Sunday, 19 February 2017

That Recurrent 'Smolensk Lie'

General Piotr Pytel informs public opinion about the true views expressed on the Smolensk aircraft crash behind closed doors by one of the main PL government mystical conspiracy theorists

He was dismissed. The plane hit trees in fog as it was trying to land 10th April 2010 killing nearly a hundred VIPs on board. But claims to an alternative truth which the present government says it aims to 'uncover' are one of the main props to the populists' claim to power.

Exploitive artefact hunters Mislead Landowners

In England, artefact hunting heritage pocketers consider themselves 'generous' if they return to a landowner what they've taken from them... 

 Let us take a look at a random page of the 'identification and valuation' page of The Searcher, to get an idea of the average value placed by the market on run-of-the-mill artefacts: £50, £180-200, £80, £40-60, £30, £120, £120-150, £220, 300+, £15-18, £60, £120-150, £80-90, £40, £120, £20, £30, £80.... I think we get the idea. Metal detectorists claim they are 'not interested in the money', but every single one of them is aware that the artefacts they rmove from a landowner's property are not without (monetary) value, and cumulatively the resale value of even a small collection of historical metal artefacts can be quite substantial. How much of the money raised by the sale of such a collection (for exaple by heirs) ever gets back to the landowner? How many artefact hunters create the sort of documentation that would allow this?

No. it is not the artefact hunter who is generous, these people are exploiting the lack of awareness of the landowners and it should be the job of the PAS to inform the landowner of this as a public service to STOP the rip-off merchant collectors  profiting from keeping landowners in the dark.


Saturday, 18 February 2017

"Our hot sites which are now picked clean as a buzzerds bones"

"Why is mudlarking becoming more popular in London?" ask the BBC
The treasure hunters of the River Thames  (16 February 2017). Probably because the selfish want to get 'their share' before its all gone:
The beeb world service reporters were on the foreshore back in the 80s trying to get voice recordings ..But I told em to P**s off as did other diggers at the time ..Why would we want to advertise our hot sites which are now picked clean as a buzzerds (sic) bones ..(post by 'Targets' Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:02 pm my emphasis)
The archaeological record, of London too, is a finite resource. Once it is gone it is gone.
Hat tip Nigel Swift

The Things UK Detectorists say about Partnership

bus depot
The UK metal detectorist, self-confessed hoiker and conspiracy theorist, John Howland of Bournemouth bus depot has posted this comment about archaeological bloggers who question current policies on artefact hunting:
the kind of people waging a jihad against our pastime includes a minority of foul-mouthed slobs and ivory tower dwelling prejudiced ‘academics’, who have no compunction in exploiting the more vulnerable of their own kind, who, if you read the content of their blogs, you will see are completely off their trollies – or put another way, are more than a few coins short of hoard – in common parlance; ‘nutters.’ These barmy buggers are best ignored, to be pitied even, owing to of thier (sic) inability to grasp (sic) any sense of reality. What disturbs me though, are those other academics and archaeologists who use these poor weak-minds souls to fire the bullets they themselves are shit-scared to do (sic). These ‘abusers’ – for that is what they – are readily identifiable, and a stain on the those (sic) who accuse us of all the heritage ills. When it comes to using mental cripples to promote one’s advocacy, then the lowest depths have been plumbed. Best Hoiker Howland
I leave it up to my readers to identify who they consider to be the real mental cripples and illiterates in the heritage debate, but I think this raises the question - why does that writer expect academics and archaeologists be 'scared sh*tl*ss' of artefact hunters engaged in a pastime? Surely the official narrative promoted by both sides is that the two are 'partners', no?

Friday, 17 February 2017

Metal Detectorists Taking Grievances to the European Parliament

The 'European Council of metal Detecting' exists to 'promote, protect and encourage' the collection-driven exploitation (CDE) of the archaeological record. It was formed with the connivance of the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme and is now lobbying to get pilfering the archaeological record for collectables for personal entertainment and profit made legal in other countries of the EU. To this aim the hoikers got tarted up in suits and visited the European Parliament this month (ecmdeu, 'ECMD at the European Parliament' February 11, 2017). They just do not get it:
ECMD believes strongly that responsible metal detecting should be treated fairly in all European countries.As promised earlier, we’ve also started lobbying at the European Parliament in Brussels, hoping that eventually one standard of practices related to detecting will be adopted throughout Europe.
Bird eggers probably would be saying the same if was still legal in the UK. Fortunately since Britain will soon be excluded from the EU, the standard we'll be adopting here will not be theirs. In the photo, smug Polish tekkie Filip Jarosz meets Polish climate-change denying MEP Janusz Lewandowski.

 Basically you'd have to be a complete moron to claim anything like this:
Some authorities are not adequately educated about the topic of metal detecting. As a result, metal detecting is governed by ambiguous and unfair laws in many different European countries. For example, it is entirely possible to accidentally come across an ancient artefact without actually intending to find it. However, simply finding such objects is illegal in some countries. As a result, many people are forced to hide their accidental discoveries in order to avoid getting prosecuted, as opposed to simply informing a museum or an archaeologist about their find.
Heritage professionals in all EU countries are perfectly well 'educated' and they know all about collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record. The laws are no more unfair on those that want to privately and destructively exploit a common resource for their own personal entertainment and profit than those conserving any other resource for the public good. And Mr Jarosz will no doubt be able to give us examples of the legislation that make the accidental discovery of artefacts 'illegal'. That is the type of '\alternative fact' that artefact collectors use to support their case. The rest of us call that simply lying.

Anyway these poor lost souls really need to clue themselves up about how EU institutions work, it is not the European Parliament that will decide common cultural European policy, but the Council of Europe, and they already have a perfectly clear (and 'educated') 'Resolution on metal detecting' (no. 921) which shows clearly what is what. It in fact advocates strengthening the laws to prevent CDE of the archaeological record (points 9 and 14). These new attempts by heritage-pocketers make even more urgent the task of putting these measures into effect.


Cemetery of Saydnaya prison Victims? Unlikely

Amnesty International published a report about killings in Saydnaya prison (Syria) last week, and this week in answer to the question where the bodies went, a handout photo is produced:

Original caption: "A handout image by Amnesty International shows the military-run Saydnaya prison, one of Syria's largest detention centres located 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of Damascus, in two distinct satellite pictures, one taken on March 3, 2010 (L) and the other of the same taken on September 18, 2016. AFP/AFP/Handout "
This however seems to show a moderate-sized civilian cemetery. Note the co-ordinates given  33.3927°, 36.3685°.... which turns out to be a small village cemetery for the settlement Kherbet Al-Ward, some 33 km south of the Saydnaya prison, on the other side of Damascus. The satellite photos of the prison itself (33°39'54.99"N  36°19'43.22"E) do not seem to show any mass grave sites.

Ethics of Acquiring Cultural Heritage Objects

“Conference participants will examine, from a multitude of perspectives,
ethical matters related to systems and networks of trade in conflict antiquities,
policies and practices of protection, rightful stewardship, repatriation, and
digitally and artistically re-imaged cultural heritage sites and objects.
The conference provides an opportunity to parse the many intertwined
layers related to cultural heritage and its ethical treatment.”

Ethics of Acquiring Cultural Heritage Objects focus of W and L conference Published Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017,
Neil Brodie, senior research fellow in Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa at the University of Oxford, is the keynote speaker for the Mudd Center for Ethics’ interdisciplinary conference on “The Ethics of Acquiring Cultural Heritage Objects” at Washington and Lee University. Brodie’s lecture will kick off the conference on March 2 at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. He will speak on “Controlling the Globalized Market in Cultural Object: Closing the Gap Between Law and Ethics.” His talk is free and open to the public. [...]  “International regulatory policy aimed at protecting cultural heritage seems to be floundering,” said Brodie. “Whether taken remotely by satellites or close-up with cell phones, images of looted landscapes in Syria tell the same story – widespread destruction of cultural heritage is an ever-present accompaniment to conflict and is out of control. The carefully worked out systems of legal and normative regulation developed since the middle years of the 20th century seem unable to cope, overwhelmed by the liquid reality of the twenty-first century market.”[...] The March 3 conference on the “Ethics of Acquiring Cultural Heritage Objects” will look at the ethical and cultural heritage concerns surrounding the looting and trafficking of art objects in the Middle East, South Asia and the West. 
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