Received the following from Avery Marder, president of the Task Force and hope you too will pass it along to your friends and club members. Remember there's strength in numbers.
If you own a metal detector or know anyone who does,your voice needs to be heard. Metal Detectorists in New York City are being discriminated against as a group. Activities and groups that might pose a much greater threat to park facilities are still allowed full access to NYC Parks, and we, the Metal Detectorists, are the ones being excluded from using many of OUR parks!
NYC Parks premise for banning the Metal Detectorists from “their” Parks is that we may pose a potential “hazard”, and that parks were removed due to the effects of Super Storm Sandy. Well, that was almost 2 years ago, and these same parks have been reopened to all other activities EXCEPT Metal Detecting.
Recently the NYC permits were further limited by removing several parks from the permit. Also, certain days and time limits were placed on other parks.
We ask, why is it OK to hunt certain parks, and not others?
Are there days that are different than others?
If it's OK to hunt one park any day, at any time, then why isn't it OK in all parks.
There is no reason why we should not have full access to metal detect in approved areas on any day of the week – in any park, as we did for the prior 30 years.
Call/email the people listed below and let them know the following:
- That you are very angry about the discrimination singling out Metal Detectorists in NYC Public Parks.
- You want Metal Detectorists to be able to enjoy their hobby in all NYC Parks, and that metal detecting is a lawful hobby that should not be restricted.
- Demand that NYC Department of Parks and Recreation allow the recreational use of metal detectors in all NYC parks.
Together we can ensure everyone’s right to enjoy their hobby on public use land.
Thank you, The Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights
Great News....chatted with John Winter via Skype on Friday, and if all goes well his blog will be up and running again in a month or two. He's feeling well, looking well and anxious to get back to sharing his knowledge and wisdom about all things treasure hunting. Unfortunately he still thinks he's better looking than me but what can I say? The Brits just never learn....
I know I've mentioned John Hooker's Past Times & Present Tensions quite a bit of late, but his series "In Praise of Metal Detecting" is good stuff. It's a ten part series and well worth your time. Part 1 starts HERE.
It’s been four years since I started the website Stout Standards and a little over two for the blog. I enjoy the challenge but to be honest there have been numerous times when I came close to scrapping both. A derogatory comment here and there, the increasing apathy within the pastime and the lack of any organizational leadership often cause me to question why I bother to write or even stay involved.
When I started the website it was to put to use skills I had learned taking an adult ed course in HTML, and those of you who are website savvy must cringe. Two years down the road John Winter suggested that I change over to a blog and I cannot thank him enough. He talked me through a few Wordpress basics and while I still keep up the website, the blog has become my favorite. Now sadly John has taken his blog down and I need to persuade him to start it up again. John Winter are you reading this? We miss you....
I know too that a lot of my frustrations come from my inability to get out detecting as much as I’d like. It’s difficult trying to write about treasure hunting when you are not actively doing it. The few times I do get out detecting I usually come home with nothing much to brag about and posting a photo of my six pennies, two nickels and three dimes (all clad), is not going to knock anyone out.As a result I feel inadequate to offer up anything informative and find myself relying on past experiences. Add in the almost daily changes in technology and it seems I will never catch up.
Then of course there are the arkie-bloggers out there who found my website, decided that I was not to their liking and started testing out their insulting skills on me, my friends and even my dog for crissakes. I soon found out however that they were 24/7 trolls and no one, including their peers, lent any credance to what they had to say. They are not only anti-detecting and collecting, they are anti-American and because of that they're history here on Stout Standards.
I also tend to piss off a lot of tekkies and that too has resulted in a few nasty emails and comments. I don’t do it intentionally (well okay, maybe sometimes). You see the older I get the more I speak my mind. If I think it I write it. Perhaps not a good trait but hell my wife might be spreading my ashes tomorrow (how she wishes) so why not?
Lastly I have too many days when I don’t have a thing to say or write. Nothing. Nada...the mind is blank. Oh I could sit down and write some trivial BS (like what you are reading now) but I prefer it to be really good BS, and when I can’t come up with that I get frustrated.
I know for sure I will continue to have days when I want to chuck it all but I do enjoy writing and find it a way to stay in touch with many of my old friends, most of whom are my age and can relate to my drivel. So I will keep plugging away and if I should say something that upsets you please keep it to yourself okay? I'm too old and really don't give a rat's ass.....
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!
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 this 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!
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!
As I was watching the Joe Patrick videos he mentioned that in 1996 he was out detecting on a very hot day and had a heart attack. To make matters worse he was hunting in a rural area and he was alone. Fortunately for Joe his wife had given him a cellphone a couple months before, which in all likelihood saved his life. Hearing this made me think about how lucky I have been over the years for I too can remember many detecting trips into the hinterlands all by myself AND without the a phone.
Right now here in Texas the temps are beginning to climb along with the humidity. The mid-90's we have now will sound oh so good come July and August when 30 straight days of over 100 are not uncommon, and at that point the "Stout heat scale" reads "are you shitting me"? Yes I am a wuss, a coward, a wimp when it comes to detecting in the heat and you should be too, no matter your age. The "never quit" mentality is not manly, it's foolish and stupid.
As a result of my neuropathy and arthritis number one is important for me. I am a 13 pill a day junkie and two of my medications cause me to sweat and can play hell with my system if I am out in the sun for any length of time. Be sure to check any such warnings if you take meds as well.
Now that I've put a scare into you get out and enjoy your pastime. Just use caution during the hot summer months and remember that your health and your family are more precious than any treasures you might find!
A few of you have told me how much you enjoyed the Joe Patrick interviews and I am happy to say there's a third one now out for viewing.....
According to Joe there will be a fourth and possibly a fifth coming soon. Great stuff!!
I hadn't heard from John Howland in a while and assumed that (1) he was sick, (2) Mags threw him out of the house (again), (3) he was in jail or (4) inebriated beyond words! Needless to say my money was on number 4 but he swears that was not the case. Then again he lies a lot.
Anyway he's back, and has advice on how to get top dollar for your coins, along with a few other British tidbits. If you are intereseted in what Bubba has to say click HERE.
I mentioned John Hookers blog a couple of weeks ago and I hope you bookmarked it. John lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and is a writer, Celtic numismatist, art historian, cartographer and his recent series of posts, "In Praise of Metal Detecting" is excellent and worth your time. If you agree be sure to let John know by adding a comment.
As most of you know Roger Barbrick has been collecting signatures on a petition aimed at heading off the banning of metal detecting on Massachusetts beaches. It seems his effort has payed off and Roger shared the following....
"To my metal detecting brothers & sisters, I am very happy to report that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) has agreed that metal detecting will continue to be allowed on all DCR coastal & inland beaches!! Thanks to all of you that signed my petition and/or made phonecalls and sent emails to the DCR on our behalf. Congratulations!! WE DID IT TOGETHER!!!"
Dear Mr. Barbrick:
I am sending this email on behalf of Mrs. Ellen FitzPatrick who is currently out of office.
Thank you for your follow-up email. We apologize for any confusion and hope that this email can provide some clarification.
After receiving your latest email, I consulted with several of my colleagues in order to better understand the intent of the latest recommendation regarding our metal detecting regulation. As it pertains to metal detecting on coastal and inland beaches, permission from the park supervisor will actually not be required. I apologize for any confusion that may have been caused by the previous email. As for other non-beach areas within DCR parks and forests – where metal detecting is not currently allowed due to potential natural, cultural, and archaeological resource protection concerns – metal detecting will be allowed when searching for specific lost personal property with verbal permission from the park supervisor.
Once again, thank you for your continued interest in DCR. We hope this addresses your questions.
Sincerely, DCR MassParks Team
I went out to the mailbox yesterday and found a package from Chicago. In it was a t-shirt and hat from Chicago Ron. Not sure but I think he is trying to mess with my mind. Either that or he's really worried about my threat to start a "Dallas Dick" site. Well Ron sorry...it's coming along pretty nicely (wait till you see the logo). And the slogan: "a blog for all the other swinging Dicks out there". Pretty cool huh? Eat your heart out!
In the meantime so I don't feel bad I am sending you one of my t-shirts. Just excuse the spaghetti stains....
You may remember me talking about my friend Robbie Morin (a.k.a Dimeman) and his research into Camp Logan, a World War I-era army training camp in Houston, Texas. Robbie, a long time tekkie, first found out about Camp Logan (part of Houston's Memorial park) while reading a local, now defunct forum called The Dirt Journal. According to Robbie, "I finally got to go on a group hunt with 6 others in early 2007. A few early wheats, a couple tent rope tighteners, a tent stake and an early 1914 class ring really peaked my interest. As a result I started searching for images, post cards, photos and anything at all relating to this camp."
Robbie's detecting finds along with his research material resulted in a featured display at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, and just recently was a listed contributor to Houston Texas 1917-1919, an exhaustive history of Camp Logan, by Louis F. Aulbach. Robbie is a great example of what detectorists contribute to the local community and to it's written history. Congratulation Robbie!!
Not sure how many of you are familiar with Joe Patrick but I wanted to share two video interviews that he did for the Legends of Metal Detecting series. Joe is a long treasure hunter, innovator, field tester, author and truly a treasure hunting pioneer. Hope you will take a few minutes and watch these videos...you won't be sorry.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL THE DADSJust want to wish all you Dads out there a Happy Father's Day, and hope this Sunday is a special one. I lost my Dad back in 2001, and think of him every day.
Dad, not to worry. I will be sure to have that beer for you.... Love you!
My last post “Just leave it in the Dirt” garnered a lot of views but very few responses but I can’t say that it surprises me. We read articles like the one in the Boise Weekly, maybe get angry for a minute or two, then forget about it. I mean after all no one was banned or arrested right?
I kept rereading this article and while at times it promoted our pastime it also made us out to be less than honest. Take the following for instance....
"Items that are out there on public lands, they're part of our history," said F. Kirk Halford, deputy preservation officer and state archaeologist for Idaho's BLM office. "People should think of it like an outdoor museum. You see it, touch it, take pictures, take notes, then leave it behind. When you go into a museum, you don't take stuff away."
Sorry but I find that ridiculous. We can touch it (can we pick it up?)... take photos, notes and then just leave it there. Is that it? If so just when will Mr. Halford or his fellow archaeologists come along and do the same? When will 'they' recover that historically, breathtaking find and announce it to world? I mean after all that old coin or belt buckle will surely wind up in a museum. Or will it?
I also love the term “public lands”. I understand that Mr. Halford is implying that whatever is “buried” on public land belongs to everyone, but if it’s not found just how does the public get to enjoy it? Also are we not the ‘public’?
Then there’s this...
"The artifacts should be owned by the public and not privately," Altschul said. "It's important that those items sit in the dirt. Once it gets out of the dirt, if it's not recovered adequately, it's just a thing on the shelf. It has no importance to history. You've lost the entire story of what that piece meant, and you lose all ability to reconstruct the past, the settlement of the West and how people lived”.
Apparently we cannot search for, find, recover and own anything. Frankly I will take a thing on the shelf to nothing at all, and the implication that we never try to document finds or share them is just more self serving, ‘we can do it better” BS. I am also willing to bet that there are relic hunters out there who can run rings around archaeologists when it comes to identifying items and documenting their provenance. Remember too that archaeology almost always relies on guesswork!
And...when Mr. Halford says “It's teaching people to go out and steal from the public." I get really pissed. The implication we are stealing is not only uncalled for but an insult to all of us. Just when might we expect the archaeological community to get off their ass and do just a little more of what we do? Apparently it takes money. Government money. Our money. Without it all they can do is piss and moan about the guy with a metal detector who is out on the weekends trying to have fun. You know, that guy who sometimes finds neat things. Things that every so often make headlines and archaeologists jealous!
The following article was shared on the “I am a detectorist and I vote” Facebook page and I had to share it here and comment…
Well for starters we once again we hear the archaeological mantra “It’s important that those items sit in the dirt.
I don’t know about you but I am damn tired of hearing this. It gets old real fast! Let them sit in the dirt for who and for how long? The highway crew? The shopping mall developer? The farmer? The tornado, hurricane or flood? Jeezus I just don’t get it.
Apparently we are supposed to stop enjoying our pastime and wait for archaeologists to discover that particular piece of ground, that particular area of interest, then request the funding they need to excavate it and… if we’re lucky somewhere down the road whatever they find just “might” show up in a museum exhibit where we can see it. On the other hand my best guess is that whatever they recovered would be stored in a drawer, waiting to be labeled or else deemed redundant and not worthy of public display.
Then when referring to the show “Diggers” there’s this comment… “It promotes people treasure hunting and unfortunately they don’t give the proper message. It teaches folks that it’s OK to go out and find this stuff and sell it. It’s teaching people to go out and steal from the public.”Well yes it does promote treasure hunting and what the hell is wrong with that? Likewise just what is that “proper message” Mr. Halford is referring to? I also resent his use of the word “steal”. It’s Totally uncalled for and just wrong. Do detectorists sell their relics or historical finds? Most every tekkie I know does not but that is not to say it doesn’t happen. Then again do archaeologists ever sell items they’ve found? I suspect they do but don’t wait for them to share that little secret with you. After all that would be “stealing” from the public now wouldn’t it?
Folks I am telling you we must find a way to counter this kind of misleading BS and we better start soon. We are treading water and losing ground every day. I’ve talked before about the need for a viable and very strong national organization and I won’t harp on it again. I am 73 and whatever happens to the pastime won’t affect me that much.
How about you?
Well you guessed it, nothing new and exciting here on Stout Standards. Haven't been out detecting in a while and not sure when I will be. Couple things holding me up or perhaps I should say keeping me down. but keep checking back. Who knows I might just wow you with a silver dime or two or maybe even a cool video. Okay, okay I lie a lot. I have no video camera and no reason to buy one. Honestly I want to get out but I am not up to snuff right now and the heat is kicking my ass. Not sure why but I have this unique ability to sweat in an igloo. Give me low temps in the 90's and I am out of commission. On my Stout Scale it falls between "will think about it" and "nope".
Anyway I was out in the garage today adjusting the sprinkler system, which is now only supposed to run twice a month thanks to the ever increasing drought here in Texas, and I decided to open a drawer on an old filing cabinet I have out there. It's filled with old tekkie material from the 70's and 80's. Despite the heat I got engrossed in all things ancient and pulled a few things to share here, none of which will probably interest you but ask me if I care....
Okay, first, who remembers Gardiner detectors? Early on I hunted with someone who had one and all I can remember is that it gave off this weird screeching signal. I also remember it had knobs, switches and buttons galore, not to mention he had to carry it with the stem (control box near the elbow). Gardiner claimed their detectors were neithere TR or BFO (which was the norm back then) but rather VLF. If you owned one tell me about it.
Then I came across an old monthly periodical that I subscribed to called the U.S. Treasure Hunter's Newsletter. It was written by Michael Bresciani and it came out of New Beford, Massachusetts. The gist of this newsletter was that it was supposed to be upfront with frank and unbiased reviews of the various metal detectors, however I couldn't find more than one copy and can't remember whether or not this was true. I also seem to remember this gentleman being a priest although I am on my second glass of red so anything is possible. Hopefully one of you will remember this and let me know.
I also came across this Fisher World Treasure News from 1986, touting the efforts of detectorists to assist at the Little Big Horn as well as an article about Glenn and Mary Carson's humanitarian efforts to help the needy in Western Mexico. What great ambassadors they were and LeeAnn if you are reading this you should be very proud.
Next I found an old White's catalog with a photo of Ken White Sr. and his wife, a gentleman who I will always be indebted to. He was responsible for me being where I am today and I will never forget him. His letters, phone calls and encouragement kept me plugging away when starting the FMDAC....
And last but not least an old 1976 issue of Treasure Hunting Magazine, and as I am perusing the letters to the editor I see the following letter from the CBA and guess who they are angry with?
From my stats it seems that my post on "keywords" garnered a lot of interest and Dan Hughes not only linked to it but added additional tips on how to be even more successful when searching for new sites. His explanations are easy to understand and I highly recommend you listen to his recent podcast Googling for Treasure and while you are there be sure to subscribe so that you will receive future updates. Great Job Dan...
On Sunday I celebrated my 73rd birthday by losing a few dollars at the race track. Seems every horse I liked came in dead last so in the ninth race I bet on the ambulance. Of course my wife was there to remind me that getting older doesn't correlate to getting smarter. She's so good that way...
I supect too that my aging has something to do with my inability to get enthused over the ever increasing abundance of treasure hunting material on the internet. As much as I love this pastime I am finding it increasingly more difficult to enjoy Harry's two wheat cents, Tom's silver Roosie or Jack's brand new detector, still in the carton.
Then there are photos of items that no matter how long I stare at them I can't decide what the hell they are and more important why I am even looking at them. No offense guys but when I came to Texas way back when a few of the local tekkies taught me about such items. They fell into the POS category.
And of course there's Facebook and the gadzillion metal detecting group pages. If you were to subscribe to all of them you would have to spend hours trying to keep up and if you make the mistake of commenting you will pay dearly with email overload.
Lastly you know how much I love the in-the-field videos. I watched one last night of someone finding two pennies and a screwcap, and in the process digging holes that would make the Army Artillery folks proud and the manufacturers cringe. At least the picture quality was good.
Okay this curmudgeon has spoken, now shoot me down but do it in as few words as possible please?
I know most all of you use Google to research and find new places to detect. It is without a doubt the best search engine out there. I am also guessing you pretty much do what I do and that is type in the name of my town, county or state and then add keywords like schools, churches, parks, history, etc.. Anyway let me suggest a few more words you might try. I can’t promise they will work for you but they have provided me with a lot of leads to work on. If and when you give them a try, have a thesaurus or synonym finder on hand and see what substitutes you might also throw in the mix.
On May 26th I shared Chicago Ron's photo of a "no metal detectors" sign that was in front of a park in Warren, Rhode Island. I emailed the gal in charge of parks there and received the following response:
"Burrs Hill Park is protected because it was discovered to be historical. When we had all the work done we had to have a representatives from the indian tribe and state officials available during our digging as there may have been ancient indian artifacts on the property. So it is protected."
Sharon Lombardo Recreation Director Town of Warren
I am not sure what "there may have been" means, but if it is indeed it's an Indian burial site I cannot argue with the decision to close the area. If anyone has any additional information regarding this situation please send it along...
Yours truly has not been out and about for a few days but John Howland has been and sent along a tip or two on ground balancing your AT Pro or AT Gold detector. He also offers up a few things to ponder with regards to the European Union which is currently going through a few ups and downs. Thanks John....
Whether you detect inland or on the beach, correct Ground Balancing (GB) is vital for maximum depth and applies to all machines fitted with the GB facility. As many readers already know, my beach machine is a Garrett ATPro International, though my ATGold will in some circumstances (high ferrous contamination) find gold where others fail – despite Garrett’s advertising blurb about it being not best suited to beach work!
Nevertheless, there’s a stretch of coastline I hunt where, due to storm erosion at the back of the beach, vast amounts of ‘inland soil’ (and all it contains) swills down onto the beach and foreshore, creating GB figures between ‘55’ and ‘70’, which as ATPro beachcombers will recognise, are unusually high numbers, considering seawater produces readings between ‘12’ to ’14.’On a recent sortie and with the GB balancing out at ‘65’ and the SENS knocked back two segments, I picked-up a faint but clear signal over damp sand. Scooping away down to 10-inches and with the signal still audible, I finally located it with my Pro-Pointer. The target turned out to be a run-of-the-mill 20-pence piece. It could have been something more rewarding of course, but the point is that correctly GB-ing the machine really had the ATPro working at maximum efficiency. It’s from among this eroded soil that many silver, and solid silver coins from 1900 to 1944 have previously come to light. From the signal strength I estimated the 20p-coin could have been another 1 ½ - 2-inches deeper and would still have been located.
Over saltwater-soaked sand however, GB-ing is still just as critical in achieving maximum penetration, though deep coins are a real pain in the butt when wading waist-deep and your retrieval technique is little on the sloppy side; Chicago Ron I ain’t, but I still manage to recover a good percentage of in-water signals.
It’s equally imperative that if your machine is not fitted with auto-tracking to the keep the machine singing like a nightingale and correctly balanced throughout out your searching session, you’ll need to check the state of play at frequent intervals. On the ATPro, this is best achieved using the auto-GB facility and ‘pumping’ as per when initially setting up.
Now, all that’s gone before, and what I’m about to say will probably get Garrett, Whites, Minelab, Tesoro, et al, joining forces to kick my arse outta town. Oh well, here goes!
In the hands of an expert, costly machines will find treasure; no doubt about that. Inexpensive machines IN THE RIGHT HANDS, IN THE RIGHT PLACE, will find more!!! US fly-fishing legend Charles Ritz reckoned that, “All rods will catch fish, but it’s the hand that uses it that gets the results,” or something along those lines – but ya get ma drift?
One of my beach hunting buddies way back, was FID’s late Colin Hanson. Not only could he find gold, he could smell it! It was uncanny. It made no sense. Time and time again I hunted with him on southern beaches and while I went begging, he’d come up with rings, chains and gold watches. Phenomenal! There were times when I could have kicked him in the nuts with frustration.
His favoured machine was an entry level, British-built, C-Scope 200 with a 6”-coil. I never outperformed Colin on the beach, neither did anyone else. On every beach trip I ever went with him, he never once failed to find gold. I once asked why he didn’t buy a more expensive machine. “What for?” he replied (stupid bloody question I suppose). It all serves to show that it’s not so much the machine but where one uses it….if you can read the beach, understand how the tides work, and where it ‘parks’ coins and rings, you’ll become another Colin Hanson.
The moral of the story is to find a beach, study it and its tidal movements, and act accordingly. If this is too difficult to take on-board, try Morris Dancing, or, archaeology!
In the recent European Elections, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) swept the political board bringing Great Britain many steps closer to giving the European Union; a confederation run by unelected bureaucrats, primarily designed it seems, for snouts-in-the-trough, corrupt, sleaze-balls, the Bum’s Rush!
If Britain does eventually leave this corrupt, inefficient, UNESCO-esque gravy-train, how will ex-pats Brits abroad fare? What will become of UK treasure hunters living abroad in the European Union, say in Poland? Will they become ‘aliens’? Will they be required to take Polish citizenship for example? Will they have to apply for work permits? Maybe they will be forced to return to their native land to find work? What will happen to those of them who’ve spent their waking hours slagging-off the UK government, its principles and its heritage work?
Perhaps it’s a case of what goes around, comes around? I can see trouble ahead (with any luck) …for some!
Apparently John Winter has decided to put aside his blog writing for awhile and that saddens me. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to do the same thing but it was always John who beat me and up and down and got me back on track. John I know I speak for a great many other detectorists when I say your blog is first class and one of the most informative out there. Please reconsider....we need you.
Ron Guinazzo, a.k.a. Chicago Ron, posted this photo from Warren, Rhode Island, on his FB page Saturday with the following comments "More bullshit ordinances due to some people not really caring or knowing how to do this properly, or politicians not understanding what we are really about”. I couldn't agree more.
Apparently this ordinance was just passed or implemented as I was unable to locate it on the city's website, and it's just one more warning sign that we have to find a way to be more proactive. We need an organization that is national in scope, viable, strong and effective and I am sorry but it cannot be run by volunteers. Trying to fight city hall evenings and weekends is not working, and we all (manufacturers included) need to step up and contribute financially. A dollar, five dollars, ten dollars will no longer get it done, and if you can afford to buy all those extras like coils, cameras and shovels, you can damn well afford to pay to keep your pastime alive.
Okay, done venting. I've emailed the head of the parks department in Warren to see can find out. Don't hold your breath....
I don’t mention Dan enough here and I apologize. I found his latest podcast on “Treasure Finds for Volunteers” very entertaining and informative and now I need to find some place to volunteer. Not sure we have anything close to the event he describes but I love thrift shops, flea markets and bargains. Check out Dan' website and subscribe....you won’t disappointed.
Was playing with Google Earth the other day and decided to see if I could locate what was an old and very productive picnic grove I hunted in New Jersey years ago. When my partner Dan and I found it it was nothing more than a narrow path through the woods. As you can see from the following photo it now has a paved gully and a “no thru traffic” sign. Likewise there were no homes on the road at all. Glad we found when we did.
We celebrate Memorial Day to honor all the brave men and women who gave their lives so we could live free in this the greatest country in the world. Thanks to them you will be enjoying that cookout, family get-together, parade, fireworks, whatever….they will not!
So take a short break or two from the celebrating, lift a glass, offer up a toast and shout out a loud thank you! Lastly have a safe and fun holiday!
Received the following from John Howland today and decided to share it here as well as in the Malamute Saloon. Hope you will take a few minutes and see just what it is that is bothering the big guy this time around....
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:-
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
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!
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.
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!
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."
I've always loved detecting old homesites and they are looking even better now given the influx of newcomers into the hobby. By the same token these sites can be a bitch to hunt. No two are the same and they are not always easily accessible. They also require a lot of patience and more than a few cans of 'Off'. On a positive note...the possibility of uncovering a cache. A long shot for sure but can't rule it out.
An old homesite might simply an older home dating back many years that's still being used. It could also be an abandoned farmhouse just down the road, overgrown, camouflaged and forgotten about. It could be that obvious depression in a field, a concrete slab in the middle of the woods or the stone remnants of a colonial cellar. What matters of course is that you find them before the competition does.
Early on I was able to locate older homesites by comparing early topographical maps with newer ones. I would lay them side by side and see if structures shown on the older maps were still on the newer one. If not that usually indicated it had been torn down, abandoned, burned or moved. It was a somewhat tedious and time consuming exercise, but was well worth my time, especially on a rainy day or during the winter months.
I then discovered an easier way thanks to a close friend who happened to be an avid hunter. He knew of my passion for detecting and told me about a couple of stone foundations he had stumbled upon while tracing through the woods. They wound up being old cellar holes and provided me with quite a few neat finds. At that point I started asking other hunters, as well as neighbors and farmers and found there were more cellar holes no more than a half mile from my front door.
Another more direct method of course would be to get in your car and drive the rural roads and look for clues....a noticable open area in a grove of trees, an overgrown lane that appears to go nowhere, and trees, shrubs or plantings that are foreign to the rest of the vegetation (they didn't just magically appear there).
Once you've located an old homesite site and ready to hunt, try to determine what the layout might have been years ago. If only a cellar hole exists, imagine if possible where the entrance might have been and then look for the outhouse and any traces of outbuildings, root cellars or trash pits.
Root cellars might be very obvious or nothing more than depressions in the ground. I’ve found trash pits the easiest to locate thanks to the heavy concentration of signals and while it may not always provide you with the best of finds, it offers the potential of very old and sometimes very rare bottles if you are willing to get down and dirty. Careful probing and delicate excavation are prerequisites to bringing them home in one piece.
Always search a homesite as you would your home. Concentrate your efforts on where people entered, exited, and where they may have worked and played. Where did they hang their clothes to dry? Do you see a couple of poles or trees that might have held a clothesline? Where was the well?
Lastly if you are an impatient person or tekkie find some other place to search. Old homesites will not be your cup of tea. You will have to deal with lots of iron, trash and you will need to dig all of it to come out a winner. I once was asked to hunt an old burned down homesite in Kingwood township, New Jersey, by a son and daughter who knew their recently deceased father had a large coin collection. They were also pretty sure he had buried it. Anyway once I got there it didn’t take me long to realize that if I was going to find it I would have to dig every damn signal that came my way. I spent days searching for those coins but never found them. I did however wind up with a pile of trash that was up to my knees. Machine parts, rusty cans, nails, you name it.
So…do I believe caches exist? You bet I do and I believe they exist in greater numbers than we know. They exist because homesteaders, early settlers and landowners did not have easy access to banks and even if they did many simply did not trust them. Giving your life savings, no matter how meager, to someone else to mind was unsettling (still is today). As a result many old-timers hid their savings, their pin money, their drinking money and they sometimes passed away unexpectedly without telling anyone their whereabouts.
The premise I go on with every old homesite is that there is indeed a cache hidden somewhere on the property and looking for it is not only worth my time, it’s fun. And while I may not find a cache, it doesn’t mean one didn’t exist. It might simply mean that I didn’t find it!!
When looking for a cache, always start with “If I lived here…where would I hide something”? In other words where would YOU secrete your life savings and feel confident that no one would discover it? Would you hide it inside or outside? If you buried it would you do so a distance away from the house or would you bury it so that you could see the area from your window. Also, if you buried it, how deep would you dig…one foot, two feet….five, six? The questions you might ask yourself are endless, as will be the answers, but you will at least have some idea on where to concentrate your efforts.
Whether you find a cache of coins or not an old homesite will offer a lot of neat finds. Coins, buttons, old bottles, relics, and antiques just to name a few. I strongly recommend searching in the all-metal mode, and accept the fact that you will dig a lot of trash. Who knows what sort of container Jethro used to bury his stash. Slow down and dig ‘em all.
Where should you begin to look for a cache? Consider the following:
If old homesites intrique you be sure to check out Todd Hiltz’s videos. He and his partner Dave Wise are real experts…
It's not unusual to get spam comments on my blog. Most of them are attempts to get you to click on their link and buy whatever it is they are selling. Every once in a while you get one that is so obvious you have to laugh, like this comment I got this morning from Where Can I Find Cheap Car Insurance....
"I visited many web sites but the audio quality for audio songs present at this web site is truly superb."
Friday night I was flipping through the channels looking for some semblance of entertaining TV and noticed that "Diggers" was on and decided to give it another look see. Well in this particular episode they were looking for Blackbeard and any thingamabobs he might have lost. Amazingly the last tekkie show I watched was Dig Fellas back in the fall, and guess that they were looking for?
Okay listen up all you Rambos out there...no matter how many camo outfits, backpacks, boots, knives, shovels and diggers you buy, and no matter how macho you try to make it, you're still just swinging a little ole plastic dish on a stem.
Tell the truth...nothing could beat the ole gigantic Kellyco catalog when you were on the hopper right?
When is Chicago Ron going to write a book? I mean what the hell man....
One of my very favorite blogs is James Oliver's Digging History. Always a good read and I would urge you to book mark it and subscribe so you can receive future updates. One of James' recent posts was about gaining permission and I wanted to share it here on SS. While it's geared for the UK, a lot of it is useful here as well. Hope you will take a moment and read:
About two weeks ago Fay and I were on our way to social gathering, and I noticed an old abandoned house situated on about two acres of land. It looked reasonably old as did the couple of outbuildings in back. The next day I tried to look it up on DCAD but because I didn't have the exact rural address (box number) I was unable to locate the owner. So yesterday I decided to drive out there again, hoping to talk to a neighbor or at least see if come up with the box number.
When I got there I saw a gentlemen on the adjoining property working on his pickup and decided to see if he might be able to tell me more.....the conversation went somewhat like this, and note I have changed the name of the landower for obvious reasons.
"Hi, sorry to bother you, but wondered if you know who owns the property next door?"
He lifted his head out from under the hood, looked me over, stared at the pug bug and said "Whitaker, Clyde Whitaker"
I said "the reason I am asking is that my hobby is metal detecting and I wanted to see if I could get permission to search there".
He replied "Forget it...he'll shoot you!"
I said "What?"
He said "Yep, just the other day a fellow up the road mowed the property because it was so overgrown, and Whitaker told him if he caught him doing it again he was a dead man"
I was suddenly not liking talking to this guy, but he continued on and said "not only that, the old man's son is a druggie and shows up at night and disappears into the woods outback. Not sure what the hell he does, but he always has a shotgun with him."
With that I said "Hmm, well thanks for the info, glad I asked" and quickly got in my car. I had to back out of his narrow driveway and as I did so noticed he very quickly got into his pickup truck and began following me. First thing came to mind was the song "Dueling Banjos", but a couple of miles down the road he took a left turn and I continued on home breathing a sigh of relief.
So there folks went my next great site up in smoke, or to be more exact, up in buckshot. Welcome to Texas!
Regular contributor to Stout Standards, Florida archaeologist Lisa MacIntyre, recently suggested that maybe ‘Ole Stouty should do a piece on First Aid for detectorists and I agree with her. It makes sense. However, and there’s a ‘but’ coming, and it’s this; in today’s litigious society such a piece would have to carry a disclaimer, for as sure as eggs is eggs, someone will try a claim damages from Stout Standards should they get bitten on the arse by a rattler when detecting in a pit of vipers!! You follow my drift?
Here in the UK and I guess the same exists in the US, various First Aid courses for treating minor injuries are available, and in the UK, the St John Ambulance Brigade is one such organisation offering Elementary through to Advanced courses. Perhaps the training route is the way to go.
Of course, prevention is better than cure, so it makes a lot of sense to pack a pocket-sized emergency kit such as the one I always carry (cost £1.00/$1.50), which contains;
To which I’ve added a small tube of antiseptic cream. My pocket knife carries a useful pair of tweezers.
Indeed, many US detectorists – unlike their UK counterparts - wear gloves while hunting and it’s a habit I’ve recently adopted, having come across discarded hypodermic needles on parts of the local beaches. Apart from the obvious complications liable from having your fingers punctured by discarded needles, minor cuts and grazes while lifting coins from soil, can if left untreated, develop into full-blown tetanus, a condition fatal in 11% of reported cases. The highest tetanus mortality rates are in unvaccinated people, and people over 60 years of age.
Curiously, at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French accused the English archers of tipping their arrows with poison owing to the number of French post-battle deaths. In fact, what really happened was that the English bowmen planted their arrows point down at their feet, rather than drawing them from a quiver, thus making massed volleys of arrows faster to loose-off into the charging ranks of French knights. The soil from the fields around Agincourt carried the spores of tetanus which infected the wounds when they struck home.
Lastly of course, my gloves.
Jeez….who in their right mind wants to go hunting in 100-degrees anyway? Find a shady pub garden, a comfy seat and sip on a beer of three. But if you really must venture forth, then carry enough water for the length of time you’ll be out there under the burning sun. If you scroll back through Malamute Saloon you’ll come across some advice I found useful when it comes to water.
The Daily Telegraph’s Wednesday 14th May’s edition carried this small news item tucked away on page-14 and makes fools out of those absurd heritologists who scoff at the notion that it’s always clandestine detectorists, not animals, who are damaging protected archaeological sites.
Under the heading (and I quote):-
Archaeologists banned from digging around a protected 11th-century ruin have been given a helping and by moles.
St Benet’s Abbey in the Norfolk Broads is a scheduled monument of national importance. But the moles are doing the spadework for the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, and its experts are sifting through mole hills to uncover ancient relics.
All of which raises a couple of questions:
I do hope so! After all, what’s good for the metal detecting goose, is also good for the archaeological gander.
Was visiting one of my favorite Facebook sites yesterday and saw where a good friend had just invested in a pair of snakeguard boots. A wise idea I suppose given his frequent expeditions into the hinterland. He told me that they set him back $190, which of course of blew my mind. Then again I am not prone to hunting in snake infested areas or at least I don’t think they are? I am also not prone to spending that kind of money due to the widely recognized malady called ‘being broke’.
He went on to explain how he was allergic to snake bites and because of it had to deal with a $36,000 hospital bill a few years ago. As a result $190 to him was a bargain and I sure can’t argue with that.
So now I am so far behind the well dressed, well heeled crowd it’s pathetic. No macho camo outfit, no shovels, no Go-Pro camera and now no snake boots. I am also having second thoughts about a site I’ve been wanting to hunt. What if there are snakes, as in poisonous? I’m guessing their bites are a little more serious than those of the fire ant and from what I’ve heard the hospitals around here don’t have happy hour or offer wine with their meals.
Anyway after thinking all this over I have decided that while I am not excited about the thoughts of a nasty snake bite or costly hospital bill, I am not going to spend $190 for boots. No way! Dammit I am sticking with my camouflage flip flops!!
Speaking of Mr. Cool, the Bubba is back from his holiday, and according to him he’s rested up and raring to go, which can only mean one thing…the pub just opened!
All seriousness aside, John’s latest update is a good one. You will find a little bit of everything, from pirate treasure, to updates on the Odyssey Marine venture as well and his beach hunting efforts on the Southwest of coast of England. If you are interested in reading John’s latest click HERE.
Thanks Bubba, welcome home!
Over the years I've detected a lot sites, and of course those you remember most are those that resulted in as lot of great finds. I was reminded of one of my favorites when a friend forwarded this recent YouTube video.
While Bellewood park lasted only 14 years, the thousands of people who came there made it a detectorists dream and I spent many days hunting it, coming home with a lot of coins, most all from the mid to late 1800's.
When I first heard of Bellewood Park I didn't get all that excited. From what I was told it was not all that accessible any more and a portion of it was being quarried, but when I saw old photos and read a little more I knew I had to give it a shot.
As things turned out I knew a member of the family who owned the land, and was given permission to detect it. It was indeed a bitch of a place to hunt but after quickly finding a dozen or so seated coins I somehow didn't mind...bug bites and scratches be damned!
On the 5th of May I added a post titled Some Days It Just Doesn't Pay, and I responded to a comment with "I need something old real bad. The Mercs and Roosie’s are not cutting it anymore….at least for me"....
This weekend I received an email from someone who took me to task for that statement, calling me a braggart and a few other names which I can't print here (and you know there aren't too many I can say that about). His take was that a lot of detectorists would give anything to find a Mercury dime and what I said was an insult to them. Well, after thinking about it I must say he was right and I apologize. It was not a well thought out response and to those of you I may have offended I am sorry.
While it's not an excuse, my age, my aches and pains tend to bring forth the ole oft used phrases like "I remember when" and "how it used to be" when instead I need to face the fact that the days of coming home with a dozen or more silver coins are not going to happen anymore....at least for me. I also need to remember that coming home with one piece of silver is soooo much better than coming home without any!
My apologies again to anyone I may have offended.
I was also asked to share again "The Stout Heat Index Scale" a forumula that I came up with a while back. It's how I decide if and when I go detecting. It may not be appropriate for your neck of the woods but it works perfectly fine here in Texas.
If you are looking for tekkie stuff today you are in the wrong place. Today is Mother's Day and we should be with them, either in person or in thought. My Mom passed away a couple of years ago and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of her. If you're fortunate enough to still have your mom around, make a promise to yourself that you will spend more time with her, not just today but everyday.... you never know what tomorrow may bring.
I don’t think there are too many detectorists who haven’t had someone tell them the site they were searching was “hunted out” and I am willing to bet they also prefaced it with “I cleaned it out” or “I spent days there and didn’t find a thing”. Well let me tell you, what these self applauding detectorists were really saying is “I know it all” and “if I couldn’t find anything there no one can”. Well don’t believe it. It’s just egotistical bullshit masquerading as fact…
Now before you jump all over me I am aware that there are places that have been hunted to death and the pickings there are slim, but I will never buy the hunted out line. No site is ever hunted out, and whenever I heard someone say that I would smile and reply “gotcha, thanks”… It just meant to me that the site must really be good if it was hunted so hard, and that those who did hunt it removed most of the surface goodies and left the deeper stuff for me.
When you first search an area like this you already know you won’t be hearing a helluva lot of signals, so come up with a couple of different plans or approaches. My first was always to grid out an area, maybe twenty by twenty feet and work it to death, scanning slowly North to South, East to West and yes even Northeast to Southwest, etc., overlapping your sweeps by one third.
If your headphones have volume controls, max out the volume on your detector and then adjust it up and down from there. Hunt in ‘All Metal’ or zero Disc and turn up your threshold a little more than usual. Listen carefully for any slight increase in your audio. When you do hear a change lower your threshold just barely into the silent area, and crank up your sensitivity (or gain). The reason for this is to see if you can bring up a numerical readout. Your detector will be erratic but all you are trying to do is ascertain whether the item is wort digging and this readout could be the difference maker.
If after a while you haven’t found much of anything, either move on and grid out another area or consider searching the same area again with your larger coil. Also look for areas that might have been ignored or overlooked by those who hunted before….along fence lines, around tree roots, under shrubs and overgrown areas on the fringes. It’s not unusual for vegetation to creep in over the years and actually shrink a park or athletic site. The big thing to remember when hunting any heavily detected site is to not be in a hurry. There’s good stuff there and if you have the patience it will be worth the effort.
The very first TH’ing article I ever wrote for a magazine was called “My Favorite Hotspot“, World of Treasures magazine, sometime in the early 80's, and it was about the Plessey Porcelain field in Frenchtown, New Jersey. The field itself goes back to the mid-1800's and was used for community celebrations, athletic events, carnivals, fireworks and was without a doubt the most productive site I ever hunted. I took hundreds of old coins from that field over the years, and all the while he competition kept telling me it was hunted out.
In 2011 I mentioned Plessey to my ole New Jersey friend John Punola, and he decided to travel South and give it a go. He too came home with a few nice old coins and wrote an article called “Plessey Revisited” for Western & Eastern Treasures magazine, reenforcing my belief again that no site is ever hunted out.
So when you hear about a “hunted out” site, be sure to put it on your to do list. It just might become one of your favorites…
Received the following from Roger Barbrick concerning the possible closing of areas in Massachusetts....
First I want to thank you all again for signing the petition to stop a ban on metal detecting on Massachusetts State beaches...
I just had a lengthy discussion with a DCR official regarding our concern and he was very supportive. He will be meeting with the DCR Commissioner to discuss the situation and will let me know how that meeting goes. He informed me that he did not think it was their intention to take away this recreation from us and they were simply trying to promulgate some new rules to reflect the merger that took place a few years back and to bring the Regulations up to date (I'm paraphrasing).
He mentioned that they had received lots of phone calls and emails on this. It got their attention and they are very concerned. I asked if it would be safe to continue detecting the DCR beaches and he said it was and that beach detecting can continue while we figure this out (I hope the Rangers get the memo). He stated he would probably know more in a week or two.
my discussion with him was very positive and upbeat and he had numerous question regarding what we do and how we do it.I forwarded him some of the trash pictures that were sent to me for him to look at and to share with the Commissioner. The outlook is a good one I think and I will update you all as soon as I have more to share.
Again, I will update you when I have know more.
Thank you all for the support!
Most of you are familiar with D.J. Yost but if not be sure to check out his website DJ Digs. DJ's recent ring return garnered him the following article in the local newspaper, and I've added it to the "Who We Are" link above. If you see similiar writeups or mentions send them along. I have been somewhat laxed in keeping it updated. Thanks D.J....great job!
Well yesterday was one of those days where I woke up hurting, went out detecting and came home hurting even more. I did find coins....eighty five cents in clad! Based on time spent, gas used, battery drainage that comes out to about minus a buck fifty an hour, not including the sore back, feet and necessary nap.
So if you are wanting to see a photo or video of Dick's Sunday morning adventure, don't hold our breath!
You all should know by now that I am a coin hunter. It’s what got me started in this pastime, and it’s what keeps me going now, albeit at much slower pace. I don’t think I will ever get over the excitement of seeing that silver dime or quarter after removing a plug.
I’ve had a couple of people ask me where I go when I detect and my answer is usually “down the road a piece”. You see I don’t like to share this information for one reason….I don’t want YOU find MY coins. It is what it is my friend, and I am pretty sure you understand.
Now having said that I will throw a couple of things at you from my “Coin Hunting in Depth” book and you can take them for what they’re worth.
The following pretty much deals with old grove areas but I will talk more about a few of my other favorites in future updates (good things come to those who wait…LOL).
Now that I got your attention....
Quite often you will need to make quick decisions about where to spend your time detecting. You may only have an hour or two and you can’t waste it driving any distance. When I am faced with this (which is almost always now) I usually head to the closest park or school. I am fortunate in that I am close to both and while they are not old as in turn of the century, they can and will offer up silver every now and then. If I had my druthers I would spend my time at an old picnic grove or cellar hole, but as of now I have neither at my disposal (working on one potential grove but more investigative work is needed).
The key word here is ‘grove’! Today we have picnic ‘areas’ or picnic ‘grounds’. Years ago people congregated at ‘the grove’. No other explanation was needed. Usually it was a shaded wooded area not far from town. A place to escape the heat of summer and a place to relax with family & friends. Depending on the area it could be a very busy place on the weekends. Those who went brought blankets, picnic baskets, board games, footballs, baseballs and it was not unusual for families to spend the entire day at the ‘grove’. It was THE place to be and THE place to be seen. I might also mention a lot of church events, harvest home dinners, etc., were also held there, adding to the potential for great finds.
Eventually radio, theaters and television came along, and the picnic grove became a thing of the past. What was once a very popular gathering place disappeared, camouflaged by mother nature and remembered by an ever dwindling number of old timers.
How do you go about an old picnic grove? Well for starters bone up on your local history. Use the internet and visit your local library. A lot of my early success came from reading the centennial and bi-centennial booklets that many communities published. They were loaded with lots of old photos. Also be sure to sort through the various church histories and look for mentions of harvest home suppers. Study old maps or plats of your area and look for any roads that end in ‘grove’. They were often named after the landowner, i.e., Johnson’s Grove, Herbert’s grove or an obvious natural description such as Oak Grove, Elm Grove or Pecan Grove (Google Earth is great for this).
If, while reading, you are unable to find any specific references to these gathering places drive the ‘grove’ roads and look for any area that might lend itself to picnicking. Look for shade, minimal ground vegetation, sometimes a brook or creek, and enough space between trees where one can throw down a blanket. Also look for what might be a path or entrance into the area (which today could be nothing more than a filled in ditch).
If you find an area that does looks promising, walk it. Look for any indication of past use. Remnants of old structures (believe it or not one old grove had a refreshment stand), rusty bottlecaps, square nails, oyster shells or small pieces of glass, and finally ask yourself if it looks like the kind of place you would take your family for a picnic? Let your intuition come into play and proceed from there. Your first impressions or ‘gut reactions’ are often the right ones.
The best part about these old groves? It’s not that difficult to get permission from the landowner. It’s usually an area that would not be greatly affected by someone digging coin size targets.
Lastly do yourself a favor and find out where the town’s seniors gather and spend time with them. They are a veritable vault of useful information, and whether or not they can tell you about these old meeting places matters little. You will come away with a new friend or two and be the better for it. Good luck!
Just got a short email from John Howland, who is spending a week long holiday in Cornwall, and he's claims to be having one helluva time. I can just imagine....
I've talked before about how I frequently pull a title from my collection of treasure hunting books and reread it. Almost always there's something that I overlooked. One sentence, one phrase or piece of information that will elicit an "aha" episode, and what brought this to mind was a recent post by Stan Shoemaker on the Detecting History Facebook page. Stan was somewhat frustrated with the lack of depth he was getting from his White's V3i and decided to reread the owners manual and advanced user's guide. In doing so he picked up on a few things that might indeed help increase depth.
Over the past forty years I used a great many makes and models and always prided myself on knowing each and every feature or function they offered. That's no longer true...at least for me. My ole brain is not what it used to be and I now want to dig as opposed to think. However, like Stan I've decided to get out my MXT Pro manual and read it again. Like Stan, I have no doubt that I will come away with something that will help me next time out.
On a similar note I was looking through my TH'ing books the other night and decided to pull down Ty Brook's "Inside Treasure Hunting"...a book published in 1999 and one of my favroites. I placed it on the bedside table for a few nights and amazingly it read like a 'new book'. I remember congratulating Ty after he sent me copy but I had forgotten just "how good" this book was.
Ty, if you are not familiar with him, writes the "Tech Talk" column for Western & Eastern Treasures and he has the uncanny ability to explain a detector's inner workings so that anyone and everyone understands...NOT an easy task! He does the same thing in his book but covers so much more. Under the "Don't Buy the Wrong Detector" chapter Ty talks about advertising and hits the nail on the head with:
"Choice of the pros!" What pro's? Every major brand has loyal and successful users and those people who do well with one one unit would (with ample experience) probably do about as well with most others. Furthermore, the concept of a professional treasure hunter is largely a myth. In fact, most or all turn out to be weekend hobbyists, writers, metal detector dealers, jacks of various trades or retirees whose main or only source of income is from something other than the discovery of lost or hidden valuables". Truer words were never spoken.
So do yourself a favor and read a little more. Get that owner's manual out and make sure you understand it (or at least think you do). Can't hurt, trust me and for the record Ty did not ask me to tout his book here...it's just a damn good read and well written. Should you be interested you purchasing it you can write to Ty at: 1324 Union Academy Road, Ramer, Alabama 36069 or you can email him at email@example.com.
John Howland sent me off an update for the Malamute Saloon and also offered the following....
"As of Friday 1st May, me and my beloved are heading to Cornwall for a few days holiday...and if she doesn't want to go I'll take Maggs! Hhahaha! Seriously, me and She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed are celebrating 25-yrs dreaded bliss. Lots of bass fishing and treasure hunting loom large."
For those of you who don't know Maggs is his lovely wife Margaret. How she has put up with this sod for twenty five years is beyond me. Anyway John and Margaret Happy Anniversary and enjoy your trip. Oh and Margaret as I am sure you already know, don't expect any expensive or appropriate gift! If I know him you might get a fly rod, socket wrench set or bottle of Bourbon...no cheaper SOB ever lived!
Hope you will read the Bubba's "The Love That Dares to Speak It's Name" by clicking HERE
Every time I check in on tekkies Dave Wise and Todd Hiltz I get irritated. Not only do they find all the good stuff, but Todd then puts together a damn good video just to rub it in.
While I frequently bust their chops (or balls if you prefer) I really appreciate their tenacity when it comes to researching a site and then following up. I have always felt that research is so much more important than having to have the latest and most expensive equipment and these guys prove this out. If you want to see more of Todd's videos click HERE.
Haven't heard from Eleanor Hube in a while but her daughter Cindy did post a couple of photos of her on Facebook. She's looking great and I have no doubts she would kick all your butts in a competition hunt. If you don't believe me, ask Chicago Ron.
If you are not familiar with Eleanor check out this bio article I did for WET many moons ago. She is without a doubt one of the legends in our pastime, and I feel honored to have known her and hunted with her. If you are ever in the Cape Code area be sure to stop in at her shop and say hello. Her website is Cape Cod Metal Detectors.
Had a couple of emails and comments come my way concering previous problem areas, and I wanted to share what I know (or don't know). First off concerning Cook County, Illinois and Louisville, Kentucky....I've received no response whatsoever from Avery Marder of the Task Force. Likewise I've emailed Mark Schuessler president of the FMDAC) regarding the potential park bans in Erie County, New York and he too has not responded. They apparently are on vacation or perhaps it just the ole "things are going on behind the scenes". I have no clue!
Anyway I will let you know if I hear anything and I would suggest you contact the groups as well. Just maybe we can coax a response out of them. If you don't receive an answer, let me know. I am pretty much a persona non grata with all three major groups and if I need to embarrass or piss them off I will do it. After all if you are going to advertise yourself as a spokesperson for the pastime you should be able to live up to the hype and honestly 'any' answer is better than none!
As for WWATS they were supposed to have a new website up and running my March 15th, and then it was postponed until April 15th. Now? June 15th....I have no clue what is going on with this organization. They, like the FMDAC however, have a penchant for putting on events and get togethers but not much else. I wonder too about their financial well being in that they both are apparently having problems putting together a decent website and in this day and age that is a necessity for any national organization.
I've taken a lot of razzing over the years because I drive the "Pug Bug", a yellow VW Beetle. I get a lot of one finger salutes while on the road and friends always find an excuse not to ride with me. Apparently it's just not manly enough for them or maybe they just don't like yellow? Can't figure it out? The Pug Bug is 14 years old, still getting the job done, and I intend to keep on driving it until it falls apart (jeezus hope I am not sorry I said that).
Anyway, Wendy Bloom, a friend in North Carolina, saw the following vehicle for sale and immediately thought of me. What do you think, should I go for it?
Received the following email from Roger Barbrick, the detectorist responsible for the recent petition in Massachusetts (see here). As of this writing Roger has collected 998 signatures....
Thanks for signing the petition to stop the banning of metal detecting on Massachusetts State Beaches. I am writing to ask if you have any pictures of beach trash that I can use for my presentation to the Commissioner of Massachusetts DCR, and that if you do to please email some to me.
Thanks again for your continued support in this fight to save our detecting rights!
You can email any pictures to me at rogerwb1aol.com.
Thanks again and please continue to share the petition. Once I get to 1,000 signatures and get some beach trash photos in hand I am going to try to get a face to face meeting with the DCR Commissioner.
Best Regards Roger
I know I've bragged on these guys in the past but I really love what they are doing to promote our pastime. Their classes are proving popular and they are now holding them in surrounding communities. Take a moment and check them out....
Well the weather forecasters scared the hell out of me and I decided to do a little digging yesterday instead of today. The "severe weather outbreak" they've been promoting for the past five days has yet to happen as I type this Sunday morning. Of course now that I've said that I will probably be picked up by a tornado and be deposited in beautiful downtown Warsaw.
I really like detecting Sunday mornings...lots of sleep-ins and those that are up are in church, allowing this heathen to have his way at most public sites. Nice and quiet and definitely cooler during the summer heat.
Anyway my usual two hour excursion was nothing short of dull but it was better than nothing. I did find a Merc, a few clad and earned about a buck fifty for my time. And I hate to brag but I am one damn good pinpointer. I had the TRX on my hip and used it twice....every other time I was able to find the target within seconds. I really wonder if you all are just too lazy to narrow the signal more precisely or that today's larger coils are to blame? Then again maybe it's just the need to have one extra piece of equipment that's the culprit. Ya think?
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.
'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?
I still receive a lot of newsletters from TH'ing clubs even though I stopped doing the WET club column years ago, and while I enjoy reading them they are a constant reminder of just how much things have changed just how much I am out of the loop.
One recent newsletter contained a flyer for a forthcoming club hunt and while I no longer attend these events I couldn’t help but notice the cost. It was a two day hunt and if you wanted to participate in the main events it would cost you $165 in advance or $250 after a certain date. Now I am not adverse to spending money but damn that’s too rich for my blood and these prices did not include gas, lodging or meals.
Of course if you do decide to attend this hunt you "might" win a metal detector or dig up a few silver coins, but when all is said and done wouldn't it be a lot easier to take that money and buy the detector you really want or invest it in a few key date coins that will increase in value over time? And please, I know all about the camaraderie thing but unless you can spit nickels or pay a few of my bills, no way I am spending that kind of money.
Another item I saw that blew my mind was a for sale ad that read “Need to sell... wife says eight detectors too many”. Really? Only eight? Why not ten or twenty? I mean you never know when the first seven might break down! Call me old school if you want...I just don't get it...sorry!
So I am curious. How much you are willing to pay for a seeded hunt and how many detectors you own?
First I'd like to thank everyone that has signed and shared my petition regarding the banning of metal detecting on Massachusetts DCR run beaches.
Apparently there were public hearings held in 2013 regarding the changing of regulations as they pertain to property operated by Mass DCR (Dept. of Conservation & Recreation). I was not aware of these meetings or changes, therefore I wasn't able to attend or attempt to address it at that time.
So when I was told on the beach that "things are changing" and metal detecting is no longer allowed, I felt the need to do something. I decided to start a petition to see what kind of response I could get to try and fight this 'change' in the rules for beach metal detecting. As of this email writing there are 469 signatures but I hope to have at least 1,000 signatures before attempting to hand it over to the DCR Commissioner.
There is also the concern that the petition will draw attention to beach metal detecting or detecting as a whole and cause more problems. This I'm not sure about. To me there is clearly going to be a ban on metal detecting DCR beaches in Mass because that DCR Ranger that approached me was adamant about it and walked a long way to tell me. He also told me there was a "meeting" and Rangers were ordered to enforce this.
So, my feeling is that I wait to get at least 1,000 signatures and I will continue to detect those beaches and see what happens. I know there are a couple others that I know that will continue to detect those beaches as well and will let me know if they are ordered to leave and/or ticketed.
I don't want to 'open a can of worms" but at the same time I don't want to lose the right to beach metal detect. What will be next, parks and woodlands?
Please keep sharing and encouraging others to sign the petition, even if they don't live in Massachusetts. People do come from other states to vacation and metal detect. Massachusetts has some of the oldest and historic beaches in the USA. Help me preserve our right to engage in our hobby of metal detecting in Massachusetts.
Thank you, Roger Barbrick/Concerned detectorist
John Howland sent me the following and since it's short I thought I would share it here. It is of course about our dear friend in Warsaw. The ever present, all knowing and self annointed archaeologist, Paul Barford (a.k.a. Warsaw Wally).
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).
“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?”
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.
Mulligan was a dog. A Golden Retriever and one handsome devil! He left this world today and it won't be the same for his owner archaeologist Lisa MacIntyre or for that matter me. You see since befriending Lisa a few months ago she has kept me abreast of Mulligans ongoing medical problems and his passing has hit me hard too. I am a dog owner, dog lover and for that matter, an animal lover, and when one leaves the here and now world it bothers me a great deal. I won't dwell on this...only to say that I, and I know many other TH'ers, are aware of the hole in your heart Lisa and we wish you the best in the days ahead. Hang in there....Mulligan led a good life, had a great home and I am certain he wants you to have another Mulligan somewhere down the road.
Thanks to Allyson Cohen, a.k.a. the Detecting Diva for the following info and petition. Please read it, sign it and pass it on. It's ridiculous and just another attempt to limit our pastime. Thanks Allyson....
John Howland kindly put together the following and here again we need to support our fellow collectors. If we only think in terms of detecting and our own self interests we are ignoring the elephant in the room....
Whether the FMDAC is doing its stuff remains a moot point. I hope it is. But over in Washington, DC, attorney Peter Tompa, who's also an internationally respected coin collector is taking a firm stand against what amounts to a cultural mugging as US State Department officials prompted by foreign heritologists cosy-up, hand-in-blouse, with Egypt's military regime to do their bidding.
If you are concerned at this appalling situation then click on Peter Tompa's excellent, informative blog at:
What follows is a taste of what to expect...
37% Fear the Federal Government, 17% Unsure.
According to a new poll that should give government decision makers serious pause, 37% of likely voters fear the Federal Government and 17% are unsure. One can only wonder what the percentage is amongst collectors and owners of the small businesses of the numismatic trade, but it would not surprise CPO if these numbers were considerably higher. And why not, what with recent news of a pre-judged MOU with a Middle Eastern military dictatorship, a heavy-handed raid on the home of a 91 year old war veteran and missionary, and a bureaucracy made ban on the transport and interstate sale of antique ivory of the sort that has been held in families for generations.
Press reports suggest that the State Department has already promised Egypt's military government that it will impose import restrictions on its behalf. Still, if one feels strongly about their continued ability to collect Egyptian artifacts and/or historical coins, CPO believes they should comment on the regulations.gov website. Why? Because silence will only be spun as acquiesce by US and Egyptian cultural bureaucracies as well as the archaeological lobby with an ax to grind against collectors.
So, to submit comments concerning the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), go to the Federal rulemaking Portal and enter Docket No. DOS-2014-0008 and by all means speak your mind.
If you were not asked about this by your political representative, why not have your say and make your feelings known as Peter suggests.
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.
Didn’t get out this week thanks to all day storms on Sunday but did windup with a treasure thanks to my daughter Molly. In between grandson and granddaughter's soccer games Saturday she hit a few garage sales and found something she new dad would like. A Petanque set (or boules if you prefer) and it was notches above what I had.
I became fascinated with pétanque during our many trips to France. I enjoyed watching the locals play, loved their passion for the game and I learned that what seemed like a neighborly game could sometimes be just the opposite. Arguments and a few easy to understand arm gestures led me to believe there had to be a few Euros or liquid refreshments riding on the outcome. I also loved the fact that here was a game where you could have fun and a little wine or pastis while participating. What's not to like about that?
I bought my first set of boules at a weekly open air market in Provence, about five days prior to 9/11, along with, and don't laugh, a beret. Yep, I was determined to go French all the way, and just to make me feel like a complete ass the gal who sold me the beret said "wanna a baguette with that?".
Anyway a few days later we had doubts that we'd be able to catch our scheduled flight home. While airlines were once again given the green light to operate there were still numerous cancellations and rescheduling because of 9/11. Adding to all of this I had to figure out how to get my set of boules through an even more rigorous security check. I decided rather than pack them in my checked baggage I would try to carry them on board, figuring it would be best to be upfront with everyone.
I walked up to the security checkpoint, which now featured heavily armed folks from RAID along with the regular screeners, and when I opened the canvas bag containg the boules one of them looked at me, looked at my beret, started laughing his ass off and waved me through the line. While I was relieved they passed me through I quickly looked for the closest corner to hide (without my beret).
So, while I didn’t add any coins to my collection this week I did at least get some balls! So hang in there Wally, your day will come.
Heard from Larry Bateham, a.k.a. Packrat, today and he says he has seen the Farmer's Insurance commercial that we all disliked so much and they removed the offensive segment in the beginning. I would be interested in hearing if any others out there can verify this. If so it would be a victory, albeit a delayed one, for the metal detecting community. Thanks Larry.
It truly bothers me to bring this up, but what is going with the FMDAC? I check their website every few days and there hasn't been an update since November. Likewise when I click on the "forum" link I see "This Account Has Been Suspended"?
I am aware they have a Facebook page and if that's going to be their sole vehicle to communicate then at least take down the website. It's an embarrassment and not helping their image whatsoever. Also remember that not everyone is on Facebook.
I find it hard to believe that in 2014 an organization that wants to represent the whole of the pastime cannot come up with a decent informative website. Certainly within their membership there has to be someone with the talents to take on this task. JMO.
The recent postings here about the archaeological hoarding in Northern Ireland seemed to touch a nerve, and I want to thank John Howland for bringing them to the forefront. Hypocrisy at it's finest! So are John and I anti-archaeology? For the most part yes, but we are willing to listen to the other side (with two exceptions of course) but it better be in a conciliatory tone. Condescending attitudes, lies and doubletalk won't cut it anymore.
John and I first met back in the early 80's and it was the result of both of us having to deal with individuals & organizations that wanted to put our pastime out of business, he with the NCMD in the UK, and I with the FMDAC here in the states. It's now 30 years later we're still working at it, albeit now in print and online. If you are interested in why I happen to feel the way I do, take a few minutes and read my September blogpost titled Archaeologists...My Take
Have things changed with regards to us versus them? Somewhat, thanks to Lisa MacIntytre, but not near enough for me to say I am optimistic. Lisa has at least given me hope that recent and forthcoming archaelogical graduates will be more willing to reach across the aisle. Unfortunately I probably won't be around to see it happen.
Note the statement in the last article...."It does not accept items collected from private land, nor will it take collections that don’t have good archaeological field records" I know I may be reading more into this but I am guessing they don't want to give credit to any "amateurs".
John has been on a tear of late doing what he does best....exposing the hypocrisy within the opposing camp, but this time shares the story of the SS Gairsoppa and the Odyssey Marine Exploration group who was responsible for not only recovering it's treasure but sharing a percentage of it with the Royal Mint in the UK. To read more click HERE
I am in the process of "trying" to make this website more reader friendly....in the meantime various parts of it may look uneven. Hang in there with me please (Bill Gates promised to call).
I keep looking at the photos in this article and I find they represent the pinnacle of hypocrisy. All we hear from archaeologists are how detectorists are “hoiking” items of historical importance, not reporting them, hiding them from the public, yet here are boxes, bins and bags of items from archaeological digs sitting in a warehouse, a great majority of them undocumented and all of them unavailable to the people of Northern Ireland.
Of course in response to this we're hearing cries from archaeologists about being underfunded and all the typical "woe is me" bullshit we've heard for years. Well you know what? I really don’t care! Get off your ass and put in a little “gratis” time to get the job done or is that not in your job description or too menial for you to do? Then again maybe I am mistaken and all of you are working your butt off 24/7?
If you tekkies haven’t already read this article or watched the video please do it and then save it for posterity. It’s documentation of what we’ve known for some time...that hypocrisy is alive and well within the academic community.
TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the government wants to give taxpayer dollars to. Take a good look and decide if you think that is money well spent!
A favorite FB page of mine is Detecting History and the founder, Stan Shoemaker recent posted the following....
"I've been watching many detecting videos over the last few days and I can honestly say 90% of the folks making them wouldn't cut the mustard on my crew. I've noticed they dig gigantic holes, sling earth wildly like animals, not picking up their trash, making fun of the land owners on camera, I'd be sending them home early".......
I agree wholeheartedly with Stan so please, all you Rick Savage wannabes, shape up. I know you love your hobby and your new camera but please, please don't screw it up for everyone. Take your time, learn how to recover a find and THEN show off your movie making skills. Stardom will wait for you trust me.
Thanks from all of us...
Not a lot going on here with yours truly...cold and rainy weekend and in somewhat of a funk lately. On the other hand my beer guzzlin' pal from the UK has a follow-up to his last update, and I am once again featuring it here as well as in the Malamute Saloon. John has a way with words and if I could write half as good as he I would run for office!
Anyway, read John's offering, digest what he has to say and remember that we have much right to history as anyone one else, no matter their education, background, or if we are talking about the gentleman from Warsaw, pedigree....
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!!
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.
Here’s the irony. Let’s suppose for the sake of illustration, one of aforementioned oil-lamps is a mint-condition example of a 2nd Century roman type. For a no-questions-asked, cash deal, a provenance – so I’m told -- can be arranged, though nailing down the oil-lamp’s exact source – the original excavation – might be a little more difficult to establish, especially if that excavation was known to have, unusually, intense security. It wouldn’t take long for a sharp-eyed curator to realise that an ‘extra’ oil-lamp appearing on the market when say; only five were ever recovered from a particular dig.
However, with the current situation in Britain, there’s no such problem it seems, as apparently, no one knows where, or when, any one of the hundreds of thousands of priceless items were sourced. It has the potential of being a rogue’s field day! It stands to reason therefore, that under the current archaeological non- reporting system, it’s possible that thousands of excavated items have may never have even reached the so called sanctity of a rural shed, having been illicitly been provenance and flogged off!
Former US diplomat Arthur Houghton, put it rather succinctly in a comment on Peter Tompa’s Cultural Property Observer website, “Peter, this is archaeology's dirty secret. Excavate, do not classify, do not publish, excavate, excavate, it is such fun. Those who carry on in this manner or accept and enable it should be severely sanctioned.”
If only, Mr Houghton, if only!
The British bearded, salad-munching, bicycling, archaeologist who lives and works in Warsaw, Poland, came up with the brilliant idea on Peter Tompa’s CPO blog, with the answer to the whole debacle, “Maybe you and Mr Howland think the whole lot should be sold off to private collectors?”
I can’t speak for Peter Tompa, but that’s a terrific idea.
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.
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.’
archaeological items are lying unclassified
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 ll-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 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: - firstname.lastname@example.org marked ‘For the attention of the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP.’
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!