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Re: yet more archaeo-sensationalism

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  • George Thomas
    All this reference to British antiquities laws, crawling with dates in the 90s, 80s and even as hoary and old as the 70s, raises the obvious question: How
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 26, 2009
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      All this reference to British antiquities laws, crawling with dates in the '90s, '80s and even as hoary and old as the '70s, raises the obvious question: How ancient are the English Common Law and earlier provisions for how "The Crown" handles ancient treasures, hoards and archaeological sites ("Monuments")?  The practice of "rewarding" a lottery-playing "peasant" who finds an ancient Anglo-Saxon hoard quite possibly extends so far back into British history that this mercenary approach to "finds" itself becomes part of the ancient record.  It's laughable when we realize that antiquities laws in the USA are actually contemporaneous with those cited here in "ancient" Britain, and that the 1906 "Antiquities Act" got onto the books on the left side of the pond.
      From our jaded perspective in the USA, this would be a worthless, moot point, as suburban sprawl etc. steadily eat into our "resource."  Having written on and worked with this strange phenomenon for decades, I'm still at a loss. On a positive note, the British practice of mobilizing metal detector fanatics as volunteer labor, playing off their "pre-existing condition" enthusiasm for finding ancient metal "stuff," is similar to the Texas Archeological Society's practice of welcoming non-professional members and holding them to by-laws.
      What to do about the journalistic "need" to sensationalize archaeology?  Those clowns draw on a deep well of auld, auld Anglo-Saxon-Celtic-etc. story-telling and embellishment that seems to be increasingly lacking in most other reportage on what's happ'nin'.  Some reporter is pulled to write a feel-good "feature story," and fact-checking is dropped a priority tick or two.  It's hard to accept the sensationalism and distortions they perpetuate, and letters to editors don't seem to do much good.  If we made any headway they'd protest that we're trying to stop first-amendment partying and fun.
      I'm with Deborah on this. At least the moronic sensationalism encourages higher enrollment in archaeology classes.  Jaded works for me.
      Meantime. WRITE YER CONGERZMANN!!!
      George (The Other George!).....
       
          Posted by: "Monica Bellas" lady13wind@...
          Date: Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:08 pm ((PDT))

      According to the news article I read today, he and the landowner will each receive half of the value of the find.  The article in our local paper stressed that he notified the proper authorities upon finding the hoard, who then instituted a "proper" archaeological dig.  They're keeping the location of the find secret, as they are continuing to work on the property.

      Monica Bellas

      Cerritos College

      Norwalk, CA


      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      From: deborah.shepherd@...
      Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 13:04:54 -0500
      Subject: RE: [SACC-L] yet more archaeo-sensationalism

        By "sharing half the money he gets," is this a reference to a reward that was given? I haven't found this story, but I did find that actual Treasure Act 1996 law:
      http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1996/ukpga_19960024_en_1#pb4-l1g10

      The entire find, in this category, belongs to the Crown, but the Secretary of State can give a reward.

      Deborah

      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Pam Ford
      Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 4:26 PM
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [SACC-L] yet more archaeo-sensationalism

      From what I saw this morning on ABC News, the story is that the Finder
      will share half the MONEY he gets with the landowner. The media made
      the Finder look like a kind and lucky person, not a pilfering thief.
      Sometimes getting the message out about the nature of the archaeological
      record is like hiking up a cinder cone: 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.
      Some days, it's the opposite!

      ~Pam Ford

      Mt. San Jacinto College where it is only about 100 degrees F today (down
      from 107 on Tuesday)


          Posted by: "Deborah Shepherd" deborah.shepherd@... deborah_j_shepherd
          Date: Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:26 pm ((PDT))

      I don't recall seeing that anyone has posted the link to the official website for this hoard. It is here:
      http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/<http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/artefacts/>

      Now, I'm really impressed by this find.



      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf Of Pam Ford
      Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 4:26 PM
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: RE: [SACC-L] yet more archaeo-sensationalism

      From what I saw this morning on ABC News, the story is that the Finder
      will share half the MONEY he gets with the landowner. The media made
      the Finder look like a kind and lucky person, not a pilfering thief.
      Sometimes getting the message out about the nature of the archaeological
      record is like hiking up a cinder cone: 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.
      Some days, it's the opposite!

      ~Pam Ford

      Mt. San Jacinto College where it is only about 100 degrees F today (down
      from 107 on Tuesday)

      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com><mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com><mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf
      Of Deborah Shepherd
      Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 12:54 PM
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com><mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: RE: [SACC-L] yet more archaeo-sensationalism

      At least - with any luck - they won't damage the find spot too much. I
      believe that in Britain, all such gold and silver treasure must by law
      be turned over to the state. The only jackpot they get out of this is
      their 15 minutes of fame. Of course, it's possible someone might try to
      circumvent the law, but that would be difficult to achieve. I know that
      many British archaeologists try instead to recruit the detector fanatics
      and train them to do the work properly for the local antiquities
      society. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

      My feeling, when I see these stories, is that maybe I'll get enough
      students registered in my archaeology class so that it won't be
      canceled. (Actually, not such a big worry any more.) Guess I'm just
      jaded.

      Deborah

      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com><mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
      [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com><mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ] On
      Behalf Of Bob Muckle
      Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 2:48 PM
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com<mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com><mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: [SACC-L] yet more archaeo-sensationalism

      Just as I was getting over the archaeo-sensationalism over the discovery
      of two skeletons at Troy, comes the media frenzy about the discovery of
      1500 or more gold and silver artifacts from the 7th century in Great
      Britain. Now....in itself, this is pretty darn important discovery.
      But....I wish the popular media never got a hold of the story. The
      stories I have been reading and seeing on accompanying videos are kind
      of glorifying the discoverer, who was an amateur looking for loot with a
      metal detector. So I suppose there will be hordes of people who would
      normally buy lottery tickets now going out to buy metal detectors, and
      scouring the landscape looking for their own jackpot. And, of course,
      the stories tend to re-inforce the notion of archaeology as
      treasure-hunting.

      If you are interested in learning more about the discovery...

      I imagine it would be pretty easy to find the stories by using google.
      Or you can get to some links through twitter.com/bobmuckle or
      twitter.com/CapilanoAnthro

      Bob

      Anglo-Saxon discovery
          Posted by: "Bob Muckle" bmuckle@... canadianarchaeologist
          Date: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:46 pm ((PDT))

      For those interested in the discovery of those 1500 gold and silver items associated with the 7th C Anglo-Saxons, the web site recommended by Deborah Shephard is very good.

      The web site suggests people using Twitter use the hashtag #staffshoard, when commenting or linking to stories on the find. If you search Twitter for #staffshoard you will find a lot of links to stories on the discovery.


      Bob






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