a museum – just give ‘em the data.  It’s YOUR history too! More people own metal detectors than dabble in archaeology as a pastime….so don’t let the tail wag the dog! The United States is the spiritual home of treasure hunting…be proud of that heritage.

From my experiences of visiting the States, I know there’s cadre of detectorist/treasure hunters who have amassed superb collections of material from the Civil War era — for example — and who are themselves experts in the subject. The problem is that researchers unconnected with metal detecting have a hard time tracking down these expert historians; they and their collections scattered to the four winds.

Perhaps what’s needed is a register/database of these clued-up specialist historian?  From my own experience as a freelancer and editor, tracking down good and reliable specialists can be a nightmare; not only where a photograph of a particular artefact is required for illustration, but how and where to locate such a piece. If such a database existed it would prove to be an invaluable research tool.

If it were possible to engage this database – if the will exists to bring it to fruition – it would dovetail neatly with an emerging new phenomenon. Taking their cue from the UK’s world-beating Portable Antiquities Scheme, some of the shrewder US archaeologists are beginning to both recognize the advantages of tapping into this seam of knowledge, and are slowly realizing that the usual lurid tales about metal detecting is nonsense propaganda. Some are even on the receiving end of ad hominen insults and abuse from the aforementioned vacuous ‘academic’ archaeo-dross for siding with us, and many are keen to put daylight between these weirdoes and mainstream archaeology for fear that all archaeologists will be similarly branded.

So while we have to contend with our detractors, so do some archaeologists.

 

marx

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A translator is someone who liked words as a kid but didn’t have enough charisma to be an accountant.

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Remember

It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.….W. C. Fields

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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April 27, 2014

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RESCUE?

Most of you will recall the debate on Stout Standards when UK archaeologists tried to deny that they, unlike us ‘unscientific’ types, carefully excavated the top three to four feet of topsoil – the same topsoil in which we as detectorists find our casual losses. These UK archaeological know-nothings, aided and abetted by their bum-licking stool-pigeon who inhabit the fringes (yes, this kind of low-life really does exist), collaborated to say that ABSOLUTELY, we were destroying so-called, (but) mythical contextual data in that topsoil.

This is the logo of RESCUE. Says it all really!

rescue2

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Now ‘Eres a Funny Thing!

‘North Korea detains a ‘rash’ American’… headlined a brief report. Intrigued, I read on…

According to the brief report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph on the 26 April, the North Koreans detained a US citizen identified as Miller Matthew Todd, 24, for “rash behaviour” on the 10 April while passing through immigration control. According to the North Korean news agency, KCNA, he was taken into custody for “his rash behaviour in the course of going through formalities for entry.” Upon his arrival, the KCNA announced, he tore up his tourist visa shouting that “he would seek asylum” and had come to North Korea “after choosing it as a shelter.” Blimey! What sort of loony-toon would leave the free West to live under communism?

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April 22, 2014

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THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER AWAKENS

Over on a certain Warsaw blogsite where miscellaneous claptrap masquerades as educated opinion, and rarely fails to disappoint, has just had a top-up of the usual ad hominen and sexist insults. It’s all quite amusing, though it says more about those who commit this kind of nonsense than those on the receiving end of the vitriol.

The latest effort is a classic, laced with latent envy. The Warsaw blog’s chief scribe informs us that Roberta Mazza, a Classics lecturer and Ancient Historian at the University of Manchester (UK) wrote a screed on her blog under the attention-grabbing title, ‘Papyri, private collectors and academics: why the wife of Jesus and Sappho matter,’ giving intricate details about a fragment of papyri. The Warsaw blogger quotes Ms Mazza thus:

“Dirk Obbink does not provide any detail on acquisition circumstances and documents in the final publication of what is now called in papyrological language ‘P. Sapp. Obbink’, just out (Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 189, 2014, 32-49).

The Warsaw scribbler then adds a rider:

“It seems rather unfortunate that somebody (Dr Obbink himself?) chose the scholar’s name to define the papyrus. It rather suggests he himself is the owner.  Is he? How come?”

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Is Wally on a Roll?

Wallyroll2

So, the famed Dr Dirk Obbink of Oxford University has secured a place in posterity by having an important piece of papyri named in his honour? Well not too worry I say to our Warsaw-based comrade, an internationally respected, academic colossus; you have your place in posterity too. Another type of paper exists that certainly reveres your memory…it comes on a roll of about 240 perforated sheets and usually found in the smallest, public room in most museums.

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Remember

“The United States of America became the envy of the world because we welcomed the best and brightest minds from anywhere on the planet and gave them the opportunity to succeed” (I guess the dunces went East? Dick.) ……Naveen Jain

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I’ll see you in the bar

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April 15, 2014

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AN INTERESTING PARA ON THE ODYSSEY MARINE WEBSITE

“Although the UK is not a signatory to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage  (CPUCH) and therefore not bound by CPUCH, Odyssey’s proposed agreement is consistent with the archaeological principles of CPUCH.”

Precisely why the UK is not a signatory to CPUCH’s shenanigans is unknown; maybe Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) is following the lead of the US?

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WHERE HAVE YOU HEARD THIS BEFORE?

On the face of it UNESCO appears to be a safe anchorage for a host of fellow travelers: Self-righteous culturists; holier-than-thou archaeologists; and sanctimonious heritage crusaders.

unescoContrary to the soap-box ravings of Unesco’s fanatical evangelists, along with some of its bigoted casual labourers demanding full legal control over everyone else’s culture, and anyone audacious enough to question — what many people regard as — a rag-bag, corrupt, doctrine; this organization of international collaboration (so-called) is hardly the epitome of a non-corrupt, crime-free, non-political Utopia. An amalgam of sleazy, right-on, Collectivists perhaps.

The New American magazine’s recent analysis of Unesco unsurprisingly perhaps, pulled no punches.

“…In 1984, President Ronald Reagan, responding to considerable public outcry over a long string of UNESCO abuses, announced that the U.S. was dropping its membership in the organization. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) by that time had accumulated a longstanding record of notoriety for waste, corruption, subversion, and espionage,”

Neither is The New American alone in its views:

UNESCO Damaging the World’s Treasures?

Leaked Documents

E. Guinea Leader Sends Playboy Son to UNESCO

Prize Fools

The New American, continues:-

“Tens of millions of our tax dollars could soon flow into the massive UNESCO bureaucracy to fund a plethora of radical activities. UNESCO is busy worldwide promoting […] usurping national sovereignty over historical landmarks and natural wonders, claiming authority over maritime salvage and excavation, and devising new spiritual guidelines for humanity.  Most importantly, UNESCO is pursuing a dangerous agenda that aims at establishing its authority as a global school board that will direct lifelong education for every soul on the planet.

“Noble-sounding words. Almost since its inception, however, UNESCO has been a lightning rod for criticism and bitter debate, due largely to its service as a conduit for blatant Communist propaganda, a forum for virulent anti-Americanism, and an aggressive advocate for radical social engineering. In 1955, Congressman Lawrence H. Smith of Wisconsin described the United Nations and UNESCO as “a permanent international snake pit where Godless Communism is given a daily forum for hate, recrimination, psychological warfare against freedom, and unrelenting moral aggression against peace.”

“Anti-Communists, patriotic organizations, and veterans groups had been protesting and documenting the offenses of UNESCO for many years and building the case for withdrawing U.S. membership, but it was UNESCO’s proposed New World Information Order (NWIO) that finally proved to be the last straw. Under the Orwellian NWIO scheme, UNESCO proposed to license and control all journalists, broadcasters, and media personnel worldwide — the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights notwithstanding. This finally got the attention of members of the “liberal” press, who for decades airily dismissed the warnings of UNESCO’s conservative critics. The NWIO provided the critical impetus needed to spur U.S. withdrawal.”

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The cannier readers will already know where to find the dogma’s Mother Lode; now crystalized into a calorie-free regime, dubbed the Warsaw Diet, intended for the consumption of archaeo-politico weirdoes dipping their serving spoons into the rancid gumbo of a poisonous anti-collecting, anti-detecting, and anti-American blog. This dictatorial, but plentiful fare where the truth is carefully filleted out, is ravenously wolfed down by the loony fringe, along with the Commissars-in-Waiting, and heritage hangers-on, for whom, “usurping national sovereignty over historical landmarks,” is a core strategic belief.

“The Gipper” got it right it perhaps. The “Kipper” (two-faced, yellow, and gutless) and like the effect a smoked fish can have on one’s digestive system repeats; getting it wrong, again, and again, and again!

Consider….

“How can you spot a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you spot an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin” …..Ronald Reagan

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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April 11, 2014

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TREASURE HUNTING AT ITS VERY BEST

TAMPA, Fla., July 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – “Odyssey Marine Exploration pioneers in the field of deep-ocean exploration, has recovered over 61 tons of silver bullion this month from a depth of nearly three miles.

SS Gairpossa

SS Gairpossa

“This recovery of bullion from the SS Gairsoppa, […] consists of 1,574 silver ingots weighing about 1,100 ounces each or almost 1.8 million troy ounces in total, sets a new record for the deepest and largest precious metal recovery from a shipwreck. The silver has been transported to a secure facility in the United Kingdom.”

The 5,237-ton SS Gairsoppa with her cargo of pig iron, tea, general cargo, and silver ingots (then worth £600,000 – $1.8 million US) inbound to London from Calcutta was part of convoy SL.64, when she was detached to Galway due to lack of fuel.

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor

On February 16, 1941, west of Ireland, a patrolling German Focke-Wulf Fw 200 ‘Condor’, a four-engined long-range reconnaissance/attack aircraft circled her at 08:00 and being in radio contact with U-101 directed the submarine into the attack.  Kapitänleutnant Ernst Mengersen* the U-101’s commander put a torpedo into the Gairsoppa’s starboard side by the No. 2 Hold.  She went down within 20-minutes; her last reported position; 50°00’N 14°0’W, 300 miles (480 km) southwest of Galway Bay, Ireland.

Richard Ayres

Richard Ayres

Three of the ship’s lifeboats were launched, but only one, in the charge of the Second Mate Richard Ayres with four Europeans and two Lascars on board, made it away; the remaining crew were lost.  By the 13th day adrift in wintry Atlantic seas only Richard Ayres, Robert Hampshire the radio officer, seaman-gunner, Norman Thomas, and a Lascar seaman, remained alive.  Ayres’ boat reached the Cornish coast two weeks later off the rock-strewn, Caerthillian Cove in the parish of Landewednack. The boat capsized in heavy seas off the Lizard Point.  Only Ayres was pulled from the sea alive. The others Robert Hampshire, Norman Thomas, and the unknown Lascar sailor, died trying to get ashore. They are buried in St Wynwallow’s Churchyard, Church Cove, Landewednack, Cornwall.

In 2011, Odyssey Marine discovered the wreck and her cargo of silver bullion bars with an estimated value of £150-million ($210 million US), delivering twenty per cent of the silver bars to the Royal Mint who have minted twenty-thousand .999 fine silver Limited Edition coins, denominated as a 50-pence pieces, struck from the recovered silver bullion.

SS Gairsoppa Britannia 2014 UK Quarter-Ounce Silver Coin £30.00 each

A fine tribute, and memorial, to a gallant crew.

Kapitänleutnant Mengersen among the crew of U-101 after patrol in December 1940

Kapitänleutnant Mengersen among the crew of U-101 after patrol in December 1940

Kapitänleutnant Ernst Mengersen

Born 30 Jun 1912 Bremke, Lippe, Died 6 Nov 1995 (83)

12 ships sunk, total tonnage 68,071 GRT

1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,190 tons

3 ships damaged, total tonnage 20,159 GRT

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Norman Thomas

Norman Thomas

 Co-incidence: Norman Thomas’s surviving aunt it transpires, a near neighbour of mine.

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Remember…

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”….Napoleon Bonaparte

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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April 6, 2014

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THEY JUST DON’T ‘GET’ IT!

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!!

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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.”

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Un-Organized Crime?

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.

With 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.

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Remember…

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

I’ll see you in the bar….

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April 1, 2014

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by John Howland

John Howland

John Howland

Britain’s archaeologists are apparently world leaders when it comes to maltreating artefacts. This depressing lack of an efficient recording and classification system makes that which is happening in Egypt look almost regimented. That hundreds of thousands of precious artefacts hoiked from excavations by ‘archaeologists’ (often by assorted work experience ‘yoofs,’ or students whose only motivation is the possibility of an ‘off piste’ leg-over at base-camp) are languishing unrecorded and unclassified, is nothing short of a national disgrace. Heads must roll.

The scandal broke in the wake of a report by the BBC’s, News Northern Ireland correspondent, Kevin Magee who reported that, “Hundreds of thousands of archaeological items recovered from historic sites in Northern Ireland are lying unclassified in plastic bags and boxes.

They are often being kept outside the jurisdiction because there is no proper facility to store them. One estimate says up to 24 container loads of archaeological objects are being stored by private companies.

The Institute of Archaeologists in Ireland (IAI), said it was “a very serious problem”. It said no tangible progress had been made to find a solution […] “It cost millions of pounds to dig the material out of the ground, but because of storage problems, neither students nor the general public can access them,” his report claims.

storage4

To no-one’s surprise at all, archaeology’s top brass have so far escaped censure, nor are resignations expected any time soon. In a perfect world, resignations would be a matter of personal honour – but we are dealing with cavalier archaeologists – some of whom clearly don’t know their dutiful arses from their ethical elbows. This putrid state of affairs demands the guilty ones be de-frocked, or whatever it is they do with disgraced archaeologists, whose next job (for which they are apparently under-qualified) should include the work mantra, ‘Do you want fries with that.’

But what do we get from archaeology’s arrogant element in reply to this national disgrace – you know the ones, them that’s always banging on about detectorists not recording ‘finds’? Nothing! Not a peep! Schtum! Behind-the-scenes apparently, there’s a concerted damage limitation exercise under way to deflect public attention away from the scandal by turning up the propaganda wick to encourage the belief that the real scourges of the heritage are detectorists. It reveals a particular mind-set amongst these Artful Dodgers: Go on the attack and sweep any deficiencies under the carpet. Well that bullshit won’t work here and certainly won’t for as long as I can tap the keys on my keyboard.

For a start, we have the ‘random number generator and AEC diviner’, Nigel Swift, giving hectares of space on his pisspoor blog over at the Heritage Journal posing the ersatz question, ‘So what IS responsible metal detecting?’ No doubt this incisive question causes enormous erectile functions amongst the dimmer of his male commentators’ along with the holier-than-thou ‘responsible detectorists,’ he’s got in tow. The question he should be asking is, ‘So what IS responsible archaeology?’

In one breath, this out-of-touch, detector-hating Grampy (one of Barford’s UK sock-puppets) berates detectorists for all manner of heritage crimes, whilst simultaneously ignoring the UK’s greatest heritage scandal of all time – one that’s going on right under his nose, and he can’t, or won’t, come to terms with it. You couldn’t write this stuff!

The millions of alleged heritage crimes ‘Grampy’ Swift attempts to lay at metal detecting’s door pales into insignificance by comparison to this latest archaeological outrage. But what of gobby Barford? You know the chap, the British fellow who claims to be an archaeologist who lives and works in Warsaw, Poland. Surely this scandal is right up his alley, innit? What’s his take on it all? “The problem, however, is one that affects museums throughout the British Isles,” he writes accusingly, but on what evidence he’s based that fact, he remains his usual coy self. Perhaps the Council for British Archaeology, always keen to be at the forefront when it comes to hammering the hobby, have something to say? Nope…f**k all! Could it be those who’ve caused this debacle are affiliated to the CBA? What one wonders, does the CBA and the Museums Association make of Barford’s all-embracing claim of UK museum inefficiency?

So it’s hardly surprising to my mind and others, that heritage matters are of such vital importance they MUST NOT be left in the hands of people who simply can’t cut the heritage mustard. If ever there was a case for archaeology as a whole being legislatively bound to report their activities to a body that can actually do the business, then PAS is precisely the organisation to do it.

Tax-payers hard-earned money has been squandered by the millions on ‘archaeology’ and which now ought to be diverted away from incompetent ‘archaeology ‘and ploughed into the PAS to ensure nothing like this scandal ever happens again to our heritage. What will the Minister responsible make of it? Well if there’s any guts in Government and considering the amount of piss-taking, insults, and criticisms levelled at Conservative Culture Ministers – let me remind you Minister…Nigel Swift, Editor, Heritage Action is in the vanguard; read his blog to get the full flavour, http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/ Show us Minister, what you’re made of and get stuck into archaeology, Big Time. Save us taxpayers even more money…PLEASE!

The last thing archaeology needs is more money – they’d only squander it on useless conventions, piss-ups, and ‘Lefty’ conferences designed to condemn you and your government.

It’s the PAS that needs more cash so as to manage that which archaeology is clearly incapable of doing; properly recording and classifying OUR heritage, which is far too important to be left in the hands of the current crop of nincompoops.

If you believe that public money ought to be diverted from ‘archaeology’ and into a scheme to reduce the hundreds of thousands of artefacts piling-up every day in unsuitable warehouses and storage facilities, then make you views known to the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Maria Miller at:- Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ. Tel: 020 7211 6000. Or email at: – enquiries@culture.gov.uk marked ‘For the attention of the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP.’

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Burke or Hare? The Sound of Silence.

Non-archaeologist digs up human remains – shock horror!

Archaeologist digs up human remains and puts them on show in a glass case for people to gawp at? ….Deafening silence all round, and especially from Warsaw Wally along with others of his particular ilk.

One man’s alleged body-snatcher (?) is another man’s student of prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artefacts, inscriptions, and monuments (!) Jeez…give us a break!

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Consider….

“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters”… Harvey Mackay

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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March 28, 2014

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A PAS FOR THE US?

Before deciding either way you need to understand precisely what is meant by a Portable Antiquities Scheme. In the UK, the PAS describes itself thus:-

“The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a DCMS [Department of Culture, Media, and Sport] funded project to encourage the voluntary recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales. Every year many thousands of objects are discovered, many of these by metal-detector users, but also by people whilst out walking, gardening or going about their daily work.”

Judging from the responses to straw polls along with ad hoc comments from US hobbyists, the general consensus is that few, if any, valid reasons exist why such a scheme would not work in the US given there’s goodwill and determination on both sides: Which if harnessed correctly, could provide an historical record the like of which has never been seen previously in the US. The UK’s PAS is a truly impressive undertaking delivering a unique database upon which over four-hundred levels of academic research are currently being undertaken ranging from a Masters Degrees down to sixth-form A-Level archaeology studies.

Opponents of the PAS concept – predominantly in the minority – are incredibly within the heritage circus itself, or, camped out on the lunatic-fringe.  Antagonists fear the PAS chiefly because it possesses the potential to expose ‘bad’ archaeology; which after gutting, exposes the entrails to intense public scrutiny.  ‘Bad’ archaeology is problem archaeology itself must address; it has nothing to do with metal detecting.  Critics of PAS are only too aware that sooner, rather than later, someone in the press corps, or even Congress, will land the sucker-punch question: What the hell have we been paying you guys for when all this stuff is coming in from amateurs?

So, a PAS for the US?  Certainly, and why not?  Even metal detecting’s arch-enemy who once dubbed its devotees as ‘in-breds,’ was moved to acknowledge that, “…archaeologists who for sixteen years have been trying to make it [the PAS] work and assess and present the results in the positive light that has earnt artefact hunting its current good reputation in the UK.” – Paul Barford, a translator living and working in Warsaw, Poland, commenting in this column on 2nd February, 2014.

Even his associate at Heritage Action (a volunteer internet ensemble) bandied about the words of archaeologist, Dr P Prentice – words of nuclear proportions:-

“Real archaeologists without an agenda have acknowledged for some time that amateur metal detectorists do little real damage to the archaeological record” – heritageaction quoting the good archaeologist on the Barford’s PACHI blog, Wednesday, 26 March 2014, by which time Barford had retracted earlier approbations and in an unsurprising volte-face, blurted out:-

“Artefact hunting is not considered anywhere else “a win-win for anyone who loves history”, it is called looting, and archaeologist Prentice perhaps should think more carefully about the broader significance of what he so glibly says in support of artefact hunters.”

A PAS-system quite rightly elevates the status of metal detecting hobbyists to such a degree that radical opponents such as those in the UK and Europe who’d have us all summarily executed, are incandescent with self-righteous anger. But their efforts to thwart are fragmentary; amateurish to the point of being puerile, and unable to withstand proper scrutiny. Nonetheless, expect large helpings of this displeasure plus the usual ad hominen abuse (of the kind they dole out to me) as the US/PAS gathers momentum near the Start Line. This kind of airy-fairy censure is no cause for concern…and is best ignored.

That said, there is apparently, a deal of initial support from American heritologists too, not least from Florida archaeologist, Lisa McIntyre (herself a target of ad hominen abuse from unchivalrous archaeological extremists), whose tacit approval is in the vanguard of the fledgling US/PAS movement. From a personal standpoint, she would be an ideal figurehead to move things along. Though I don’t always agree with her comments on various aspects, at least she is possessed of the common decency to discuss matters in an adult, insult-free manner, and radically, has a CV with traceable provenances.

The general consensus between hobbyists and the likes of Lisa McIntyre is that all finds really ought to be recorded along with valuable ancillary data. As with the UK’s system once finds are properly recorded on the PAS database, they are handed back to the finders, who can then keep, or sell them to the highest bidder. Items that are legally found, legally recorded, can be legally sold. Indeed, all finds, complete with their written provenances, will certainly reinforce private collectors and museums who acquire pieces with the assurance that such artefacts are coming into the market-places legally, as opposed to illicitly or clandestinely excavated.

An added bonus of a PAS-scheme provides protection for private collectors, and collections resulting from metal detecting activity, from radical critics on the fringe of sanity tempted to point fingers with unconfirmed accusations of theft or illegal activity.

Naturally enough, a PAS should also apply to all the thousands of items that go unrecorded from archaeological excavations so as to avoid the truly appalling state of affairs in Northern Ireland as a prime example. In the UK, archaeologists are not bound to record finds with the PAS with the depressing result that on the 25th March 2014, BBC News Northern Ireland, reported:-

“ Hundreds of thousands of archaeological items recovered from historic sites in Northern Ireland are lying unclassified in plastic bags and boxes. They are often being kept outside the jurisdiction because there is no proper facility to store them.

One estimate says up to 24 container loads of archaeological objects are being stored by private companies. The Institute of Archaeologists in Ireland (IAI), said it was “a very serious problem”.

It said no tangible progress had been made to find a solution.”

Curiously, while our history and heritage gathers dust, languishing unrecorded, nearly one million artefacts have been fully recorded and logged with the UK’s PAS database, predominantly by the matchless labours of Britain’s metal detectorists. Seeing as how this hobby contributes to the overall record, I’d like to see contributors getting a little more information in return with extra data accompanying each record such as the type and make of metal detector used, size of coil, and approximate depth.

Currently, the US is losing heritage data at an alarming rate; not because of clandestine or criminal trespass, but simply because the finds that are lovingly cared for in private collections remain uncoordinated. Authors and students wanting the deep-study of military movements in the Civil War say, would if they had any sense, try to make contact with the legion of expert relic hunters specialising in this era. Currently this web of experts is at best a loose patchwork, suggesting an improved system is required. But how? Where is the mechanism for this to happen?

Whilst some Civil War relic hunters are extremely well-educated, the lack of a university degree should not be mistaken for lack of expert knowledge! Nevertheless, these Civil War experts are scattered and various and for the serious students not easy to track down. I’m sure a US/PAS would be able to rectify the situation and bring these knowledgeable souls to the fore.

I am certainly not advocating legal compulsion, quite the opposite, since contributors to a voluntary scheme tend, in the main, to have greater integrity and respect with an undoubted willingness to share historical information. I’d bet a dime to a dollar that the appalling situation that exists with the UK’s inability to record artefacts from its own heritage uncovered by orthodox archaeological excavation, also exists to a greater or lesser extent in the US.

Perhaps campaigners of the US/PAS should seek-out the opinions of influential and internationally respected numismatists such as Washington lawyer, Peter Tompa, and Dave Welsh, et al, and bring them into the loop.

A PAS for the US…..you choose! No guts, no glory!

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Respect…

A couple of treasure hunters, Fred and Bill, are hunting a field close to a main road. Fred is just about dig out a gold coin when he sees a hearse driving slowly past. He stands up, removes his headphones and cap, closes his eyes, and bows his head in prayer.

His friend Bill exclaims: “Wow, Fred, that’s the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You truly are a kind man.”

Fred replies thoughtfully: “Yeah, well we were married for 35 years.”

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Consider…

Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game”…….Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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I’ll see y’all in the bar

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March 19, 2014

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FID ANNOUNCEMENT TO MEMBERS… March 2014

“As most of you are aware Colin Hanson passed away in late January. At the time we decided to look into offering an alternate 3rd party liability insurance so there was a choice of  groups to go with. Out of politeness and etiquette we contacted Colin’s family, with various discussions over the past month we have taken over FID itself  with the families blessing.  At present the whole system is on a card file index so there is a lot of work to transfer Data onto a database, so please understand we have lots to do…please have patience with us.  If you have outstanding payments for renewal etc., we will deal with them ASAP.  You were informed by Elaine that you will be covered until the end of this year, which is still the case.  This will give us enough time to sort things, change all the stationary with all the new details, etc..

For now we will adapt what we have.For this year you will not receive any bulletins, these will start again in 2015 if all goes to plan. We did not take over any finances from Colin and his family, all that is  left in the account will be donated to cancer research as requested by Colin, so we are starting completely from scratch financing things ourselves.

We will be having a dedicated phone line installed the number is yet to be issued, you can get us on mobile number 07944 464822 or email fid.cs@virginmedia.com. This is so it separates it from our home life and Central Searchers.  At Elaine’s request please do not contact her anymore regarding FID… all enquiries to us. For any future correspondence please contact us on CSFID 27, Webb Road, RAUNDS, Wellingborough Northants NN9 6H

Kind Regards Richard and Gill Evans.”

 I wish Central Searchers the very best of luck in getting FID back on track.

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 WE ARE NOT ALONE….

Dr David Clarke (http://drdavidclarke.co.uk/secret-files/secret-files-4/) is a senior lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University where he specialises in teaching  media law and investigation skills, writes on his absorbing blog:

“What is known today as the Rendlesham Forest incident has been described as “the world’s first officially observed, and officially confirmed, UFO landing” – Britain’s equivalent  of Roswell. And as the witnesses were all US Air Force personnel, their accounts have naturally been regarded as being highly reliable and credible.”

So, there you have it…we have allegedly been visited by aliens. But over on one particular blog where the writer — one Paul Barford – who lays all the heritage ills at the door of  detectorists writes about a mysterious hoard found at Rendlesham, Suffolk (complete with dodgy spelling and odd grammar):

“Fields on a Suffolk farm have yielded small but hugely significant finds which have led archaeologists to believe they have found a royal home and one of the most  important settlements in Anglo-Saxon East Anglia. The investigations have been kept secret because of You-Know-Whos,”

The surveys began in 2009 after nighthawks – treasure hunters using metal detectors illegally – began looting the fields […] Mr Argent said the investigations took place around  the diary [??.Ed] of the working farm, waiting until fields had been harvested, with a team of four authorised and responsible metal detector enthusiasts combing the fields in all weathers.

That’s what we need more of, authorised metal detectorists.

Jude Plouviez, lead archaeological officer at the county council for the project, […] “What has been lost from the field at Rendlesham is suggested by the finds  that were recovered by the survey, such as a number of 6th Century copper-alloy items.”

Key Barfordian and archaeological words:

(a)‘believe they have found’ = usual suffixed by ‘important ceremonial.’ Actually means, have no idea.

(b)‘Is suggested by’ = absolute certainty

(c)‘What has been lost’ = What has been found

(d)‘hugely significant’ = slightly trivial

(e)‘took place around the diary’ =  ‘took place around the…journal/personal organizer.’ Not to be confused with ‘dairy’, a room or building where milk and cream and sometimes other  perishables are stored.

(f)‘You-Know-Whos’ = aliens?

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Is it possible that Wally is covering-up the alleged nocturnal activities of his fellow beings on the planet where he lives in blaming extra-terrestrial visitations on the  unknown, unproven, existence of nighthawks?  Was architect, David Vincent, right all along about the ‘aliens’?  That they had certain characteristics by which they could be detected, such as the absence of a pulse and the inability to bleed. Nearly all were emotionless and had “mutated” little fingers which could not move and were bent at an unnatural angle.

Spooky!

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Is She Correct?

Authoritarian political ideologies have a vested interest in promoting fear, a sense of the imminence of takeover by aliens and real diseases are useful material”…Susan Sontag

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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March 13, 2014

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ME? NOT RESPONSIBLE?

 I am advised that being ‘responsible’ means being nice and polite to Prof. Boor-ford, who holds the Warsaw Chair in Modern Disinformation  Here goes:-Thanks Paul….(This from his blog):“The Warren Cup: A piece of mimetic craftsmanship around 1900?

“Brilliant phrase that, “mimetic craftsmanship” (metal detectorists: that means “fake”).”

I’m obliged to Paul for pointing it out. I know what mimetic means as do most detectorists I suspect, but you know what Paul’s like – he just loves a ‘larf’ with us ordinary folks! Aw, Bless him.

I don’t want to appear ‘picky’ but what do you call a man who…

  1. hides his identity;
  2. his occupation;
  3. his past;
  4. keeps schtum about his UNESCO (cash-in-hand?) odd-jobbery;
  5. and, who surrounds himself with the cloak of an ‘archaeologist’?

A Mimetic? Could well be, though judging from the rancid (Paul: that means putrid) content of his blog…emetic (Paul: that means causing a person or animal to vomit), might be more on the nail.

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On the Subject of (Rancid) Blogs …

A Bum Steer?I can heartily recommend the above mimetic’s blog and the entry under the banner:-

Tuesday, 11 March 2014: Caveat Emptor: The Warren Cup, a piece of mimetic craftsmanship around 1900?

Here you’ll discover the so-called Warren Cup that depicts an ‘ancient’ homo-erotic scene on the side of this silver drinking vessel. Whether the cup is a forgery as is suggested, I know  not, nor do I overly care, but I defer to Paul’s apparently far superior knowledge about homo-eroticism when he states, that, “Prof Giuliani observes that one of the sexual positions depicted is  copied from an Arretine depiction of [explicit deleted] copulation, but the artist applied it anatomically incorrectly to [explicit deleted] copulation, thus (it is suggested) giving the forgery  away. (This logic is surely only watertight if one assumes that an ancient artist depicting a homoerotic scene had actually practised [explicit deleted] him/herself.)”

Why ‘assume the logic’ Paul? It’s illogical. There’s no reason that I can see why the ‘ancient artist’ should have been a practicing gay. Then again, hypothesis (Paul: that means  “supposition”) is your hallmark. For those interested further, check out his discredited Artefact Erosion Counter for details! All-in-all, I think he’s talking through the orifice he says  the ‘ancient artist’ favoured – again!

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GENESIS? WONDERFUL NEWS!

Taken from the Task Force Blog:-

TASK FORCE ATTENDS MEETING WITH THE ARCHITECT OF THE PORTABLE ANTIQUITIES SCHEME

On February 17, 2014, Minelab Americas hosted a conference in Chicago featuring Mr. Norman Palmer, one of the authors of the English “Portable Antiquities Scheme” (PAS) law as the  speaker.

Those attending the conference were:  Malissa Salzinger, Jeff Otero & Jin Peng of Minelab Americas; Stuart Auerbach & David Spencer from Kelly Co  (Stuart Auerbach was also Alan Holcombe of White’s Electronics proxy at the meeting); Michael McComb of First Texas; Matthew Hallisey of Government Affairs, Connecticut; Mark Schuessler  from the FMDAC; James Hurst of Garrett; J. Smith, Historical Archaeologist from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission; Jim Selburg of Outdoor Outfitters, and Allyson Cohen from  the Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights Foundation.

The purpose of the conference was to introduce leaders from the U.S. Metal Detecting Community to the English “Portable Antiquities Scheme” law.

Mr. Palmer gave a slide presentation, during which time he discussed the metal detecting laws in England, and how they have helped provide for a more mutually respectful relationship  between the detecting and archaeological communities in their country.

The English system is successful because detectorists and archaeologists have accepted the need for a system of government oversight, and the proper documentation of finds.   The PAS law provides for trust, cooperation and mutual respect between the two groups.

The English government also realizes that financial rewards, based on fair market value, is the best incentive to foster an honest system where all parties involved benefit.

In order for something like the PAS system to move forward here in the U.S., it would also have to be enacted as a law, and it was noted that the Florida Treasure Coast could benefit  greatly from this type of law.

Finding lawmakers who are interested in Metal Detecting or Treasure Hunting, and who are willing help by introducing pro Metal Detecting legislation, would be a good first step.

The Task Force would like to keep on top of this idea, and will work with Minelab and all the other attendees in promoting a system similar to the Portable Antiquities Scheme in the  United States.

Here’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to move the hobby up a gear Stateside. I urge you all NOT to let this unique opportunity to slip through your fingers. It matter not one  jot that ‘modern’ history stretches back to around 450-years especially in New England. History is history and should be recorded at every opportunity. Native American history  dates back to time immemorial.

If you lose this opportunity, then the US hobby fully deserves what will surely follow. As in the UK, hobbyists are advancing knowledge as never before. Hundreds of  archaeological jobs depend on a healthy PAS system and together, great strides are being made. Only those on the loony fringe will oppose this strategy.

Neither should US legislators turn their noses up at a PAS system. The first one who picks up the ball and runs with it will carve a niche in history.

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Nah, being nice to Barford ain’t for me! Don’t seem right somehow….

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Remember…

“The history of free men is never really written by chance but by choice; their choice!”…..Dwight D. Eisenhower

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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March 9, 2014

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HELPING THE SICK…GIVE GENEROUSLY

Apparently, those suffering with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) show certain characteristics which easily identify them, typically displaying some,  if not all of the following traits:

  1. An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
  2. Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
  3. A lack of psychological awareness (see insight in psychology and psychiatry, egosyntonic)
  4. Difficulty with empathy
  5. Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)
  6. Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults
  7. Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
  8. Haughty body language
  9. Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them (narcissistic supply)
  10. Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)
  11. Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
  12. Pretending to be more important than they really are
  13. Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
  14. Claiming to be an “expert” at many things
  15. Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
  16. Denial of remorse and gratitude

The so-called ‘seven deadly sins’ of narcissism are:

  1. Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
  2. Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
  3. Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may re-inflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
  4. Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
  5. Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply  is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger  narcissistic rage.
  6. Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position  where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
  7. Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet  their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to  live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other.

Should you stub your toe against, let’s say a doctrinaire anti-metal detecting/collecting blog for instance, where the writer in his/her ravings meets any of the  above symptoms (1 to 16, and 1 to 7), you’ll have hit the Mother Lode. Beware though, if you value your time; there’s no benefit or profit to be had in arguing/debating  with an obviously unbalanced mind. It’s treatment and/or counseling that’s needed, not argument or provocation.

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Meanwhile over on the banks of the Vistula…

Our old pal continues to delight with his pisspoor blog and takes incivility and pomposity to new heights in a reply to Charles Peters who had the temerity to question  the great man:-

4 March 2014 01:20

Paul Barford said… @ Charles Peters

And your “subject matter” is ?You really are being very tiresome.

First of all, your entire history of posting comments over here (and elsewhere) in reality consists of various attempts at “gotcha” comments, rather than questions  intended actually to elicit information, and whatever you say that goes for this series too. There is nothing in what you say that I can “share with and engage in a  mutually interesting conversation”

Secondly, it is not, and has never been, my intention to use this blog as a means of having a “dialogue” with collectors. This is ABOUT them, not FOR them.

Thirdly I say again, take it to the FLO, it’s her job to answer queries like that.

Alternatively you could just look it up, the PAS audience survey says the PAS website is “excellent” at providing this sort of info, so why are you not using it?

Fourthly at the moment, I am trying to contact my friends in Ukraine and find out how they are, and you keep pestering me with your silly gotcha games and asking questions  that a normally intelligent person could find the answers of themselves. So yes, you are being lazy and a timewaster.

Fifthly, yes I am both pompous, and verbose, you forgot arrogant and afew other adjectives. I can live with it. Nobody makes you read what I write.

As I say, go and pester the FLO with your questions, that’s what she’s there for.

Thanks

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Now you could be forgiven for thinking  — particularly bearing in mind Barford’s  evident enthusiasm for communist Poland where it seems the political climate was more to his liking back in 1986 – his “friends in Ukraine”  who he’s so anxious to contact could well be Russian?

Our man describes himself as a: “British archaeologist living and working in Warsaw, Poland. Since the early 1990s (or even longer)……” bashfully avoiding precise dates presumably in deference to the current political tensions between Ukraine and Russia.  To set the record straight, in 1986 he was sucking on the cultural teat of the former totalitarian Soviet Communist satellite state, Poland.  Ironically, in today’s Ukraine, the Russian invaders have for their President the former Head of the KGB, Vladimir Putin.  The KGB, the Committee for State Security, infiltrated spies to the Polish ‘Solidarity’ movement, and into the Catholic Church; and in ‘Operation X’ the KGB coordinated the declaration of martial law by General Jaruzelski’s Polish Communist Party; however, ‘Solidarity’ finally blunted the KGB’s iron grip over the Polish people in 1989 when the communists were booted out and democracy restored. Neither would it surprise me in the least if our man shared Putin’s view that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geo-political catastrophe in modern times, as opposed to its nativity.

But take note!  Barford is the apple of the eye of the UK’s increasingly comical Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and will remain so for as long as he wages his odious, brainless, offensive claptrap, of a mission against metal detectorists.  This is the man who with his equally fatuous chum, tries vainly to breathe life into the rotting corpse of the Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC); a nutty fact-free database cocktail, blended from conjecture, speculation and fantasy.  He has a penchant (metaphorically, speaking) for jerking-off the more naïve in our ranks, the self-styled ‘responsible’ ones, as much as they seem to enjoy being on the receiving end of his metaphorical ’jerkery’ — much to  everyone else’s relish and glee.

In what appears to be one of his rare acts of…Yo Dude, respect! he describes me as, “a dangerous nutcase…” which draws me to the conclusion – as  a fly to a turd – that he’s  like a crêpe chef who can’t flip ‘em over – yep, you’ve got it…. a useless tosser! Yo Dude, No Respect!

Here on Stout Standards, we’re proud to have destroyed the credibility of Barford and Swift’s AEC by exposing it for what it really is; hilarious, meaningless twaddle.  Even Swift is emerging from the darkness and into the Light of Truth by admitting that ‘maybe’ the AEC really does, ‘lack credibility’ and that ‘maybe,’ it “should be viewed with contempt.”

“What is Archaeology if not knowledge?” asks Swift.  If archaeology is based on the principles of the AEC he’s answered his own question….archaeology, Nigel and Paul, is fact-free guesswork posing as…well…er…um…bullshit!

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Remember….

“You can’t fix stupid”…Ron White

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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March 5, 2014

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WHEN IN DOUBT…ASK!

I’ll lay even money that at some stage in your treasure hunting career you’ve secured permission to hunt on potentially ‘treasure rich’ land that’s been so mineralized it rendered your metal detector marginally less effective than a concrete parachute?  You have?  Well read on and try this for size.  The problem I encountered recently was not inland, but coastal.  Nevertheless, I’m sure it might well strike a chord.  Indeed, the answer might open up for your immediate perusal, a heavily contaminated area; one that’s previously has been ‘no-go’ treasure tract.  Alternatively, it could turn out to be a smack in the kisser! One never fully knows which way these things are going. So, what’s it all about then?

On a beach close to me, is a pebble reef of such ferrous intensity there’s hardly a machine able to cope with the conditions, save perhaps Garrett’s ground balancing ATX pi, though I’ve yet to use one hereabouts.  The reef is a natural treasure vault.  One machine I’d definitely ruled out was my ATGold. Its manual reads:-

“Because the AT Gold is optimized to find small gold pieces, saltwater use is not recommended for this detector [my italics]. Its ability to find small gold makes  it equally reactive to the conductivity of saltwater. This detector’s ground balance adjustment is optimized to provide the greatest resolution in the normal ground range and is  not designed to address saltwater. The ATGold (ATG) will, however, perform well for hunting coins and jewelry on dry sand beach areas.” That’s as unambiguous as it gets you might think.

Certainly the ATG’s efficacy in the dry sand areas of the beach is as the manual says, but take it closer to the saltwater and it screams in protest louder than an archaeo-blogger caught  in a lie.  The ATG is not a saltwater ‘beach machine’ in the accepted sense of its stable-mate, the ATPro.

The manufacturers, Garrett, inform us it’s: “Highly Recommended – Prospecting, Coin, Jewelry, Cache Hunting, Relic Hunting, Organized Hunts and Shallow Fresh Water Hunting,” […]  and that its 18kHz frequency is specially selected…”for enhanced detection of small gold nuggets, jewelry, coins and relics!”   The ATG is a ‘nugget hunter’ having carved for itself a  reputation par excellence which for many is the benchmark by which other types are compared.  It has a fine bias towards to all things gold — especially small gold — and not just nuggets; gold rings, gold jewelery, and gold coins (especially small ones).  Inland, when fitted with the ‘standard’ coil from the ATPro, it morphs [in my view] into an eye-wateringly efficient relic-hunting tool.

Such is the contamination of the pebble reef; previous attempts to open up its secrets have rendered my ATpro (even with the Sniper coil) near-unusable with a constant background noise banging away in my eardrums making it impossible to pick out the good signals.  My Sea Hunter II pi was not much better either; marginally worse even. The ATG was a ‘no-no’ too; it being an inland machine and goes berserk near saltwater. Thus it was back to the drawing board and a chat with Mr. Johnnie Walker (a fine Scot) to mull things over in a search for the solution.

In the event I sent a begging email to my old friend, Garrett’s globe-trotting in-house treasure hunter, Steve Moore with the details of the problem. His ten cents worth might well be worth far more and hold the key, which when dropped into the Inbox came like a smack in the mouth:  “ATG may be the answer. The next best thing will be a PI machine that can ground  balance to that mess.” Huh? Wassat? Beach? ATG? Huh?

Why was he contradicting the manual?  Why would I take an ATG whose manufacturers claim “saltwater use is not recommended for this detector” for walkies to the very environment  it’s claimed it can’t handle?  Huh? Wassat? Beach? Huh?

In follow-up emails he went on to explain the ATG’s DISC 2 (the US coin) Mode could provide the key to unlocking the reef’s vault, but warned that gold detection might be reduced on small items.  A quick bench-test proved him right on thin-section gold rings though heavier stuff targeted well.  Steve Moore still had me baffled, though more likely I’d lost his plot; nevertheless, hope sprang eternal.

AT Gold set-up in Disc2

AT Gold set-up in Disc2

Down at the water’s edge, ATG in hand, it crossed my mind that I might be the victim of a  cruel example of an American practical joke…nah, he wouldn’t do that to me…would he? After  all, I mused, we’d quaffed heartily of the ‘Stingray’ Ale in Dorset’s best hostelry, the 1776 Square & Compass Inn, when he last visited God’s Country.  I pressed on.

Steve Moore with certain rogues and vagabonds outside a certain Dorset hostelry.

Steve Moore with certain rogues and vagabonds outside
a certain Dorset hostelry.

The tide was fast approaching High Water and the pebble reef almost covered, but I reckoned I’d got about 45-minutes over the reef.  However, not wholly convinced DISC 2 might be a winner, especially with all those pre-set gaps in the Notch Discrimination Scale, and notwithstanding Steve’s email advice that it might miss some gold,  I set up the ATG according to his  advice:-

DISC 2, and GB’d (over the reef) to ‘90’ set the GB window to ‘6’ so as to spread the GB variance; dropped the SENS to ‘3’; Iron Discrim to Max; and Iron Audio, ‘off’.   Magic! I was not disappointed and the coins, though not the gold ones I’d hoped for, but coins nevertheless, soon appeared before I was flooded-off.  Then my digital camera’s batteries went belly-up, immediately followed by two solid-silver, heavily-blackened, coins dating back about 100-years. Steve Moore and the ATG had busted the reef!  All Hail  the Master!

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Silver shilling and six pence
pieces after cleaning

Previously in Malamute Saloon, I wrote that sometimes you have to know when to break the rules of convention.  Here was such a case. But before you gallop off to try anything similar, or, become over-enthused by whiskey-fuelled ‘Eureka!  Moments’ go for a second opinion from the guys who know about these things.

The ‘ferrous’ pebble reef mentioned, is a rare-ish phenomenon in the UK, though I understand there are parts of the US where the ground conditions are almost equally prohibitive, and  seem to recall my knowledgeable American colleagues Ty Brook and Bob Sickler mentioning somewhere, that parts of Georgia (?) meet this detector-busting criteria.

An email dropped in the right ear often works wonders in problem solving, not only with Garrett, but with other manufacturers too.  I can only speak for my experiences with Garrett, though I’m told Whites are also up there with the Great and the Good when it comes to such things.

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Most manufacturers will be happy to offer technical advice and even happier to receive success stories that may in some way lead to technical or design improvements.  If in doubt…ask!

Happy treasure hunting!

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Remember…..(Listen up,  Wally and Harry)
The truest characters of ignorance are vanity, pride, and arrogance. [and write pisspoor blogs. Ed]….Samuel Butler
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February 25, 2014

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EXPERTISE, OR LUCK OF THE DRAW?

So what’s your ‘High Five’ when it comes to metal detecting success?  Do you set yourself high targets, or, are you a suck-it-and-see-I’ll-take-what-comes type? Or, are you a beach hunter for whom the beach is nothing less than a vast vault to which, through your skill and local knowledge, your metal detector is akin to the key on the side of a sardine can? Me? Oh, I’m with the sardines. I hunt coins.

The most well-known and successful detectorist in hobby circles is arguably, Chicago Ron. Why so? Not only does he make excellent Tekkie videos about How, Where, and When to hunt;  but he puts his money where his mouth is, does the biz, and videos us the results. He is consistently successful aware of the foibles of his target areas and hunts accordingly. It’s probably fair to say that even with the kind of  Mickey Mouse  metal detectors that fall out of Christmas Crackers, ‘CR’ would still fill his boots with gold and put clean air between himself and a novice armed with the latest ‘Sooper-Dooper, Sat-Nav-Guided,’ jobby.  He earns ‘Brownie’ points with me because he’s a firefighter and having worked with these guys in a previous life; well yeah…he’s an OK type of guy.  Wouldn’t mind sharing a couple of pints with him in a decent pub.

So what’s it all about; this elusive butterfly of success?  Patently, the measure of success comes in all shapes and sizes: Some of us measure it by the overall enjoyment distilled in a pleasant day out in the fresh air – in a back-to-Nature kinda way.  Others see it in much the same but with the addition a few coins, clad nickels and dimes – chucked in for good measure.  More often though, success is calculated by the steepness of the vertical line on the treasure graph in relation to the size and value of the ‘find,’ or the cash value of the cache, relics, or  coins.  Each to their own as the saying goes. The detecting hobby is all things to all men (and women).

Fly-fisherman, Charles Ritz, described success thus: No matter how good the rod, it’s all down to the hand that’s using it.  Arnold Palmer attributed to his golfing triumphs to the fact  that the more he practised, the luckier he seemed to become in competition. Marshall Zhukov the crusher of Hitler’s armies on the Eastern Front in WWII was more succinct: Train hard, fight easy.

Absolutely metal detecting has therapeutic qualities; I’ve never met anyone  who could worry and hunt at the same time; and it’s a great way of recharging one’s health ‘batteries’ — coins  or no! Health-wise, time spent meal detecting is rarely wasted.

For Terry Herbert who found the £1,600,000 ($2,400,000 approx.) Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold, ‘success’ came after eighteen years in the hobby and fortuitously, while he  was unemployed.  Was it skill or luck that caused him to locate the treasure? Certainly he was in the right place at the right time, but had he not been au fait with the operational usage of his metal detector, he might have walked on by, and over, that fantastic hoard. The esoteric characteristic we call ‘luck’ plays a hand too, but why, or how, remains a mystery.  Emperor Napoleon always asked before promoting any of his generals, “Is he lucky?”

But there’s another facet besides luck, in all this.  What appears to be ‘luck’ is actually nothing of the kind. There are people in this hobby of ours who can ‘read’ a landscape with  an uncanny ability, and will always come up trumps.  It’s also a reality that many hobbyists are anglers, or former anglers; these people are experienced enough to look at a river or stillwater and know precisely not only where the fish are lying, but the species too. They bring this uncanny ability into treasure hunting. They’ll point to a hilltop for instance and  mutter…”There!” They rely on a gut instinct to tell them where they’ll find coins, or relics. Hundreds of years ago they’d have been burnt at the stake for possessing this ability.

I’m sure this ‘gut instinct’ is present in all of us; only in some it’s just sub-surface.  In others it’s less well-defined and goes unrecognized.  For example, have you ever detected an area you thought would be productive and where your ‘plan’ came together?  You have?  Welcome to Salem! Prepare the stake, Master Witchfinder General!

If you take this ability, this experience, call it what you will, and blend it with the capabilities of modern metal detector, you’ll find you’ve got some really powerful ju-ju on tap.  Indeed, the machine itself is not the catalyst, but, when combined with the extension of your ‘unseen’ ability you will find relics in the places you suspected them to be.

John Howland

John Howland

It’s the same with beach hunting. I live by the coast.  I know its moods.  If you can  recognize when a beach is ‘right’ after a strong blow; the ‘right’ blow, from the ‘right’ direction;  and at the ‘right’ state of the tide when nature does the digging for you, then, and only then, might you be in with a chance. Then again, you have to know when to break the ‘rules’.

Allied to all this comes the ‘techie’ stuff.  What machine should I use? Should I go with Pulse Induction, or VLF? What frequency? What coil….concentric or DD?  What coil size? Where will I be searching and for what targets?

Expertise or Lottery? I think this is where we came in, but bear in mind; fortune favours the brave! Mostly.

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Remember….

Luck is always the last refuge of laziness and incompetence….James Cash Penney

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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February 18, 2014

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THE LOST 1715 TREASURE FLEET – FLORIDA

treasurefleet

In 1712 the Spanish empire was near bankrupt. To solve the problem the Spanish assembled the richest of treasure fleets and by 1715 it consisted of five ships of the Nueva España (Mexico) fleet, and six ships of the Tierra Firme (Main Land) fleet.

Considerable quantities of silver bullion, gold ingots, precious jewels; rubies, emeralds, and pearls, along with other precious items such as goblets of silver and gold were loaded aboard the fleet at Vera Cruz, Cartagena. As further defense against pirates (English privateers) they waited until just before the hurricane season before setting off from Havana for Spain; an epic mistake.

On the evening of July 30, 1715, seven days after departing from Havana, Cuba, the ships of this fleet were lost in a hurricane near present day Vero Beach, Florida.  Thousands of sailors died. During the next five years Spanish salvors recovered what some estimate as about half the total lost consignment, all the while fighting-off English privateers. Today, some of that treasure in the form of coins, gold and silver bars, cups and chalices along with jewelry still wash ashore.  Do visit  www.mdhtalk.org/articles/beaches/1715-fleet/1715-article.pdf? a terrifically well-informed site.

Largely due to the efforts of legendary marine treasure hunter, Kip Wagner, seven of the ships have been located but only a fraction the vast treasure has been recovered. The San Miguel, has yet to be discovered, having been separated from the treasure fleet the day before the storm broke.  Carracks being smaller than galleons were used to carry treasure they being faster under full sail with greater chance of outrunning storms and the avaricious privateers.  The objective being to get the treasure back to Spain with the greatest possible speed.

The richest undiscovered cargo is the San Miguel’s that awaits discovery, all $2-billion of it!

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BARFORD’S MONUMENTS MEN? THE SS HERMAN GORING DIVISION?

Due to an Allied intelligence failure,” writes archaeo-bluffer Paul Barford, “ the Medieval monastery was almost totally destroyed. Fortunately,” [my highlight] he gushes

“As the Allies pushed further north, towards the abbey of Monte Cassino, the division’s workshop detachment [the atrocity-committing SS Herman Göring Divison] under the command of Oberstleutnant Julius Schlegel, volunteered their services to the monks to remove the abbey’s precious artworks. The monks agreed, and the division’s vehicles were used to transfer the irreplaceable works of art, including paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Raphael and the remains of St. Benedict himself. The cargo was deposited at the Vatican and was so spared destruction in the Battle of Monte Cassino. Because of Göring’s reputation as a looter of artworks, a detachment of SS military police were sent to the abbey to arrest and execute Schlegel. It was only through the persuasion of the monks and the intervention by the divisional commander on his behalf that Schlegel escaped punishment [presumably by Courts Martial] and the operation continued. In thanks, the monks of Monte Cassino celebrated a special mass, and presented Schlegel with an illuminated croll recognizing his efforts.”

Or, in Barford-speak (complete with inadvertent anti-Semitism) it all boils down to this: US = villainy/stupidity BUT the SS Herman Göring Division = the ‘good-guy art salvors’.

After the occupation of Poland by German forces in September 1939, the Nazi regime attempted to exterminate its upper classes as well as its culture. Thousands of art objects were looted, as the Nazis systematically carried out a plan of looting prepared even before the start of hostilities. Twenty-five museums and many other facilities were destroyed.  The total cost of German Nazi theft and destruction of Polish art is estimated at $20-billion, or an estimated 43% of Polish cultural heritage; over 516,000 individual art pieces were looted, including 2,800 paintings by European painters; 11,000 paintings by Polish painters; 1,400 sculptures; 75,000 manuscripts; 25,000 maps; 90,000 books, including over 20,000 printed before 1800; and hundreds of thousands of other items of artistic and historical value. Germany still has much Polish material looted during World War II. For decades there have been mostly futile negotiations between Poland and Germany concerning the return of the looted property.

(Sources for above paragraph: Olsak-Glass, Judith (January 1999). “Review of Piotrowski’s Poland’s Holocaust”. Rewindykacja dóbr kultury at Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Barford rounds off his novel account of the battle with a final swipe at the US… “This was well before the US ‘Monuments men’ got there to try and clear up the mess the US bombing raids had made. A tragic mistake.”

Naturally any mention of war crimes committed by the Herman Göring Division (HGD) is neatly side-stepped, or any mention of the HGD being art looters of the highest order scavenging Europe and the Occupied Countries for cultural works for the ‘Fat One’ back in Berlin, and inflicting unspeakable atrocities en route.

Post war, Schegel was arrested as a suspected war criminal and looter, and it was only after the personal intervention of British Field Marshal Harold Alexander that he was released.

HGD War Crimes

Herman Goering on trial at Nuremburg

Herman Goering on trial at Nuremburg

According to a British Government report, the Hermann Göring Division was involved in many reprisal operations during its time in Italy. One of these atrocities occurred in the surrounding area of the village of Civitella in Val di Chiana on 6 June 1944 where 250 civilians were summarily executed.  Other examples of atrocities committed by
Hermann Göring Division are on record. As Director of the Four Year Plan, Hermann Göring bore responsibility for the elimination of Jews from political life and for the destruction and takeover of Jewish businesses and property….He was quoted as saying, “I wish you had killed 200 Jews and not destroyed such valuable property”…He looted art treasures from occupied territories and arranged for use of slave labour.

Polish sources claim soldiers of the Hermann Göring Division used civilians as human shields in front of its tanks.

So let’s take a closer look at Barford’s ‘Heroes.’ Prosecutor Sir David Maxwell Fyfe cross-examining Field-Marshal Albert Kesselring at the Nuremberg War CrimesTrial raised this regarding the atrocities committed by the HGD:-

“Two German soldiers were killed and a third wounded in a fight with Partisans in the village of Civitella. Fearing reprisals, the inhabitants evacuated the village, but when the Germans discovered this, punitive action was postponed. On 29th June” – that, you will remember, Witness, was nine days after your proclamation to reinforce your order – “when the local inhabitants were returned and were feeling secure once more, the Germans carried out a well-organized reprisal, combing the neighborhood. Innocent inhabitants were often shot on sight.  During that day, 212 men, women and children in the immediate district were killed. Some of the dead women were found completely naked.  In the course of investigations, a nominal roll of the dead has been compiled and is complete with the exception of a few names whose bodies could not be identified.  Ages of the dead ranged from one year to 84 years.  Approximately one hundred houses were destroyed by fire.  Some of the victims were burned alive in their homes.”

Sir David Maxell-Fyfe, centre, one of the British prosecuting team/Nuremberg

Sir David Maxell-Fyfe, centre, one of the British prosecuting team/Nuremberg

“That is the report of the United Nations War Crimes Commission on the incident. Now, Witness, do you really think that military necessity commands the killing of babies of one and people of 84?”

Kesselring…“No.”

The HGD was active in killing non-combatants in Poland too. Some 800 troops from the HDG took part in fighting during the Warsaw Uprising in the Wola district, where mass executions of civilians occurred in connection with Hitler’s orders to destroy the city. The units involved were:

II./Fallschirm-Panzer-Regiment “Hermann Göring”

III./Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier-Regimen “Hermann Göring”

IV./Fallschirm-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment “Hermann Göring”

It will come as no surprise at all to anyone who’s sampled Barford’s previous attempts at accuracy, or that his particular brand of anti-Americanism rears its ugly head yet again.  But his previous form in this arena is dazzling: Aided by his ardent disciple and sock-puppet, Heritage Action’s, Nigel Swift, he is the co-perpetrator of one of the outstanding examples of contemporary archaeo-historical buffoonery intended to hoodwink the public into believing that millions of artefacts found by Britain’s dedicated metal detectorists are going unrecorded.  Little wonder then, that what they have dubbed the Artefact Erosion Counter has morphed into one of the most laughable, widely discredited, debunked, and derided fact-free ‘databases’ of all time.

Barford and Swift would have the world believe that unlike detectorists or private collectors, they deal in facts, but on this and past form, I doubt they’d recognize ‘facts’ if they jumped up and bit them on the arse. It’s all a bit like saying the Boston Strangler wasn’t all bad because he was kind to his Ma!

Significantly, the UK’s Council for British Archaeology hasn’t chucked this émigré archaeo-bluffer and his comical puppet out of the lifeboat having fished them out of earlier stormy waters, is telling.  Maybe, they fully deserve this duffer who thinks it was ‘fortunate’ the brutal, art-loving Herman Göring SS Division were on hand, though I seriously doubt the descendants of the murdered villagers of Civitella would mention the words ‘fortunate’ and ‘Herman Göring SS Division’ in the same sentence.

One certainly has to ponder the accuracy of Barford’s archaeological excavation reports, interpretations, or anything else he’s committed to paper purporting to be factual!

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February 11, 2014

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TURKEYS VOTING FOR THANKSGIVING?

In the UK a responsible detectorist/treasure hunter is one who adheres to the letter of prevailing laws covering such things; the laws of trespass, criminal damage, and the  1996 Treasure Act. Those hunters, adhering to additional, non-legislative conditions above and beyond the requirements Treasure Act, or the voluntary PAS scheme, often claim with  po-faced expressions, they are somehow ‘acting more responsibly’.  It’s a moot point. It’s argued in some (archaeological) quarters that the sale of metal detectors ought to be banned outright and their use strictly limited to ‘qualified’ archaeologists (whatever that means) and all private collecting of artefacts older that ‘yesterday’, also outlawed, all with heavy penalties or a spell in a Gulag for transgressors.

Some suggest that to be seen as ‘responsible’ or imagined as such membership of a local archaeological or historical society is vital.  I cannot imagine for one moment that a  detectorist applying to join such a society or club would be refused membership provided his/her metal detector is used the way they want it used, and, under archaeological control  or supervision.  No one can have any argument with that since it is the personal choice of the detectorist involved.  Of course it’s a bridge too far for the majority of orthodox detectorists.

However, archaeological membership could have certain advantages for gaining access to farmland provided the society’s rules don’t prohibit it and could be a positive advantage when explaining to landowners and farmers that one is a member of the ‘so-and-so’ archaeological club or society and “Here’s my society’s membership card.”  Those detectorists anxious to take  this path should do so.

However, those who choose not to, and who want to plough an ‘independent’ furrow, are no less irresponsible and indeed, just as wholesome.  Believe it or not, there are relic hunters  out there who, while strictly adhering to the PAS write about their ‘finds’ and the efficacy of the PAS on various blogs, then give succour, comfort, and support, to fringe archaeological societies and individuals campaigning to put an end to the PAS and metal detecting.  Yes, you read that right!

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Déjà vu – Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens’ classic tale set in 1840’s Victorian England has perhaps, a modern day parallel.  The tales’ principal character is Oliver Twist an orphan born into poverty, who on  his ninth birthday is taken into the local workhouse, where in the harshest surroundings, the young Oliver toils alongside other boys picking oakum in conditions amounting to slave labour.  Life is hard. The food is scant and poor; virtually starvation rations. Eventually the malnourished boys rebel and agree to draw lots; the loser must ask the well-fed workhouse bosses for  second portion of their daily bowl of gruel.  The task falls to Oliver, who at the next meal tremblingly comes up forward, bowl in hand, and makes his famous request: “Please, sir,  I want some more”. For his troubles Oliver is sold by the workhouse bosses to an undertaker who uses Oliver as a mourner at children’s funerals.

In the end Oliver runs away to London to seek his fortune.  Here he falls in with – albeit unknowingly –  a band of rogues led by the arch-criminal Fagin, and his Number Two, master pickpocket, Jack Dawkins, better known by the sobriquet, the “Artful Dodger.”  Significantly, Oliver’s innocent nature prevents him from recognising this hint that the boy may be dishonest.  ‘Dodger’ takes Oliver under his wing provides him with a free meal and tells him of a gentleman in London who will “give him lodgings for nothing, and never ask for change”.  Ensnared, Oliver lives with the gang of juvenile pickpockets in their lair at Saffron Hill for some time, unaware of their criminal occupations. He believes they make wallets  and handkerchiefs.

After many adventures surviving in the savage world of the Victorian London’s underclass Oliver is finally being rescued and rehabilitated to normality.

Does any of this seem the slightest bit familiar to you? Does to me….but for the moment, precise details escape me…

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Ponder and Inwardly Digest…

What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist…

Salman Rushdie

I’ll See Y’all in the Bar

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February 7, 2014

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THE KIPPER* – TWO-FACED AND GUTLESS

With the dust settling and Barford limping back to his lair to lick his wounds, most of you will now realise a reptilian faction inhabits sections of archaeology, cosseted by the bullet-makers safe in their Ipswich and York bunkers.

You’ll have seen how one of these creatures branded, without ever meeting the actor Mackenzie Crook (who’s also a metal detectorist), as a ‘slack-jawed heritage hero’ below a photograph of the thespian.  UK readers might be unaware that the term ‘Slack-jaw’ is a highly derogatory North American expression of abuse used to describe – according to the  Urban Dictionary – an “extremely ignorant, possible inbred person. Usually of rural heritage.”

Whether this offensive, even libellous, term is widely used amongst the archaeology set to describe detectorists  – ALL detectorists, even the ‘Neville Chamberlain-types’ –  remains unclear.   In a cloudless sky this vile term hangs as a dark cloud; a testament that Barford’s lexicon remains inextricably linked to the cess-pit.  I doubt Barford has the courage to use the term  face-to-face.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at his behaviour, for he is precisely the sort of creature the CBA welcomes into its bed and into whose hands they expect us to entrust the archaeological record.  Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a “policy”.

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For the benefit of our US reader: A kipper is a whole herring; a small, oily fish that has been split in butterfly fashion from tail to head along the dorsal ridge, gutted,  salted or pickled, or cold-smoked. A favourite English breakfast dish. Though like Barford, tends to ‘repeat’.

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AN OSCAR NOMINATION? OR SIPPING FROM THE POISONED CHALICE?

“Its about time that the true “responsible” detectorists put their heads above the parapet and actually provide hard evidence that what we are doing can actually contribute to  the historical record in a positive way,” writes ‘responsible’ UK detectorist, Steve Broom.

Er….umm…they have Steve, it’s called the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and it’s funded by HM Government and steered by the British Museum. Oh, by the way, that offensive piece about the Southern Detectorists Group being akin to shoplifters over on your pals’ Heritage Action blog has been removed. It seems on the face of it that the Malamute Saloon has done a tad more to preserve your Group’s (so far) excellent reputation than you have.

It’s good to see even with only four-and-a-bit years detecting experience under your belt, people are impressed.  Paul Barford, the Warsaw-based PAS- hater, rates you highly:

“Steve Broom for example is in a different class from the majority detecting hoi polloi, and has no time either for vacant oiks  like these….” Ending his tribute with:

“….Metal detecting needs more normal people [timid ones – unlike you Howland! Dick] speaking for it and engaging in intelligent discussion.”

They already are Steve. It’s called the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the same Scheme by the way, your admirer in Warsaw wants to see shut down, and who spends an inordinate amount of time insulting everyone connected with it and pooh-poohing the veracity of its database in favour of his own widely derided Artefact Erosion Counter.

Perhaps you should have a look at Barford’s blog for Monday, 11 November 2013 under the heading, Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Passionately Interested in the Past – well, not  all of it. He’s less than complimentary about UK Metal detectorist, Andy Baines.

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Ponder…

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity…

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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February 4, 2014

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HORRIBLY FAMILIAR?

In his book, Hitler’s Hangman – The Life of Heydrich*, Professor Robert Gerwarth writes an interesting paragraph on page 267:

“Heydrich’s ‘educational policy’ was very much in line with Himmler’s view, articulated in 1940, that schooling for the local population in the occupied territories should be reduced to ‘simple arithmetic’ up to 500 at most; writing one’s name; a doctrine that it is divine law to obey the Germans and to be honest, industrious and good.”

Now, just for fun, replace the words ‘Germans’ with ‘archaeologists’ or ‘archaeology’ as befitting; ‘Heydrich’ with ‘Barford’, and ‘Himmler’ with ‘Swift.’ Then read the paragraph again.

*Hitler’s Hangman – The Life of Heydrich. Yale University Press (2011)

Reinhard Heydrich was the Acting Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, who ruthlessly supressed the Czech nation through a systematic rigorous persecution, of torture, mass-executions,  and the liquidation of Jews in the Czech and Slovak lands. On 27 May 1942 his staff car was attacked in Prague by SOE-trained Czech assassins. He died of his wounds on 4 June 1942.

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BEACH LIFE

Some people are under the impression I am on the Garrett payroll (oh, how I wish) on the basis that because I write (mostly) good things about their products I have a vested interest.  I am not on the payroll, never have been. Being a free agent I use that which best suits my hunting needs what I consider is the best machinery for my treasure hunting needs (surf and beach hunting)….and Garrett’s machinery, especially the ATPro, ATGold, Pro-Pointer, and the Sea Hunter II pi, fit the bill nicely.

ATGold???? Beach??? Yep, top-of-the-beach, up in the dry sand – in amongst the junk where the angels fear to tread – and fitted with the small coil, or the 4.5” Sniper, it rips the  guts out of the opposition. Keep it to yourself!

Why Garrett? Simply because I’ve always had a soft spot for American made machinery (not least because of the build quality) and have used Garrett machines for over three decades;  back in the ‘80’s though they were unbeatable on depth but were always ‘ironed-out’ on ferrous-infested roman/Celtic habitation sites. Here, Tesoro’s Golden Sabre ruled okay (especially  with the small coil), lifting out tiny roman silver and gold coins with ease from amongst the trash. However, away from iron-infested habitation sites, Golden Sabres lacked depth. Back then, the cognoscenti usually carried two machines: One for depth, the other for iron-infested habitation sites, so it was not uncommon to see two machines being carried. Usually, this would  be either an Arado 120b, or a Garrett Groundhog, backed up with a Golden/Silver Sabre. The Compass 77b was seldom outclassed.

But time moves on, and top-end hardware prices are up in the Jet Stream with Minelab’s all-singing-all-dancing thingummy-jig, and Garrett’s ATX, costing an arm-and-a-leg. The question is…are they worth the bread? Having laid out two Grand’s worth of one’s ‘hard-earned’ dosh, what’s the chance of initial outlay recovery, and over what timescale?  I simply don’t know. The answer to that conundrum depends entirely on the experience of who’s using the machine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Previously to owning the ATPro, a Garrett ACE250 was my constant companion, which, when fitted with the larger coil was peerless on the beach over the wet, and the dry sand. When equipped with the 4.5-inch Super Sniper coil it opened up the junky ‘no-go’ beach areas much like the key on a tin of sardines.  The ACE250 is a formidable beach machine and in the right hands, outperforms machines costing four times the price.

But like all metal detectors, the new breed of expensive high-end machines, and certainly in a beach context, will only find the ‘goodies’ where the ‘goodies’ are  likely to exist; they won’t find ‘goodies’ where they ain’t!  Though according to some ‘experts’ the precise opposite rules!

What then, you may be wondering is a good beach result? In my part of the world where miles of golden sands attract hundreds of thousands of day-trippers and holiday makers,  £15 -£30 in a daily three-hour coinshooting session is about the norm plus a few ‘trinkets’.

A decent day at the beach...

A decent day at the beach…

It’s always useful to make yourself known to the Beach Wardens’ Office who’ll make a record of any identifiable ‘finds’ and refer the losers to you.  I have had some stunning offers  to detect prime sites inland from grateful owners reunited with their trinkets…but that’s another story!

Often the Beach Wardens will roar up alongside on their quad-bikes or dune buggies with a request for me to search a part of the beach for a day-tripper’s lost mobile phone, digital  camera, even lost jewelry.  I remember one time while having a tea-break back at my car, an elderly man and his wife parked in nearby in a huge 4×4 came over to me saying that they could see I was a metal detecting enthusiast and could I advise them where they might get a repair done on their grandson’s machine. The gentleman gave me his phone number and I called over a couple of days later to an address in the New Forest; took the machine away, and  had repaired what was just a very minor fault. On my return he was so pleased he gave  me permission to search many acres of his prime arable land any time I wanted. We became firm friends and I and my wife often enjoyed a hearty Sunday lunch at his sumptuous farmhouse.

One day I met a Member of Parliament strolling the beach with his wife and young family.  His son was fascinated and a new recruit was in the offing.  During the ensuing conversation he was aghast at the opposition to our hobby especially when I referred him to certain ‘anti’ websites and commentators, as proof of my veracity.

You never know who you’ll meet on a beach!

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EINSTEINS’S LAW OF RELATIVITY UPDATED(0 x 0 = 11,000,000)

There are many motivations for doing archaeology, theft, and the chance of making a fast buck not least among them as some court cases highlight,  but when pressed, the Arkies might claim to  have  50-50 agreements with one farmer but not with another and so …..

Albert

Albert Einstein

“That’s very rare,” the Arkies say without knowing if that’s factual: “don’t insult the rest of us,” they’d squeal.  But actually it’s merely the Arkies saying they  are no more saintly than anyone else (A Member of Parliament once told me that he knew detectorists didn’t have the monopoly of the heritage villainy).

Therefore, if 1,000 randomly selected heritage professionals were asked, “if you could double your money by saying you found something in Harrow when you really excavated it in  Jarrow, would you do it?” and let’s suppose ‘X’-number of them said, ‘Yes’. Now, unless you can precisely define what that ‘X’-number is, which you can’t, you’d have to accept there’s a degree of archaeological dishonesty that can never be known for sure. The pressing question for Britain’s public must then be: How can we be sure that all heritage professionals are not involved in artefact theft?  You’d also have to accept that an unknown portion of those asked, would have lied. If you then attribute figures to the unknowns, then the equation is meaningless.  It’s also meaningless if you don’t attribute numbers or percentages.

Nevertheless, this is precisely the moronic mathematical nonsense published recently by Heritage Action in their on-going campaign to discredit the Portable Antiquities Scheme and  detectorists in general.

Bearing in mind this equation comes from the same stable that dreamed up the Artefact Erosion Counter it soon becomes clear its data is utterly valueless to anyone – apart from those who believe in fairies – when the ‘AEC’s data’ is deliberately falsified with numbers of artefacts allegedly stolen, or not reported.  What makes it all the more astounding is this  garbage comes from people who claim archaeology is a ‘science’…ho, bloody, ho!

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the CBA has as partners and to whom they want us all to entrust the archaeological record. Take a  good look and decide what you think about that as a “policy”.

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Ponder…

In order to have the stuff of a tyrant, a certain mental derangement is necessary…

Emile M. Cioran

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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January 26, 2014

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WHY NOT A PORTABLE ANTIQUITIES SCHEME FOR THE US?

This from the PAS intro:-

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The Portable Antiquities Scheme is currently developing its potential as a tool for “lifelong learning”. The Scheme’s database now holds nearly 700,000 objects [soon to reach 1-million.Ed]  and over 300,000 images. The records of these objects that our staff, volunteers and the public contribute are quite often the only chance we will get to document their existence. The database  provides us with a record of their attributes and an image (if available.

We make our data available freely, under a creative commons licence, for the academic and lay communities to use for their research. We also have a team of finds specialists  (the National Finds Advisers) who are available to answer queries on specific periods/ object types.

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Quite apart from the high academic value the Scheme represents, mostly as a result of metal detecting activity — not archaeological endeavor — the UK’s PAS is the perfect template  for a US-style version.

A PAS serves several functions not least of them addressing that which Rob Bendus, State Historic Preservation Officer and director of the DOS Division of Historical Resources has told  the Press: “Artifacts are a finite, nonrenewable resource. When they are taken, destroyed or stored in private collections without being documented, they, and the history they represent,  are gone forever.”  Once recorded, items take on another dimension: The State gets to see, inspect, all that’s found, and able to purchase from finders (who may wish to donate) whatever  it wants.

John Howland

John Howland

Additionally, a PAS does not make criminals out of its citizens for no better reason than they want to collect artefacts from public lands, collecting that which only a small minority of  academics (who also thieve) want for themselves. Bendus ironically proves the value of a UK-style PAS-type scheme, a scheme covering all the bases:   At a stroke, it shrugs off two legal anomalies:  firstly, by allowing private collecting from public lands (an ersatz crime dreamed-up by academics to protect their interests). Secondly, the State is sanitized of pandering to, or supporting,  the totalitarian dogma promoted by the same politico-archaeologists working to (socialist) agendas; the anathema of all that’s good and wholesome in a free America.
The State gets to see and record all that’s found and is able to purchase from finders whatever it wants. In addition, such a scheme does not make criminals of its citizens and at a stroke  rids the State of pandering to, or supporting, totalitarian (Soviet-style socialist) dogma.

Since the introduction of the PAS in the UK, the number of ‘Nighthawking’ crimes; the clandestine excavation of artefacts under the cover of darkness is according to the £66,000  government-funded Nighthawking Report, averages 1.5 incidences per month out of  the 166,000 protected ancient sites. More people are booked by the police for riding bicycles at night without  lights!

For the detectorist, the PAS is a boon. Every artefact recorded has a provenance. Should the State not want to buy it, it’s returned to the finder with a written provenance proving it was  legally found, a fact that adds confidence in the buyer and in the value to the piece itself. Indeed, it further protects the casual finder, or non-detectorist, from a night in the slammer!

Who would anyone oppose such a brilliant scheme? Just take a look at Florida’s bureaucracy (for example) and the academics (for example), who feed the monster.  Lisa MacIntyre excepted!

Now she’s a go-ahead gal, who, with your support, could pioneer ground-breaking changes across the States. Get together with Lisa and let the ‘wagons roll!’

In the UK the PAS by virtue of it detectorists, is pivotal in providing fabulous research data:-

Research project types:Level of research:-

  • Undergraduate 50
  • Master’s degree 109
  • PhD level research 73
  • Large scale research AHRC 13
  • Major publication 18
  • Magazine or journal article 5
  • Desk based assessment 14
  • Major research (Leverhulme funded) 2
  • Personal research project 78
  • Archaeology society project 2
  • External project (UK only) 9
  • External project (International) 3
  • A-Level archaeology project 5
  • Total projects: 381

The implementation won’t be easy as you’ll be fighting an influential but academically bankrupt opposition (a bit like Wally & Harry). The State of Florida, for example, can only  benefit and bring archaeologists, historians, collectors and detectorists, closer together for the good of all.

Why Not a Portable Antiquities Scheme for the US?  No reason at all…

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Consider….

It is better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution…

Alvin Toffler

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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January 26, 2014

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HOG TIED AND THROWN!

Steve Broom is a nice guy.  He’s a driving force in the Southern Detectorists Group (SDG), a friendly band of presumably, southern English detectorists, who go about their business in an honourable and legal fashion.

But here any pretense of legality ends. Thanks to Paul Barford, and Nigel Swift, and the phony shit-stirring, farmer Silas Brown, all members of the SDG are branded  (somewhat libelously, you might think) as thieves.  The SDG have not contested that label.

Mr. Broom, instead of going for the legal, libel, jugular (for whatever reason), chose to ignore and defend his groups’ position by assuaging Barford with a toe-curlingly embarrassing series of comments on both Barford’s and Swift’s blogs.  Broom’s comments are the stuff of cross-channel ferry sick-bags; a real gift to the more seasoned, political savvy,  anti-detectorist, anti-collector, Paul Barford – and I don’t begrudge him one iota for rubbing Broom’s nose in the shit – all’s  fair in love and war. Broom the political boy, played a man’s game and lost – spectacularly.

In short, he’d allowed himself – on behalf of his group – to be kicked in the balls by allowing Barford to tag him and his group with the badge —THIEF.  Without any defense to the contrary, the Southern Detectorist Group is, as farmer Silas Brown, says, populated by thieves.

Game, set, and match to Barford.

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Consider…

There is no sin except stupidity…

Oscar Wilde

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

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FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!

Metal detecting, relic hunting, treasure hunting – call it whatever – will always have its detractors and critics in varying degrees of hostility in much the same way that for example,  anglers, huntsmen, shooters, meat eaters, and even professional boxers, attract the  brickbats.

Of those opposed to whatever it is they campaign to outlaw, many are lucid, espousing sincere, and (in their minds) logical reasons for their actions while  others are clearly  deranged and  in need of psychotherapy.

But when I take the occasional peek at two of our hobby’s arch-critics – Paul Barford, and Nigel Swift’s puerile Heritage Action blogs – another category emerges. Here are  two individuals who lapse into regular insults, sometimes personal, displaying unsurprisingly, an arrogant disregard for facts about our pastime and who’d have the world believe they are ‘experts’ in the matter. When challenged about their views they immediately lapse into ‘victim mode’ attempting to garner sympathy. They are I’m afraid, of that strata of humanity that I’d wouldn’t urinate over even if they were on fire and I’m sure they feel likewise should I spontaneously combust.

Barford for example, has described hobbyists on his blog (in one of his less vitriolic tirades) as ‘slack-jaws’; another term for ’in-breds’ with all the connotations of incest.  Though he’s of little importance and influences no-one, why should anyone really bother about the invectives he hurls scattergun fashion at a legal hobby? Well, I do! And so do a  few others.

My hobby, your hobby, is legal, healthy, and wholesome, and don’t you ever forget it. Be proud of it. The fact he objects to it (and who’s he anyway?) is his problem and when we meet, we will I’m sure, have a ‘frank and forthright’ exchange of views. In the meantime, I’m not going to sit back and allow anyone, least of all him, to promulgate the suggestion that I, nor any of my detecting pals, are the fruits of unlawful sexual coupling.  Neither am I ever going to let his insults go unchallenged and neither should you!  The fact that the Council for British Archaeology has aligned itself with him and therefore his views, puts them in my firing line too!

Perhaps the CBA’s Patron, the Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne, might like to explain to us why he supports (by association) Barford’s assertion that a sizeable number of  his mother’s subjects (our present Queen) are the results of incest – ‘slack-jaws’- simply because they use metal detectors?

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HE FLOATS LIKE A WASP AND STINGS LIKE A BUTTERFLY!

“I reckon the BM [British Museum] after all those years of liaison got it right, they are partnering “Treasure Hunters” seeking as Mike Heyworth says, to deplete the archaeological  record for personal profit.”  Yep, it’s the arch metal detecting hater, Paul Barford, sounding off again.  Anyway, what’s wrong with the BM partnering Treasure Hunters? Nothing!  Depleting the archaeological record for personal profit?  Nothing wrong with that either!

Curiously, though, the CBA maintains a link on its website to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the same scheme that, according to Heyworth, aids and abets the alleged rape of the UK’s archaeological record.  It’s a bit like the FBI having a link on its website to The Mob.

Of course, when one realizes this is the same Mike Heyworth who dashed to Barford’s defence to shore-up Barford’s flagging Artefact Erosion Counter – where propaganda and fact-free bunkum elbowed out archaeological precision – such as it is – shortly before it fell flat on its arse, then everything drops into place.

If you think the Task Force, or the FMDAC are doing a poor job for you, just imagine what it must be like having these buffoons in your corner during  a title fight!!!!!

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BETTER READ, THAN DEAD?

“Furthermore from my own point of view, and I lived right through it, Communism (as such) was a weak force in Poland with mainly symbolic meaning even in the late 1980s, and was not the only thing defining Poland, Polishness  and what was happening on the streets and elsewhere.”  There is no end it seems to the utter, absolute drivel vomited by this man Barford.  It’s all so typical of the apologist claptrap spewed by Leftist academics; a testament to misconceived idealism among Britain’s intelligentsia in the 1930s and to the futility of MI5’s hunt for Britain’s Communist traitors. Those who betrayed the West; Art historian Anthony Blunt, Diplomats Guy Burgess and  Donald Maclean, MI6 officer George Blake, MI6 agent Kim Philby, and the former UN translator, John Cairncross, serve alongside Aldrich Ames, the renegade CIA officer who sold the US  to the Soviets, are the perfect role models for treachery.

Unlike Barford, many Poles fought (and died) to rid themselves of the burden of Communist oppression so as to experience the warm embrace of democracy; the embrace Barford so willingly  surrendered for a hand-in-blouse grope with cold Communism.

That ”weak force…” as Barford bashfully refers to it, murdered (among others) Polish priest Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko in the following circumstances: A car accident was organised to kill him on 13th October 1984 but the plot went awry. He was then kidnapped on the 19th October 1984, beaten to a pulp, then murdered by three Security Police officers who dumped his battered  body into the Vistula Water Reservoir near Wloclawek from where it was recovered on 30th October that year.

The assassination of the good priest made world headlines two years before the metal-detector hating Barford took up with the floozy of Communism in 1986. Whether he failed  to notice the manner of how the Polish secret police dealt with dissidents, is unclear but his enthusiasm for a life in the Worker’s Utopian State remained, apparently, undiminished.

Perhaps Barford could explain to Popieluszko’s relatives precisely how, “Communism (as such) was a weak force in Poland…” I doubt he has the capacity to take on board why  so many — and I am one — regard him as a clown. Nearly everything he espouses connected with heritage affairs, and especially anything to do with metal detecting or private collecting, will always be for the purposes of accuracy…derisory.

The Council for British Archaeology — who on the one hand accuses detectorists of imprecision — yet is the comically creaky academic crutch for Barford’s now widely-discredited (not to mention widely ridiculed) Artefact Erosion Counter; the  unscientific exercise in baloney so beloved by Nigel Swift of the rag-bag Heritage Action group and its posse of acolytes.  Barford is apparently well-respected by David Gill (dubbed by the less-reverential as the ‘Ginger Whinger’) of the University Campus, Suffolk, at whose personal invitation Barford  tiptoed back to the UK to hold the now famously pisspoor lecture about heritage looting in East Anglia.

The Bowery Boys live!

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OLD MUCKSPREADER…

Down on the farm at Heritage Action where regular anti-detecting contributor, farmer Silas Brown, holds court on their blog attempting to persuade landowners and farmers what a thieving bunch of swines we all are, has gone tits up and Silas is looking not so much the farmer, but more the village idiot (nothing new here then you might think).

Old Silas you see, scribes in his earthy column, mordant manure as ‘Exhibit One’ from his latest dispatch shows:  “The Southern Detectorists Group detects 20 farms and in no case do  they hand the finds to the farmers at the end of their digs. I’m only a humble farmer, less educated or socially responsible than the average detectorist, but to me that’s scandalous” adding somewhat libellously M’learned Friends might think, “And it’s not just me. Tesco’s [a fine UK supermarket chain. Dick] don’t like people taking things home without going through  the check-out either.” So now we know – the Southern Detectorists Group is entirely populated by thieves.  What do Heritage Action readers make of  Silas’s bile?

Natasha Hendridge, commenting in reply to Silas on the 19th January at 12:42, gored him like a bull in heat and the  blood flowed: “And you are most likely just like the other  greedy farmers such as the one at Oldport  farm that are willing to sell of their land to build house right up against a nationally important Hillfort – Disgraceful.  Do not expect any  sympathy from me or anyone else who can see what a shady bunch of money grabbers you really are.”

Oh dearie me…not quite the reaction Heritage Action had expected – one of their own slagging-off a farmer for being greedy!  In a near panic-driven damage limitation exercise twenty-five minutes later at 13:07, HA replied patronisingly:

“Natasha, If you read more of Farmer Brown’s contributions to the Journal you’ll realise he’s a literary device.  And a saint!”

My God! Farmer Silas Brown is a fictional character ? Huh?  Can it be that everything grumpy old Silas Brown has ever written has been the rabid musings of an anonymous imposter? It’s  all been fiction? But hang on a moment…Heritage Action’s got previous form in the Fiction Stakes.  Their previous outing on heavy going (and failed to finish) was with the Artefact Erosion Counter, where despite a serious lack of credible data (it was all made-up) purported to show how squillions of artefacts were being hoiked out of the ground despite the scrupulous accuracy of the government-backed and funded Portable Antiquities Scheme that decisively, proved otherwise.  The PAS shows what jolly good chaps detectorists really are having been rightfully referred to as ‘Heritage Heroes’ by Britain’s Culture Minister.

Surely Heritage Action wouldn’t lower itself to fibbing about important heritage matters for propagandist purposes simply to bolster their anti-metal detecting stance? Certainly looks like it!  If they are prepared to portray Silas Brown as a bona fide farmer, what credence can be placed on anything these people say? Not a lot, quite clearly. Worse still, if they gild the lily when ‘advising’ landowners, how can anyone be certain of their veracity in anything else?

So, if you are a farmer or landowner and you’ve been following the Silas Brown column, now shown to be fiction….YOU’VE BEEN HAD FOR A MUG – BIG STYLE!  This Heritage Action outfit are people who would have you believe the heritage is safer in their hands than yours.  Maybe you might consider more seriously when any of these uninsured, bobble-hatted buffoons come whining for permission to field walk (read; denude) your pastures of valuable flint tools and pottery shards.  As Silas Brown said of the supermarket chain,  that like you, they, “Don’t like people taking things home without going through the check-out either.”

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Consider….

He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave….

Andrew Carnegie

See you in the bar!

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January 5, 2014

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THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS….2013…A MAJOR VICTORY FOR TEKKIES!

It was a good year for Tekkies on both sides of The Pond.  Without the help of  US or UK representative national bodies (who, as usual, are struck mute on any controversial subject)…we…that’s  Stout Standards and ironically, with the unwitting help of its main architect, the anti-metal detecting archaeo-blogger, Paul Barford, who describes himself as a…”Sartorial subversive living  and working in the very centre of Warsaw Poland,” finally laid to rest one of the biggest lies in archaeology (apart from the Piltdown Man fiasco…the Hitler Diaries debacle) the ludicrous Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC).  This carefully contrived deception was finally exposed as a very unscientific; anti-metal detecting propaganda-driven fantasy, masquerading as pseudo-scientific archaeology, or more accurately perhaps, to use the vernacular of the obscene; complete, and utter bullshit, from start to finish.

Nevertheless, it was initially, powerful and convincing bullshit. The final bonus, or icing on the cake, came with the Council for British Archaeology’s (CBA’s) headlong flight to shore-up the Erosion Counter’s flagging veracity with its tacit approval for the Goebbels-like trickery when the AEC came under public and probing scrutiny.  In the event, the CBA (Patron HRH The Prince  of Wales) came out of it covered with excrement a somewhat less dignified image than its self-appointed role as the august champion of accurate, heritage methodology; never again could British  archaeology point an accusing finger at metal detecting hobbyists and say… ‘J’accuse’.  The trap had been sprung.

At a stroke, the CBA’s Director, Dr Mike Heyworth consigned the CBA to the role of ‘heritage pantomime dame’.  Were I batting for the CBA’s  anti-metal detecting team (and most CBA members are it appears), I’d not be satisfied with anything less than having his testicles on a platter for creating such an unholy mess – he’d have to go!  Indeed I’d want anyone connected with this  Erosion Counter staked out over an anthill.

Does or should this victory resonate with US hunters?  Perhaps not at first glance, but, seeing as some of the more rabid of US archaeologists would figuratively beat to death any metal detectorist they encounter, and would have no compunction in using the deceitful AEC data as the foundation to promote State-wide ‘anti’ legislation, then yes, it is pertinent.  You can now say, hand on heart, the AEC is a dead duck. The AEC was proven to be guesstimation-based.

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2014 Looks Even Better

The UK’s Federation of Independent Detectorists (annual subs £4.50) and it’s phenomenal £10,000,000 Third Party Liability Insurance cover, and ID Pass, is just about the one organization that resolves anything. I fully recommend membership.

Contact: Hon. Sec Colin Hanson  http://www.fid.newbury.net/…And PLEASE enclose a stamped addressed envelope (keeps costs to a minimum).

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Still Clinging to the Wreckage!

There’s an old press adage that when the legend is greater than the facts – print the legend! Never was this old saw better demonstrated than by Heritage Action’s online pisspoor blog, Heritage Journal (HJ). They report that:

“English Heritage Chief Simon Thurley has just said there is evidence that many of those who dig up archaeologically rich sites looking for valuable artefacts are … “habitual  offenders” who “trawl English Heritage’s own databases of protected…….”

Er….“Just said?”  Well actually, no it wasn’t, “Just said”.  Factually, Thurley made his comments (though somewhat and unsurprisingly twisted by HJ then shepherded  towards their own propaganda) on 26 December 2012.  Accurate reporting? Hardly. Neither was this  cutting edge news, though laughingly, the scribbler who penned committed this nonsense wisely remains anonymous goes on to reinforce the ‘facts’ with….wait for this….the already disgraced and proven lie-graph; the Artefact Erosion Counter.

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Remember…

Fortune and love favors the brave…

I’ll see y’all in the bar…HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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December 30, 2013

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HERITAGE INACTION ’14

The ad hoc, membership-free, culture collective…

For middle-class, Leftist, bleeding heart liberals, with grey stubbly beards, dirty boots, baggy trousers and sweaters…we  say, COME AND JOIN US: Men too are equally welcome!

Upcoming diary dates:

Attractions include an impromptu gathering at a Neolithic site (date to be determined) where we will be flag-trashing and burning an effigy of a Culture Minister, to be followed with dancing around the ancient stones, wassailing, quaffing organic mead, and a supper of brown rice, and green lentils, followed by a reading from ‘Gone With The Wind’ and ‘Das Kapital.’

His Eminence, The Grand Wizard, Shaman Pavel, will be attending to give His Blessing to the throng who will light the pyre beneath the Culture Minister’s effigy and begin the ceremonial  torching of the American, British, and Israeli flags.

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Comments:

Diana Boor-ish: I am not an archaeologist nor do I know anything about the subject, being by default a Vegan water-colourist (I so hate fossil-based oils). However I am surprised to learn from a US blogger that so many people engaged in archaeology owe their livelihoods to the metal detecting community such as FLO’s and allied support staff.  I read somewhere too, local authorities rarely, if ever, finance excavations, but archaeologists scrounge vast sums of money from Lottery funding?  Can this really be true? Are they really scroungers?  Does the heritage owe so much to the people you vilify? Is private collecting of ancient artefacts or Japanese prints incompatible with archaeology?

Nigel S:  Oh, you’ve been my right hand for so many years now and your questions are as usual Diana, razor-sharp. I always throb in anticipation of you.  Actually, Diana, the term ‘metal detecting community’ is not one we experts readily encourage, preferring the less accurate, ‘thieving bastard scumbags.’  Nevertheless, Di, it’s still really good to hear from you.  Yes, Di, ever since we politicised archaeology we have succeeded in forcing dim-witted, er, sorry, forward-thinking governments and Lottery mandarins into a policy of, ‘Open your wallets and say after us, help yourself’.  Archaeology today, is heavily camouflaged as rescue work, portrayed to an ignorant public as being of vital importance.  The downside being that some in the heritage circus do owe their lifestyles to the aforementioned, ‘thieving bastard scumbags.’ Impressive eh, Diana?

Y’know Diana, we have been very successful in forcing developers to absorb all costs  incurred at the initial excavation stages, then passing these on to unsuspecting customers and buyers in the form of increased final charges. People and governments, you know Diana, must be forced to accept that archaeology is vitally important; not least that it keeps us all in clover. Currently, archaeology in these straightened times has not suffered to the same degree as the medical services, social services, care of the elderly, or social housing. We are awash with dosh but the wrong people have it —  all those portable antiquities yobbos.

I hope this answers your query, Diana. Feel free to collect antiquities…we all do… even from the ‘thieving bastard scumbags’ but only if the artefact is recorded on our Artefact  Erosion Counter.  One of our number, even removed stones from a roman site to build a roman fireplace at his home.  Added thousands to the price!  Don’t worry your pretty little head dear about the lies written on a US blog near you!!

Peter Triplet: Gosh, Peter, I’m a detectorist and you’ve really opened my eyes to my wicked ways. I always imagined that ‘archaeology’ was a Cinderella science; surely the sheer brilliance of the Artefact Erosion Counter (a Monty Python Award winner) disproves this?  It’s sooo accurate, and if I didn’t know better I’d say the figures had been, to use the correct scientific term, ‘hoiked’, out of thin air – but I’m sure you’d never stoop to such subterfuge.

Nigel S: Hi Peter, gosh, we have so much in common, what a co-incidence, eh?  I’m so pleased at your interest Peter, as we don’t get many replies, or indeed, comments on this blog except from the usual wan*er, oops, sorry, regular contributor. Let me answer as best I can, Peter.  Allow me, if you will Peter, to lapse into the vernacular of the ‘thieving  bastard scumbags’, a community who denude our, er…the privately-owned heritage, who then report everything they find  to the PAS where the details of almost a million artefacts are lodged, and who then have the effrontery  to question our highly developed bullsh, whoops, I mean methods and funding. Whereas, our Artefact Erosion Counter shows beyond any shadow of  doubt that over 100-zillion artefacts have been ‘hoiked’ out of the earth and gone unrecorded in the last two weeks alone!!  Contrary, Peter, to what the Thugwits (‘thieving bastard scumbags), may say, archaeology does not make you go blind, nor are its practitioners Conservatives.  In an ideal society Peter, all land would belong to the People and all antiquities nationalised.

I must add also, Peter, that if you become a target of vile personal insults by the aforementioned, ‘thieving bastard scumbags’, for no better reason than you’ve called them ‘thieving bastard  scumbags, (which we strongly encourage), always counter-accuse them of inciting violence against you and your family; then fall back into what we at Heritage Inaction call ‘Victim Mode’;  it’s a tried and tested tactic – intended to garner public sympathy — sometimes known as Wally’s Gambit, or, Harry’s Stratagem.

Our next workshop (for Leftist, vegetarian, Gulag enthusiasts) Peter, will be the ‘Invective Workshop,’ which will include methods of portraying oneself as a Thugwit’s victim.  We are fortunate in having Nigella Beard, 98, (holder of the Zimmer Frame in Archaeological Absurdity) in attendance, lecturing about what to do when cautioned for wasting  police time.  Dress code is hair shirts and sandals.

Hat tip to Comrade Stalin.

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December 21, 2013

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A LITTLE CHRISTMAS CHEER THAT WILL, I HOPE, RAISE A SMILE OR TWO OVER THE FESTIVE SEASON:-

Bubba4

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A guy walks into the psychiatrist wearing only clingfilm for shorts. The shrink says, “Well, I can clearly see you’re nuts.”

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ADVICE FOR THE JESTERS

Let’s hear it for two mirth makers who have kept us entertained and laughing throughout the year: The pisspoor archaeo-bloggers Warsaw Wally and Heritage Harry.  Just for them, here are twenty-three pieces of grammatical advice, innit!

  1. Avoid alliteration. Always
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with
  3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat)
  4. Employ the vernacular
  5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary
  7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive
  8. Contractions aren’t necessary
  9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos
  10. One should never generalize
  11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches
  13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous
  14. Be more or less specific
  15. Understatement is always best
  16. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement
  17. One-word sentences? Eliminate
  18. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake
  19. The passive voice is to be avoided
  20. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms
  21. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed
  22. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  23. Give me ambiguity or give me something else

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YOUR CALL!

This is the alleged transcript of the actual conversation of a US naval ship with the Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995 – radio conversation released by Chief of Naval Operations 10/10/95.

Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.

Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north.

Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the captain of a US navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Americans: This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, the second biggest ship in the United States Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change YOUR course 15 degrees north. That’s one five degrees north, or counter measures will be taken to ensure the safety of this ship.

Canadians: We are a lighthouse. Your call.

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THINGS I LEARNED FROM THE MOVIES..

• Large, loft-style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people–whether they are employed or not.

• At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.

• Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don’t worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.

• Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any invading alien society.

• It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts: your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.

• When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.

• If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert on nuclear fission at the age of 22.

• Honest and hard working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.

• Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their arch enemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gasses, lasers, and man-eating sharks, which will allow their captives at least 20 minutes to escape.

• All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets that reach the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.

• All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.

•It’s easy for anyone to land a plane providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

• Once applied, lipstick will never rub off — even while scuba diving.

• You’re very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.

• Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German or Russian officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German or Russian accent will do.

• The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.

• A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

• If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.

• If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.

• Word processors never display a cursor on screen but will always say: Enter Password Now.

• Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

• All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off.

• A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

• If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you meet will know all the steps.

• Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

• When they are alone, all foreign military officers prefer to speak to each other in English.

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Consider…..

“An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger”…..Dan Rather

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To all my global readers, bar two; have a very merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous, and  lucrative 2014!

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December 12, 2013

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WALLY’S WACKY WORLD!

The Great Lie EXPOSED at Last!! Wally’s AEC Finally Exposed as 24-Carat Tosh!

While Warsaw-based Paul Barford and his drippy UK handmaiden, Nigel ‘Not Very’ Swift, are at great pains to rubbish the UK’s world beating Portable Antiquities Scheme along with everything and everyone connected with it, they have been caught fairly and squarely with their knickers round their ankles ready for a shafting of epic proportions. Now that their fact-free and heavily discredited Artefact Erosion Counter is shown to be a fraudulent tissue of lies, Barford, when pressed on the AEC’s accuracy comes up well short — as we all knew he would — unable to answer the salient questions.

This AEC nonsense of theirs, peddled as being ‘scientific’ by these two laughingstocks purports to show, or more accurately, to dupe the casual observer into believing, that the number of artefacts, ‘hoiked’, as their pseudo-scientific jargon has it, from the ground, by Britain’s detectorists, is somehow factual; but is all a lie! And they’ve even sucked-in the CBA to their web of lies and inaccuracies.

The following foot-in-mouth gem from Barford’s PACHI blog exposes once and for all, the fraudulence of the AEC, exposed as a lie on the internet by an anonymous questioner. Read and ENJOY how Barford squirms and tries to parry and defend what has turned out to be the biggest hoax since the Piltdown Man. Looks like Nigel ‘Not Very’ Swift has done a runner to put some distance between him and the truth leaving his co-conspirator covered in crap!

Cop a load of this and ENJOY!

Monday, 9 December 2013

“Focus on UK Metal Detecting: That Ten Millionth Object”Question posed by “Anonymous”:

“The acid test to prove the Erosion Counter’s inaccuracy is to demand details of say, artefact number, 10 million and one. Where was it found, what is it, who found it, and when[?]

Ummmm….

“Well the rate the HE Artefact Erosion Counter has been ticking away means (as I make it) that the ten millionth and first object would have been found a little after one in the afternoon on Wednesday 16th September 2009, while I was in Egypt. The object recorded on the PAS database most likely at that time was Record ID: LANCUM-0F97C8 found at Robin Hoods House, Burnley Lancs. The name of the finder is unknown. This was something like the PAS’ “421607th object” (and 268883rd record). The ten millionth and first object dug up by artefact hunters since 1975 which was dug up in a field on the same day may never have been reported to the PAS.”

COMMENT: Here’s the proof if proof were needed that the Artefact Erosion Counter is nothing more than pure tosh. The PAS is fact-based, not a propagandist fantasy like the AEC. The AEC is phony and now, thanks to YOU, Barford, the world knows it as well! What’s even better — to my mind at least — is that the Council for British Archaeology which is for ever banging the anti-detectorist drum and not widely known for its pro-detecting stance, and who threw its weight behind you, Swift, and the Artefact Erosion Counter (now exposed as utter hogwash) have thanks to your sterling efforts, come up smelling of manure! Never again can the CBA accuse the detecting fraternity of inaccuracy. Well done old son (Oooh, Mikey, you ought to be more careful who you climb into bed with!). Now, thanks to YOU, Barford, the CBA have been made to look utter fools in backing fantasy over fact. I am delighted…I’ve waited over thirty years for this moment, and, ironically, it’s all down to YOU! God Bless you, Sir!

Oh, what an asset to archaeology you are. What a star! Whether they’ll be drinking your health in York tonight is anyone’s guess; but rather suspect the detecting community will certainly be raising a glass! I imagine too, that a certain Doctor of our mutual acquaintance and his team will be bouncing off the walls in delight, and in fits of laughter, in downtown Bloomsbury tonight.

Large ones all round!

Hat tip to ‘Anonymous’…

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Consider Folks….

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits…

Albert Einstein

I’ll see y’all in the bar

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December 5, 2013

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A SIGN OF THE DIMES?

Tales of treasures lost and fortunes found litters American history.  Many of the tales dating to well over a century ago are born out of the days known as the Wild West. It’s the stuff of Hollywood legend and matinee idols, of the kind that made screen heroes out of Randolph Scott (a particular favourite), Gary Cooper (and you didn’t mess with him when he’d had more than two-fingers of Rub o’ the Brush), war hero Audie Murphy (Shane), and Rory Calhoun (known for his portrayal of The Texan) notwithstanding his time as a hoodlum who robbed a ‘jeweler’s store,  stole a car, drove it across a state line making it a federal offence.  He did three years in the Springfield, Missouri, penitentiary, finishing his incarceration in San Quentin). He made good  and became a movie star.  But my all-time favourite, was Ray Danton, star of The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960) and The George Raft Story. All these guys added to the romantic  mystique of the pioneer West where truth and fiction blended seamlessly. However….

barberdimeOne particular treasure tale still remains cloaked in controversy. It concerns the so-called Colorado Dimes Incident, where barrels of freshly minted, silver 1907 Barber Dimes, reckoned today to be worth around $4-million to the finder, went AWOL in mysterious circumstances.  So what makes these particular Barbers so special? Though some 4,080,000 were struck from 90% silver and 10% copper bearing the ‘D’ of the Denver mint, few ‘D’ Barbers exist today in really good condition, whereas the lost coins if found will be in excellent condition and highly prized. “This coin is tough to find in AU and MS” according to the David Lawrence Rare Coins Blog.

Numismatists are divided in their opinions; some reckon that the 1907 Barber Dime is, inexplicably, one of the rarest American coin types, especially in Fine condition even though over four million were minted.  Others say precisely the opposite. Today, just a handful exist in reasonably good condition. So who’s right?  Depends who you listen to.

The story goes that in 1907, a shipment of these silver Barbers Dimes, were packed in a number of barrels at the Denver Mint, Colorado, and put aboard a Phoenix-bound wagon train.  Neither they, nor any of the wagon train crew arrived at the intended destination.  Somewhere along the trail they and the Dimes vanished from the face of the earth.  Speculation abounds as to their fate:  Were they prey to outlaws?  Or did the wagon crew make off with them, or, as some treasure hunters believe, the wagon train fell victim to the treacherous terrain, possibly toppling into Black Canyon.  Maybe even, the wagon train was swamped as it tried to ford the Gunnison River.  My money (yeah, I know, a dumb-ass Limey), is on the latter and somewhere close to the Gunnison River’s Diversion Dam.

No one knows for sure the shipment’s precise fate, but if you could get your hands on the contents of those barrels you could be looking at a great payday at today’s prices.  Good luck!

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IT’S WACKY WALLY TIME!

In one of his poorly written, near impenetrable blogs, Barford again rants and rages at Tekkies, rounding off his outburst with the best throwaway line in years:

“Tekkie-Apologetic Winter [he means the excellent writer, John Winter] and his lowbrow-conspiracy-theory fellows are really getting pathetic with their childish denials. Just what do they  take the rest of us for?”

I’m not sure about the rest Barford, but I know what many take you for (including some arkies) and it rhymes with Rick!

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Consider…

Laughter will be bereaved when intellectual snobbery dies…

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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November 30, 2013

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TARRED WITH THE SAME BRUSH?

The Daily Telegraph (November 27) reported that damage to a cricket pitch in the village of Lacock, Wiltshire, was the work of “treasure hunters” armed with metal detectors who’d dug holes all over the pitch.

The secretary of the Lacock Cricket Club, who also tends the pitch, told the Daily Telegraph, the initial attack occurred in late August, but further damage occurred in October.  A Wiltshire Police spokesperson added that it was “thought someone had been using a metal detector” which resulted in the digging of holes.

Now, IF this damage is proven to the actions of a rogue metal detector user making a clandestine (presumably nocturnal) search of the cricket pitch and is eventually caught, then they must face the full weight of the law. However, apart from holes appearing across the pitch, no evidence exists to link this damage to a metal detectors user, so why assume and accuse the entire metal detecting community on such flimsy evidence?  Quite simply, someone has put two and two together and made FIVE!  For example you never hear of an armed bank heist being attributed to a skeet shooter simply because they use shotguns too, or, the getaway wheelman described as and Indie Car driver.

The salient point in all this business is where the Daily Telegraph quotes a police source as; “It is thought that someone has been using a metal detector.  And as a result, has been digging holes.”  Who put that idea into their heads I wonder?  Had this damage been attributed to black people, Eastern European immigrants, or Muslims, for example, on evidence this slender, there would rightly be uproar. There are other possibilities too: Perhaps the damage is a result of someone having grudge against the club; someone worm-gathering for fishing bait; moles; an archaeologist perhaps who’s trying to blacken the hobby; or even rabbits. I am a metal detecting treasure hunter which makes me a suspect too along with every other detectorist in the UK.  Who will clear our names?

If you have any information concerning this incident contact: Wiltshire Police Headquarters, London Rd, Devizes, SN10 2DN, Wiltshire.  www.wiltshire-pa.gov.uk.  If you are a metal detectorist who objects to this kind of casual assumption of guilt…complain.  I have…to the Wiltshire Police Commissioner.

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ON A TRANS-ATLANTIC CROSSING

On a plane outbound from New York to London, an attractive lady sat next to hunk of a man, rugged, and squared jawed (not unlike Stouty).  She was quite attracted to him.

“Ya’ll on business then?” says the hunk.

“Well sort of,” she replies. “I’m an archaeo-anthropologist and am giving a lecture in London.”.

“What subject are you lecturing on,” replies the hunk.

“Well, actually my research shows that Native American men have the longest organs, and that Polish men have the greatest circumference of  the male member. A combination of the two is irresistible to most women.”

“Wow”, says the hunk.

“What do you do?” says the lady archaeo-anthropologist.

“I’m an international treasure hunter,” he replies.

“Pleased to meet you,” she says, “My name is Sadie.”

“Pleased to meet you,” says the hunk, “My name is Tonto Kowalski.”

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Consider…..

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.….John F. Kennedy

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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November 25, 2013

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WARSAW WALLY’S WORLD…THE ‘UTTER’ DREGS

An occasional hilarity update from the Barford Blog (complete with Barfordese grammar)

“Cue a whole load of sly tekkie nastiness and the usual sock-puppetry that Heritage Journal suffers from those that serve as the only voice of the community. Or will we hear from some of  the truly decent metal detector users who too are disturbed by the all-too-vague notion of “responsibility” used in blanket form towards this exploitive and destructive hobby? Are there any out  there?”

COMMENT: The world regularly hears from responsible detectorists daily (or ‘Heritage Heroes’ as UK Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey rightly describes them).  The famed Portable Antiquities Scheme is their internationally admired register that provides the basis for serious and ongoing academic study (see previous Mal Sal for details). Without wanting to seem overly harsh, the now widely discredited and  propagandist, crackpot, fact-free, Erosion Counter; a nonsense dreamed-up in a garden shed in a fit of pique by archaeology-supporting anti-detectorists, offers  nothing to the historical record. Why, or how, the CBA’s Director allowed his organization to be sucked in to supporting the ludicrous AEC is anyone’s guess and it didn’t go unnoticed.  The fact that it was, is great news for metal detecting!  At least, we as a hobby, support accuracy!

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And the Americans get a tongue-lashing too (near impenetrable Barfordese included) :

“Have a look at what concerns metal detectorists in the USA – apart from their apparent lack of understanding what constitutes a “conflict of interest” in professional archaeology.”

COMMENT: He’s really upset by the slogan, I Am A Metal Detectorist and I Vote. Hardly surprising really, since in 1986,  Warsaw Wally emigrated to Communist Poland where democratic freedom via the ballot-box was not widely encouraged!

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Foot in Mouth Disease!

If you’ve been off the planet for a few years, you won’t know that Paul Barford (Warsaw Wally) is both a Brit and an archaeo-blogger who describes himself as a ‘suntanned sushi lover living in Warsaw,’ Poland. He is virulently anti-detecting, hates private collectors, and often describes detectorists as uneducated and unable to express themselves coherently.  His running mate is another Brit, Nigel Swift (Heritage Harry), who edits the very sad blog, Heritage Journal.  Both are a constant source of huge global amusement, though some tend to take them seriously. It’s mainly through exposure on this blog that either of these two clowns reaches an audience outside their closest acolytes.

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Consider….

There are two ways of lying. The first  is by not telling the truth and the other is making up statistics…

I’ll see y’all in the bar

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November 21, 2013

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SO, WHERE IS THE MAP TO $50 MILLION?

Wednesday October 23rd 1935 was not a good day for one Arthur S. Flegenheimer.  Early evening that day he was enjoying a meal in one of Newark, New Jersey’s top eateries, the   Palace Chop House and Tavern with three of his cronies; Otto “Abbadabba” Berman, Bernie “Lulu” Rosencrantz, and Abe Landau. At 10.15pm two professional hitmen entered the Chop House; Charlie “The Bug” Workman and Mendy Weiss. Workman armed with a handgun and Weiss (the back-up man) with a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. In a classic mafia ‘hit,’  Berman, Rosencrantz, and Landau got it first – all shot several times as they sat at their table and dying within minutes.  Realizing Flegenheimer was missing from the table, Workman ran to the mens’ washroom where he found his quarry and shot him in the chest using rust-covered bullets to induce septicaemia should he survive the gunshots. In a matter of minutes,  the violent criminal career of one of America’s most iconic mobsters, Arthur S. Flegenheimer, more popularly known as ‘Dutch’ Schultz, came to an abrupt and violent end.

Not the best meal ever...

Not the best meal ever…

Fatally wounded by the bullet having ricocheted around his guts before exiting through his lower back, Schultz hovered n the brink of eternity for almost twenty-four hours.  Even with the wound causing severe internal bleeding which by now had become infected as Workman had intended, Schultz resolutely adhered to the Mafiosi’s  Code of Omerta, or code of silence, refusing to say who had shot him, or why.

In hospital, with his condition rapidly deteriorating and the fever increasing, and now drifting in and out of consciousness, often rambling and mumbling the  unfathomable, “The glove will fit what I say,” and “The sidewalk was in trouble, and the bears were in trouble,” the police brought in a bedside stenographer to record everything Schultz uttered. At 8.30pm the following day Schultz met his Maker.

Following his death Federal agents and members of the New York, and New Jersey Police forces tried in vain to make sense of his deathbed ramblings, but all to no avail.  Nevertheless, Schultz who’d made millions from bootlegging, the numbers rackets, prostitution, and other nefarious business deals, left an intriguing legacy shrouded in mystery.  For years the IRS had unsuccessfully tried to nail him but finally succeeded in bringing him before a Grand Jury on federal income tax evasion charges in mid-1935 but was acquitted;  however, the IRS had other tax evasion indictments in reserve. No doubt fearing a potential lengthy prison term, Schultz helped by two trusted bodyguards, “Lulu” Rosencrantz, and Marty Krompier, prepared a ‘nest egg’ by stashing away some $7-million ($50-million at today’s value), in gold coins, diamonds, and cash, all packed into a metal safe.

Schultz and Rosencrantz drove to the Catskills where they buried the safe, some say, on the banks of Esopus Creek.  Other rumors suggest he buried the safe near the trunk of a tree, marked with an “X” carved into it, somewhere near Phoenicia, New York.  Rosencrantz and Krompier were sworn to secrecy, but “Lulu” couldn’t keep his mouth shut and told Krompier where the treasure was buried, and about the map. The location of the cache remains unknown to this day, for soon after its burial, the only two men who knew the secret location were mown down in what became known as The Chophouse Massacre, leaving only Marty Krompier with an inkling of the treasure’s location. Krompier’s luck ran out when two gunmen tracked  him to a barber’s shop in New York City, where they gunned him down and stole the map. Miraculously, Krompier survived the shooting, but without the map was unable to locate Schultz’s  fortune.

Where is the map today? Who Knows?

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Dutch Schultz

In 2001, American journalist and author, Stephen J Dubner, wrote an engaging article for the New Yorker, Dutch Schultz’s Millions”…the treasure was buried near three pine trees.  Or maybe beneath a lone poplar, or fourteen feet from a big sycamore.  Schultz definitely carved an X in the tree,….. one pesky treasure hunter has since carved X’s on a number of trees to throw off the competition.  Some people believed that Schultz stashed the treasure outside of town beneath a rock outcropping known as Devil’s  Face. (This theory stems from a line in Schultz’s famously incoherent deathbed ramble: “Mother is the best bet, and don’t let Satan draw you too fast”).

The New York Times reported in 1997;  “The story goes that shortly before he was gunned down in a Newark restaurant, Schultz drove to the Catskill village of Phoenicia — one  of his regular haunts — and buried a metal box packed with diamonds, gold, and $1,000 bills.  Ever since, rumors have rippled and faded. The treasure is near a stand of big pine  trees. It is buried by the Esopus Creek.  It lies on a straight line between Mount Tobias and Panther Mountain.  Treasure seekers regularly pass through Phoenicia, laden with books, spades, metal detectors and dreams…”

If however you’re tempted to search for Schultz’s treasure then apart from a reliable metal detector, you might want to take along a bullet-proof vest — the Mafia also would  like to get their hands on the cache.  Gangland lore holds that Schultz’s enemies — including ‘Lucky’ Luciano — spent the remainder of their lives searching for the safe.

I guess I’ll pass on this cache!!

Safe hunting!

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THE THINGS HE SAYS…

“The twentieth century was brutal for very many people and communities, and a lot of that brutality was due to their perceived “Otherness”. The recognition by us all of the  importance of this cultural variety is why states are encouraged to respect and preserve the cultural property of various groups, living or vanished, within their borders.”

Paul Barford, describes himself as a “Suntanned sushi lover living and working in Warsaw Poland”  in 1986 he emigrated to Communist Poland where brutality and murder were part  and parcel of the vile political system he embraced; was employed by; and later warmly thanked for the help he received in connection with a book he authored.

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BOB’S BUG!

Flicking through my new (signed) copy of Robert H. Sickler’s extremely entertaining and educational read, DETECTORISTA How-To Guide to Better Metal Detecting, recently, my eye was taken by an illustration of a particularly revolting Deer Tick (page 4-2). Wondering what such a beast had to do with metal detecting I read on….and wish I hadn’t!

In describing the pitfalls of wearing unsuitable clothing when out hunting he outlines how the eight-legged, blood-sucking, Ixodes Dammini, creeps into one’s clothing  and heads for the armpits; behind the ears; scalp; and horror of horrors, the groin. Three or four sentences into Chapter Four, and I was already scratching various body parts in  subconscious reaction.

Cop this for a sample horror story as Bob relates: “deer ticks’ carry what is known as Lyme disease. The number of ticks and the people who have been bitten continues to  climb toward epidemic proportions. This disease can cause arthritic crippling, nervous system malfunction, heart problems and a list of other serious problems. Am I trying to  scare you? Yes I am!” You sure did!

Thankfully, for me at least, these bugs mainly hang out,…” in parts of New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut…”  and the Catskills no doubt; so if you’re going after  Dutch Schultz’s treasure, keep a wary eye for Deer Ticks carrying violin cases!

DETECTORIST is a well written book and gives the reader the facts, plain and simple, though I must say, it’s not solely limited to ‘newbies’. If this slightly larger than A4-size edition could be down-sized to A5-Paperback, it would make a handy companion on a trans-Atlantic flight.  That said, it’s still an enjoyable, comfortable, feet-up, large Scotch-sipping fireside read.

“THE DETECTORIST – A How-To Guide to Better Metal Detecting

is published by:

Robert H Sickler

http://www.rhsdesign.com/artist.htm

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Remember….

If you’re not on somebody’s shit list, you’re not doing anything worthwhile…

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

************

November 15, 2013

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THIS FROM THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DAILY NEWS:

Finders Keepers? Not Always in Treasure Hunting

Digging into archaeology law in the U.K. and U.S.

What about exporting the British scheme [the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Ed] to the United States?

“It wouldn’t work here,” said Chris Espenshade, a consulting archaeologist for Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group in Michigan. “It’s contrary to our culture.” It’s the mindset of “It’s my property and I’ll do what I want” and an American individualism that expresses itself in  “no trespassing” signs.

“Furthermore, said Espenshade, “We don’t have that kind of treasure in the United States. Most of the people out metal detecting aren’t finding big  money items. It’s not a Celtic gold broach. It’s a lead minie ball [an old bullet].”

“Still, he admitted, the compensation afforded by the United Kingdom’s laws mitigates the idea that a finder should give away a treasure and not  get anything in return.”

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COMMENT: In Espenshade’s view, American cultural considerations and mind set, negates a UK-style PAS system to a non-starter Stateside, but I wonder  what America’s thousands of detectorists make of it all? Indeed, there are archaeologists out there who I suspect would warmly welcome such a system.  Has anyone asked either of their opinions? There are many buried objects of importance to the US historical record waiting discovery by pro-active metal detectorists. Historical artefacts of any age are important to collectors and museums and Espenshade is way off the mark to suggest otherwise.  Archaeologists by their very nature, are re-active, usually called in by third-parties stumbling across a ‘feature’.
Not only is he completely off-beam, but flashes that haughty arrogance beloved of academics by taking it upon himself to put the case for thousands  of American detectorists, and for  all US archaeologists. Indeed, if ‘most of the people out metal detecting’ as he suggests — presumably he’s  an expert? — are only finding Minnie balls —  then  Florida’s law-makers ought to listen to him, and the State’s detecting community, and  abandon  the totalitarian anti-detecting laws of the kind ‘Uncle’ Joe Stalin would have thoroughly approved. I never ceased to be amazed by some American  politicians; on the one hand they are always first to send in the Marines in the cause of freedom, yet, are happy to entertain at home, that which  they send their  troops to die for, overseas.

Certainly, if US detectorists are finding only Minnie balls, why are some US archaeologists behaving like strutting Commissars in their attitude towards  US hobbyists?

Perhaps the opposition to a PAS-style system in the US is more fundamental. Maybe it’s because some highly-placed archaeological nabobs are anxious  to avoid at all costs the situation that exists in Britain where detectorists are storming away with fabulous finds; having TV programmes dedicated  to their finds, having the respect of Government Ministers, and generally capturing the public’s imagination?

In Britain, many heritage professionals owe their employment to detectorists and the plethora of artefacts they bring to the light of day. If ever  this tsunami of artefacts diminishes the mantra for a lot of these people will become, “Would you like fries with that?”

The prickly $64,000 question being dodged by our politicians is; what are we paying archaeologists for and are they value for money? Obscenely, only  archaeologists are permitted to answer this conundrum …whereas the tax-payer is left out of the equation. This must stop and stop now!

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FUNNY FREEDOMS OF SPEECH?

At the height of the Cold War two diplomats on opposing sides met in the bar of the United Nations building in New York:

A US Diplomat explains to a Soviet Russian Diplomat what democracy means; “In America I have the freedom to call President Reagan and the UK’s  Prime Minister Thatcher, dickheads!”

Unimpressed, the Soviet Russian Diplomat shrugs; “So what? In Russia I also have the freedom to call President Reagan and the UK’s Prime Minister Thatcher,  dickheads.”

Later on in the conversation, an English diplomat joins them at the bar, and turning to his Soviet Russian counterpart, says, “Y’know, Ivanovich,  we in England have the best secret service in the world. All our top agents were educated at Cambridge University.”

The Soviet Russian downs his vodka and replies, “Yes, and so were ours.”

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JAILBIRD ARKIES

In 1986, three Polish archaeologists find themselves locked up by the Secret State Police, and they ask each other what they’re in for.  The first arkie says:

“I was always ten minutes late on the dig so I was accused of sabotage.”

The second arkie says: “I was always ten minutes early on the dig, so I was accused of espionage.”

The third arkie says: “I always got to the dig on time, so I was accused of having a Western watch.”

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WARSAW TAXI DRIVERS

Why do ex-SB* officers   make the best Warsaw taxi drivers?  Because you only need to tell them your name and they’ll already know where you live!

*(Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), or SB, was established in the People’s Republic of Poland in 1954. It was the main security  organization in Poland after 1956. It tortured and executed anyone suspected to be a dissenter.

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ROBBING THE HISTORICAL RECORD

Is it right for amateur archaeological clubs (those whose allegiance is to the Council for British Archaeology) to be allowed to stroll at  will across our green and pleasant land gathering flint tools and collectable pottery shards without even a nod towards a Code of Conduct; without  Third Party Insurance, or even telling the landowner, or even recording what they’ve ‘liberated’? Of course it isn’t. With orthodox archaeology types  well in the minority, their well-meaning but ill-structured interference in the historical record is damaging.

All of which illustrates how more seriously detectorists are about accurately recording the heritage (see the PAS database) than the unstructured  mish-mash of (often) ageing middle-class Leftists, bleeding-heart liberals, Guardian readers, and those from that strata of society who wear white  poppies (for surrender?) on Remembrance Day; all of whom earnestly believe the heritage is their preserve, and playground, to the exclusion of everyone else.

There’s little more galling than to discover that a platoon of  these bobble-hatted duffers have been out on a Sunday afternoon ramble, gathering  God-knows-what from a site we have been researching and recording. The loss of data must be immense.

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I’ll see y’all in the bar!

************

November 12, 2013

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SIZE MATTERS IF YOU WANT MAXIMUM DEPTH!

Yep, it’s true; size really matters. A large diameter coil will get you down to the depths where the big money lurks, especially on anything above coin-sized.  Most ‘two-box’ types, or ‘depth multipliers’ will easily locate a 6”x6” metal cube to well over three feet depth; ideal if you are  hunting the periphery of a non-scheduled roman, or other habitation site.  In my experience, many hoards come from the ‘outer limits’ of such locations having been originally stashed away by indigenous Romano-Brits as a hedge against civil unrest.  My Garrett Groundhog with a Depth Multiplier was/is truly awesome. The Fisher equivalent was, I’m told, similarly impressive, though I have no personal experience of its performance.

Many fabulous hoards have come to light in the UK at least, falling to ‘ordinary’ detectors responding to sizeable hoard-targets, so maybe, hoard locators are not really required?  It’s a moot point.  However, when I and my late friend Ron Scearce worked newly-acquired farmland we always ‘sterilised’ it by sweeping a Groundhog ADS-mounted Depth Multiplier, a task that took several days. Thereafter we knew the land was hoard-sterile before getting down to the serious business of finding and plotting single coin finds, brooches, and the other paraphernalia in the plough soil.

Nowadays, I spend more time looking for gold, and coins, and my ATPro International serves me well and the 8×11 coil does the biz, though the 4×5 Super Sniper really opens up the trashy areas.  For greater depth my Sea Hunter II pi with the large coil is peerless.

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THE PAS MARCHES ON!

Amazingly, the Portable Antiquities Scheme Database is soon to reach its ONE Millionth artefact,  so it’s hardly surprising that UK Culture  Minister Ed Vaizey is so very impressed with the UK’s detectorists and treasure hunters.  They have certainly repaid, with a phenomenal range of artefacts,  the Governments’s money invested in the Portable Antiquities Scheme. We have every reason to be proud of the PAS database without which, the heritage  and academic study would be so much poorer.

But questions need to be asked, not least among them: Is archaeology, overall, giving the hard-pressed tax-payer, value for money?  Hmmm,…doubtful.  Indeed, if archaeology ceased to exist tomorrow, what effect would that have on society? Not a lot some say.  Apart from its more hard-working exponents,  who in the main do a good job, archaeology bears all the hallmarks of a being an over-populated,  taxpayer-funded, gravy train;  English Heritage is rumoured  to have removed the wool from its eyes and lopped 1600 staff from its payroll. The PAS on the other hand, offers greater value involving public participation  on a grand scale, much to the annoyance of the intellectually threadbare.

Internationally respected numismatist, California-based David Welsh, sums it up succinctly,

“There will always be extremists who will howl about  “artifacts being ripped from the ground” thereby “destroying their context” and “imperiling the archaeological record.” It is becoming increasingly clear  that these howls have little to do with reality or common sense, and that those voicing them are very far from being representative of the archaeological  mainstream.”

Can anyone imagine our opponents refusing to use PAS-sourced artifact data?  Of course, they can’t admit to it whilst simultaneously slagging off the  database itself, the Culture Minister, the British Museum, PAS staff, and the UK public in general, can they?

Current PAS-based research projects are: Level of research:-

  • Undergraduate 50
  • Masters degrees 109
  • PhD level research 73
  • Large scale research AHRC 12
  • Major publication 18
  • Magazine or journal article 5
  • Desk based assessment 14
  • Major research (Leverhulme funded) 1
  • Personal research project 77
  • Archaeology society project 2
  • External project (UK only) 9  External project (International) 3
  • A-Level archaeology project 5
  • Total projects: 378

I was unable to locate any research projects based on, or funded by Heritage Action, or Paul Barford, though their combined bitching and whining about the PAS are freely available. Neither could I find anyone doing research based on their (widely discredited) Artefact Erosion Counter. Strange that,  innit?

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DEATH CERITIFCATE

During a murder trial, the defence attorney is cross-examining the coroner:

“Before you signed the death certificate, did you take the pulse, listen to the heart or check for breathing?”

“No.”

“So, when you signed the death certificate, you weren’t sure the man was dead, were you?”

“Well, the man’s brain was in a jar on my desk, but I suppose he could have still been practicing archaeology for a living.”

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OH DEARIE ME…SWIFT AND BARFORD DROP ANOTHER CLANGER!

The following  screaming banner headline appeared recently (28/7/13) on  Heritage Action’s HERITAGE JOURNAL blog (Editor, Nigel ‘Not Very’ Swift)  and raised more than a few laughs, even in Arkiedom.

“At last! Paul Barford and Mike Heyworth in total agreement”

Paul Barford did it in just 120 forthright words:“The PAS tries to make out that the “metal detecting community” is for the most part composed of  normal, concerned, responsible, intelligent folk engaged in a “study of the past”, but who are just misunderstood. They need to because the government  would not give them money otherwise. The actual picture is far more complex, the thrusting on us all of the PAS one-sided rose-tinted spectacle vision  totally obscures (and, shamefully, is meant to obscure) the huge element, an undercurrent, of individuals that are portrayed on this blog by the metaphorical  device of the fictional Thugwit Brothers. These are the people we need to take into account whenever assessing the hobby, not the 20% who can be brought  with varying degrees of success into the fold by persuasion and logic, but the 80% who are totally resistant to anything like that.”

Swift then adds; So the two of them are actually saying precisely the same thing (as am I). Paul and Mike, peas in a pod, united in thinking this bar chart can’t be  ignored…. Artefact Counter 2 as at March 2013 (chart attached)”  [At this point, Swift publishes the world famous and fact-free Artefact Erosion Counter, a propaganda  graph purporting to show  that over 11,000,000 artefacts have been dug-up since 1975, and nearly 3.5 million artefacts have NOT been reported to the UK’s  Portable Antiquities Scheme].

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Now, ya’ll might think this AEC stuff is powerful ju-ju from the Barford/Swift/CBA/Mike Heyworth Combo BUT, you’d be wrong.  Actually, Paul Barford did it not in 120 forthright words, but 140! However, you could well be forgiven for thinking that if Nigel Swift can’t count his own words accurately, or that 140 is beyond his ken, what credence can  be placed on his figures — presumably hoiked out of thin air —  for the Artefact Erosion Counter?  Obviously, none of course, and even on this staggeringly poor form, even if his figures had any semblance of truth, he’s still a staggering 1.5-million out!  So it’s not hard to understand why the AEC is so heavily discredited — even among archaeologists — and so widely  regarded as pura vitulum stercore!

Certainly feel free to quote me if this AEC fantasy raises its ugly head in the US if it’s bandied about as being an example of what’s happening in the UK.  The Portable Antiquities Database backed by the UK Government and the British Museum is where you’ll find the truth.

I am not alone in failing understand how the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) claims its Marsh Archaeology Award for example (for voluntary groups and  individuals active  in the UK),  which recognizes and promotes innovative and high quality dissemination of the results of research and/or fieldwork through publication, communication and archiving, gels with the blatant inaccuracies of the Swift/Barford/ AEC which  bears no relation to fact, let alone quality high dissemination. The CBA, before launching into any attacks on our hobby, really ought to make up its mind if it’s to retain any credibility; whether its’ either a ‘pro’ accuracy organization — like the PAS — or, it’s a vague guess-timate Barford-esque outfit. On present form it seems as though its been led blindfolded into a box canyon.  Behind the scenes murmurings  suggest changes on the horizon.

AND THEY CALL US A DANGER TO THE HERITAGE!!!!!

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UNITED NATIONS FUNNY

An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United Nations Assembly and made the world community smile.

A representative from Israel began: ‘Before beginning my talk I want to tell you something about Moses: When he struck the rock and it brought forth  water, he thought, “What a good opportunity to have a bath!” Moses removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the  water. When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Palestinian had stolen them!

The Palestinian representative at the UN jumped up furiously and shouted, “What are you talking about? The Palestinians weren’t there then.”

The Israeli representative smiled and said, “And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech.”

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Consider……

The tendency to whining and complaining may be taken as the surest sign of little souls and inferior intellects

.I’ll see y’all in the bar!

************

November 5, 2013

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WHIP CRACK AWAY!

I fail to comprehend the pleasure obtained from a visit to the eponymous ‘Miss Whiplash,’ let alone paying for the privilege of being whipped, thrashed,  and generally humiliated.  But ostensibly it seems, those who enjoy being demeaned (without the whips, chains, and physical pain), can have their noses rubbed in the excrement of others …..for free!

You want proof?  Then mosey over to Nigel Swift’s, Heritage Action blog, where under the heading, “Ed Vaizey insults every archaeologist and heritage professional!“,  scroll down to the comments section  and you’ll see someone known only as, ‘SDG Member,’ getting, and enjoying – evidently — the full treatment with all the extras.  Over on Paul Barford’s notorious anti-metal detecting blog, ‘SDG Member’ gets another humiliating exposition!

Barford and Swift’s humiliation of ‘SDG Member’ shows why these two odious creatures are so loathed by right thinking archaeologists and detectorists alike.  Whatever Culture Minister Ed Vaizey makes of them along with the insults they’ve hurled his way together with outrageous calls for his resignation, is anyone’s  guess.  Presumably, and in the absence of any condemnation, The Council for British Archaeology, and English Heritage, to name but two organizations with links to the Heritage Action blog, fully approve of Barford and Swift’s antics?

Why not contact the Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, and show your support for his sterling support of the PAS and metal detecting in general, and register your  revulsion at Barford and Swift. You’ll find him at … vaizeye@parliament.uk

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US ATTORNEY PETER TOMPA ON BARFORD!

Tompa is one of the great minds and opinion formers in world numismatics. What follows is taken from Peter Tompa’s recent blog:

“Even worse, one voice in the archaeological blogosphere [Barford. JH] has taken all this to an extreme.  Indeed, he goes so far as to demand that what  should be considered good news instead requires the resignation of the responsible Government Minister.[Ed Vaizey. JH]

Rather than celebrating the knowledge that has come from these finds, he instead claims these artifacts are better better left in the ground for future  archaeologists to discover.  But that is pure fantasy.  Archaeologists will always be few in number.  Their digs will always concentrate on significant sites,  not the farmer’s fields where most treasure is found.  And while we are waiting, it’s much more likely that the artifacts themselves will be lost through deterioration  and development.

Luckily, most real archaeologists in the United Kingdom have made peace with metal detectorists. They recognize that the Treasure Act, the Portable Antiquities  Scheme, and the knowledge of and preservation of artifacts they bring benefits all.   So let’s all celebrate the latest finds in England and Wales and salute t he heritage heroes of the archaeological and metal detecting communities that have made it all possible.”

Peter Tompa has collected ancient coins for thirty years. He has written and lectured about cultural property issues for a decade. He is a contributor to a  chapter on numismatics in K. Fitz Gibbon ed., “Who Owns the Past?” (Rutgers 2005). He has lobbied members of the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch in an  effort to ensure that the small businesses of the numismatic trade receive fair treatment from federal regulators. He currently serves as a board member of  the Cultural Policy Research Institute and the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild. He also has been a vice-chair of the American Bar Association’s Art & Cultural Heritage  Law Committee. His advocacy has received notice in the media, including the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Art Newspaper and the Voice of America. He hopes his  views as a collector and lawyer will provide a counterpoint to the “archaeology over all” perspective found in most blogs about cultural property issues.  This Web page is a public resource for general information and opinion about cultural property issues, and is not intended to be a source for legal advice.

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CONSIDER…..

“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of their fellow beings..” Mahatma Ghandi

I’ll see y’all in the bar

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October 27, 2013

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JUST FOR FUN!

Comrades…

In 1986 during the Cold War, a Russian and a Polish archaeologist were excavating an ancient site when the Polish arkie hits his shovel against something hard in  the ground. Both work hurriedly to dig the object out to discover it’s a treasure chest. Opening it they find jewels, coins, and gold trinkets beyond their wildest dreams.  They dance round in excitement.

When they have calmed down, the Russian takes the Polish arkie’s hand and earnestly says; “Tovarisch, we will share this just like Russian  and  Polish comrades  always do,” to which the  Polish arkie replies, “F**k off! It’s 50 – 50”!

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THE QUICK AND THE ACADEMIC

Two arkies and a treasure hunter die in a car accident and are met by St Peter at the Pearly Gates, who asks them, “When you are in your casket and  your friends and family are mourning you, what would you like to hear them say about you?”

The first arkie says, “I would like them to say that I was a great archaeologist and a loving family man.”

The second archaeologist says, “I would like them to say that I was a caring husband and a great historian who made a huge difference to the heritage.”

The treasure hunter says, “I would like them to say — LOOK, he’s moving!”

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Two archaeologists, Paul and Nigel, found three unexploded hand grenades during an excavation, and decided to take them to the police station.

Paul: “What if one explodes before we get there?”

Nigel: “We’ll lie and say we only found two!”

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Paul, a disgruntled  arkie defects to Soviet Russia at the height of the Cold War.

“Welcome Comrade Pavel, to the worker’s Utopia,” says the Political Commissar, “Let me show you how good life is here in the East.”  Then he takes  the new recruit on a tour of Moscow’s top department stores, ones where only top Party members are allowed to shop.

“Look,” says the Commissar, “American cigarettes, Scotch whiskey, everything you could want.”

Pavel is amazed. “Very nice,” he stutters, “But what if the commies find out?”

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There’s a rumour going around that Paul B is giving up archaeo-blogging to become a football coach. He’s had all his teeth out and 52 seats  put in….

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Remember the words of Vladimir Lenin…(the arkies credo?)

It is true that liberty is precious; so precious, that it must be carefully rationed…

Das Vydanya!

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October 22, 2013

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SWITCHING OFF THE ‘PAUL BARFORD SPOTLIGHT’ (FOR THE TIME BEING AT LEAST…)

Over the past weeks there’s been too much ‘Barford’ in my column and I’ve in effect become his unpaid Publicity Manager, gaining him a wider audience than his own distorted blog warrants.
As we know, he’s a loathes all things metal detecting, American, the PAS, private collecting, relic hunting; and there’s nothing I, you, or anyone else can say or argue to the contrary, to stem the flood of sewage spewing from his ridiculous blog in the form of an unrelenting tirade of insults, vilifications, and gormless bile aimed at treasure, and relic hunters.
The tone and twisted content of what he writes,  aroused my suspicions that something was amiss; later confirmed by his flight from the Free West to live behind the Iron Curtain. That he has certain issues to overcome must be as nauseous to him as they are to all of us in the heritage sector. Nevertheless, with the right help, and in due time, I hope he’ll overcome them. In this at least, we should all wish him well.
It’s not so much what he writes that causes acrimony, but an especially unfortunate trait demonstrated by his ad hominen attacks and a cold and calculating use of a cancer victim to score argument points which is clearly unacceptable.
“The position of Ms McIntyre however became less than clear when a short while after she wrote an attack on the Heritage Action model, she started to receive certain sums of money from the very same metal detectorists for whom she had written her ‘critique’. Now, I am sure she needs that money for a good purpose, but it cannot be denied that this raises questions which cannot be ignored of a possible conflict of interest.”
Without doubt and in the minds of most reasonable people, he’s crossed the Rubicon of moral integrity.
David Welsh, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee, of the prestigious (American) Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, wrote on his excellent blog, along with others, weeks before ; my wife holds a doctorate in psychology, and she has explained to me that such behavior reveals a personality disorder characterized by narcissism and unrealistic, irrational fantasizing.
It is not in my remit to lampoon the afflicted….but the jury’s out on setting up a ‘Barford Therapy Fund’ as Arthur Houghton suggested…

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Consider….

You will be as much value to others as you have been to yourself…

Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC)

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

************

October 18, 2013

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FAKE LOOTING IS A LAUGHING MATTER

The World Monuments Fund (WMF) recently unveiled its 2014 World Monuments Watch programme. For the past decade and a half, the WMF has been turning the international spotlight on at-risk cultural, and heritage sites. It names five categories as the primary causes of damage and concern:

Aging ModernismWarTourismDevelopment&Ephemeral Value of HeritageConspicuous by its absence is that hoary old chestnut ‘looting,’ favoured by the Warsaw-based, ‘Scrabble-loving’ Paul Barford, and his side-kick, Heritage Action’s Nigel Swift  — their shorthand for  metal detecting/collecting/and all things evil!

Obviously, these two buffoons have ‘gilded the lily’ once too often — at least as far as this  hobby is concerned — which is perhaps why their crass twaddle has  been so studiously ignored by better informed professionals?

There is another reason of course. Could it be that someone on the WMF got wind of the now heavily discredited Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC) — phony figures posing as the statistically bona fide in which our two jesters had a significant hand —  and hasn’t stopped laughing since?

The archaeological community are surely wringing their hands in embarrassment at the antics of these two chumps;  being precisely the sort of people whose views  are so extreme that heritage professionals have got to be asking themselves the question: Whatever possessed the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) — usually  quite astute — to throw in its lot with Paul Barford and Nigel Swift in what has now become the AEC debacle?

More seriously, by association, the CBA with its tacit approval of the wholly amateurish, and therefore unsurprisingly, discredited AEC, binds all archaeologists by proxy — in the absence of any condemnation — in joint approval of Barford and Swift’s contempt, insults, and ridicule of the British Museum, the DCMS, and the  Portable Antiquities Scheme along with anything, and everyone, connected with it.

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THIS FROM BARFORD’S BLOG….(And he Reckons Tekkies are Dim!)

Garrett’s ATPro advertised by notorious anti-archaeological detectorist engaged for the purpose:

“An experienced user or a fast lea[r]ner will recoup the cost of this machine in the first year”.

What message does that give out?

MY REPLY:

Yes Pauly-Poohs, I am that ‘notorious anti-archaeological detectorist’ and author of the above quote — complete with the spelling bait —  taken from my very excellent, Malamute Saloon blog, one you’ve obligingly drawn attention to via your much lesser organ. The ‘ATPro International’ as you  thoughtfully repeated to your reader, has found me a small fortune in a tad over eighteen months.

I am however, at a bit of a loss as to how best to explain the quote in grown-ups words that you and your reader — being Hard-of-Understanding apparently — will comprehend (grasp)? Er…Um…let’s give it a go shall we? Are you sitting comfortably (easily)? …. It means, an experienced user or a fast learner  will recoup the cost of this machine in the first year. Though my Polish is not what it was, perhaps this is more helpful?

“doswiadczony uzytkownik lub szybko uczacy sie bedzie odzyskac koszt tej maszyny w pierwszym roku”.

Some of the English (Angielski) words that you are obviously (clearly) having trouble understanding (knowing), I’ve defined (made simpler) for you.

Experienced = skilled

User= operator

Recoup = recover, earn, regain

Machine = device, tool, engine

I hope this is helpful (caring, obliging). Thank you too for the spelling correction. Please note; I’d much prefer it if you’d refer to me as a Treasure Hunter.  I like the notorious label too…has a certain devil-may-care cachet about it.

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Remember folks…..

(For some unfathomable reason, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. spring to mind….)

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity“….

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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October 12, 2013

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GARRETT’S AT PRO INTERNATIONAL

I get the odd email — courtesy of Garrett’s Steve Moore — from irate individuals either unable or unwilling to come to terms with the vagaries of this  world-beating metal detector.  With a price tag of £595 in the UK ($890.00 or thereabouts Stateside) this machine is, in my view, backed by over three decades  at the sharp end of treasure hunting, the best metal detector in the value-for-money equation and is superior to many machines at twice the price. It’s a fact  not open to negotiation — I’m telling you straight.

John Howland, bartender at the Malamute Saloon, (see link above)

John Howland, bartender at the Malamute Saloon, (see link above)

“Ah,” I here you say, “You would say that, you’re on the Garrett payroll.” Actually, I ain’t and I was given an ATPro following my severe  beach testing of it during which I made it jump through hoops of fire over a number of weeks. Garrett’s Steve Moore initially said that at the end of the  test period I could keep it provided I allowed Garrett to use my name to back it. He got two words, and the second one was “off”.

After a little horse-trading the deal ironed out thus: I’d test the machine for  Garrett but if it went tits-up during testing I’d tell them they’d a real  turkey on their hands, but with an escape clause for me that they’d  take my name out of the equation. BUT, if was any good and met the criteria they  advertised it would meet, and I liked it, they’d let me keep it and I’d let them use my name in any advertising associated with it. The deal was done.

My opinions of the ATPro are already well ventilated, though I divert from Garrett’s advertising puffery in that it’s a switch-on-and-go type machine — it ain’t!  It will no more give you perfect results than will an inexperienced violinist picking up a Strad! But in the hands of an experienced user it produces sweet music  indeed. An experienced user or a fast leaner will recoup the cost of this machine in the first year.

If you need an additional coil, DON’T go large, GO small…either the 6.5”x9” (standard on the ATGold), or the ‘beach scalpel’ to slice through the junky areas,  the 4.5” Super Sniper.

Urban Myth 1: The ATPro is useless over salt water sand!

Urban Truth 1: It’s arguably the best non-pi machine on the beach or in the surf. Its Ground Balance is supreme.

Urban Myth 2: It ‘falses’ over wet sand.

Urban Truth 2:  No it doesn’t — that’s operator error! Read the handbook! Read it again, and again!

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TALKING OF HANDBOOKS

Irrespective of the make, your metal detector’s handbook is probably the best piece of equipment you’ll get your hands on. Read it, inwardly digest,  then read it again. Assemble the detector as per instructions; keep reading the handbook. Learn how it reacts audibly and visually to gold, silver, coins,  pull-tabs, and iron.

Check out your manufacturer’s online training videos and compare notes to your own findings before venturing forth into the field and when you do, take  the handbook with you. Even though you may well be a seasoned hunter, a new machine means a new learning curve so ease yourself gently into the learning  process. It will pay off!

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WHY?

Given the choice of resettlement, who — apart from dyed-in-the-wool Commies — would emigrate from the democratic Free West to live in the totalitarian,  Communist state of North Korea? Fast rewind.

Why would anyone want emigrate from the Free West in 1986 to live in the former Peoples Republic of Poland; a Communist state where incarceration without  trial, State torture, fast tracking to the Gulags, food rationing, along with all the other benefits of Communism, unless they were either on the KGB payroll,  politically naïve, or simply, plain daft?

Well, some people — not many — did precisely that. So far so good…but would you trust the judgement of a man who made that journey? Would you trust  anything such a man said or uttered? You probably wouldn’t.  You’d probably think (rightly, perhaps) his judgement was seriously flawed. Would you follow such  a man as a disciple? Probably not…but some people think his excrement is aromatic.  You’ll find them on a heritage blog near you!

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“The Nuremberg Defence”…of the (Heavily Discredited) Artefact Erosion Counter!

I was only following orders, guv…no, not me, I had nothing to do with it…I knew about it…so says, serial bull-shitter, and cat lover, Paul Barford:

“…The first point is that although I collaborated on this project, the counter is neither my idea or authorship…”.

The cracks are starting to appear….no guesses as to whom will be carrying the can when the AEC descends into the cesspit and held up to greater public scrutiny.

This then, is the level of ‘accuracy’ that mainstream archaeology allies itself. This hobby has no position to defend. Can we really trust the judgement  of so-called ‘experts’ who portray fiction as fact? Nope!

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Remember…..

“There are some people so addicted to exaggeration that they can’t tell the truth without lying…”

I’ll see y’all in the bar

************

October 7, 2013

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Now, where have I heard this sentiment before: The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.” Karl Marx .

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UNESCO…The Myopic Leading the Shady?

A friend who’s well placed to comment on the international trade in illicit antiquities, gave me the inside track on the ‘under-the-counter’ trade in  looted artifacts and antiquities particularly from Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and that favorite playground of light-fingered archaeologists, Afghanistan.

What’s happening is apparently par for the course in conflict zones. However, with the connivance of dubious museum curators who, along with even more  dubious heritage professionals out for a fast buck, ‘provenance’ of any artifact, can  apparently  be had for a price; be it cash, gold in the form of  Sovereigns or Krugerands, a ticket west, or even a kilo of good coffee.

Contrary to fringe archaeology’s (rabid) propagandists who manipulate the truth to suit their own anti-collecting agendas, metal detectorists  are NOT the conduit through which these looted artifacts are reaching the antiquities markets, museums, and those heritage professional who stash this  gear as a hedge against inflation.  This particular pipeline is much closer to home. For all its huffing and puffing against private collecting, the  politically motivated international archaeological lobby appears powerless to halt what appears to be a  lucrative trade in illicit antiquities.   Powerless?…Well..er, not exactly.  Some less-than-casual observers now believe the intention of these street-wise heritage wide-boys, is to set  running a false hare that the dogs of legislation will follow.  Some of the curbs being promulgated to achieve what will in the end be self-serving  draconian laws, is based on ‘evidence’ that ain’t quite as Kosher as they’d have you believe.

Undoubtedly some policymakers are solid ivory from the neck up, but the sharper ones know that if world can be led to believe it’s detectorists at the  cutting edge of  the illicit trade in antiquities, then the implementation of anti-detecting laws should – their view – be a cinch to enact! Then  it’s on to nailing down legal collectors.  Such legislation if enacted would serve three main purposes; protecting archaeological jobs; bringing  independent amateur involvement in heritage and cultural investigation under their strict say-so, and lastly bringing all the current legal heritage  ‘goodies’ and those still waiting discovery, firmly under their control. A cartel in fact.

The US-based, Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG), is typical of the ‘honorable trade’ fighting to reduce and expose relic theft, despite repellent  insults hurled at it by the notoriously offensive propagandist, the anti-collecting, anti-American, anti-metal detecting, and  pro-inaccuracy  archaeo-blogger, Paul Barford.  What Barford omits in his grossly flawed and strange outbursts, is that senior ACCG member, the widely respected  numismatist David Welsh, from Goleta, CA (as just one example), has done more to help curb this illicit trade, especially in coins, than the posturing  Barford will ever achieve.

Barford is to  accuracy what Yuri Geller is to spoons…

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Looking for your dagger Paul? I last saw it in Heyworth’s back…

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New Kids on the Block

In a convivial conversation at a local hostelry (over a few ales) with a farmer/landowning friend recently, he regaled me with tales a-plenty,  admitting  membership and a keen supporter of a certain amateur archaeological society whose name I am unable to reveal for reasons that will become obvious.

“Yeah, they’re a great bunch of people,” my friend told me, “And you’d really be interested in their private collections….coins, buckles, and  stuff. Fascinating. They’re all using metal detectors now y’know.”

Fascinating indeed! And not one item in those private collections registered with the PAS. I’ve no complaint about them having private collections, in  fact I’m all for it, but they really ought to tell someone about their finds, or the contents of their collections so that accurate records can be made.  Neither are these magpie archaeologists alone I suspect, having many counterparts up and down the country. Nothing wrong here on the face of it – just  wish they’d tell the PAS what they’ve got….just like we do.

So the question I’ve posed before raises its head yet again; should  amateur magpie archaeologists have some form of Code of Conduct/Practice;  one not dissimilar to our own, or,  is  legislation the answer to stem the loss of data?  The answer’s obvious of course… there must be something  place; but who in the archaeological community or its hierarchy, has the nous, or plain guts and forward thinking to demand that their own kind be brought  into line with the high standards set by the UK’s metal detectorists and the Portable Antiquities Scheme?

Losing precious data connected with unreported finds is as serious a loss we are told,  by archaeologists themselves, as the loss attributed   to spoils made by  criminals using metal detectors! Seems to me though, the real threat to the historical record is not from so-called  nighthawks – archaeological shorthand for rogue hobbyists – (proven by the £66,000 Nighthawking Report to be hardly a problem), but from a new menace;  what might be now labelled, well-meaning amateur archaeological Dayhawks! The libel laws prevent me from currently naming names, but some of those   written down on the back of a pub’s beer mat, came as no surprise at all.

(Note to Self: Must bring this to the attention of my Member of Parliament).

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A historian once told me that I had the heart of an archaeologist.

He was right, it sits in a jar on my desk.

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Remember….

We are not asking for superiority for we have always had that; all we ask is equality…

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

************

September 18, 2013

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KEEP SCHSTUM

Roy Rutledge made an interesting and thought-provoking comment on Stout Standards recently, that, “A couple of years ago you could go to the lake and find 75 to 100 coins and 2 or 3 rings with no problem. Now it is 25 to 30 coins ( if you are lucky ) and maybe one ring. Too many people with detectors.” There are two obvious answers; either he’s right and there really are too many detectorists out there, or, Roy’s lost his touch.

I doubt it’s the latter, as I guess he knows his locale better than most. So, is he right there are there too many hunters? Certainly metal detector  sales rocket in the wake of a major treasure find, but these machines soon appear for sale when their get-rich-quick hopefuls realize there’s a lot more to treasure hunting with a metal detector than they’d been led to believe. Then again, maybe there aren’t too many treasure hunters at all, just a few who’ve heard  of a great hunting location.

At the other end of the scale are those who, like a pal of mine, spent a small fortune on top-end fly-fishing gear, only to find that he wasn’t catching  the trout he thought he would. Any rod will catch fish; it’s the hand that uses it that brings success. It’s no different with our hobby.

Some inland hunters, God Bless ‘em, imagine beachcombing with a metal detector is an easy option to supplement the holiday budget.

I met and got into conversation with a detectorist on my local beach a few days ago. He was a somewhat taken aback that I guessed he was on holiday. It was easy I told him, since he was using the wrong metal detector, in the wrong places, with the wrong recovery tool. Therefore, it was obvious he was an inland hunter. It soon transpired he thought beach hunting was simply a matter of strolling onto the beach and filling his pockets with assorted coins and jewelry.  How wrong he was!

He was a little downcast when I told him that the cheapest and most basic of machines will find treasure on a beach, PROVIDED it’s used in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time! That knowledge is hard won through observation and putting in the hours on the beach. In the event, he followed my advice and headed off to a location nearby. I hope he did well.

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ETHICAL ARCHAEOLOGY – NEEDED NOW!

I have long been opposed to displaying human remains in museums or elsewhere under the guise of heritage. Yet this outrage is to be further advanced by  English Heritage with a  display of human bones at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre causing the Druid campaigner, King Arthur Pendragon to threaten, “the biggest protest in Europe,” if human bones are put on permanent display. Good luck to him in his quest.

He told BBC Wiltshire recently that, “English Heritage has two choices – they can either be world leaders and show the way to the rest of the world, or they can stick with the Victorian idea of ogling at the dead, in which case they would have the biggest protest in Europe because I would be leading it.”

Even that vacuous ensemble, Heritage Action (HA), those ambassadors for archaeological absurdity at the Court of Common Sense, have shown uncharacteristic rationality over this issue, though not I suspect out of any respect for the dead; but from the mercenary standpoint of ducking yet another archaeological scandal. The notion of guilt by association is writ large.

“Displaying human remains at the Visitor Centre isn’t essential to its central purpose the interpretation of the monument,” HA trills, “So the planned  display – which includes mounting an actual skeleton upright – is surely provocative, to say the least?”  Provocative indeed. Strangely they remain mute about mummies in the BM. It’s all another example of what happens when you leave archaeology to over-zealous, out-of-control archaeologists. On this showing there’s a real case for them to be subjected to public scrutiny and the prevailing mood of good taste.

If ever there was a perfect case for overseeing and bringing archaeology to heel, this Stonehenge debacle is it. It’s surely time to be asking government to set up an over-arching body comprised of non-archaeologists to which heritage hooligans would have to justify their repellent and/or money wasting fancies!

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GARRETT’S NEW ATX

It’s certainly triggered a bit of a to-do that’s for sure. The men-in-white-coats in downtown Garland are playing their cards close to their chests and at the time of writing, though the ATX has yet to be released onto the market, the pre-release advertising foreplay is doing its stuff and not least of all amongst non-Garrett users! But being a pi machine the ATX seems to have, on paper at least, the potential for a great, deep-seeking future, in areas where pi’s hold court; beaches, desert nugget hunting, and in areas of highly mineralized ground.

atx4

Being waterproof to three metres, compact, and with a hard, carry-case option, it’s destined to become the ‘must have’ machine for airborne treasure hunters wanting  to hit foreign beaches.

From what information I have gleaned from various sources, the ATX is the civilian version (I hope) of  Garrett’s  military spec,  RECON-PRO® AML-1000,  which sports Tone ID, giving  the operator  a low tone for most(?) ferrous and a high tone for most non-ferrous targets. If this is really the case, then Garrett’s  really do have a world class hobby/semi-pro machine on their hands, and experienced treasure hunters will recoup its MSRP: $2,495 (£1,560 approx.) price in double quick  time.

If in the fullness of time I can get my hands on an ATX and play about with it up in the dry sand, and below the High Tide Line….I’ll let you know!

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Remember…(Thomas Jefferson got it spot on)…

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty”

I’ll see you in the bar….

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September 10, 2013

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ET TU BRUTE?

Now that Stout Standards has left the nauseating, farce-aeologist Paul Barford floundering with his disciples in their own terminological inexactitudes,  its time to move on and lay these abysmal nonentities (or ‘victims’ of  Thugwittery as they nauseatingly like to portray themselves) along with the preposterous,  shoddy, and spineless Heritage Action to rest – at least for a few weeks anyway.  The civil war that’s about to erupt between Barshole, Heritage Harry and the gals,  and the Council for British Archaeology is on course for a behind-the-scenes eye-gouging Oscar showdown.  Watch and enjoy.

The way Barshole mercilessly shafted the Council for British Archaeology’s Grand Fromage, the hapless Dr. Mike Heyworth, in one of his notorious blogs,  was for me… piquant. A classic piece of academic treachery.

What I found to be the  most staggering aspect of this  debacle was Heyworth’s naivety  bearing mind Barshole’s well-known track record for inaccuracy;  spectacularly highlighted in Stout Standards when the now heavily discredited Artefact Erosion Counter was exposed as complete fact-free bunkum – which left the  CBA , who gave it a tacit thumbs-up, with egg all over its academic chops.

Obviously, either poor old Mikey’s not savvy enough, or too trusting perhaps, to take on board the fact that  to stab someone in the back you first have to get  behind them…a fact  he’s discovered to his cost.

Tough luck Mikey, but that’s showbiz! But if it’s any consolation Mikey, Barshole behaved like a complete turd!

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Remember….(the words of Aeschylus)

“I have learned to hate all traitors, and there is no disease that I spit on more than treachery”

I’ll see you in the bar..

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August 30, 2013

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STOP THE PRESS! LATE UPDATE!

According to Barford’s latest blog of inaccuracies, he still reckons (as of the 30th August) that:-

“The Bosworth Boar (object number five) again was not found accidentally by “a member of the public” but as part of a multi-disciplinary archaeological research.  How many more of the “100 objects” were similarly misrepresented in the interests of the program’s fluff-propaganda for collecting is anyone’s guess.” And still  Barford can’t get his facts right!

  1. The Bosworth Boar WAS NOT Item #5 on the Television program, Britain’s Secret Treasures
  2. Item #5 in that superb program WAS the Chiddingly, Sussex ‘boar’
  3. It was found by a member of the public.

Again, this from the man who professes accuracy of his own calling (whatever that might be), whist slagging off all relic hunters, and now falling out with CBA Director, Mike Heyworth, whom he accuses along with Dr. Roger Bland Head of the PAS by posing the question;

“Quite why the PAS (and the Director of the CBA) felt they had to engage in this unprofessional deceit is anyone’s guess.”

More to the point perhaps, it’s anyone’s guess why Paul Barford can’t or won’t get his facts straight.  On this form, God knows what credence anyone can now place on anything he writes.

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SPOT THE DIFFERENCE! BARFORD CAN’T!!!

The Portable Antiquities Scheme introduction reads:-

“The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a DCMS [ Department of Culture, Media and Sport] funded project to encourage the voluntary recording of archaeological  objects found by members of the public in England and Wales. Every year many thousands of objects are discovered, many of these by metal-detector users, but also by  people whilst out walking, gardening or going about their daily work.  Such discoveries offer an important source for understanding our past.”

Some archaeologists consider themselves a bit special and well apart from the common herd or the Great Unwashed.  Leading the charge of a handful of Truth Benders,  is unsurprisingly, our old pal, Paul Barford, the Warsaw-based ‘historian’ who not only is somewhat coy about his archaeological qualifications; but is the same man  who gave up life in the Free West to live under Communism in Poland in 1986 just at a time when the Poles were trying to rid themselves of Soviet-imposed Communism.

In a superb piece of propaganda worthy of the Nazi’s Dr. Goebbels, he asserts loftily that  the silver-gilt boar badge depicted on the PAS website was not found by a  Tekkie, but an archaeologist!  How come?   Simply that the Tekkies who joined Dr. Foard’s battlefield research team to locate the true site of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth were paid for their time and expenses,  suddenly morphing them into arkies.

Paul ‘Boy Blunder’ Barford reckons that because (odd grammar capitals included), “…they were paid.  In other words they were at the time part of the archaeological  project,.  So much so that when one found a silver badge (The Bosworth Boar), they did not get a Treasure reward, as archaeologists are not eligible.  (Its inclusion as  object number 5 in the PAS pro-tekkie propaganda programme “Britain’s Secret treasures” is another manipulation of the truth, it was not “found by a member of the public  but by a professional archaeological team).

But where Boy Blunder  the ‘historian’ gets it completely wrong and makes an unholy mess of the facts (no wonder he remains coy about his qualifications!!) is that the boar shown on the PAS website is not the same one as that found by Dr. Foard’s team (theirs came from the battlefield site!)  The PAS boar was found at Chiddingly,  Sussex, some 166 miles south of where the Battle of Bosworth took place!  The PAS describe ‘their boar’ thus:  ‘Boar Badge of Richard III from Chiddingly, Sussex. Featured at number 5 on Britain’s Secret Treasures.’

Can you spot the difference:Boars So much then for the accuracy of the Barford’s other fanciful creation; the  Artifact Erosion Counter…Ho, Ho!____________________________________

RECKLESS RELIC HUNTERS -REGTON TO THE RESCUE!

Some Tekkies overcome at the excitement of a great find have been known to wander off in a daze leaving their Garrett Pro-Pointers at the find-spot!  With the World’s best pin-pointer costing around ninety quid a throw, it’s an expensive but easily committed error. But help for the scatter-brained is  available.

Enter a natty little gadget from Regton Ltd, the, Expandable Coiled Lanyard for Pinpoint Probes with the Security Attachment for your Garrett  Pro-pointer, costing around £18.00. Phone early and you’ll be surprised at the rapid return of your order! Faster than a Red Star parcel!

If on the other hand your machine’s gone belly-up then expect the same sparkling service from the lads and lasses at Regton, where they’ll even collect  your metal detector for repair. One of mine developed a problem and from the time of making the early phone call to getting back out on the beach, was  just four days!

Further details available from Regton Ltd, Cliveland Street, Birmingham, B19 3SN, or, have a look at their wonderful website; Regton, Ltd.

Tel: 0121 359 2379 Email: sales@regton.com

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For some unexplained reason,  the words of former US President, Harry S. Truman, spring to mind:

“Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he’d lie  just to keep his hand in”.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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August 28, 2013

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A WIN, WIN SITUATION

Liaising with detectorists working under his direction helped Dr. Glen Foard and his team prove the Battle of Bosworth fought in 1485 took place not at Ambion Hill, Leicestershire, but two miles away on low-lying ground bordered by a marsh known as Fen Hole. The battle marked the last major conflict of the Wars  of the Roses.

Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians and their commander, Henry Tudor, went on to become first of the Tudor Dynasty to take the English  throne. His adversary Richard III died in the battle. Six hundred years later, Richard III’s remains were excavated from under a Leicester car park. Argument and  controversy rages as to where his bones will finally lay to rest. Some favour York, others Leicester.

In recent years some historians have cast serious doubts on the battle’s time-honoured location. To settle the matter, Dr Glen Foard was called in by Leicestershire  County Council. He in turn enlisted the help of dedicated metal detecting enthusiasts and in March 2009, a 30mm lead ball was recovered with many more relics coming to  light from the Fen Hole site, proving yet again, metal detectors in the right hands are invaluable tools in locating the sites of battlefields, skirmishes, meeting places,  fairs, and the like. Being a keen artilleryman, Richard III probably chose the flat, Fen Hole site, where his guns could be used to maximum and devastating effect.   Henry’s troops aware of the danger, and using the protection of the marshland, outflanked Richard’s artillery.

Significantly, the ‘Brat Pack’ are curiously silent about Dr. Foard’s co-operation with detectorists, though highly vocal and insulting to amateur archaeologists  doing the same thing elsewhere! I wonder why?

All credit to the detectorists involved; and presumably will be ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ and whether this ‘Bosworth Example’ evolves into the blue-print for  co-operation, only time will tell. Importantly too, Dr Foard informs me….” The detectorists from the core detecting team were indeed reimbursed.”

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“….THAT IS THE QUESTION”

On the subject of books written by archaeologists based on their excavations, critics allege  they are in effect, being paid twice the same job; firstly from  their salaries, or initial contract fees, and secondly, from any royalties realised from follow-up tomes. The academic value of these books is open to speculation  bearing mind an excavation/research report (if such a mythical creature exists), is or should be, the definitive work, and  if such a beast really does exist, what  extra information can a book add to the overall canvas? Indeed, if such data does exist, why was it not in the original excavation report? Why was it held back for  later private publication?

Though not currently illegal, many archaeologists with a literary bent who write books based upon their scrapings are merely pilgrims travelling a well-trodden  archaeological literary path as many others have done before them.   Whilst Policemen, Judges, and senior Civil Servants, and others salaried from the public purse,  their  critics allege, are not allowed to publish books or memoirs using actual data garnered during their official tenures; why, they say, should archaeologists  and historians be exempt?  A fair point you might think.

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TRUE PIONEERS IN CO-OPERATION

The archaeo-bloggers’ spoilt-brat faction are  throwing their toys out of the play-pen for no better reason than the Essex Detecting Society(EDS) is liaising with an amateur archaeology club, the Worlingworth Local History Group (WLHG) for organising a  joint metal detecting event with profits going to local good causes. The ‘brats’ are even more spiteful towards the ‘offending’  amateur archaeologists for apparently sullying themselves by fraternising with people they have branded as the ‘enemy’. Of course, while it’s all very childish smacking  of Sixth Form politics and totally unworthy and embarrassing for archaeology as a whole, it’s done wonders for metal detecting.

One archaeo-commentator summed it up rather succinctly. “Have PAS got it into their heads that amateur archaeologists think and act like detectorists?” he  writes, “How insulting. They don’t.”   And he’s not wrong! Some amateur arkies really do need to be raised to our scrupulous standards. For example, they don’t  even have a Code of Practice, let alone Third Party Liability Insurance as detectorists do – a fact not lost on the NFU, and the more savvy landowners.

The excellent Worlingworth Local History Group are true pioneers and their joint venture could well lead to other similar events provided they remain courageous  enough to a cock-a-snoop at supercilious archaeologists and simply ignore the  vile, ludicrous comments of the head-bangers in their midst masquerading as intelligent  human beings.

Well done the WLHG and EDS!

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Remember…

There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy; hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny….

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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August 20, 2013

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During my time I have run across only a handful of people who apparently displayed all the tragic traits of NPD.  According to PsychCentral’s staff:

“Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a long-standing  pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for  admiration,  and usually a complete lack of empathy  toward others.  People with this disorder often believe they are of primary importance in everybody’s life or   to anyone they meet. While this pattern of behavior may be appropriate for a king in 16th Century England, it is generally considered inappropriate for most ordinary  people today.”

“People with narcissistic personality disorder often display snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes. For example, an individual with this disorder may  complain about a clumsy waiter’s “rudeness” or “stupidity” or conclude a medical evaluation with a condescending evaluation of the physician.”

For more data on this distressing condition visit: how-to-spot-a-narcissist.

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The Revenge of the Insulted Narcissist: When the “brilliant” fail, watch out

Published on July 25, 2012 by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D.

“It’s now emerging that Colorado theater shooter James Holmes failed his graduate school oral exams last month.

Although he graduated from UC Riverside with honors as an undergraduate, leading the chancellor of the university to say “Academically, he was at the top of the top,”  those who worked with Holmes directly say his research work was often substandard.

In other words, he made good grades in undergraduate classes but struggled with research work and in his graduate program. So after being told for years how  smart and brilliant he was, he then found out that he wasn’t actually anything special.

(Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, the author of Generation Me, and co-author of  The Narcissism Epidemic).

Basics of Narcissism

So what’s NPD got to do with treasure hunting you ask? Well, nothing really, except should you come into contact with someone displaying the symptoms, don’t  get angry with them. They need your understanding and/or referral to a specialist. Of course, some others are plainly loathsome and well deserving of a  metaphorical kick in the goolies.

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Remember…

(What Frank Sinatra said about it )…The best revenge is massive success….

I’ll see you in the bar!

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August 16, 2013

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HARVEST TIME & THE UK’S RALLY SEASON – MORE RAW DATA FOR THE PAS

As the crops fall to the combines,  thousands of acres of arable farmland is made  ready for the Rally season –  and there are some real corkers out there – on  undetected farmland close to historical sites with the prospect of significant finds a real possibility with many no doubt falling into the ‘treasure’, or  historically significant categories.  It’s an exciting time.

It also the time of year radical arkies (the Comrades) hate most of all, simply because the quality of finds made by amateur metal detectorists outshines anything they  can muster. or indeed, as they obliged to do,  like treasure hunters, report them to the PAS.

Mainstream historians on the same wavelength of Britain’s army of detectorists are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospects ahead.

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TIME AND TIDE WAITS FOR NO MAN

Without wanting this to read like an obituary, my great pal Dick Stout (who still owes me $20)  has decided to hang up his treasure hunting trowel and move  into semi-retirement.  Though he’s not yet ready for the ‘Sunshine Home for the Ga Ga’ (though you wouldn’t think so when he’s been on the Californian Merlot),  he’s staying around to annoy, ridicule, and generally extract the urine out of the ‘Red Banner Comrades,’ (the Luddites whom history left behind),  the fatuous, and the Nigel  Swift’s of this world.  Equally I suspect, the knuckle-draggers in the hobby will come in for some deserved bile too!

He reckons he’s gonna “sit at the water’s edge” and watch the trout before making his move. Only an angler will really understand this…and as an angler, I  await the lash of the viper’s tongue with relish.

Dick’s done more for the furtherance of this hobby than anyone alive, even fighting our corner in Washington, DC; he’s authored hundreds of treasure hunting articles  and countless books on the subject during the three decades  (and then some!) he’s been at the very pinnacle of the hobby.  What he doesn’t know about the hobby and its  politics, you can write on the back of a postage stamp.

He’s the Rocky Marciano of the hobby, and like my great boxing hero, retiring undefeated….

(Happy with this Dick? Now, do I get that 20 Bucks? Plain envelope as usual).  

(D.S.)  John, you are “pissed” (as in having one too many) and full of crap!

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Remember (the words of Rocky Marciano)…

It don’t do no good to hit a man if you don’t hurt him….

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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August 7, 2013

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STUPIDITY WARNING…

In order to assist any gormless, émigré  itinerant arkies seeking employment across Eastern Europe; or  dense, hidebound, archaeo-bloggers; or the terminally fatuous;  warnings that some articles appearing here are ‘tongue-in-cheek,’ will NOT be issued. The editorial team believes it has a duty not to hinder anyone falling into the  aforementioned taxonomies from making complete buffoons of themselves, thus providing a welcome source of mirth for the treasure hunting community.

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CULTURAL RESEARCH AND PROTECTION…C.R.A.P.

UNESCO is now referring to shipwreck-sites as the, “world’s underwater cultural heritage,” and goes on to describe the seabed as, “the biggest museum of  the world”.  Underwater cultural heritage??? Huh? What dat den? Another mealy-mouthed, self-important catchphrase, posturing as some kind of a self-righteous concept  I suspect. Of course, all this like much of that foisted on an unsuspecting public, is absolute utter, utter, claptrap! It must be resisted, fought, and exposed at every  turn.

“Protecting our underwater heritage is extremely important and increasingly urgent as no site or shipwreck is now out of bounds for treasure  hunters,” says Lyndel Prott, [You sure it’s Prott? Dick] of UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Division. Well Lyndel, my old cocker, thank God for that! “New technologies  have made deep-water wrecks easily accessible and these technologies are getting cheaper.”  Indeed they are old pal; technologies funded by the treasure hunters  themselves, not by (one suspects) overpaid, and underworked ivory-towered UNESCO Wallahs doing their best it appears, to keep the world’s arkies in the comfortable  life-style to which they have become accustomed.  Put another way, they want the private enterprise treasure hunters to fund the explorations and then move to capture  the credit…no change there you might think!  But, the times and ethics they are a’changin’ and UNESCO’s Luddites are being left behind as new alliances are forged.

Everyone knows that treasure hunters don’t hold a monopoly of the heritage villainy.  Arguably then, putting access to priceless objects of one sort or another solely  in the hands of the close-knit archaeology community amounts to a cartel and a considerable temptation for its  light-fingered members; and there’s evidence aplenty of  archaeological fingers being caught in the cookie jar.

Indeed, who in his right financial mind is prepared to invest in a multi-million dollar archaeological excavation of a shipwreck simply for a few coins,  pottery shards, and meagre ancillary data?  What about the Mary Rose, you ask.  So what about the Mary Rose? Who benefitted most from that little escapade?  See above!

UNESCO’s 2001  Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage was on the face of it, ordained to safeguard, all past traces, “of human existence  that have been preserved in a submerged environment for at least 100 years and have a cultural, historical or archaeological character” as they hand-wringingly put it.  More humbug follows to no-one’s surprise at all, and the convention prattles on that, submerged archaeological sites should be considered as heritage and should be  studied without being subjected to looters or commercial exploitation.  Why should they be so considered?   Why shouldn’t private enterprise have a go at exploiting  them for profit?  Surely any right-minded person will say that it all depends on what constitutes an archaeological site and who does the designating.  But the seabed as a  vast underwater museum is taking things too far and a sure sign that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Mercifully, the convention’s proponents are not without their barrackers, with many powerful critics from the salvage industry itself who argue that adherence to  the convention deprives the public from accessing their heritage, which if not brought to the surface by treasure hunting experts, many shipwrecks will succumb to   natural elements.

Then again if it’s everyone’s ‘heritage,’ as the burning martyrs of archaeology never cease in wailing, then everyone has a right to search for it, whether with a  metal detector or a multi-billion hi-tech treasure hunting outfit.  Just so long as we pass on the contextual data of the finds al la Portable Antiquities Scheme, so much  the better.  Certainly UK treasure hunters have, and are, contributing far more to the academic record than ever before, and outstripping the contributions of amateur  archaeologists or their field-walking brethren, and capturing the public’s imagination and enthusiasm with spectacular finds.

We have to ask the question?  Can archaeology be left in the hands of…archaeology?  More to the point dare we leave politically motivated archaeology with its eye on  the dollar signs and eager to corner a lucrative market?  Not on your life!

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SARTORIAL ELEGANCE?

Cammo gear is definitely the right gear for treasure hunting, though Dick and I prefer the black ex-SAS/Navy SEAL one-piece suits with a Balaclava and a  night-vision ‘scope. Nevertheless, the Detecting Diva, one Allyson Cohen, looks mighty good in her cammo gear as seen on the front cover of a UK detecting magazine,  yet she amazingly came in for some derogatory remarks from certain archaeological quarters.

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Look at Photo 1, which shows archaeologists seemingly pondering at an excavation somewhere in Poland. Then look at Photo 2, from the cover of Britain’s widely  regarded top metal detecting magazine. Who looks the best dressed for the job in hand? The Wurzel Gummage body double in the white (?) shirt, or, the Diva? Not much  of a competition is it?

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GOOD LUCK, ODYSSEY MARINE!

Channel Five’s new ‘Billion Dollar Wreck’ series kicked-off with Odyssey Marine’s fabulous recovery of billions of dollars-worth of silver bullion from the wreck  of the SS Gairsoppa, 14,000-meters down in the Atlantic, made for superb television. Gripping stuff. More follows in this great series.

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Ponder….

Did the Christians have a better chance against the lions than treasure hunters have against the UNESCO ?

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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July 30, 2013

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UK RALLIES ON THE RACK! IS THE END NIGH?

It’s always a sure sign hard times are here again when a CBA Director, mounts his high horse to lay claim the moral high ground in the heritage stakes.  In this instance, Mike Heyworth has thrown the toys out of the CBA’s pram by holding court without challenge on the Farming Today program by spouting  the customary, age-old, clichéd trademarks, of full-throttle CBA ‘bullshit’, aided and abetted by that paragon of so-called ‘balanced’ reporting, the good old BBC,   whose program about agricultural topics  fell well short of what might be expected in the accuracy stakes.

Evidently Heyworth has the BBC where he wants them. Equally, one suspects, the opportunity to challenge Heyworth’s take on the heritage never was  on Farming Today’s reporting agenda. Indeed, the BBC seems more than happy to oblige the Heyworth’s soothing foreplay, with follow-up programs.  A reprise of the famous When Harry Met Sally diner scene, can only be days away! Yes! Yes!  That’s the hobby’s problem, not the CBA’s!

It was a great PR coup for Heyworth  and CBA and I have to say that I would have done precisely the same given an equal chance –  all’s fair in the treasure  hunting vs archaeology war. UK treasure hunters and detectorists really should be under no illusion (metal detector loving Neil Oliver aside for the moment) the  CBA not only wants YOUR guts but a complete ban on metal detecting rallies at best, or at worst, to have them brought firmly under their control.  As the CBA’s  ‘anti’ campaign moves up a gear, I’m afraid, in the absence of any defense from the hobby itself, the days of rallies under hobby rules and regulations are numbered.

Where Farming Today failed so spectacularly, and no prizes for guessing why, was that it neglected to inform farmers of the serious money to be made from  allowing legal, wholesome, and family orientated metal detecting rallies on their land. Mysteriously, in a program dedicated to farming matters, this aspect  of diversification, and in accordance with the CBA’s view on such events one suspects, was very neatly sidestepped.  Can Farming Today be trusted elsewhere  in matters agricultural?

Hard times? You betcha…anything to persuade farmers and landowners to ‘save’ (from you!) suspected archaeological sites for the common heritage  (read ‘their heritage’), whilst looking to keep archaeologists in a perpetual state of redundancy-free employment using the customary mélange of unskilled diggers,  gap year teens, recuperating alcoholics, cold turkey substance abusers, or students looking for a little ‘off piste’ action in the tents back at base camp; not  forgetting of course, serial thieves anxious to supply the black market in antiquities with ‘hot’ ceramics.

Whilst thousands of ordinary souls are fighting job redundancies and the fiscal hardships that come hand-in-hand with economic downturns, some in the  archaeology circus secure  their incomes under the guise of ‘important’ academic research; and isn’t every archaeological excavation ‘highly significant’,  or, ‘totally unique,’ to use their job-saving jargon?  I’ve never heard an arkie say, “Actually, this dig is not very significant, dunno why we bothered.” Have you? They get away with all this nonsense since no-one ever challenges the cost on behalf of the taxpayer.

Surely, someone in government must be aware of the great hoodwink being perpetrated on the hard working and hard-pressed taxpayer? So why not have words in the  shell-like of your Member of Parliament? Better still, why not drop a line to your local National Farmers Union office and explain the about the profits to be made  from metal detecting rallies which the CBA is cunningly steering farmers away from. Tell them too about the runaway success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme which  it appears, the Council for British Archaeology bizarrely opposes!

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Remember… (the words of Edward R. Murrow)

“We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home….

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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July 23, 2013

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THE COUNCIL FOR BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY STILL WANTS FULL CONTROL…..OVER YOU!

Listening to the BBC’s early morning program, ‘Farming Today’ on Radio Four, I was awoken from my slumbers to the dulcet tones of the CBA’s Director,  Mike Heyworth. He was spouting the same usual CBA nonsense of thirty years ago when Henry Cleere, an old sparring partner of mine was its chief honcho. Heyworth is,  readers will recall, an aficionado of the ludicrous and now discredited, Artefact Erosion Counter, ala Warsaw Wally/Heritage Harry.  This fact in itself puts  Heyworth’s comments, to use an archaeological metaphor, into the context of bovine scatology.

In three decades the CBA’s learned nowt; still angling for total control over farming practices and a prohibition on deep-ploughing; the outlawing of, or  severe restrictions of, metal detectorists.  But one of Heyworth’s comments resonated when he said that metal detector rallies needed controlling (by him and the  apparatchiks presumably!) as thousands of metal detectorists can turn up at these events.  Yeah, you’re right there Mikey, thousands of people who you’d love  to turn up in the same numbers at your dull-as-ditchwater archaeology days.

His Orwellian vision of how the countryside and the people who live in it should be administered and expressed with the implicit threat that farmers be denied  money-making ventures from metal detecting rallies, simply because the CBA, a charitable non-government organization by the way, takes umbrage, serves as a warning  to all right thinking people what will happen when academics (in the loosest sense) take over.

I have to say, unsurprisingly, that I agree with those many farmers who take equal umbrage at the asinine antics of these latter day commissars who’d love  nothing better than to jackboot their way across the Shires. That these metal detecting rallies are held on private land and are a private commercial agreement  between two private  parties is no one else’s business, and certainly not the CBA’s I would have thought.

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FOOT IN MOUTH TIME

“History may be accurate, but archaeology is precise.” Doug Scott

Reference: “Unearthed War Relics See Battle Again: Archaeologists Decry History Buffs’ Digs”, by Brigid Schulte, The Washington Post, Sunday, April 16, 2006.

Sorry Doug…obviously you’ve never heard of the Artefact Erosion Counter or of those who promote it…

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GREAT NEWS FROM ODYSSEY MARINE

This from their recent update:

Odyssey Marine Exploration pioneers in the field of deep-ocean exploration, has recovered over 61 tons of silver bullion this month from a depth  of nearly three miles.

This recovery of bullion from the SS Gairsoppa, a 412-foot steel-hulled British cargo ship that sank in February 1941, consists of 1,574 silver ingots weighing  about 1,100 ounces each or almost 1.8 million troy ounces in total, sets a new record for the deepest and largest precious metal recovery from a shipwreck.  The silver has been transported to a secure facility in the United Kingdom.

Including the silver recovered in 2012, Odyssey has now recovered 2,792 silver ingots from SS Gairsoppa or more than 99% of the insured silver reported to  be aboard the Gairsoppa when she sank. Under the terms of Odyssey’s contract with the UK Department for Transport, which follows standard commercial practices,  Odyssey will retain 80% of the net salved value of the cargo. The contract was awarded to Odyssey following a competitive tender process.

Sources, including Lloyd’s record of War Losses, indicate additional uninsured government-owned silver may have been aboard the SS Gairsoppa when she sank, but  to date no uninsured silver has been located.

“This was an extremely complex recovery which was complicated by the sheer size and structure of the SS Gairsoppa as well as its depth nearly three miles  below the surface of the North Atlantic,” commented Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s chief executive officer. “To add to the complications, the remaining insured silver was stored  in a small compartment that was very difficult to access.

For more information, checkout; Odysseymarine.com

Well done Fellas!

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HO, HO!

Macedonia’s chief excavator, archaeologist Pasko Kuzman, has been arrested in connection with an investigation into the smuggling of antiquities.

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Remember….

“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”…..George Orwell

I’ll See Y’all in the Bar

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July 19, 2013

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WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, BARFORD GETS GOIING…

“I really feel no need to “defend” my position on this or anything else, on Holcombe’s “Relic Roundabout”. Neither is it at all clear what I would be  defending it from (Lisa McIntyre and her vision of Shangri-La?). I have access to forums, I have several blogs. Anyone who wants to learn my “position” can  do so, anyone who does not can keep away. Anyone who wants to try to question my position generally does (usually though, it has to be said, by methods of  the schoolyard than reasoned debate – there is no reason to think “Relic Roundabout” would be any different).  Artefact collectors and their archaeologist  “partners” are welcome to use the comments section of my blog to add their own thoughts.  Mr Holcombe however has failed to show up so far.”

All I can suggest is that Barford, otherwise known as ‘Warsaw Wally’, straps a four-foot length 4”x2” wood to his spine to give himself some ‘backbone’.  There you have it; all venom and no guts! Frit! Frit! Frit!

Now,  let’s  leave this ‘hero’ to wallow in his own…..faeces.

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THIS, ALSO FROM BARFORD….

“…is quite interesting that artefact hunters, the metal detector using ones in particular, continue to deny that there is any connection between their  hobby and the trade in illicitly-obtained archaeological artefacts.”

This, by Contrast, from the US Attorney Peter Tompa’s Blogsite… Cultural Property Observer…..

“Macedonia’s top archaeologist is being held for suspected smuggling of ancient artifacts.  In CPO’s view, draconian rules against collecting and trading in  artifacts are only an invitation to corruption at high levels.  It’s much better to have an open but regulated (not over-regulated) trade that encourages transparency,  public appreciation of the past and people to people contacts collecting brings.”

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MAKE EXTRA CASH FROM THE HOBBY? BECOME A PRO!

Thanks to the stringent requirements of the 1996 Treasure Act which requires finders of items that may, or suspected to fall within the Act’s definition of  ‘Treasure,’ then it is reasonable that metal detectorists who deliberately set out to find such objects claw back  those expenses involved in the finding and  subsequent reporting of those finds.

These expenses will include cost of the metal detector, fuel, subsistence, cost of batteries, business cards, even off-setting certain expenses against PAYE,  especially if one sets up a part-time business as either a ‘Treasure Hunter’, or ‘Treasure Salvor.’

Initially, this will mean contacting HM Revenue and Customs and telling them what you intend doing; the name of your business, for starters. I’m uncertain of  the requirements Stateside, but I suspect it’s quite similar.

Good luck!

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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July 17, 2013

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ARKIES VS.TEKKIES: AMERICAN DIGGER MAGAZINE’S ONLINE DEBATE

At last, an adult, joined-up conversation and discussion between the two opposing factions. For the Arkies, Lisa Macintyre punches above her weight and easily  went the distance with Tekkie, Dick Stout; cerebral stuff indeed, and all done without an insult or snide remark being thrown, unlike the usual intellectually-deprived  inane fare, put about by Heritage Harry, or his equally fatuous minion, Warsaw Wally.

Both Lisa and Dick emerged with reputations intact, if not enhanced somewhat and perhaps with the prospect of further similar programs on the cards.  Certainly the door of co-operation is now ajar. An enjoyable and thoughtful debate.  Maybe, the UK could learn a thing or two from this exercise, though we’d  have to have ‘proper’ arkies.

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VANDALS CAUGHT DIGGING INTO IRON AGE GRAVES

Yep…’fraid so, along with other archaeological sites too it seems, if newspaper reports are to be believed….and the culprits all got off Scot Free.  So who are these heritage vandals who strike with impunity in the dead of night? Er….well…um…it’s Badgers! Yes, dear old ‘Brock’ Badger. Apparently they’ve been  burrowing and making their homes in ancient burial sites on Salisbury Plain, the vast military training area in southern England. So, what to do with these  vandals? ‘They should they face the full force of the law,’ says Pavel Thugwitski, adding that, ‘In the glorious former Communist dominated, People’s  Republic of Poland, they would have been put up on a show trial, framed as ‘capitalist bourgeois  lackeys’, then, facing the full wrath of the public prosecutor,  Commissar Wally Bardfordski, taken out and shot.’

Hard line heritage commissars have told Malamute Saloon that if some Badgers could be ‘turned’ and agreed to work for ‘the State’, that is, to say, betray their  brother badgers to the Ruling Elite their reward could include having their scribblings turned into books, and the apparatchiks would ensure they’d be offered a  luxurious dachas on the shores of the Black Sea…a la Kim Philby/George Blake, and live happily ever after.

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CORRECTION AND APOLOGY….

(1) In my last Malamute Saloon I gave the impression that one P M Barford had ‘written a book’ about the history of the Early Slavs. I was wrong;  I should have said, ‘committed a book…’

(2) Owing to a printer’s error, my referral to ‘all units in amateur archaeology…’ should have read, ‘all you nits in amateur archaeology…’

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Remember…

Stupidity is when you can’t help it – ignorance is when you choose not to understand something…

I’ll See y’all in the bar!

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July 9, 2013

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The Early Slavs: Culture and Society in Early Medieval Europe, by one P M Barford (Paul),  a near impenetrable turgid opus written in the now-familiar  self-important style so beloved of academics, limped its way  into the bookstores in 2001.

In the Preface to this ostensibly trail blazing volume, Barford lauds Poland’s then governing Communist regime (aka, The People’s Republic of Poland) without  whose help he breathlessly explains, the history of the Early Slavs would be that much poorer:

“… the present work is the result of a lengthy stay in what was then the People’s Republic of Poland, the Government of which was extremely generous  in supporting my research, which then enabled me to take up employment at the University of Warsaw to continue my work. Let this book be in a small way part  of the repayment of my debt I owe to those who helped my research.”

Barford’s glowing praise of Poland’s then totalitarian Communist rulers is both unabated and unabashed…well, they did fix him up with a job and drop him a  zloty or three, as he skillfully explains;

“The original research for this book would not have been possible were it not for all of those in the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of  Poland for their interest in and funding of my initial research.”

‘Interest’ and ‘funding’, eh? Now, there’s a thought. Evidently the goose-stepping Commissars had got their priorities bang on target as to be lavish  enough with the  zloty’s to bank-roll  the emerging literary ambitions of an émigré Englishman, fresh from the West, while their ‘interest’ in, and ‘funding’ of, the indigenous population was less bountiful.  He must have been quite a prize since more people were shot dead escaping from this Socialist haven than those entering  it!

Herein though, it must be said, lies a certain irony; though Barford had the freedom of choice to live in totalitarian Communist Poland (and why not if  you’re into food shortages and the incarceration of political prisoners?) that same freedom was rarely extended to the Poles themselves by their Communist  commissars. A contradiction in terms you might think? Nah…Barford sets us straight on page seven of the Introduction;

“A historian functioning in the reign of a tyrant rarely tells us bluntly that his ruler is a bad one, in fact in the case of totalitarian regimes quite the  opposite.”

I’ll bet he penned this sentiment AFTER the Commies got the boot out of Poland!

However…

….in 2008 Council of the European Union under the Presidency of Slovenia, published a report entitled CRIMES COMMITTED BY TOTALITARIAN REGIMES, which dealt in   considerable detail the horrors of everyday life under Communist rule in Eastern Europe. It was less complimentary than Barford’s appraisal of life under the Hammer   and Sickle. This damning indictment of Soviet barbarity had this to say about the plight of post-war Poland under the heel of Communism…

“Hundreds of thousands of people fell victims of terror during the Communist period, despite its motto “the struggle for peace and socialist democracy”, as  ironic as it may sound. Every act of rebellion against the authorities from the end of World War Two to the period of the Solidarity movement in the 1980’s ended  with a new period of repression and new victims. The entire machinery of the state, including the communist judicial system, formed new chains in the system of  repression and enslavement.”

The leadership of the communist party shared the responsibility for all acts of the apparatus of terror, some of which fully deserve to be called crimes against  humanity. The units of the Soviet Army stationed in Poland permanently from 1944 until their withdrawal in the early 1990’s served as an element of the system aimed to  intimidate people.

For Poland, the war, which began with the invasion of Nazi Germany and the communist USSR in September 1939, ended 50 years later – in 1989.

Mass murders and acts of terror took place across the whole of post-war Soviet-occupied Poland.

On top of that, deportations to labour camps in the USSR continued and many soldiers of the Resistance and civilians were arrested. That period is still known in  Russia as “the liberation of Poland by the Red Army”, in which nearly 100,000 people were sent to Soviet labour camps or gulags as they are also known. In  many cases, acts of communist terror even surpassed the bestiality and cruelty of those committed by the Nazis.”

Ten years later, no-one was surprised when Barford formulated the preposterous and subsequently thoroughly discredited Artefact Erosion Counter in which, using  figures and statistics hoiked from thin-air, purportedly to justify his malevolent (but intellectually barren ) crusade against metal detectorists.

His strident views against private collectors and detectorists, usually framed in obnoxious terms, are so bizarre that he has become a laughing stock and is rarely  taken seriously.

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I ’ll see y’all in the bar!

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June 24, 2013

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YES….IT WORKS VERY WELL IN SEAWATER!!!

I’m always delighted to help any Garrett ATPro owners with the ins and outs of this superb machine, but most surprisingly I find, are the numbers of  queries in the mailbox revolving around its suitability for water hunting in saltwater, or over seawater-soaked sand.

The ATPro (mine’s the International version) is one of the pre-eminent machines for in-water hunting, or, over seawater-sodden sand and shingly  foreshores. The trick is to Ground Balance (GB) to the precise conditions under the searchcoil and to GB at intervals throughout your search to keep  the machine ‘sharp’ and on song.  This is especially important when moving from damp sand say, to waterlogged sand, or sandpools, or from a sandy matrix  to a pebble/shingle foreshore.  The ‘Sensitivity’ really depends on how much ‘chatter’ you can endure, though a good starting point is one segment off maximum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the beach I usually work in PRO Mode ‘Custom’ with Iron Reject set to ‘35’ and Iron Audio to ‘On’ which relegates steel bottle tops to history without  any depth loss! This arrangement also filters all the incoming signals into ferrous and non-ferrous, and combined with the digital readout facility saves  unwanted and time-wasting digging. It was with this set-up that I found the .925 silver ring (see Photo) that registered ’91’ in a waterlogged shingle/sand  part of the foreshore. Garrett’s online magazine, The Garrett Searcher spells it out too!

To discover how the ATPro performs in freshwater there is a terrific video on the Garrett website shot by Garrett’s super snapper, the redoubtable  Brian ‘Stingray’ McKenzie. ‘Stingray’? Ah, that’s another story revolving around several pints of the fine ‘hoppy’ ale, Stingray, quaffed with gusto at  the Square & Compass,  a fine 17C Dorset inn …I can say no more. Names have been changed to protect  the guilty!

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It’s a fact of life that most smaller gold rings fall into the  pull-tab range of between ’53’ to ‘56’. Therefore, if it’s all rings you’re after, and  it’s the smaller ones with the diamonds, you’ll have to dig the numbers previously mentioned.

When I’m in-water hunting, I’ve found the smaller 5×8 coil, the same as fitted as standard to my ATGold, works well is easier to handle, control, and  pinpoint.

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WHEN WALLY COMMANDS….HARRY OBEYS

Whenever Wally says, ‘Jump’, Harry asks, ‘How high?’ An example of this can be seen in Wally’s latest barrel-scraping remarks posing as hard evidence  and Harry’s latest and equally gormless article under the by-line of Farmer Silas: A dim-witted (but nevertheless amusing) pattern emerges. Currently Heritage  Action is attacking Dr. Roger Bland of the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, and it’s a situation rather like where the know-nothing novices are  criticizing the Maestro. Remember too, Wally and Harry are the intellects behind the now discredited Artifact Erosion Counter, exposed here on Stout Standards  as a complete sham. Sort of sums ‘em up really!

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It’s all hardly surprising of course, since Wally is suffering an on-going and severe drubbing at the hands of former diplomat, Arthur Houghton, and US  Attorney, Peter Tompa, on the Cultural Property Observer blog, while Harry’s intellectually arid arguments on the Heritage Action blog are regularly  laid bare here on Stout Standards. Presumably, they have a burning need to vent his/their frustrations on someone, be it me, Stouty, metal detectorists in general,  or Dr. Roger Bland. Indeed, the recent Malamute Saloon article, Espionage & Treasure Hunting, circa 1980, added to their combined woes, which for some  reason currently beyond me, really got up Wally’s snozzle. Can’t imagine why…?

The irony of the whole situation is that thanks to Stout Standards, Wally and Harry are reaching a wider audience than they could ever have hoped for,  though not for the reasons they originally intended! Their combined eccentric ramblings while no threat to anyone, are worthy of greater attention if only  to show the world that Democracy tolerates people who espouse this kind of nonsense, and are free to spit their poison.

When the day dawns when we no longer legally permit them to vomit their dogma in public, is the day when Society will have descended into a totalitarian  abyss. As someone once said about Wally, ‘let the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.’……….

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Remember….

Stupidity is when you can’t help it – but ignorance is when you choose not to understand.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

************

June 19, 2013

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THIRTY YEARS ON…OUT OF THE DARK AND INTO THE LIGHT

John Howland

John Howland

Metal detecting/treasure hunting has come a long way since the dark days of thirty years ago when it was almost snuffed out of existence.  Today,  it enjoys a high and popular profile with more practitioners – many are experts in their own right – than archaeology can only dream of, and is making a colossal contribution to the recording of the heritage, is lauded by Government Ministers and far-thinking historians alike and indeed, many in the heritage sector owe their salaries and livelihoods to this amateur phenomenon.Though opposition to the pastime has always existed, and continues from an obnoxious vocal minority, thirty years ago there was a more sinister element to the antagonism than the playground name-calling we see and hear nowadays.

Back then, an ill-fated, nationwide, anti-metal detecting campaign Stop Taking Our Past (STOP) was initiated in the early 1980’s by a loose confederation of heritage organisations, not least among them, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA). Some of these organisations when cornered blustered,  “No, not us guv.”  The aroma that STOP ‘protesteth too much,’ hung heavy in the air.  Few on the detecting side of the argument at the time realized the source of the pong …but two individuals, failed to be hoodwinked.

Left-wing politics and theory have for many years gone hand-in-blouse with Left-leaning archaeologists, historians, and others, who hanker for the Marxist life.  An early pioneer who championed the notion of ‘Marxist Archaeology’ was the Australian archaeologist, Gordon Childe. Another prominent archaeologist in 1982 even espoused the notion that all antiquities should be nationalized, and all private land taken into the public ownership. Neil Faulkener is another enthusiast;  a former Features Editor of Current Archaeology; has written widely on Marxist theory and his latest book, A Marxist History of the World: from Neanderthals to Neoliberals (2013) is now on the shelves.

It eventually dawned on some in detecting lobby that the opposition to metal detecting might not be rooted in academic theory after all, but in politics, even subversion.  A team of dedicated people, comprising carefully selected detectorists and others, all opposed to what STOP was trying to achieve, was formed and began a fight back where the order of the day was, ‘No Prisoners’. Shortly afterwards, came their first break.

Following discussions with a high level archaeologist one of the team realised at the meeting’s later de-briefing session, that the archaeologist had inadvertently let slip a snippet of information about the team member that only someone with connections to a foreign intelligence agency could have known. He knew then, his own background was under scrutiny. He even considered the possibility that supposed slip was actually an intentional, surreptitious overture to recruit him! He suspected too, that his phone was being tapped and set about releasing a few hares to see whose dogs chased them. He was not disappointed.

At the time, the STOP Campaign in full flow, with allegations that Nighthawking – the illicit or clandestine excavation with metal detectors of protected sites being – being thrown about like confetti with dire warnings that a tsunami of heritage crime was sweeping the land; unsurprisingly, this kind of propagandist nonsense was manna from heaven to archaeology’s dutiful foot soldiers who rallied enthusiastically to the ‘cause’, but only to die of humiliation on the battlefield when the STOP campaign was finally exposed as distorted and factually inaccurate.

What most of archaeology’s rank and file didn’t realise at the time, was they were being cruelly and unashamedly prostituted to assist Soviet intelligence, as some in metal detecting circles now believe given the connections between archaeology and Leftist politics.  Though some STOP supporters knew which way was up;  many though, were Babes-in-the-Wood types with a genuine concern but a poor grasp of the detecting facts.

By the 1970’s and early 1980’s Soviet intelligence cells and sleeper agents were active in Britain, furnished with Soviet made weapons and radio transmitters cached in ‘hides’ across the UK.  This at a time when a new populist craze was sweeping the UK; Metal Detecting!  Many people in the detecting lobby now believe this threat was not lost on Soviet intelligence or on their willing helpers in academia.

spyIndeed, one of these state-of-the-art Soviet radio ‘squirt’ transmitters was accidentally found buried on a hillside in north Wales. It was equipped with pre-set frequencies with operating instructions translated from Russian to English on attached micro-film. Britain’s Security Service (MI5) believes that the radio was the property of a British-manned Soviet subversion unit based in Liverpool.

Further MI5 enquiries revealed that six Russians posing as representatives of a Trade Delegation had previously booked into a hotel near to the find spot.  Four of the six named in the hotel’s register had previously been among the 105 Soviet diplomats expelled from Britain in 1971 for activities incompatible with their diplomatic status, the official term for espionage.

The personnel of these deep-cover, sleeper subversion units, were relieved and refreshed at regular intervals by Soviet GRU intelligence officers (military intelligence), or Spetsnaz Special Forces troops, arriving at Britain’s dockyards disguised as merchant seamen.  Whereas Soviet diplomats were travel limited to a 25-mile radius of London’s Soviet Embassy, no such restriction applied to Soviet Bloc non-diplomats posing as sailors coming ashore.  It might be ‘Ivan’ who came down the gangplank, but it was always ‘Igor’ who returned aboard.

To secrete arms caches and radio transmitters, safe areas had to be sought, and the safest places were those that would not be tampered with, or at risk of development. The obvious choice was, some claim, protected archaeological areas. However, what Soviet intelligence failed to realise or had not reckoned with, was the upsurge and popularity of metal detecting; and the prospect of Joe Public swanning around with metal detectors across the land even straying onto protected sites or areas, did not fill them with glee.

Soon, the spectre of ‘Nighthawking’ appeared, cooked-up by an increasingly panicky lobby with metal detectorists desperately propagated as a serious threat to the heritage. The message behind it all being that the use of metal detectors had to be seriously curbed and controlled and kept well away from archaeological sites, even banned outright…not for the coins they might dig up, but to maintain the integrity of the clandestine paraphernalia of espionage tucked away ready for action.

In fact, the threat of Soviet sabotage was taken so seriously that during the early ‘80’s NATO staged the largest military exercise seen in Britain since D-Day to practice a counter to the threat posed by Soviet Spetsnaz commandos, who, as a prelude to a full-scale invasion of Britain would knock-out vital defences such as the early-warning system at Fylingdales in Yorkshire. The elite Special Air Service Regiment acted out the role of the Soviet Spetsnaz Special Forces.

During this same period, Soviet intelligence was already under way on its ‘March through the Institutions’ to infiltrate every aspect of British life and to recruit willing agents of influence prepared to promote the cause of Communism and betray their country. Subsequent arrests of traitorous MP’s, civil servants and others, proved the case. It was estimated that at one point, Britain’s socialist, Labour Party had over 100 of its Members of Parliament on the Soviet’s payroll.  Some notable high profile scalps fell to MI5, including MP, John Stonehouse.

It is then, against this background that some people on the metal detecting/treasure hunting side of the fence firmly believe that STOP was ruthlessly used in an attempt to bring swingeing changes to the heritage laws; though the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, slipped under the radar with just a handful of MP’s in the House at the time it passed into law on the last session of parliament. The Act prohibits the use of metal detectors in protected areas, and rightly so, but it is perhaps, a lasting (and unintentional testament) to the influence of Soviet intelligence.

So, in the three decades since STOP, have attitudes changed? Certainly the CBA’s stance hasn’t, judging from recent comments. While their attitudes remain stuck in the 1980’s, we now have the ever-burgeoning Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) under the very able Dr Roger Bland at the British Museum, specifically set up to deal with artefacts found by members of the British public, the overwhelming majority of whom are metal detectorists and treasure hunters.

We as a hobby here in the UK have moved on to greater things…archaeology generally remains axle deep and stuck fast. For the Americans, STOP is resonating in some areas though the cause is unaffected by espionage… partly by unopposed spiteful, obnoxious, sometimes ill-informed opinion formers, but mostly by heritage professionals who fear YOU and your successes.

Now the fight is yours to be won, and you may well be losing ground already – not because you ain’t collectively smart enough…but through collective apathy

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Remember …the words of Vladimir Putin…

“Anyone who doesn’t regret the passing of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who wants it restored has no brains.”

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

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June 12,2013

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COCK-UP, OR CONSPIRACY?

Well they made it. The £30-million Mary Rose Museum finally opened in Portsmouth, England, on the 30th May 2013, to house the remains of King Henry VIII’s prized warship that sank in the waters of The Solent in 1545 before his very eyes. Nevertheless, the Mary Rose has its share of critics who see  too many unexplained loose ends flapping about. Successive governments they say, amongst other things, have all been more than a little coy about aspects of the Museums’ funding.

In their opinion, the Mary Rose should never have been in receipt of public money in the first place; it being a private amateur enterprise subsequently hi-jacked by heritage professionals who perhaps saw the venture as a long-term, main chance, employment opportunity.  Even the national press had latched on  to this aspect with one piece entitled, “The wreck of the Mary Rose team.”

Hi-jacked or not, what they consider controversial are certain aspects of the Mary Rose’s funding and grant aid.  To support this view they cite the Mary Rose’s designation in 1973 as a ‘protected wreck’ which they claim, disqualified it from public funding.  The Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (AM&AAA), spells out the situation.  Public funding or grant-aid made under this Act is strictly defined and limited to what it defines as “Monuments”.

Under this Act, “Monument” means (subject to subsection (8) below) —

(a) any building, structure or work, whether above or below the surface of the land, and any cave or excavation;

(b) any site comprising the remains of any such building, structure or work or of any cave or excavation; and

(c) any site comprising, or comprising the remains of, any vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other movable structure or part thereof which neither constitutes nor forms part of any work which is a monument within paragraph (a) above; and any machinery attached to a monument shall be regarded as part of the monument if it could not be detached without being dismantled.

(8) Subsection (7) (a) above does not apply to any ecclesiastical building for the time being used for ecclesiastical purposes, and  subsection (7) (c) above does not apply —

(a) to a site comprising any object or its remains unless the situation of that object or its remains in that particular site is a matter of public interest;>[?

(b) to a site comprising, or comprising the remains of, any vessel which is protected by an order under Section 1 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973  designating an area round the site as a restricted area.[My highlights]

In 1973, the Mary Rose was the second wreck to be designated under this Act…

Thus, it’s not hard to understand how some contemporary commentators argued that the government of the day allegedly acted illegally by donating funds  (totaling £100,000), a sum matching that given by the ultra-shady, American billionaire philanthropist, Armand Hammer, who set out the terms that his loan  of £100K need not be repaid if the Mary Rose raised an equal amount.  However, when the £100,000 promised to the Mary Rose, allegedly from the £45-million haul of gold bullion salvaged from the light cruiser, HMS Edinburgh, scuttled in the Barents Sea in 1942, failed to materialize, the manure collided with the  air-conditioning.

Edinburgh

HMS Edinburgh

With professional fees totaling some £112K and being called-in by the professionals whose various expertise had been used to draw up plans for the design and construction of the structure to house the 15th Century warship, and with the prospect Hammer’s loan conditions unlikely to be met, a £212K shortfall  loomed large.

The waters were muddied still further with the widely unknown fact that Britain’s Security Service (MI5) held a bulky file on Armand Hammer, a Soviet KGB  ‘agent of influence’. Apart from the dire fiscal situation facing the Mary Rose, another awful prospect loomed: The future King of England – the Prince of  Wales – and President of the Mary Rose Trust, faced the uncomfortable prospect of seeing the Trust in hock to a Soviet KGB agent. Indeed, why was HRH not warned about Hammer’s intelligence connections?

Some conspiracy theorists even suggest – something I find hard to believe – that Hammer’s £250K offer was a carefully contrived KGB plot to have HRH,  via the Mary Rose Trust, gripped by the short and curlies  following the anarchist’s dictum that, when you’ve got ‘em by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.

With the prospect of insolvency fast approaching, they claim, so too was a potentially disastrous public relations scenario. HRH The Prince of Wales, had allegedly, been promised £100K from the 1982 salvage operation to recover HMS Edinburgh’s gold bullion.  Interestingly, the salvor of the gold bullion, Keith Jessop, had allegedly offered to donate £100K to an unspecified ‘marine charity’ as part of his sealed bid to win the salvage contract from HM Government and the Salvage Association. He won the contract much to the chagrin of other, larger salvage companies, some of whom regarded Jessop Marine as little more than underwater scrap metal merchants.

On 30th August, 1981 the dive-support vessel Stephaniturm set out for HMS Edinburgh’s wreck site in the Barents Sea.  By the 15th September, Jessop’s team had finally penetrated the bomb room where the gold bullion was stored and recovered the first of the gold ingots.

Stephan

The Stephaniturm

In the event, 431 of 465 ingots aboard were recovered.In 1986, twenty-nine  further ingots were recovered bringing the total to 460, leaving five unaccounted for.  Indeed, some of the Soviet officials aboard the Stephaniturm were undoubtedly KGB officers, and aboard at Soviet’s insistence as  observers, seeing as Britain and Russia would take the lion’s share of the spoils. Was Hammer tipped-off by the on-board Soviets about Jessop’s reneging on the alleged gold bar donation? Perhaps.

Many questions still need answers, not least billionaire Armand Hammer’s involvement in the Mary Rose’s funding. Primary among these is whether the alleged ‘marine charity’ allegedly in Jessop’s salvage bid was indeed the Mary Rose?

That the Mary Rose was listed as a protected wreck on the List of Protected Wrecks in 1974, (which on paper at least excluded it from grant-aid), raised a few eyebrows in many quarters, when 100K of public money dropped into its lap, just at the time it faced fiscal meltdown.

Nevertheless, the government seems to have a grant-aid ‘ace’ up its sleeve, by virtue of an ambiguously worded section of the AM&AAA, which critics say,  is so airy-fairy it could easily have been interpreted to wrench the Mary Rose out of Armand Hammer’s fiscal clutches by enabling a grant:

(1)The Secretary of State may undertake, or assist in, or defray or contribute towards the cost of, an archaeological investigation of any land which he
considers may contain an ancient monument or anything else of archaeological or historical interest.

That, you might think, is that…job done and dusted. But the bitter tang of revenge hangs in the air some say. More I suspect, simply happenstance.

Nonetheless, a series of bizarre coincidences dogged some of the main players.  A contemporary note in the London Times ‘Diary’ column, posed the  question whether Prince Charles had put the royal boot in when he described the prize-winning blueprint for the Hampton Extension to London’s National Gallery, as looking like “a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.”  Is there a Mary Rose connection to this insult?

By another sheer co-incidence, Peter Ahrends, of the internationally respected architectural firm, Ahrends, Burton and Koralek (ABK), the same firm who asked  payment for their part in the design of the original Mary Rose museum Portsmouth Dockyard, just happened to be the National Gallery’s Hampton Extension’s architect!  English Heritage says this on its website; “ABK’s victory in the prestigious 1982 competition for an extension to the National Gallery in London  reflected the firm’s standing but the scheme was abandoned following a controversial intervention by the Prince of Wales.” Hmmmmm!

Whilst archaeologists involved in the Mary Rose’s excavation are amazed – and never cease sharing their astonishment – that the bodies of nits are present  in wooden and bone combs belonging to the crew, they fail to answer the whereabouts of the heavyweight leaden chest containing the hundreds of hammered silver and gold coins, representing the daily pay of the 700 officers and men (now mysteriously reduced to 500). In those days, crews were paid daily and the Mary Rose was victualed for ten days at sea: 700 x 10 = 70,000 coins minimum!

Neither has the heavy gold chain with its gold bosun’s whistle (weighing some four pounds in total) presented to the Mary Rose’s captain by Henry VIII at a banquet the night before she sailed from Portsmouth, ever come to light.  According to one archaeological account at the time…”It must have floated away in the current”.  Yes! Yes! Of course, that’s it!  Not being an expert on the vagaries of the Solent’s powerful tides, perhaps the chest and chain really did wash away heavy lead chests and heavy gold chains, whilst lightweight combs remain unaffected.

Aftermath…and another kicking?

Keith Jessop, died on May 22nd aged 77.

In his Obituary, on the 25th May 2010, The Daily Telegraph wrote… “The British and Soviet governments took the lion’s share, but Jessop’s personal cut came to about £2 million.  His moment of triumph, however, was soon soured. In a newspaper article article, and then in a book, a writer who had accompanied  the  Edinburgh recovery claimed that the divers had desecrated the War Grave – a charge that, as a proud ex-Royal Marine, Jessop found particularly offensive – and that an official of the Salvage Association had been bribed to secure the contract.

Jessop sued for libel; the book was pulped, he accepted an out-of-court settlement and was awarded costs.

The police investigated the allegations and concluded that there was no case to answer. But the DPP overruled them, and in 1984 Jessop went on trial at the Old Bailey charged with conspiring to contravene Section Two of the Official Secrets Act and with conspiracy to defraud the unsuccessful bidders for the Edinburgh contract. The prosecution case collapsed and Jessop was acquitted on all charges, but his reputation had been tarnished.”

As he often said: “I can deal with the sharks in the water. It’s the ones in pinstripe suits on dry land that I have problems with.”

Armand Hammer died, December 10th 1990, Los Angeles, California, aged 92, not universally esteemed.

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THE ARTEFACT EROSION COUNTERS COCK IT UP…YET AGAIN!

The teeny-boppers over at Heritage Action reckoned that Wales’ Portable Antiquities Scheme was awash with money, though a direct enquiry, unsurprisingly, presents a different picture. “The National Museums of Wales,” they whine, “Have just proposed a restructuring programme to save £2.5m, with 23 job losses.”  But then, displaying the eloquence for which  they are famed, they go on to report, “Quite right” snorted the NCMD spokespig, “We have to prioritise spending.”

Is it hardly surprising that Heritage Action’s Chairman, Nigel Swift (aka, Heritage Harry) allegedly lives in constant fear of a pat in the kisser?  Bet he
wouldn’t have said that face-to-face with any NCMD Council member, not that I’m here to fight National Council’s corner; just to highlight the quality of the  ill-mannered pond life with which we co-exist.

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Remember….

“When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun’”…….Groucho Marx 

I’ll see y’all in the bar….

June 2, 2013

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ARKIE CAUGHT WITH HIS FINGERS IN THE TILL…AGAIN!

Archaeologist James Vessey, 35, was working on an excavation site in the City of Bath in 2008 from where he stole three Bellarmine vases uncovered during the  excavations. The vases dating from the mid-1600’s mysteriously vanished from the site before they could be sent to his employers, the Museum of London, for  analysis.

However, in 2012, an eagle-eyed archaeologist spotted one of the vases for sale on eBay. Vessey was given a four-month suspended sentence by Bath magistrates and ordered to do 270 hours unpaid community service.

The magistrate’s court heard that Vessey had a history of stealing artefacts from excavations and had previously served a 15-month jail term in 2001 for theft.  (read the Daily Mail article  here)

What I find extraordinary is that Vessey, a convicted serial thief of archaeological artefacts and valuables, was only given a suspended sentence!  What sort of  message is this sending out to other archaeologists tempted to augment salaries with the odd tax-free bonus? Indeed, when in the past I have suggested on the Malamute Saloon that it really is the arkies who are feeding the ceramics market, Warsaw Wally and his UK pal, Heritage Harry, simply pooh-poohed it!

Now boys, how do you like yer eggs boiled?

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MIND WHERE YOU STEP!

Seems to me the ‘Thoughts of Chairman Wally’ are becoming increasingly like the animal excrement that litters our pavements (sidewalks) and however one  navigates the by-ways and highways, it’s difficult to avoid.

However, whilst I go to extreme lengths to extract the urine out this nonentity, others, mainly academics, take him more earnestly by suggesting Wally’s general heritage argument is ‘intellectually impoverished’, with one commenter devastatingly describing him thus;

“Fellows like this, people of many words and little distinction, don’t read very well and tend to entangle themselves in a morass of illogic of their own making.  It is predictable, and laughable. And worth ignoring. The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.”

It’s not hard to understand Wally’s frenzied efforts to gain a foothold on the upward slope of credibility. He knows full well, as do the rest of us, that he’s of ‘little distinction’ and rarely up to our level.  Now, being gradually eliminated from prominent blogs, his venom is largely and impotently limited to his own, lonely, cerebrally arid blog.

He is not, and never has been, any threat to this hobby nor to private collecting…

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Remember….

Everything’s coming up roses

I’ll see you in the bar….

************

May 22, 2013

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IT’S GOOD TO TORQUE!

Nothing warms the cockles of a treasure hunters’ heart (like mine) more than a torc, especially a Celtic one, and they often turn up on roman sites dating  from 100 to 200 AD.

The Treasure Act says: any object other than a coin provided that at least 10 per cent by weight of metal is precious metal (that is, gold or silver) and  that it is at least 300 years old when found. In the case of metallic objects, other than coins, of prehistoric date containing less than 10 per cent of  precious metal by weight of metal (they may be entirely composed of base metal, for example) there must be at least two such metallic objects from the ‘same  find’

Expect high prices and demand the best prices from the Valuation Committee, and always have legal representation. Perhaps we should be looking at some kind of  insurance scheme, similar to that for car drivers, to provide legal representation for such treasure eventualities.

Just a thought!

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BE AN AMBASSADOR FOR THE HOBBY….IT PAYS OFF!

It’s quite extraordinary. The number of people I stop and chat with while treasure hunting along the miles of gold sands hereabouts. The conversation usually  kick-off with, “Found any treasure? I’ve always fancied buying one of those [pointing at my ATPro metal detector]. Seems a great hobby.”

Then as the conversation deepens it soon transpires that though they are interested in history all they really want to do is their own thing and want no truck  with amateur archaeology groups saying attitudes of these range from being too middle-class/bossy/Leftie/. Can’t say I disagree with them there I have to say,  but  what’s most surprising is the amount of goodwill that exists ‘out there’ for our hobby of the kind archaeology per se would kill for!

One elderly couple I bumped into recently and spent some time with explaining the ins and outs of the hobby, its hardware and the PAS, were captivated. It turned  out they were Cotswolds sheep farmers and ….”We think there’s a Roman Villa in one of our fields”…the end result? I am looking forward to a few summer days  hunting in rural Gloucestershire.

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FESTIVAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY?

Once upon a time…..

“I regret that it appears to be a minority of metal detectorists who follow the Code of Practice.” Who says so? Mike Heyworth says so, and he’s  the Drum-Banger-in-Chief at the Council for British Archaeology. Of course there’s no proof to back his shameful claim which follows closely the CBA’s apparent  dictum of ‘Guilty’ until proven ‘Innocent’, but given his staggering approval of the heavily discredited and whacky Artefact Erosion Counter, it’s not hard to  fathom why some of his fellow excavators might think it unfair that his views be curbed by anything approaching accuracy. He certainly aligns the CBA alongside  the Brothers Grimm when it comes to fiction.

Yet, oddly, as part of his Council’s nationwide recruiting bash, they are encouraging this mythical minority of detectorists to attend a special series  of two days of finds’ identification; one to be held in Dorset, and the other in Cambridgeshire. Presumably, they’ll all be regarded as being in the majority and have to fill-in forms, or provide other evidence to prove otherwise?

I rather suspect that at the end of the day, someone will tot-up the number of finds brought in, then multiply this figure by 100, which will be tapped into  the disgraced Artefact Erosion Counter in an attempt to breathe the air of credibility into this now near-totally deflated blimp. Then, HEY PRESTO! ‘Evidence’  of malpractice appears and Warsaw Wally’s off on one of his crusades!

Don’t be fooled by the CBA. Whereas they never stop claiming that accuracy is their guiding light, events clearly show collective amnesia sets in when presenting  any ‘facts and figures’ about metal detecting. Some of our more vocal opponents bellyache (read Sixth-Form/teenage angst, ’It’s Sooo unfair, innit!’) that metal  detecting is all about private collecting. Well yes, in my view, it certainly is; there’s nothing wrong with private collecting or dealing in antiquities in any way, shape,  or form. Archaeology on the other hand, might well be described as ‘institutionalized collecting’, shrouded in mystery by its disciples, but having the added bonus  of  keeping them well paid from the public purse, bursaries, and grant aid. After all, you never see an arkie on a bicycle.

Maybe the CBA’s jamboree ought to be renamed, the Carnival of Institutionalised Collecting and Jobs for Life? As a matter of fact, the PAS also applies  to archaeologists too, from professionals (as in, they get paid, not as a measure of excellence)  through to rank amateurs, and every shade of incompetence in-between.  To paraphrase Mike Heyworth, “I regret that it appears to be a minority of archaeologists who follow the PAS.”

And they all lived unhappily ever after….

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NO WONDER HE HIDES…

Loathe as I am to mention  his name, Paul Barford, an Englishman (?) living in Warsaw, Poland, recently commented on his near unintelligible blog regarding  the recovery of allegedly stolen items, which  even by his standards of obnoxiousness and odd grammar, plumbed new depths awfulness.

It seems that police recovered over 900 allegedly looted artefacts from an address in Norfolk that had, allegedly, been illegally dug in Ireland over a period of  a few years. Whilst everyone and anyone connected with the heritage welcomes the move, and presumably heavy penalties on conviction for those responsible for the theft,  what do we get from Barford?

“Blooming stupid, isn’t it, that one side of a line on a map they look after the buried heritage, while the other side of the line, in the same group of islands  off the coast of Europe, they do not. The English always look(ed) down on the Irish, but here’s at least one area where the Irish have surpassed their backward insular  neighbors.”

Had the Irish authorities been  adept at protecting their heritage as Barford suggests, then presumably they slipped up with this case of theft that spanned  several years. Then he lets his prejudices slip. In a supreme act of arrogance, with his self-importance showing no bounds, he now takes it upon himself to speak for  the entire English race in that the English, “always look(ed) down on the Irish…”  No, Barford, I doubt we do or ever have, and it’s especially nauseating,  though unsurprising, that you with your trademark superciliousness take it upon yourself to claim the English are racists.

Presumably Barford prefers to scratch out  a living in Poland because he finds the English, “backward,” and “insular,” (that must look good on his cv).  What the Poles must think of him, I cannot imagine. What I think of him, I’m forbidden to print!  The longer we English maintain the status quo that he finds  so unpalatable, then the longer he will continue to be a stranger to these shores.

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Remember….

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” – Albert Einstein

I’ll see ya’ll in the bar….

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May 17, 2013

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CO-OPERATING WITH ARKIES?

A Treasure Hunter, having helped on an archaeological dig, goes up to the crusty old Excavation Director, who is renowned for his razor-sharp,  archaeological mind.

Treasure Hunter: “Sir, do you really understand everything about this subject?”

Excavation Director: “Actually, I probably do. Otherwise I wouldn’t be an Excavation Director, would I?”

Treasure Hunter: “OK. So I’d like to ask you a question. If you can’t give me the correct answer, will you let me keep those gold coins  I unearthed for you?”

Excavation Director: “Hmmmm, well…alright. So what’s the question?”

Treasure Hunter: “What is legal but not logical, logical but not legal, and neither logical nor legal?”

The Excavation Director wracks his famous brain, but just can’t crack the answer. He continues to wrack his brain all afternoon, but  still can’t get the answer.

So finally he calls in a group of his brightest student excavators and tells them he has a really, really tough question to answer:  “What is legal but not logical, logical but not legal, and neither logical nor legal?”

To the Excavation Director’s surprise (and embarrassment), all the students immediately raise their hands.

All right” says the Excavation Director, pointing to one of his students, “Tell us your answer.”

It’s quite easy, Sir” says the brightest student, “You see, you are 75 years old and married to a 30 year old woman, which  is legal, but not logical. Your wife has a young lover, which is logical, but not legal. And your wife’s lover is that bastard treasure  hunter who you’ve just let walk off with £10,000-worth of Celtic gold coins, which is neither logical nor legal.”

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WELL FANCY THAT….

Mud Men (series 1) about detectorists hunting for coins and relics on the Thames Foreshore,  was the HISTORY CHANNEL’s  highest  rating UK commission and commended as ‘Best Popular Factual Program’ at the Broadcast Digital Awards in May 2011…..

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WELL, DON’T FANCY THAT…

The United Nations defines Human Rights thus: the “basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.” Examples of rights and  freedoms which are often thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life and liberty, freedom of  expression, and equality before the law; and social, cultural and economic rights, including the right to participate in culture, the right  to food, the right to work, and the right to education.

The former Soviet Union’s notion of human rights (including its East European satellite states) was vastly different from those in the West  where, “It is the individual who is the beneficiary of human rights which are to be asserted against the government.” Within the Soviet  Bloc, emphasis was placed on economic and social rights such as access to health care, adequate nutrition, education at all levels, and guaranteed  employment; just so long as you kept your lip buttoned.

So who on earth, apart from about- to-be-‘blown’ intelligence operatives, spies, high-level defectors, failed academics, assorted loonies,  and dyed-in-the-wool communists, would want to live under such conditions? It’s a puzzle isn’t it, that as late as 1986, some westerners still  migrated east through the Iron Curtain for a life in this Socialist Utopia.

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NOR THIS….

I recently turned up this piece of high fashion on a local beach (ATPro International, 4.5-inch ‘Super Sniper’ coil). Ugly or what? I’d hate  to bump into the lady who thought this was chic gear especially at night  in a downtown  alley!

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Remember….

Those who never take anything too seriously have a distinct advantage over those who do….

I’ll see y’all in the bar…

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May 13, 2013

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MORE EXCELLENT NEWS FOR HERITAGE PRESERVERS (That’s YOU!)

The following is taken from the Portable Antiquities website:

The Portable Antiquities Scheme receives Heritage Lottery Fund first-round pass for project to expand its volunteer base

Tuesday 2nd April 2013 Author: Claire Costin

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) a first-round pass*, including development funding of £17,600,  for a project to greatly enhance its volunteer program nationwide.

The aim of the project is to create Community Finds Recording Teams by recruiting and training new volunteers from local communities around England and Wales.  These teams will work with their regional Find Liaison Officers (FLO) to record local finds onto the PAS database.  They will also promote the activities of the PAS to new audiences in their areas, and recruit others to volunteer with the PAS and engage deeply with the history and archaeology of their local areas.

The project will lead to new data being generated for the PAS website, and dedicated project staff will monitor the information recorded to ensure it is of a high standard to all who need it.  As part of the project a new section of the PAS website will be developed, which will be devoted to the work of the Community Finds Recording Teams and to the history and archaeology of their local areas.

Development of the project will start in April 2013, working towards a round two submission to HLF in order to receive a final decision on funding.  If successful, the project will run for five years.

This new PAS project is one of a number of initiatives at the British Museum supported by HLF, including the Future Curators training scheme and the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre. The Museum is extremely grateful for this continued support, and looks forward to working with HLF in developing its PAS second-round application.

Sue Bowers, Head of HLF London, said:

“The Heritage Lottery Fund is pleased to be giving initial support towards this project, which if successful will greatly enhance the important work  that the Portable Antiquities Scheme provides across the UK. We are looking forward to working closely with the British Museum as they develop their proposals  further.”

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Naturally, none of this will go down well with archaeology’s inconsequential ‘Luddite faction,’ or with those posing as archaeologists for cosmetic  reasons I suspect.

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I’ll see y’all in the bar….

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May 7, 2013

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An archaeologist and a treasure hunter were sitting in the barbershop. They were both just finishing being shaved when the barbers reached for some after-shave  to slap on their faces.

The archaeologist shouted haughtily…”I say, don’t put that cheap stuff on me! My wife will think I’ve been in a whorehouse!”

The treasure hunter turned to his barber and said…”Go ahead pal, my wife doesn’t know what the inside of a whorehouse smells like.”

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SIZE MATTERS….

On May 1st my treasure hunting habits changed somewhat, in that I fitted a 4.5-inch ‘Super Sniper’ coil to my ATPro International, where it will remain until  the end of August. Why? One too many glasses of electric soup you might think, but no, it’s all in the interests of targeting the low-hanging fruit, as  managerial-speak has it. We (that’s ‘Ole Jack Dey and me) are conducting a little research on local beaches.

During the summer months on our early morning beach raids he’ll be using his ATPro with the 8×11 standard coil and I’m going to work the trash-filled, BBQ and  picnic set-aside areas with the ‘Sniper’ just to discover the finds ratio and whether or not junky areas are worth the investment of a small coil.  Garrett’s Steve  Moore is aiding and abetting the endeavour, and he’ll be getting the results in the form a write-up for the Garrett SEARCHER magazine. Part One of this experiment  has already hit the news wires.

Unofficially, just between you and me so don’t let this go any further, I actually fitted the ‘Sniper’ a couple of days before the end of April, and headed  out to a known section of coastline (to me at least) that regularly throws up and does the biz with older finds following the right combinations of tide and winds.

Winkling the ‘Sniper’ through the assorted garbage, foil and pull-tabs, several copper pennies came blinking into the first daylight they’d seen in over one  hundred years, ranging from ‘Young Head’ Victoria through to George V.  Then up came the second of the ‘big silvers’ I’ve coaxed out from hereabouts; a near jet black  solid silver (.925) 1917 Half Crown piece that eventually polished-up and sparkled like a new shilling up a chimney-sweep’s rectum. Oddly, it shared space in the scoop  with a modern £1-coin!  But, still no old gold…yet!

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George V 1917 Half Crown. Solid .925 silver

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NOT QUITE THREE FOR ALL….

Three men are sitting stiffly, side by side, on a long-haul commercial flight. After they’re airborne and the plane has levelled off, the man in the window seat  turns to the other two and in an abrupt, superior, upper-class English manner, announces loudly, “Eton and Oxford. Archaeologist. Retired. Married, two sons, both  surgeons.”

A few minutes later, the man in the aisle seat states through a tight lipped smile, and with the same superior air…“Harrow and Cambridge. Archaeologist also  retired. Married, two sons, both High Court Judges.”

After some thought, the fellow in the centre seat decides to introduce himself. With a twinkle in his eye he proclaims…“The Bronx. Treasure hunter.  Multi-millionaire. Still working. Never married. Two sons… both archaeologists.”

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This from Peter Tompa’s highly influential Cultural Property Observer Blog…

“Germany’s highest regulatory court has ruled that coins in trade will not be treated as archaeological objects requiring an export permit under EU law.  he court said that because they are objects created in quantity, they have lost any archaeological value, and to require export permits for them would put an  unreasonable restraint on trade. The decision in its entirety can be read here.

UPDATE 5/4/13:  Not surprisingly, archaeo-blogger Paul Barford is in denial about the implications of Court’s ruling and has even implied the court’s  decision-making was corrupted by “commercial interests.”  As to the former, I think a well known numismatist said it best:

Of course Mr. Barford is in denial of the court’s actual ruling: “coins coming from Antiquity generally have no archaeological value and thus are not  archaeological objects”. It doesn’t come much clearer than that. Nor is this “the Bavarian judiciary” as Mr. Barford would like to believe; it is the supreme  court of Germany for cases involving customs and taxes.

As to the latter, I think Mr. Barford should compare what Transparency International says about Germany and places whose views of cultural property matters  he champions, like Greece, Cyprus, Italy and China.”

Of course, Barford disagrees…surprise, surprise!

Peter Tompa’s biography is impressive:

Peter Tompa has collected ancient coins for thirty years. He has written and lectured about cultural property issues  for a decade.  He is a contributor to a chapter on numismatics in K. Fitz Gibbon ed., “Who Owns the Past?” (Rutgers 2005). He has lobbied members of the U.S.  Congress and the Executive Branch in an effort to ensure that the small businesses of the numismatic trade receive fair treatment from federal regulators.  He currently serves as a board member of the Cultural Policy Research Institute and the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild. He also has been a vice-chair of the  American Bar Association’s Art & Cultural Heritage Law Committee. His advocacy has received notice in the media, including the New York Times, the New Yorker,  the Art Newspaper and the Voice of America. He hopes his views as a collector and lawyer will provide a counterpoint to the “archaeology over all” perspective found  in most blogs about cultural property issues.

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NO MORE WAITING!

“Well?” snarled an unpopular Finds Liaison Officer to a bewildered detectorist waiting in line at a Treasure Rally to have his finds  identified…”I suppose you can’t wait for the likes of me to die, eh, just so you can come and piss on my grave.”

“Certainly not,” the detectorist replied. “Once I get out of here, I’m never going to stand in a line again!”

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Remember…..

Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart, he dreams himself your master….

I‘ll see y’all in the bar….

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April 25, 2013

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HOW TIME FLIES, AND STILL NO SIGN OF SINGLE MALT, MONEY, OR BEER, OR BOOK!

(My 100th Contribution to this cheap SOB!)

Dick Stout’s got more front than Atlantic City. I’ve known him since the time the Dead Sea first went sick, and for years now, I have worked, nay slaved, to supply  him with suitable, eloquent copy for his blog, and what do I get in return? Henry Hall’s brother….F**k Hall! Not even a sniff of single malt, let alone a beer. Jeez!  I mean, I’ve seen Halle’s Comet more times than I’ve seen the inside of his wallet. I remember one time in a bar in AC, Cliff Stefens stood a round, I stood a round, and Ricardo, well he just stood around!

I did some research on him recently and discovered the name ‘Stout’ originates from the Anglo-Saxon, dating from the 9th Century meaning, generous, likeable,  lavish with ale, and loyal to friends. ‘Dick’ (or Richard, or Ricardo) comes from the Norman patois of 11th Century Gaul (modern day France) and was brought to  England with William the Conqueror in 1066AD, and roughly translated means…Not Very.

I really can’t fathom how the fragrant Fay puts up with him. I recall when I visited the States some years ago and fell into his clutches when he gave me the  now-famous tour of New York with its three Empire State Buildings, two Brooklyn Bridges and three Central Parks, he leaned out of the car and asked a New York Cab  Driver…”Hey, do you know the Noo Josiey toyn-off?”

“Sure” the Cabbie shrugged, “I married her!”  Oh, I thought, this is gonna be some kinda trip.

Some days later at a drinks party in a Condo in AC I bumped into Cliff Stefens, bumped into Harry Bodofski, stepped over Dick Stout, bumped into Archie Ray…I mean  the guy’s on another planet…he even thinks Manual Labor is an illegal Mexican gardener….and a Royal Enfield is where the Queen keeps her chickens! Sheesh!

John “Bubba” Howland, cover of early Searcher magazine….with his favorite liquids.

A couple of years later he stepped foot on this Sceptered Isle (or should that be Septic?). All I can say is, thank Jesus they got Independence. I take him to the  Mayfly, arguably the finest hostelry in these Islands where the finest ales are purveyed and spend hours not to mention loadsacash, trying to wean him off that vile  American habit of drinking ice-cold gnat’s piss and onto real ale. It cost me a small fortune, and it was only then I realised this guy wasn’t as cabbage as he looked.  I poured him into my car for the journey home. Fay, as ever, was perfection; cool, calm, sophisticated and elegant. Opposites attract!Stouty though is an enigma. For all his faults (his love of cold beer, so-so wine, just to name a few), he has been my great friend for over twenty-five years.  If this hobby had ten more like him, with his drive and zeal, metal detecting would be compulsory across the globe. He’s a bloody good editor too, and a great calming  influence on me, knowing my ‘love’ for the reptiles who’d put us out of business at the drop of hat.

All success to Stout Standards for the future, and long may he and it continue to shred the propaganda spewing forth from, unfortunately, the UK and Poland.

We’ve had some successes along the way but the drubbing of the Artefact Erosion Counter must surely rank as one of his high points. Stout Standards under Dick’s careful eye has been a rallying point for many worthy causes and we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Well done mate!

Now can I have that bloody $20 you owe me?

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Remember….

An amateur built the ark, but a professional built the Titanic…..

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April 24, 2013

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ARKIE-WATCH BRINGS RESULTS

For years I have been saying arkies are bigger despoilers of the heritage that any other faction, and far worse, their specialised vandalism is greater than even  the most dedicated of thieving nighthawks could ever do…and now, I have the proof.

Remarkably, the suppliers of this devastating information is no less than my old sparring partners, Heritage Action, the UK group of archaeological holier-than-thou  extremists, who are at pains to lay all the heritage ills at metal detecting’s  door. This is the same bunch who detest the awesome success of the Portable Antiquities  Scheme (PAS).

To find this information, simply type ‘Heritage Action’ into your search engine and scroll down to ‘Caerau Hillfort: Part 8 – So, it seems Time Team are coming.’

There in all its glory you’ll see the mechanical digger ripping the guts out of the layers and dumping the spoil alongside the trench with all stratification evidence in  ruins.  These are the same layers in which we as treasure hunters find coins from the 1500’s upwards to modern times, and report to our local Finds Liaisons Officers, but  these vandals have no respect or thought for ‘modern’ casual losses, dumping them like so much rubbish, and their contexts, in rough trenchside heaps. Read and inwardly  digest. Never again take any shit from an arkie!

Now you know why I demand arkies, especially amateurs, or those being handsomely paid to produce television dross, being severely controlled. What you see on the Heritage  Action blog is vandalism in action. Remember it, and refer to it, when next harangued by these heritage yobbos. Time Team? More like slime team.

How can this be in the public interest? Well it’s not, as anyone with a modicum of common sense can see, but I suspect of the boys at Heritage Action don’t care either way, and I further suspect many have huge erections at the mere sight of that digger smashing its way through OUR layers!

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April 16, 2013

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PORKIES, DAMNED PORKIES, AND STATISTICS a là HERITAGE ACTION

Many of you reading this, chiefly those on UK side of The Pond, are either thieving artefacts, mistreating them, or not reporting them in the way the  gobby lobby at Heritage Action wants you to deal with them.  It’s a bit like the UK’s Test and County Cricket Board laying down the law as to how Baseball  should be played in the States! Utter bollocks!

What follows is pure Joseph Goebbels; look away now if you’re of a nervous disposition or easily roused to anger:

“99.5% of finds are NOT Treasure items and the majority of them don’t get reported to PAS….when 99% of detectorists treat 99% of finds responsibly  the bashing will miraculously stop.” (posted on Heritage Action’s blog 8/01/2013).

On the face of it, to the casual observer these are disturbing figures, something the promoters of this nonsense heavily rely on. However, once under the  microscope, a vastly different picture emerges. Accuracy and Heritage Action go together like oil and water and they’ve got form in this respect too….remember AEC, Ho!  Ho!  It’s only then do you begin to delve deeper into what they are trying to pass off as kosher data do you realise the acreage of the Kingdom of Inaccuracy over which  these chumps preside.

For example, they would have the world believe that 247,500 detectorists, that’s 99% of them, have failed to report 841,000 artefacts (that’s 99% of ‘finds’) to the  Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS).  Currently, official PAS figures show that 858,000 artefacts found by detectorists are currently logged on their database and its’ only when you put Heritage Action’s ‘figures’ under the microscope that you begin to realise the scale of the propagandist nonsense for which they are now famous  and have made their own.

The only reason for pushing this dross especially considering their sniffy we-are-archaeologists-so-we’re-more-accurate-than-thou attitude must surely have  its roots in blind prejudice, disinformation, and elitism; but it’s no excuse at all.  What makes it all worse still, is that some of dross pushers are PhD’s and say  nothing.

Be under no illusion; though they are often seen as being a bit on the freaky or spooky side, these people are your enemy, belonging to that anarchic wing of archaeology campaigning to have you outlawed, or, brought under their direct control.

More to the point, as they are willing to publish inaccuracies of this scale posing as facts, what reliability, you may justifiably ask, can be put on any of Heritage Action’s other work, stats or data?

I suggest…NONE!  We’re on their case!

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THE LAST POST

Paul Barford’s latest stunt at UCS makes the Charge of the Light Brigade look like a model of military strategy and a gallant success.  To be fair though,  elevating Barford to the same plane as the ‘Gallant 600’ is I have to admit, taking even my level of piss-taking a bit far!  Nonetheless, I’m sure even he will  admit that his crusading zeal at the University Campus Ipswich, was an even greater unalloyed shambles.

Even taking into consideration the dearth of interest he commands, only twenty, yes, only twenty, out of the UK’s population of 60-million, summoned-up  enough interest to turn up to hear this self-proclaimed itinerant arkie/translator spew forth his venom against the magnificent contributions metal detectorists are making in the knowledge of our common heritage.

I’m afraid to say that Paul Barford has run his course…he’s a busted flush…devoid of facts – like his now discredited Artefact Erosion Counter.

I doubt even the CBA will reach into the cess-pit to pull him free. Let’s leave him where he belongs and get on with treasure hunting.  I’m wondering whether  he has a profitable future as a children’s entertainer, or, perhaps even, a clown?

Look out…he’s behind you!

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THE EVENTS IN BOSTON….

I am saddened by the tragic events in Boston, and my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected……

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You may reproduce anything from the Malamute Saloon, PROVIDED you acknowledge the source

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April 12, 2013

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THE THINGS THEY SAY….

This from the Council for British Archaeology’s website with regard to training….

“The Training Online Resource Centre (TORC) is an information service for anyone interested in courses and training in archaeology, from GCSE and A-  Level courses through to specialised training for professional archaeologists.” Ah, I see, accuracy in archaeology is everything. Right?  Well…umm….not quite…

This in a letter to me from the CBA’s Director, Dr Mike Heyworth…

“The HA Artefact Erosion Counter is based on a series of assumptions, many of which are untestable which is partly why it is regarded with scepticism and even hostility by some vested interests….” Mike continues…

“The accuracy of the Counter is not really the issue though, as the key question is whether it provides a  reasonable basis from which to consider the scale of the loss of knowledge caused by metal detecting when finds are not reported to the Portable  Antiquities Scheme (in England and Wales).  I think it serves its purpose in this regard, though inevitably the methodology behind the Counter is open to debate.”

Precisely how this hangs with the CBA’s TORC programme eludes me. One sincerely hopes that techniques that are ‘open to debate’ along with ‘untestable assumptions’ will not be employed on excavations funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Then again, for many years now, archaeo-sceptics have suspected archaeology was based on guesswork…and now, it seems, with  uneducated guesses!

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“Is Suffolk’s’ buried and unexplored heritage being pilfered unsustainably”

Search me. I don’t know, neither does anyone else I suspect, but our old pal Paul Barford makes a piss poor case for it according to the still-born paper  he presented to his own (surprise, surprise) seminar at the UCS on the 10th April.

However with his discredited Artefact Erosion Counter as a measure of his archaeological ken, you might be forgiven for imagining he doesn’t know