Well, apparently, from all I've heard the East Coast Research and Discovery Association's (sponsored by Minelab) event was a huge success. While I was unable to attend I heard from friends back East that it was a blast, and I am happy to hear that, given that others over the years had said the city was not a possibility anymore? Atlantic City was the location for the FMDAC events in the 80's, and in my opinion, should have continued there year after year.
Atlantic City beaches are big enough, the allure great, and whether or not you won a metal detector (one year, a new car) you always had fun (and what better place to get rid of those dirty clad quarters). The city was also a natural for attracting treasure hunters from all over the US (try asking your wife if she wants to go to Atlantic City?).
One hope that I have is that this event will become an annual one, and that Minelab will make an effort to include all the metal detector manufacturers next time. Calling it "Metal Detecting Day" is fine, and tying it to the introduction of a new product is great marketing, but why not include everyone? Given the small number of manufacturers and participants this would be a great way to bring the entire pastime together for the good of all...... Just MY opinion.
I received glowing reviews of the AC event from my old friends John Punola, Bruce Hazelman and Mike Race.... I offer the following photos to show you what happens to the TH'ers of old....
Jeezus, What a motley crew.....
Good ole Chicago Ron made us proud once again with another ring return.... Thanks for sharing this Ron, and for continuing to be the great ambassador for the the pastime. Do read the following and then watch the video......
I swear Ron doesn't have a job, sleeps on the beach, and beats up anyone with wearing valuable rings.... (only reasonable answer I can come up with).
This weekend we will be remembering all the brave men and women who gave their lives so we could live free in the greatest country in the world. Thanks to them you will be enjoying that cookout, family get-together, parade, fireworks, whatever... They will not.... Let's not get caught up in all the festivities that we forget the real meaning of Memorial Day.
May seems to be the time for new books coming on the scene. Just finished Chris Altmann's book "From the Ground Up", and I received a copy of Robbie Morin's book, "Find More Silver Coinshooting Parks and Schools"....
Robbie is a good friend, and I am happy that he has decided to write a book..... He has been a long time contributor to Stout Standards, offering up a lot of good information, and has also written a few articles for Western and Eastern Treasures magazine.
In his new book Robbie share's his knowledge and expertise about hunting city parks and schools, and while you may think you know all about those places, you will change your mind after reading his book.
"Find More Silver Coinshooting Parks and Schools" is a great addition to any detectorist's library, and is available from Amazon.com or createspace.com
I know Ron Guinazzo, and like him a great deal but he is becoming one big pain in the arse..... No matter where I go....online, on TV, there he is, showing off his finds. This, his latest video offering, is no different. He has found more neat things in the past week than I have found in the past five years, and I think someone close to him needs to cut the wires on his coils, or run over his detector (Just a thought...).
Sorry Ron. No one is entitled to this much time in the field, finding so many good things......you are pissing off a lot of detectorists.....
Just received my signed edition of "From the Ground Up" by Chris Altmann, and it's a winner...
There are a zillion books on the market about what we do, as in metal detecting, but very few that offer a "fun" read. "From the Ground Up" fills that void...
This book is about Chris and Kim's (his wife) many days in the field detecting, both here and abroad, and all the things that happened along the way.
If you are looking for details on how to set up your detector, forget it. If you want a book that has practical, useful information, based on years of experience, then add this one to your library. I guarantee you it's unlike any metal detecting book you have read before.
Starting with Chris's very first find with his "Christmas present", you'll find info on beach hunting, relic hunting, fossils, and even a chapter on "critters". "From the Ground Up" is a great read. It is 138 pages long, filled with photos and illustrations, very well written, and at $16.00, a real bargain.
Once you start reading this book you will find it hard to put it down. I highly recommend this to every metal detector user....
For information on how to order the book, email Chris at email@example.com....
From time to time I watch a few videos on the various detecting websites, and it seems like I am seeing more about the find itself, and the hell with how it's recovered.....
Look, I get the thing with wearing a camera on your head (um, I think?), but it doesn't make you immune from digging a neat plug. Please, next time out, carry a drop cloth and "take your time" recovering that target. Having the latest, the biggest and the best doesn't exempt you from doing the right thing. When you forget you make it difficult for a lot of people..... (and with a pinpointer no less?)
My wife Fay is a great cook, and just the other day fixed what is called Mexican roasted corn. She noticed street vendors selling it in Mexico while on a photo workshop, and found the recipe in a recent issue of "Saveur" magazine.... Once you have your corn on the cob this way you will never go back to your normal routine (ours was usually butter and salt).
John Winter's blog is never dull, and I love it when I get a notification about an update. His latest is based on the year, 1985, when the first edition of the The Searcher was published. I found it interesting for a lot of reasons, but it was "my time" in that I was very active with the FMDAC, meeting with people in the UK, and yes, even big John Howland is mentioned in that very first issue.
If you go back that far (and you probably do if you are reading this) check it out.....lots of fun reading.
The Lordship has graced this site again with another "take no prisoners" rant, and all you need to do to read it is click here.......
As is always the case you read it at your own risk. I take no responsibility for what he writes. He does buy me drinks though.....
Went out today for a little while (more to take photos for a project than to actually detect) and found a quarter. What amazed me was the soil, as in rock hard AGAIN!! We have had a decent amount of rainfall over the past couple of months, and there is even talk that the watering rules might even be rolled back, but damn if you can prove it by me.
Fay was with me, doing the photos, and we found a few crevices that appeared to continue on down to China or somewhere thereabouts. Inserted my 12 inch coin probe, and it would have disappeared if I pushed one more time. Likewise, if not for the hilt guard on my Lesche it too would have quickly disappeared. Welcome to Texas.....
Aside from all this......I can get down to recover a target quite nicely. The problem comes when I try to get up....nothing to grab onto. So when I get that "lovely high pitched" whine from my MXT Pro I am praying that the item is indeed worth going through the ritual. I actually had a moment today when I wasn't sure I could stand up on my own. I was hoping to live to some ripe old age, but at this rate it won't much matter.
Now having said all this....go ahead and tell me "who gives a crap?" It's what I would have told you if you were telling me the same thing. It's New Jersey honesty, and damn do I miss it!
After watching the first two episodes of American Digger I decided to put it out of mind, and never watch another show. I have done that. On Wednesday, however, someone posted a preview of that night's show on Facebook, and I decided to take a peek....
|Sneak Peek: Unearthing Controversy|
I found the following on Facebook, posted by a group called "I Am a Detectorist and I Vote"..... It's part of a larger Study, but I share this because I was extremely pissed after reading it. I will let you make your own decision, but do read it in its entirety....
It starts out..."One of the purposes of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) was to encourage cooperation between professional archeologists and those outside the profession with strong interest in archeology and ancient material culture to further the protection of archeological sites. One of the effects of the passage of ARPA has been to increase the animosities between these two groups...."
One paragraph that irritated me: "Our second proposal for the use of amateurs concerns the use of nonarcheologically involved professionals, particularly in the media, to aid archeology. Many people who are interested in archeology have skills of use to archeologists in protecting sites. Photography, film making, drawing, the ability to fly a plane, publicity and promotion are just a few useful talents."...
You know, let's find other "amateurs"that will make OUR task easier....
And another..."Most archeologists recognize in themselves or their colleagues, strong emotions of possessiveness and territoriality regarding the archeological sites and materials they study. These emotions are no less strong among amateurs. In many cases, amateurs visit "their" sites on a regular basis. Thus, they are ideally suited to be monitors of site damage. Of course, these are often the same people who are angry that they are being told they can no longer collect "their" sites.
Huh? Let me get this straight....we find a the site, we tell them about it, and then we guard it so that they can take credit, and recover the finds (when they have time and grant money).....
I know the purpose of this article was to somehow promote the comaraderie between archaeologist and metal detector user, and maybe I am misinterpreting a lot of what is stated. Perhaps too it's because I have tried to work with the archaeological community for so many years to no avail. It was obviously written for the "professional" and not we "amateurs" (as in those without degrees), and the use of the word "throughout", is to me, very condescending.
Again read, interpret as you wish, and you are welcome to disagree with me. I will add however, that if you are waiting for some sort of acceptance from the archaeological community, keep dreaming......
Found the following on the Regton, Ltd. Facebook page, and thought it was well done. I've experienced the "careful coddling" of a farm owner in the UK a few times and it's a continual process. Given the potential rewards it's well worth the time and effort. When hunting with John Howland on a few Roman sites the price of admission was usually a very good bottle of single malt Scotch.
The WWATS organization has it's yearly hunt coming up Memorial Day weekend. For more information click here.
Thanks again to Linda Bennett from the Gold Coast Treasure Club for the following update to the May 8th post here.....
You count on us being painted in an unfavorable way....it's standard fare for the archaeological community, and getting so old and tired. They are a great group of piss and moaners.
Had an email from someone who took offense at my comments "You Only Go Round Once", my last update here. He implied that I was putting down the Minelab product, and promoting White's. Not true, and if it came across that way to anyone else I apologize. I have reread my comments and don't understand how someone would come to that conclusion, but que sera, sera....
If Minelab would like to send one of their detectors I would be happy to try it and post my comments. For that matter same goes for all the other manufacturers out there. Just email me and I will give you my shipping address. I do not accept COD's!
If you are lucky enough to still have a mother living, be sure to give her a hug, thank her and tell her how much you love her today. In fact do that whenever you see her. Tomorrow maybe too late. I lost my Mom last year and regret not having said it more.... Happy Mother's Day!
I have been hearing a lot about the new Minelab detector, its many features and of course its cost. Apparently this machine will be the “end all”, and will make all others on the market obsolete (where have I heard that before?).
I have not seen the CTX 3030 yet, and for that matter have never tried any Minelab detector. No particular reason. Just have not had the opportunity. I do remember back in the mid-80's being asked to field test one of the first models available here in the states , and was unable to grasp the technology. Wound up sending it to another tester who was able to put it through it’s paces, and gave it a glowing review (pretty much a given back then).
Today’s detectors and features have made me realize that I am losing my way, and becoming a relic (no pun intended) among those who treasure hunt today. GPS, PC Mapping, Wireless, Polar Plot Vector Screens, Language options, simultaneous multiple frequencies, and one article in the recent WET magazine was called "Finding Treasure with Your Smartphone"(don't own one). Add in the Blisstool detector which is supposed to find a Rolex at half a mile, and the times, they are a changin!
On June 1st I will be reach the “overly ripe” age of 71, and I have decided to lay low, detect when I can, and watch all this fun from afar. I love my MXT Pro, and the on/off switch still keeps me busy, and finding a good place to detect even busier. Likewise when you are retired (or "retard" as they say down here), anything costing over $10 requires serious thought. Spending $2,000 for a metal detector requires robbing a bank.
Now I know there are a lot of you out there finding a lot of neat things, as in gold/silver rings, coins and relics. If you have that kind of money lying around, what the hell.... go for it! You can tell your wife Dick Stout said to do it (just don't tell her where I live please). You only go round once in life, and this is one pastime where your expenses just might be recouped in a short amount of time.
Whether you do it for the love or for the money, it doesn’t matter. Just have fun, and one more thing.... No matter what your super-duper, end-all, top-of-the-line, biggest and best detector tells you, the ultimate answer is your digging tool!
Ron Guinazzo, a.k.a. Chicago Ron posted another terrific video, and I wanted to share it here. Ron lives, eats and sleeps treasure hunting, and is one terrific ambassador for all of us. Thanks for all you do Ron.....
Linda Bennett, member of the Gold Coast Treasure Club sent along the following news item, and if you are not familiar with this club do yourself a favor and take a tour of their website. It's a good one....
Linda also included this additional write-up concerning this discovery, and I found it interesting......
Matt Little, Public Information Specialist, (954) 828-4732 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fort Lauderdale - In a coordinated historic preservation initiative between the City of Fort Lauderdale, Broward County and a well-known archaeological group, an Interim Report was released today pointing to Fort Lauderdale Beach as the site of a pre-civil war fort.
During utility trench excavations that were conducted as part of a $3.1 million improvement project at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, an archaeologist who had been on site since the beginning of the project discovered approximately 100 artifacts. Following protocol as outlined in Broward County Ordinance, Chapter 5, Article XVI, the City notified the County of the initial discovery on May 2. Archaeologists have remained on the scene to monitor excavations and recover artifacts, including approximately 20 musket balls, lead slag from the manufacture of musket balls, military buttons and a kaolin pipe bowl.
A television report that gold coins were discovered was inaccurate and unfounded. The archaeologists reported that most findings consisted of melted lead and artifacts that are of historical interest, but that would not be characterized as valuable.
As work progresses on schedule in compliance with County Ordinances, archaeologists will remain on the scene to closely monitor excavations. The public is reminded that ordinances prohibit the collection or disturbance of artifacts on the site. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is enforcing the prohibition to prevent theft of the artifacts.
Another news item pertaining to this discovery also mentioned that there were no coins found, as was originally reported. Hmmmm....makes me wonder why the emphasis on this? Nah, I am sure if the archaeologists in charge had found a few they would share this info, right?
Just a reminder that you can sign up for the latest news updates on my blog..... Not as complete as this site but is quicker to load and read. Simply enter your email address where indicated and you will automatically be notified of any updates.
John Winter emailed me the following photo (from a UK forum), and had to post it right up.....love it.
Have been busy with a few projects, and also trying to keep up with all that is going on in the world of treasure hunting. Not easy these days.....
Spent some time Northwest of here where cell phones don't work, and found a couple of treasures in way of new sites, but need to do a lot of research before going back. Detecting up that way without permission would most likely result in an ass full of lead or a sudden disappearance. More on this at a later time....
Seems we have a new Minelab detector coming out....the CTX 3030. I have heard so many things about this detector I will not even comment. The hype is more than I care to deal with. Whatever, it will all be known in a few days. Apparently it will be able find anything and everything, and can even bake a cake when you are not detecting....
Minelab is also hosting a day (weekend?) devoted to metal detecting throught the US. See the info here. Would have been nice if they had coordinated with the other manufacturers, but so be it....
Couple of friends have also indicated that Garrett is about to come out with a new model, but I warn you that these same friends have been wrong in the past. I personally know of another detector that is in the testing stages that will be introduced sometime this year, most likely in the fall....
So, given all this, what does one do when considering a new detector? My suggestion? Enjoy what you have now. Wait till the kinks and the problems are worked out and then make a decision. I have developed this philosophy with everything anymore....detectors, computer programs, cell phones, and pretty much anything in that category. Likewise having worked for a major manufacturer I can assure you there is always that one bug that will drive you and the engineers nuts....
After Mr. Barfart from Warsaw took offense to my last blog update (Blisstool detector), I decided to post the controversial comment on Wordpress. He and his friend Nigel Swift (Heritage Forum) have this thing for Stout Standards, and that's fine. I understand they have nothing else to do with their time, and the increased traffic is appreciated. Bottom line is that they both hate anyone who uses a metal detector, especially those who find significant historical treasures without the need of an archaeologist. Guess you could say it "pisses them off royally".....
If any of you care to read their BS simply google their names and you will understand....
Knowing how laxed I am with US History John Winter sent me this news item..... so glad this article didn't make any mention of a metal detector!
My friend Dick Tichian sent me the following article, and as I read it I had to wonder what would have happened if this shipwreck were found by a treasure hunter or an archaeologist? Who would benefit most, and at what cost?
My April 29th post about the Blisstool detector brought the anti-detecting establishment out of their holes. Apparently my mention of digging deeper in "parks" was all they needed to add me to their ranks (and "rank" is indeed a good word for them).
You may or may not know that I also have a blog, which is much leaner than this site and allows for comments. Shortly after the Blisstool post I received a comment, that if I had allowed it to be shown, would have taken the reader to their website, and months and months of bullshit about how detectorists are destroying the world....
For the record my only concern about extreme depth accredited to the Blisstool was how it might affect the coinshooter here in the US, especially when hunting parks..... To the individual who sent the comment; if you wish to reply, do so, but make it short, to the point, and most certainly not a link to your website. Then perhaps we can have a dialogue, or does the thought of that scare you?
Mr.Howland has once again checked in with his latest thoughts on all things worldly, and yes, he didn't forget the archaeological community....If you are so inclined you can read his rant by clicking on the Malamute Saloon link or by clicking here.......
I enjoy checking out a lot of metal detecting websites and seeing what people are finding, and the quantity and quality always impresses me. Recently I started hearing about "Blisstool" detectors (manufactured in Bulgaria). Supposedly these detectors can find a BB at ten feet, and a car a mile away. They are induction balance machines, and if all the hype is correct they are the end all of deep seeking detectors.
Here is their website, and I will let you decide if their claims are legit or not. For me it really doesn’t matter. How much depth is enough, and what will we do with it anyway? Don’t get me wrong. I have always been one of those “don’t give me frills, give me an extra inch of depth” hunters, however are there limits?
Is that dime at 18 or 24 inches worth digging? Well of course because it’s obviously a an older one, a keeper (or so we think). Next what kind of hole will we need to dig to recover it, and what will our digging tool look like? How will this recovery look to those who are watching us so closely? How might the folks who oversee the city parks come to grips with this?
I know I will hear from relic and beach hunters that all this doesn’t matter since their area of expertise doesn’t always require tidy repairs, and to some extent that is true, but just how obsessive will we all become to have the "latest"? To have the “advantage”?
I do understand the buzz and the hype.... When I begin detecting in the late 70's I was always looking at the “other” detector, wondering if indeed it would detect a little deeper than the one I was using. Depth has always been the most important feature, but now I wonder if it continues to be the ultimate criteria, will we even have a place to use it?
Have been somewhat lazy the last few days, but hoping the weekend turns out to be somewhat better. Heading Northwest toward the Oklahoma border for some detecting. Not sure what to expect up that way, but have a couple of leads that sound pretty good, and yep, the temps will be in the 90's. Great timing....?
The worse that can happen is that all I do is eat some very good barbecue.....
Nigel and his crew have also filmed seven instructional videos and all are available online. I am posting one here, but to see more just type in "Regton Metal Detecting Tips" in the YouTube search area....
Not sure about you, but it seems that everyone who enjoys this pastime is talking about relic and water hunting. What happened to coinshooting? Are our ranks thinning? Are the coins disappearing? What’s up?
When I started in the late 70's, most everyone searched for old coins, silver coins, and we were finding them with some regularity. This preoccupation continued for quite some time, and if my ability to gauge time periods is correct, it started changing in the late 80's. Not that we coin hunters stopped looking.... just that the manufacturers realized beach and shallow water hunting was becoming popular.
Detecting beaches was pretty easy, and finding just one gold ring made your day. The rush was then on, and all the manufacturers started designing models that were supposedly entirely waterproof. I use the word “supposedly” loosely because I knew of a few that were surely not.
In the past few years relic hunting has taken off, and I think it’s partly because of rural areas becoming more readily available, and because of the just "dig everything” approach.
Now, having said all that, we coin hunters have to start speaking up, promoting our passion, and in particular the forgotten art of probing. Back in the early 80's using a probe was not all that uncommon. If you wanted to hunt a small town park or homesite, you had to be proficient in this method of recovery. Being able to “bring up a coin” neatly was the test, and the price of admission to many good areas. Today? Not sure 75% of detectorists even have a probe, and it just might be that’s why we are facing so many restrictions?
I don’t intend to dwell on this subject, but when I see all the many YouTube detecting videos I see large plugs being dug, and many times replaced hastily. Yes, I sometimes see drop cloths being used, but why aren’t we seeing anyone probing, and why isn’t it being promoted by the manufactuers and clubs?
I looked long and hard online for a video demonstration but was not able to come up with one. If you have or know of one please let me know. It's an art that needs reviving, and one that just might take you to all the right places....
My Email in-box was graced this morning with "MalSal #60"..... which means the big guy from the UK has sent an update to the Malamute Saloon, his 60th to be exact. While I frequently belittle him, insult him, and always cringe at the things he writes, the Malamute Saloon link always get's the largest number of hits from the visitors to Stout Standards. What can I say? There are just a lot of sicko detectorists out there just like him....(that's scary stuff).
In this recent rant he does offer a tip for all the Garrett AT Pro users when it comes to beach hunting, and then educates us all on the in's and out's of the professional archaeologist. So if you want to better understand where they are coming from be sure to read his blurb titled "The Rosetta Stone of Cod Archaeology". To read his latest in it's entirety, click here.......
Received an international package in the mail today, nicely padded, and with the feel of something great, like an old medieval relic. When I saw it was from John Howland I thought, “Jeez, just maybe the old fart has finally decided to repay me that fifty dollar loan of many years ago…”
I should have known better! After carefully opening the package I found this…
“Unsurprisingly, I also have one of these wine-stoppers, and through great personal expense, inconvenience, and substantial, procurement difficulties, I have acquired one for you”.
“But knowing that (well not so much you) that Fay appreciates ‘class” and ‘elegance’, I have enclosed this stylish wine-stopper for your gratification and eternal enjoyment”.
“So raise a glass or three to your old buddy across the pond! That’s ME!”
What can I say….it brought a tear or two to my eyes, and a lump in my throat…Thanks John. I will get even with you one day you SOB, and eventually get that fifty bucks you owe me....
My old friend from the greater Northwest, Neil McElroy, had a very successful weekend, and sent along a photo just to rub it in.... He went to Portland for some weekend fun, and decided to tie in some detecting. Hunting his old stomping grounds he came away with.....
Looking at the condition of the 1921D I am guessing it's value falls in the $150 to $200 range. Not bad for a few hours of detecting. Am I envious? Nah, just pissed off. Hope you find a zillion "hot rocks" next time Neil.
Neil is a member of the Coil and Diggers Club of Lane County, in Central Oregon. Great bunch of people.....
Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on a "blog type" of site that will somewhat mirror Stout Standards, but will not have all the photos, nor all the writeups for the past two years. It is not meant to be a replacement for my site, just one that will be a little easier to navigate, one that will load much faster, and offer just the latest ramblings. Take a look at Stout Standards/Wordpress.
This blog site will also have a place for your to comment, should you wish. Please understand this is still a work in progress, and yours truly is not the brighest lightbulb (Oh jeez am I going to hear more about that comment...) when it comes to learning new things. Please don't stop sending photos for Stout Standards. This site will still be here, and I will continue to build on it, despite your continued nasty comments.....
Sorry to just be getting around to posting anything, but I have been busy.... Baseball season is back, and watching my Yankees has taken up some time, as did my yardwork. In any case I have not gone detecting, but hope to this weekend. At least that's my goal....
Also, if you remember back a couple months ago I told you about Fay finally retiring. Well, she's having way too much of a good time. I had a call on Saturday from someone at the local farmer's market asking that I come and pick her up. Apparently she fell in love with some gear that one of the vendors was selling, and wound up scaring the hell out of everyone there.......
Had five emails from various people wondering what I thought of the two most recent "American Diggers" shows. Frankly I didn't watch them, and will not watch any more. Hopefully this will tell you all you need to know.....
Feeling better the past few days, and hoping that I can get out to do some detecting soon. It's gotten to the point where I don't even care if I find much of anything... only that I get out in the fresh air and hear a beep. My stamina is not what it was, but then again not much of anything I own anymore is what it was. I thought I understood the aging process, but apparently I didn't research it enough, and for that I am embarrassed.
Just wanted to share another great club newsletter.... The Prober is the official newsletter of the Michigan Treasure Hunters Club, and it's another one of those that I anticipate each month. My old friend Chuck Williams does a great job with it, and I hope you will ask him to add you to his mailing list.....
I often check Paul Barford's blog to see who he is putting down (after all that is his sole purpose in life), and he never fails to disappoint me. He obviously has no day job, and only dwells on those finds that detectorists make, and then puts them in a less than flattering light. Let me be blunt Mr. Barford, "why didn't you or your fellow archaelogists find them first?"
You are quick to paint us as thieves and robbers, but bottom line? If we didn't search for them, recover them and share them, you and your compadres sure as hell wouldn't even know about them. End of story.....
If you enjoyed the National Geographic TV show titled "Lucky Muckers", be sure to read John Winter's most recent update at John Winter (of course...) John shares a 2008 "Searcher" article on the Thames Mud Men (Steve Brooker in particular) and I think you will find it a fun read.
John's blog is updated every other day, and always has something of interest, and often something I can relate to and respond to. If you haven't visited the site you are missing out.
Speaking of the Thames Mud Men, Ron Guinazzo (a.k.a. Chicago Ron) shared another video. I am slowing beginning to hate this guy. He's finding way too much, and making me and everyone else in this pastime depressed. (Just kidding Ron, please don't put out a contract on me okay buddy?)
Fay and I, along with the dogs, spent a couple of hours in the downstairs closet last Tuesday, listening to the Tornado warning sirens. This is the time of year when this type of activity is at it's peak. Forecast calls for a 30% chance of rain all this week, and the possibility of another severe outbreak on Friday or Saturday. Don't get me wrong, we need the rain badly...we don't need any more destruction! A few of our neighboring communites were hit very hard by a number of twisters, and while there were no deaths, many lost their homes. Texas weather is a bitch!
Trying to come up with a way for all of you to respond to my posts (especially here under Latest News) and perhaps make things more interesting. If all goes well it will allow for back and forth comments. Will keep you posted on my progress....
In the meantime you can always email me at Disc440@tx.rr.com, and most important, if you have any complaints or bitches be sure to email me at UpYours.com
Yep, you guessed it. John Howland has once again graced Stout Standards with his latest exhortation, and as usual it will mean more nasty letters and responses. If I could only get him to read these things when he was sober.....? Apparently however the Mayfly has free wi-fi and that's why he spends his entire day there...
His latest covers the gambit from a tip about the AT Pro, to his all time favorite club here in states. Add in a few insults, a joke or two, and you have the ingredients for his latest submission. I have often thought of censoring some of his writing, but then decided that by doing so I would have nothing at all to use? True!
If you are interested in reading his most recent rant, click here
Another club newsletter that is always interesting and well done is "The Probe", newsletter of the Yankee Territory Coinshooters. Please check it out here. Lots of good information....
Paul Flickner is the new editor, and has done an outstanding job....HERE
Finally had my appointment with a specialist, and hoping that perhaps he has come up with a fix for my problem. Two more pills to add to my daily regimen, but hoping his three week prediction comes true. I need to get out and about before the heat and humidity take over.... Thanks for the encouraging emails some of you have sent. I appreciate your concern and caring.
I have been involved with a lot of clubs over the years, but my favorite of course is the Mid-Jersey Research and Recovery Club in Trenton, New Jersey....a club I helped start way back in 1979. A great group of people who will always make you feel welcome should you stop in and attend one of their meetings.
The MJRRC just held their 27 Annual Spring Beach Hunt, at Seaside Heights, and I wanted to share following video. It was sent to me by Brian Mayer, member of the South Jersey Metal Detecting club, another terrific Garden State organization. Brian also has a great Facebook group called The Jersey Shore Beach and Surf Hunters. If you are into detecting the beaches give them a look see. Lots of great tips, ideas and information shared by a lot of very knowledgeable water hunters.
This video is a great snapshot of the people who love this pastime, and why it's so addicting....
Wondered how long it would take before someone called my bluff on my April 1st finds and it was pretty quick. It also didn't surprise me that a fellow New Jerseyan was the first. Tony Conti, my old friend from North Jersey, nailed me later that day. I suspect there were a few others out there who had doubts, but didn't want to insult me or call me a liar, but come on folks, I can take it. Tony is no April fool, and it proves my point that you cannot BS anyone from New Jersey.
I was recently surfing the net, and found the following two websites that I thought were worthy of a second look. You decide yourself....
When John Winter saw my mention of the PAS and Roger Bland's speaking tour, he forwarded an interview he did with Roger in April of 2008, for The Searcher. I offer it here with his and the magazines permission, and hope you will take the time to read it. I think a program like this has to be pursued. Whether we are capable of actually making it happen is the big question. My guess is we are light years away from anything at all like this.
The abbreviations used are as follows: UKDFD-United Kingdom Detector Finds Database, FLO-Finds Liason Officer, BM-British Museum, MLA-Museums, Libraries and Archives, WA-Wessex Archaeology, DCMS-Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Dr Roger Bland, Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum, is responsible for running the Portable Antiquities Scheme. At this critical stage in its development there are concerns about the current state of its finances. In this conversation with John Winter he discusses this and other matters of concern to detectorists.
I understand that you were originally a numismatist, specialising in Roman coins. Can you start by telling us a little more about yourself - pre Portable Antiquities Scheme?
I started at the British Museum in 1979 as the Curator of Roman Coins – I had been working there as a student since 1970. During my time I had to deal a lot with the old Treasure Trove law and the biggest group of objects found were Roman Coin Hoards. It was quite a complicated situation as coroner’s inquests kept taking different decisions about how much silver that coins had to have before being counted as treasure.
I was detailed to help on behalf of the BM to change the law and I was seconded to the Department of Heritage (as it was then) as an adviser. I later returned to the BM full-time and have been involved with the PAS and Treasure Act ever since.
It is just over 10 years since the PAS was formed, an organisation that covers the whole of England and Wales. Has it developed as you expected and what do you think has been its biggest triumph?
It’s interesting to think back at what we really wanted from PAS when it started, and whether it has met expectations or not. Before the Treasure Bill became law we thought there might be between one and two hundred finds per year. Last year it was it was 744, so it has really taken off!
For the first five years we were solely focused on how we were going to fund a national network . . . and it took a long time to get that money. We started in 1997 with six Finds Liaison Officers and we had a national database planned. We soon realised that we needed to develop the database and we put it on-line. The web was just taking off and it was a good time to be doing this . . . the number of finds being reported is terrific.
Are you happy with how the relationship between detectorists and archaeologists is developing?
It puzzles me and is taking longer than I would have thought. In the last year we seem to have been getting more criticism – from archaeologists as well as detectorists. It’s a slow business winning everybody over . . .
But you do seem to be receiving great support from some detecting quarters . . .
Yes, that is really positive. Last year we had something like 6500 people who reported finds to us and it is encouraging. However, the development of internet detecting fora has been interesting – there is a lot of stuff on there which is quite negative and it’s really hard to keep up with it all.
Do you go on and have a look at what is being said?
I rely on other people to tell me. I wouldn’t have time to do anything else if I made a habit of visiting them. It takes a long time for some detector users and archaeologists to forget about things that happened twenty years ago. The feedback we get from FLO’s is that when new people take up the hobby they have fewer prejudices than people who have been detecting for quite a while.
Are you worried about the recent announcement from Roy Clare, the Chief Executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council about future funding for the PAS and why was the money ring-fenced?
The news about the funding is perhaps one of the most difficult things that has happened in the life of the scheme. The Government didn’t ring-fence the funding so we were left totally at the mercy of the MLA to decide how much to give us – and they have a massive problem because their funding is also being cut. It was a Department for Culture, Media and Sport decision to ring-fence the money and they didn’t make it for whatever reason. If they had, there wouldn’t be an issue.
Yes, it is worrying because we are being told by the MLA that the funding will be frozen at the 2007 level. That funding of 1.3 million pounds was fixed four years ago. Since them there has been a lot of re-grading and staff costs have gone up a lot more than we allowed. For example, we actually need 1.49 million pounds to continue at a normal level. We have 50 posts altogether in this scheme and if we don’t get the funding, we will have to lose up to five of them.
Is there a possibility that personnel at the BM, including you, could lose their jobs?
No. The MLA – at the moment – is saying that the same level of funding will remain. That will be enough to keep at least 45 of the current 50 and will enable us to keep the FLO’s, but there are other posts that will go. However, the BM has not accepted this as being the last word. I repeat – none of the current FLO’s will be losing their jobs. There will be reductions elsewhere; we have to keep the network afloat. We really need more FLO’s, not fewer.
Some detectorists believe that if the PAS fails then the very existence of our hobby will be threatened and are lobbying those with influence. Others believe, quite as passionately, that nothing will change and they will continue as they did pre-PAS. What is your view?
I can answer that in two ways. The Government and the MLA are not proposing to close down the scheme – what we are worried about is a reduction. The PAS will continue, so that’s not on the agenda at the moment. If PAS did fail – hypothetical questions are difficult – you would see a lot of strong pressure from some archaeologists saying that detecorists should be licensed.
We cannot go back to the old system where almost no finds were being recorded. I think we are rather unique this country (amongst those in Europe) in not having licensing for detectorists. In this country we have liberal laws on metal detecting. If there was no PAS, there would be strong pressure for bringing in control.
There has been a lot of support right across the spectrum with detectorists writing to their MP’s, signing petitions and doing things like that. There’s a huge amount of support out there . . . so I don’t think we are going to fail.
I read that increasing numbers of detectorists are recording their finds on the PAS database and many scholars are using it for study. It is also an exemplar of good practice in other countries. I also understand that it many users, including FLO’s, find it difficult to use. Would you like to comment on what seems a paradox?
We are keen to develop the use of data as a tool for people to study and it is a huge database with 315,000 finds recorded. You are quite right to say that it is not easy to use at the moment and that is one of the things we are keen to work on. We ask people who want to use the data seriously to contact us and access will be given thus enabling them to work on the data off-line . . . the interface is not easy to use.
I hear that the database is being re-built. Can you confirm this, tell us when it might be ready and if we will find it easier to use?
Yes, Dan Pett is going to redevelop the database and the BM is going to find an assistant for him. I’m very glad to put this news across and it should be started soon. By this Autumn, the database should be faster, easier to use and we hope that data can be imported more easily.
What is your definition of a ‘responsible’ detectorist? The inference is that those who record with the detectorist’s own database or the United Kingdom Detector Finds Database (UKDFD) are irresponsible.
That’s a very easy one to answer because it’s not my definition at all but that of all the organisations who signed up the Code of Practice on responsible detecting. I just refer to that . . . it’s all set out there.
We have no problems at all with people who record with UKDFD and PAS. The problem comes when detectorist’s record only with UKDFD and nowhere else and I quote . . .
. . . if you wish to add to our knowledge of the archaeology this can best be done by recording your finds with the PAS which has an agreement to transfer its data to the Historic Environment Record . . .
That was agreed by the National Council for Metal Detecting and others. If the data is only being recorded on UKDFD then it is never going to add to our knowledge with the archaeological record . . . that’s the problem with it.
Can you offer advice to the detectorist of 30 years who has recorded his later finds with PAS, but the large majority of his earlier finds are not recorded with anyone. What would be your view if he now wanted to sell stuff? Naturally he is very anxious. One FLO told him that PAS did not record retrospectively and not to worry. Another says that everything should be recorded.
We are very happy to record collections of finds, but it obviously has to fit in with the priority that FLO’s give to finds that are coming out of the ground now.
Are you saying that they might never be recorded or take second place because FLO’s are so inundated with work?
No, I’m not saying that. They will need special measures and will probably take longer. If we can secure the extra funding we will get people in to record collections. It is also going to depend on whether the old collection has good records, and then we would certainly make it a major priority. If, on the other hand, it was just a big junk box from lots of different sites with no individual records, then that wouldn’t be a priority.
The individual is absolutely at liberty to sell his finds, as he is at any time; the PAS is a voluntary scheme. I’m surprised that he got completely different answers . . . we try to have a consistent policy.
Would you advise him to go to UKDFD in this instance to have the identification done quickly and efficiently?
I don’t know how UKDFD works. (laughing).
In its 10 year existence PAS has played a significant role in the number of finds being reported. However, a recent article in a hobby magazine tells of a detectorist who was arrested for possession of scrap silver and spent some time in the cells. He draws attention to ‘the pitfalls’ of having anything to do with the PAS. The reporting of this story has possibly destroyed much of the good-will built up over the last few years and now, if I understand what I am reading on detecting fora, much of that has been undone. What do you think?
I can’t say very much about it because the find is with the coroner at the moment and it’s going through the treasure process. One thing from the article is that the finder does admit it was silver and therefore fell within the definition of ‘treasure’. The story is one-sided and there is more to it. For example, the writer doesn’t say that the FLO gave him three opportunities to report the item. We think it unfortunate that the story was ever published.
An article in Current Archaeology reported on the excavation and conservation of a hoard of Iron Age cauldrons. Unfortunately, there was a problem of funding, but Wessex Archaeology came to the rescue and donated their services for free. Should the excavation of such important items be left to chance and who should pay for similar excavations?
You’ve raised a real problem here. When PAS was set up, our role was to record the objects that people had found. We are very keen when detectorists do find a major hoard like that, not to encourage them to dig everything out, but wait until the archaeologists can come in and excavate. There’s a huge amount of extra information that can often be gained, but there is a problem of who funds it.
There is only one organisation that has a remit to fund excavations like that and it is English Heritage. We’ve been talking to them for a long time now to encourage them to support that kind of project and they have helped on quite a few.
Are things being left in the ground because of lack of finance?
The one case I can think of is this one. The detectorist was very patient and left the cauldrons in the ground until WA were able to excavate. I don’t know of anything else and if I did, I’m not sure I would say anyway!
These are turbulent times for PAS. If you do manage to get the funding what are your specific objectives. How do you see the future?
At the moment the main objective is to establish PAS as a secure and permanent basis for the foreseeable future. The model we have at the moment with FLO’s all around the country seems to be the best we can have. I’d like a few more of them obviously. And we ought to go on trying to work as closely as we can with detectorists and gain their confidence as much as possible.
Generally, archaeologists know very little of metal detecting, have little idea of how a machine works and how effective it can be. How much education do they get on hobby metal detecting?
They know a bit more than they used to. One thing that we do is give talks at universities to archeologists of the future about the scheme and the co-operation between detectorists and archaeologists. Yes, there’s much greater awareness than there was five years ago.
Some archaeologists are biased against the hobby. Wouldn’t more field interaction be to your advantage? If archaeologists really cared about their subject they would be harnessing what thousands of detectorists have to offer? They could help with a top-soil survey on every dig and offer their services freely. The historic record should be given priority.
I agree with what you are saying. We are actively encouraging county archaeologists to think about a requirement for detecting – where appropriate. What is frustrating is that we don’t dictate that process; all we can do is spread the word. We can also put archaeologists in touch with those detectorists we can recommend.
Thank you for your time and talking to me. Is there anything you would like to say?
I would like to thank all detectorists for their support and I am sorry that I can’t write to you all individually.
As we went to press a number of vital meetings involving the BM, MLA and DCMS were taking place. While nothing has definitely been settled yet, it is clear that the minister, Margaret Hodge, is having to listen to the many hundreds of people who have written to her expressing concern about the threat to the PAS and the 180 MPs who have so far signed the Early Day Motion.
My luck has started to change. Got out yesterday and only found two coins, but they were good ones....