Monday, 29 August 2016

“No Man Knoweth the Day or the Hour”

This is awful news, a very close friend indeed from the 1970s
It is with great sadness that I am notifying you of the very sudden death of Mr Jonathan Catton. He collapsed at home on Thursday 26th August and the emergency services could not manage to save him. We would appreciate it if you would let any other colleagues, family and friends know, as we may not have been able to contact everybody. Due to the unexpected nature of this, we hope that you will respect the fact that the family need to take time to come to terms with this tragic news and that details will be released regarding the funeral arrangements. We thank you for your understanding. Linda, Peter and Edward Catton
Jonathan was a fantastic guy, he was the Assistant Director of the Mucking excavations in Essex, a position he filled ably for many years due to his exceptional people skills, he took a major role in the post-excavation project, and when that folded he ran the local museum until his retirement just a few months ago. Among my many fond memories is the time when I took my first aerial photography flight with Jonathan and his late father in a Cessna piloted by the latter. I saw him last December at the Society of Antiquaries at the launch of the Mucking Prehistoric volume, where he gave the most memorable and moving speech, we were going to meet again later on this year on the site. A truly devastating loss.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Monuments Meet Artefact: Architecture Pictured on Roman Coins

Just out.

Monuments in Miniature: Architecture on Roman Coins, is now available for purchase/shipping:
I believe the book has just received an “extraordinary merit” at the Numismatic Literary Guild awards. It is good to hear that some numismatic texts are well-written. Not all are.

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Answer Should be Revealing

There are probably (my figures) 16 000 artefact hunters using metal detectors to enlarge their personal collections in the UK.
‏@HeritageCrime 8 godz.8 godzin temu HE Heritage Crime podał/a dalej Rural Crime Suffolk We work closely with the #MetalDetecting community to identify the small minority of #nighthawks #OperationChronos
HE Heritage   HE Heritage Crime dodał/a, Rural Crime Suffolk @RuralCrimeSfk 'Nighthawking' is the theft of artifacts from archaeological sites and areas. It's illegal #heritagecrime 1 podany dalej 1 polubiony

I asked them:
Paul Barford ‏@PortantIssues 7 godz.7 godzin temu @HeritageCrime How many fellow metal detectorists have they 'shopped' in the past two years? 

The answer seems a foregone conclusion, given that they stress that they (think)  that the milieu overall contains a "small minority". Yeah?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Battlefield Recovery: Rise of the Nazi-Grave Robbers

Zombie toys
for ghouls
The legacy of the televised TV exploits of three British metal detectorists continues to damage: Thomas Rogers, 'Rise of the Nazi-Grave Robbers' Bloomberg Business Week August 23, 2016
Inspired by shows like Battlefield Recovery, profiteers are digging up World War II grave sites in search of memorabilia. Preservationists want to stop them.

hat tip Andy Brockman

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Well, Somebody takes my point. A Pity the British Museum Can't Understand

With regard to the British Museum conference which poses the question "Can Detectorists Be Archaeologist [sic]?", I repeat the question in the context of my own twitter feed on antiquities collecting and the commerce in artefacts:
Paul Barford @PortantIssues 25.08
"Can artefact hunters be archaeologists"?… PAS, Tell us all about it
vj @ poetryinstone @poetryinstone 25.08 @PortantIssues
destroying context and reducing sacred art to showcase curios !! disgrace not only to the profession but to humanity
The issue is between those who in the past see only loose "things" to display and admire and those whose concern it is to preserve things in their contexts. The British Museum used to do real archaeology (Sutton Hoo for example), now it seems from official communiques that it does not even really know what the word means. The British Museum becomes a brutish museum.

Vignette: Artefact hunters in their natural environment; can they be archaeologists?

The Big Business Of Looted Antiquities

The trade in looted antiquities is big business – and some fear it’s growing due to instability in the Middle East and North Africa. While the U.S. has passed laws restricting imports from Syria and Iraq, many argue little will change until the market for these stolen antiquities is eliminated. New efforts to curb the plunder of the world’s cultural heritage.
The fight to preserve the world's cultural heritage sites. But Sarah, please, let us not link it with ancient Egyptian tomb looting. That's a lame argument unworthy of you.

More on "Citizen Archaeologists"

3 godz.3 godziny temu
Book now for the 2016 conference - 'Can Detectorists Be Archaeologists?': 
Answer: It depends what you mean when you use that singularly vague term "detectorists" (and what you mean by the phrase "can be"). I've already explored the rather simplistic British Museum exegesis of the term "archaeology" here. Mostly, if the question is can artefact hunters be archaeologists in the real sense of the word at the same time as being artefact hunters and collectors, from what we have seen of what they do and say, the answer would be "no".

Interesting isn't it that neither Heritage Action's Nigel Swift nor myself, the two most vociferous commentators on the BM's nonsensical "citizen archaeologists" have been invited to talk. So - who has? Obviously those who think they have the answer to the PAS's pathetic little straw man argument:
 though there remain concerns about the (seemingly) haphazard searching techniques employed by most finders.
Duh, no, no that is not at all what the actual concerns are, but tell that to the ivory tower idjits trotting out their glib, childish and meaningless "common ground" mantra. The question is in itself a supremely silly one, as one might expect from these days from the British Museum.

Can bus drivers be archaeologists? Yes, but how many are? Probably fewer than become ornithologists.

Vignette: There are 'metal detectorists' and then there are 'metal detectorists'.
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