I WILL ONLY BE UPDATING ON MY BLOG. PLEASE LOG ON THERE FOR FUTURE POSTS. YOU CAN ADD YOUR EMAIL IN THE LEFT COLUMN AND BE NOTIFIED EACH TIME THERE IS AN UPDATE. I WILL HOWEVER CONTINUE TO KEEP THIS WEBSITE ONLINE FOR REFERENCE. THANKS....
John Howland apparently put his beer down for a few minutes, and decided to give his thoughts on the new Minelab GPZ 7000. Do keep in mind that whenever he buys anything, he always relates the cost to how much beer he could get for the same amount of money... Anyway hope you will give a read. Thanks and have another for me Bubba.
In the trout fishing world ‘tackle queens’ are not an endangered species, quite the contrary. You can spot these peacocks strutting the banks of most (expensive) game-fishing venues bedecked in, and carrying, the very latest Hi-Tech reels (or line holders, as they are known amongst angling’s impecunious proletariat), Hi-Tech rods made from a mix of NASA space alloys and carbon, along with all manner of ‘must have, guaranteed to catch’ flies and lures dangling from their designer fishing vests. Designer Baseball caps, and designer shades complete the ensemble.
For some unfathomable reason these ‘birds’ are rarely seen at the weigh-ins; this being the exclusive haunt of the sports ‘hobos;’ guys (and gals) with more fishing savvy than money who regularly catch fish….big fish on well-worn tackle that in some cases, cosmetically speaking, has seen better days.
Nevertheless, ‘quality’ in the hands of the skilled angler comes close to perfection; elsewhere, in lesser hands, ‘quality’ is as much use as a concrete parachute. The legendary US angler, Swiss-born Charles C Ritz once said, “It’s not the rod that catches the fish, but the hand that wields it.” The same axiom applies to treasure hunting with a metal detector, and Ritz’s words for some reason are ringing in my ears with the announcement of a new all-sing, all-dancing, offering from the Antipodes.
Who says so? Minelab says so, and are according to their panting blurb, are, “…excited to announce our new flagship gold detector, the GPZ 7000. Equipped with exclusive Zero Voltage Transmission (ZVT) technology, developed by Bruce Candy, and state-of-the-art features, the GPZ 7000 offers the deepest ground penetration and represents the most significant advancement in gold detecting technologies in years. This revolutionary gold detector will discover the deepest gold in mineralized ground and has the highest sensitivity available to detect even the smallest traces of gold.”
“While ideal for the professional gold miner,” a Minelab spokesperson continues,“ The GPZ 7000 is also a perfect fit for relic hunters who demand superior performance and want to recover targets deeper than ever before possible.” Or, is that likely to be pull-tabs deeper than ever before? Not at ten Grand a throw, surely?
It’s all down to Zero Voltage Transmission (ZVT) technology? Huh? Y’all got me there sports! For an explanation in layman’s terms of what this “deepest ground penetration” technology is all about, I checked Minelab’s Patent data:-
Constant Current Metal Detector with Driven Transmit Coil
US 20140232408 A1
A metal detector transmitting, through a transmit coil, a repeating transmit signal cycle, which includes at least one receive period and at least one non-zero transmit coil reactive voltage period; and sensing a current in the transmit coil during at least one receive period to control a magnitude and/or duration of the at least one non-zero transmit coil reactive voltage period such that the average value of the current during at least one receive period of every repeating transmit signal cycle is substantially constant from cycle to cycle, and the current during at least one receive period is substantially independent of the inductance of the transmit coil.
Ah, now I’ve got it…simple!
Kellyco are doing deals for those Tekkies into ZVT technology, and are knocking out GPZ 7000 units at the amazing discounted price of …Kellyco price…ONLY $9,999.00. (Retail $12,499.00). Worth every penny I suspect.
As some of you know, one of my favourite occupations is stalking second-hand book shops, and it was on such a foray I secured a copy of John Manikowski’s 2004 book, ‘FISH – Grilled & Smoked’.* For me, this tome is the ‘mutts nuts.’ It’s sheer, unadulterated, brilliance…so if you’re into grilling, smoking and cold beers, this book is for you. Orgasmic!
Back in the late ‘70’s and early 80’s when I was doing the biz on a lucrative, hi-yield, ploughed roman site, Ron Scearce, and Pete ‘The Hat’, our winter’s fare was usually a large pot of chilli con carne and crackers, courtesy of a recipe Ron had garnered on one of his many treasure hunting sorties to Arizona and west Texas. We’d reheat the cauldron on-site.
It was ideal UK winter grub, loaded with chillies which had one of two effects: either it made you sweat like you was pickin’ Alabama cotton, or propelled you to the nearest hedgerow about two hours after digestion? “You sure the yanks eat this stuff,” Pete always demanded, emerging from a convenient hedgerow; eyes invariably watering.
Since those heady days I’ve got well into après hunt smoking and grilling (or BBQ-ing as we say over here) following my introduction to waterside smoking via the Swedish tackle company ABU with one of their streamside trout smokers. These brilliant gizmos measure about the same as an army mess-tin, but with a lid and easily fit into a tackle bag.
For a finger-lickin’, lip-smacking, al fresco treat, involve nothing more than laying the fish on a griddle under which is scattered a handful of hickory dust, or other wood dust, such as oak, Mesquite, Apple, or Cherry wood, depending on your taste. But use never pine wood unless you like your food with more than a hint of lavatory cleaner.
When I’m out sea-fishing, mackerel are a delight done this way; head and gut the fish, slash the flanks a couple of times diagonally on each side and rub salt into the cavity and the slashes. Leave for about fifteen minutes. Chuck a handful of your chosen sawdust into the bottom of the pan, lay the fish on the grill over the sawdust and slide the lid shut. Light the methylated spirit burner and place below the smoker. Twenty minutes later you’ll be tucking into some great food.
However, most species of fish are suitable for smokers, and ‘oily’ fish, such as bass, plaice, mackerel, trout and salmon are perfect.
If you’re smoking at home with freshly-caught fish, it’s a neat idea to ‘brine’ the fish in a ‘cure’. One that I’ve tried and can recommend, the Bourbon Cure, comes directly from John Makinkowski’s book (p199) and I’m sure won’t mind me sharing it with you.
It will keep for between 1 to 2 months in the fridge. In use, first rub salt into the fish and let it stand for about 15/20-minutes, rinse under running water, then smother the fish with the ‘cure’, and rub it well in to the slashes and cavity. Being on the sweet side, limit ‘curing’ to no longer than 30 minutes. Place in the smoker. Enjoy.
*ISBN 1-58017-502-3. Storey Publishing
Did you hear about the archaeologist who accidentally swigged from a bottle of Tippex thinking it was liquid Viagra? He woke up in the morning with a huge correction.
Interviewer: "What's your greatest weakness?"
Interviewer: "I don't think honesty is a weakness."
Candidate: "I don't give a f**k what you think."
I was chatting with a very old detecting friend in the UK the other day about the current state of the pastime, and interestingly, or maybe not, we were both on the same wave length. Everyone is too caught up in the folderol, the frills, the bullshit if you will, as well as in over promoting their mastery of this extremely complex, formidable and baffling hobby called metal detecting...
So allow me to have a little fun and share my take on it all...
If you wanted to go metal detecting in the 70’s and 80’s you needed to buy (1) a metal detector, (2) cheap headphones, (3) a carpenter’s apron and (4) a long-handled screwdriver. Shazam! Done! Get your butt out there and start swinging.
...it’s become a bit more complicated. You see we don’t just need a metal detector. We need an expensive metal detector! Why? Because the more they cost the more they find, and of course the more complex they are, the more expert we will look (or at least it will appear that way to others). Also if the famous “Lucky Larry” is using a certain brand and model, its hands down THE best on the market. Why just look at what he’s finding!! Finally if it’s available in camouflage, all the better, because camo machines go deeper, and make us look cool and macho at the same time.
Then after we make all these thorough and well thought out decisions, we need accessories. Maybe a cover for it in case it rains or snows, a bag or hard case to store it in, and let’s not forget coil covers. Don’t want the bottom to get dirty or scratched. If we are lucky these too will be available in camo. That way we can lose them from time to time, and have fun pissing and moaning about it, and anyway, no big deal….we can always buy more and “put it on the card”. It’s only money!
Next we absolutely have to have extra searchcoils. Big, small, wide, narrow and yes, even imported, because the folks in Abbadabba, Slovenia know how to make coils that are ‘perfectly tuned’ and ‘made to last’ whereas the manufacturer of our detector is stupid and doesn’t care about either of those things. Here’s hoping too that they come out with camo coils in the not too distant future, because we all know they will go deeper.
Hold on now, we are not done yet. We “have” to have a pinpointer. Doesn’t matter what it cost, at long it has some orange on it (so we don’t lose it), and is waterproof to 10 feet (never know when we might fall in a lake or pool). Then of course we will need a holster for it or a holder that attaches to our detector. Yeah, that would be real cool. Next comes a digger, or shovel, perhaps both, so we can recover coins, buttons, beer cans and bombs. Actually the shovel is very cool to have when you are knocking on doors. Homeowners just love ‘em.
Finally if we are going to really look hip and macho, we need a camouflage outfit, hat and a GoPro camera. That way we can hide from the public, maybe get shot by a hunter, scare the hell out of the neighborhood, and if we are really lucky, get it all on film. The downer of course if that we can’t spend a lot of time detecting because we will have to get home to edit the film, post it on YouTube, and share the link on the 200 detecting forums and Facebook pages. If, however, we don’t find anything cool we an always repost the video of the gold ring we found last year. Hell, no one will remember after all this time.
Last and not least we will need camouflage snake boots. Ain’t nobody taking care of those tot lots anymore...
Well, we are indeed iced in this morning, and waiting for the “thundersleet” to start, but considering what the folks in New England have been dealing with, we have nothing to complain about. At least not yet...
You already know how much I miss the good ole days of detecting, and those feelings are only getting better by the day, because now we have the Minelab GPZ 7000, a “gold detector” that retails for $12,449.00. Yep, you read it right, twelve thousand, four hundred and forty nine smackeroos! Holy s**t!
Now I know they advertise that it offers 40% more depth than their GPZ 5000, but at that price it ought to find gold bricks, one every minute. I mean come on folks…wake up and get a grip for crissakes. Yes I know, gold is at an all time high, but how many detectorists, or for that matter even prospectors, have that kind of money on hand?
I used to think tekkies having four and five detectors, pinpointers and GoPro cameras were whacked out, but now this… Surely it won’t be long before it’s available in camo (at a higher price of course).
Minelab seems to be pushing the envelope of late with the CTX3030 at $2,500, and now the GPZ 7000 at $12,500. Can someone tell me why? Is it because they are manufactured down under, or is this what the market will bear? If it’s the latter I plead ignorance and senility. The world has passed me by.
As they say down here, “I don’t mean to rile the wagon master” but “give me the bacon without the sizzle” please...
Because it’s President’s Day here’s a video from, you guessed it, Todd Hiltz. Just another amazing find by the cellar guy and so very appropriate for today!
And this from John Howland, most likely in a pub somewhere in the South of England, because as he likes to say “work is the curse of the drinking man”.
Detectorists in Britain have really grabbed the headlines following the recovery of a hoard of Saxon coins at a Metal Detecting Rally much to the chagrin of some in archaeological circles.
Though some in orthodox archaeology welcomed the find as did most non-archaeologists, the press and public, many on archaeology’s Luddite wing reverted to type and spat their usual bile. In short, ‘archaeology’ is good – if it’s found by them – anything else is a ‘no-no.’
Evidently an increasing feeling amongst some of them – and this is applies equally to the US – is that we are encroaching on what they consider is their sole preserve; and because we are coming up with the goodies they should be finding, is excuse enough for them to cover their inadequacies by lobbying for the hobby banned or restricted to the extent where their shortcomings remain under wraps.
Have you noticed for example, how when WE find anything of importance, it’s ALWAYS the common heritage, but never when that when they get their sticky fingers on something allegedly important? Who for example is responsible for the hundreds of thousands of artefacts currently languishing unrecorded and unclassified in sheds and outhouses across Britain? All at a time when, the detector-fed PAS is clocking-up over one million artefacts. Perhaps it’s archaeology that should be banned? Can the common heritage be left in their buttery fingers?
The hobby’s problem however, is we lack viable governing bodies. We, the hobbyists at the coalface, know we are ill-represented and that our pastime survives not because of what passes for representative bodies, but IN SPITE OF THEM.
Maybe however, we don’t need them after all…..The following is taken from the UK’s, government-funded Portable Antiquities Scheme website:-
“The coins were found wrapped in a lead sheet and buried in the ground for safekeeping. The coins are of Æthelred II (978-1016) and Cnut (1016-35), and were buried towards the end of Cnut's reign. The lead wrapping provided protection against the elements while the hoard was in the ground, with the result that the coins are very well preserved. The hoard contains coins from over forty different mints around England, and provides a rare source of information on the circulation of coinage at the time the hoard was buried.
“Under the Treasure Act 1996 there is a legal obligation for finders to report Treasure. Since the advent of the Act the number of finds reported has increased fivefold from 201 cases in 1998 (the first full year of the Act) to 993 in 2013, and 1008 in 2014. If declared Treasure such finds may be acquired by museums, with preference going to the local museum. Of the 990 finds reported Treasure in 2012, 368 were acquired by 100 local museums, so they can be displayed to the public close to where the items were discovered. These include the Bedale, North Yorkshire Hoard of Viking jewellery, weaponry and ingots (2012 T373; YORYM-CEE620) acquired by York Museums Trust, and a Roman silver bracelet from Dalton area, Cumbria (2012 T627; PAS-A7DC11) acquired by the Dock Museum.
“Increasingly finders and landowners have waived their right to a reward, enabling museums to acquire Treasure at reduced or no cost. In 2012, 137 parties waived their right to a reward in 93 cases; more than double the number of cases five years ago. Museums have also benefited from funding being made available through the Art Fund, the Headley Trust, The Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and the V&A Purchase Grant fund, which all funded museum acquisitions of Treasure in 2012.
“Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, said:
“I'd especially like to thank the finders and landowners who have graciously waived their right to a reward so that local museums can acquire Treasure. It is an initiative that the Government has been keen to support, and it demonstrates that metal-detectorists have a genuine interest in the past, and are not just interested in archaeology for personal gain.” [My underlining. JH]
All of which raises the ugly prospect that the picture painted by archaeologists about metal detecting is a deliberate misrepresentation of the FACTS. More disturbing though, is that some of these same propagandists who are actively posting false accounts about detectorists are let loose to interpret – equivocally and without strict examination - excavation ‘data.’ If they can tell lies about detectorists, then why not about their own work to bolster claims for increased subsidies for further ‘research’ or even job security? Can they really be trusted? There must be an independent, archaeologist-free, third-party oversight.
RESCUE (The British Archaeological Trust), not widely known for its love of detectorists, or indeed of Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, is forever yapping about detectorists damaging the heritage with unskilled retrieval techniques; curiously scores an own-goal with this laughable (and telling?) emblem as its official badge:-
Ho…bloody, ho! We all know the damage these machines do when they rip through the upper archaeological layers just to get down to whatever heritage feature is currently in vogue. As to the fabulous detector-found, Lenborough Hoard, RESCUE mounts its high horse again:-
“Whilst this might represent a tasty windfall for the finder and the landowner, for the rest of us – the other 60 million plus inhabitants of the British Isles – it represents nothing but yet another lost opportunity to add to the knowledge we have about the Saxon period ….Unfortunately these hoards are rare, so there might never be another one and we might never be able to answer the many questions surrounding them. But you won’t read about that in the papers.”
Over on its website, RESCUE witters on about the Lenborough Hoard:- “The question of who, how, when and why will just have to wait for the next time. If there is one. And if that hoard is not excavated similarly poorly.”
Note also, the RESCUE’s airy-fairy claims that information has been lost…though they don’t, can’t, or won’t identify that information. The FLO who supervised the hoard’s retrieval performed an excellent job. Still, anything to smear the hobby, eh? Pull the other one RESCUE.
Consider carefully…as a registered charity you’re on thin ice with this kind of baloney. You’re in the cross-hairs. Now, that would be a feather in someone’s cap!
It's better to practice silence than to preach bullshit…either that, or change the name RESCUE to ‘Jackanory.’*
Current research projects based on, as the PAS describes it, the ….”many thousands of objects are discovered, many of these by metal-detector users, but also by people whilst out walking, gardening or going about their daily work.”
(Unsurprisingly, no figures for academic research projects based on the Artefact Erosion Counter are available).
* Old English nursery rhyme:
I'll tell you a story about Jack a Nory
And now my story's begun
I'll tell you another
Of Jack and his brother
And now my story is done.
(The rhyme was first recorded when published in The Top Book of All, for little Masters and Misses around 1760).
Okay, with regards to the roundtable discussion sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation...
I watched the entire broadcast again, and listened to all the “you stroke mine, and I will stroke yours” comments, but when it was over I realized that we are we are still two drastically different camps, pretending to care about each other, but it’s not working, and hasn’t for many, many years. The one plus is that we have the internet, the technology to continue talking, and hopefully the next “roundtable” will be more balanced and not a four arkie to one tekkie affair.
A few observations and take aways...
At the 6:26 mark Matt Reeves, the director of Archaeology at Montpelier, states “one thing archaeologists feared is that, as an archaeologist, if you worked with a metal detectorist you would essentially be “validating” what metal detectorists do and there would be more metal detecting”. Hmm, well at least he was honest. They have never and will never validate what we do.
Later in the discussion, at around the 49:20 mark, they tackled a question about archaeology’s opposition to collecting, and was there some way to bridge the gap. Their response was pretty much a resounding NO! Apparently no one, except the archaeological community that is, can have a collection of anything historic, be it a relic or coin. Hmm, well, forgive my rudeness, but they can all kiss my ass! I will collect what I want, and yes, even sell what I want if I choose to, and do not need their approval to do it.
If you can’t sit still long enough to view the whole video at least watch the last part, starting at around the 45:15 mark. That will give you some idea of just where we stand with these folks. The fear that metal detecting would become a “legitimate hobby” and their unfavorable view of the PAS pretty much sums it up.
Perhaps down the road things will change, but it will not be in my lifetime. This online roundtable was nothing more than a “feel good” attempt at saying, “hey, we’re at least reaching out to you”, when it reality it was nothing more than an hour-long “we know better than you” promotional show. I will however leave you all to come to your own conclusions.
I know I will hear from those of you who say I am being unfair and being too negative. That’s fine. You are entitled to your opinions. I just have too many years under my belt trying to work with the archaeological community, and you can only piss in the wind so many times...
Finally, if they really wanted to reach out to us why do they charge for the Montpelier program? Seems they get paid, and get to use our expertise to further their goals. The participants? Well he or she pays $750 for four or five days, and that does not include meals or travel. That’s just not right.
Here’s hoping you can tear yourself away from that detecting forum to watch...
I’ve always been big on research and trying to make my trip out into the field more efficient time wise, but no one is better at it than my good friend Paul Tainter. Paul probably knows more about treasure than anyone else out there.He’s not only read about them, researched them and he’s hunted them. His library, or “man cave” if you will, is filled with books, manuscripts, magazines, microfiche and maps, much of it not available anywhere else….the kind of stuff you and I would drool over.
I first met Paul and his wife Joan back in the 80’s, when they owned Research Unlimited (formerly Exanimo), in Ames, Nebraska. They invited me to be part of Treasure Expo, an annual event that attracted the treasure hunting greats of the time. Needless to say I was honored. Treasure Expos were legendary, lots of fun and something you had to experience to appreciate.
I have stayed in touch with Paul and Joan over the years, and while both have retired, Paul still writes the “Treasure Hunter’s Express”, a quarterly newsletter, filled with stories, tips and useful information. When not in the field, or when winter snows come, you will find him in his library, books, pad and pencil at hand, and if his library doesn’t provide the answer he will turn to his treasure hunting friends, of which there are many. Old timers, seasoned and savvy when it comes to treasure hunting, who Paul, know what it takes to find the big one. Just don’t ask them about it.
I know there are still a lot of older TH’ers out there who know Paul or at least remember the Exanimo Express newspaper and Treasure Hunter’s Express. While the new version is smaller, it still offers a lot of great reading and food for thought. I miss a lot of what happened early on in this pastime, but Paul doesn’t let me forget thanks to his quarterly newsletter. The latest issue also features a guest article “The Cache Hunter” by Missouri Nick.
The Treasure Hunter’s Express is published quarterly and costs $20 per year. If you like, Paul will send you a sample issue for $3. For more information email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him to at Treasure Trove Archives, 335 North William Avenue, Fremont, Nebraska 68025
No matter those of you who think you know all about metal detecting/treasure hunting, the groundwork was laid by people like Paul Tainter, and I am proud to be his friend
I saw this article yesterday and had to laugh. I love the idea that archaeologists are upset over having competition! I say bring it on!
I want to follow up on John's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" post and the comments that ensued on the blog...
I am often taken to task for my constant criticism of the three “so-called” national organizations for our pastime and I would like to try to explain why I do it...
First off they are not “national” organizations at all. The Task Force and the FMDAC are primarily East Coast groups. WWATS, if they are still a group at all, is primarily a South/Southwestern organization. I am sure they will all plead otherwise but nothing they or you say will convince me otherwise.
All three have a problem communicating, with us and most definitely with each other. Visit their websites. The Task Force and the FMDAC? Not a word for six months. WWATS? You will be hard pressed to find anything newer than 2013. These groups can’t find the time to say Merry Christmas or ‘boogity boogity’, yet we are supposed to have faith that they are out there fighting for us. Really?
When they do speak it’s usually, “We are working behind the scenes and will keep you posted” or “We are all volunteers and have day jobs”. Well to that I say what the hell is so secret that you can’t share or talk about? Seriously, come on. Next I understand you are all volunteers. I appreciate that, but therein lies the problem. We cannot have a “national” organization that is made up of all volunteers. Great in theory, sounds all warm and fuzzy, but in reality it sucks.
Here’s how it “could and should” work. It’s estimated that there are close to 700,000 detectorists in the United States, and for the sake of this discussion, let’s say there are really only 100,000. At $20 per year, per tekkie we could have a national organization with an annual budget of around 2 million dollars. Seems to me that just might attract a few very effective go-getters for officers, and go a long way toward kicking ass in areas where we are being hassled.
Folks it’s time we got serious about this. You can carry on with your movie making, posting photos of your finds, bullshitting on forums, attending hunts and listening to podcasts. Just commit to a lousy $20 a year, or if you prefer, $1.67 a month. If you find that’s asking too much then you will get what you pay for, and please don’t piss and moan down the road when you can’t find a place where you can use your detector.
Okay, someone please tell me why and where I am wrong...
Once again it's John Howland's turn, and I thank him. "For Whom The Bell Tolls" concerns a topic that he and I have conversations about almost daily, and given the less than stellar performance of our big three national organizations, it's a conversation all of us should be having! Right now we are all hat and no cattle!
Over thirty years ago metal detecting in Britain reached crisis point; the arkies compared to hobbyists came across as generally brighter, glibber, better-educated, and generally on the political Left. Their case for the outlawing metal detector use along with the nationalisation of all antiquities, sounded to the casual observer, convincing.
Of the many academics advocating the Robin Hood approach to private property that of ‘robbing the capitalist rich to feed the Marxist elite,’ one an archaeologist, with impeccable ‘Hard Left’ credentials, demonstrated his Socialist principles by living in fine, baronial splendour that wouldn’t have disgraced the worst excesses of a medieval Robber Baron. One of his less-well off subordinates described him to me in rhyming slang as a ‘Merchant Banker.’
During the hobby’s battle to exist, over a protracted period of in-fighting, eye-gouging, and fighting ‘blind side’ of the Referee, the hobby won its freedom. It took time, money, and a deal of hard work by volunteers. We had some very shrewd operators on our side who stymied the European Council’s directive to limit the hobby across Europe when they turned up at the hearing – Chaired by Liberal MP, Alan Beith – where a heavy archaeological presence dominated the proceedings. After a deal of haggling, the metal detecting representatives from the Detector Information Group (DIG) were finally allowed in much to the irritation of those already present who’d imagined it was all a done deal. Strangely, no-one had thought to invite DIG to the meeting. Odd that!
Some European delegates winced and shifted in their seats somewhat awkwardly when DIG gently pointed out by to the assembled throng that the attempted outlawing of the hobby in France was based on an un-repealed 1942 law brought in by the Nazi Occupation of that country. Oh, dear!
Nevertheless, European countries are slowly coming to realise the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, along with its 1996 Treasure Act, is the way forward and that they’ve been taken for a ride by the men in trenches.
In the UK finders are fairly rewarded for their honesty by reporting finds as opposed to the European alternative of unrewarded, state confiscation. In the UK instances of looting are less than the number of convictions for cycling without lights. Small wonder then, that some single-issue, compulsive obsessives, campaign vigorously against the PAS and ever eager to concoct untruths to undermine it, or to fabricate databases based on speculation. The infamous and now widely discredited Artefact Erosion Counter is one such example. I am told b some in the archaeological community that one infamous archaeo-blogger along with his bullet-makers are a severe embarrassment.
Threats to the hobby also exist in the US where influential lobbyists are spoon-fed a diet amounting to an unbalanced meagre gruel; the main ingredient being the amount of exaggeration supplied. When pressed, the ‘evidence’ is always clichéd hackneyed. Nevertheless, the die-hards are constantly probing for a way through. By comparison with hobbyists, these politicos’ while lacking apathy, are fanatically driven, and it surely can’t be long before they deliver the final coup de grace in one or more States. Ask yourselves…who comes over as the more convincing…a smart-suited, narcissistic, clean shaven, expressive arkie/lobbyist, or, someone who looks and talks like an extra hot from the cast of Duck Dynasty? You choose.
Many experienced metal detecting commentators know the US will only get the hobby it deserves – no fight, no hobby. While UK hobbyists enjoy multi-million pound government funding in the shape of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the US is letting in through the cat-flap, hoary socialist dogma in the form of antiquities nationalisation. On present form, the US metal detecting hobby lacking eloquence at the top end, and where no-one is prepared to pick up the gauntlet, the future ain’t that bright.
Part of the overall degeneration seems to be a famine of club newsletters and a lack of inter-club communications whereby a ‘bush telegraph’ warning of impending legislative problems can be quickly shared and remedial action taken.
Maybe, what the US hobby really needs is a paid-for-by-subscription organisation staffed by skilled people well able to represent the many thousands of decent folk who want to follow and enjoy a wholesome, healthy, and educational hobby, at State and Washington level. Only you can supply the answer. Good luck.
Remember….Time is running out. Fast!
No doubt about it, angling is therapeutic and frees its adherents from Life’s anxieties which according to the old maxim that goes…“The man hasn’t been born who can fish and worry at the same time.” As a lifelong angler I can attest to the saying’s accuracy. Perhaps an additional phrase could be inserted here….“Or, metal detect….”
I’d go further and say that while virtually hermetically sealed from the outside world cocooned in headphones, detectorists’ concentration is focussed in anticipation on the signals coming up from the coil. But there’s more to metal detecting than uncovering lost coins, just as there’s more to fishing than catching fish.
Firstly, there are the health benefits to consider. Apart from getting its practitioners outdoors into fresh air, there’s the exercise of bending to dig, walking and clambering, all of which improves both mental and physical health. The more hobbyists get out and about the more we absorb our surroundings. Ours is a continual learning curve not only about metal detector’s performance but absorbing the facts behind the history of what we find.
It’s also a truism that hobbyists are often anglers – or former anglers - and here’s the connection. Experienced anglers know precisely where the fish lie in the river and the riverbank features that draw the fish to that to that particular spot. They ‘read’ the river. This uncanny ability is present in experienced detectorists.
I know hobbyists who can ‘read’ a landscape and pick out the features where they ‘know’ they’ll find coins or whatever and often from a particular era. Beachcombers show the same ability to ‘read’ a beach or shoreline. Some years ago I discussed this phenomenon with an archaeologist friend (who’s since climbed high up the greasy pole of archaeological promotion) who admitted forthrightly that few archaeologists have the ‘gift’ adding that for many, it was a simply a job to be left behind when the whistle blew at knocking-off time and get down to the pub.
He accepted some hobbyists often possess a superior knowledge of history than many of his colleagues especially those who ‘pontificated’ rather than get their hands dirty in the trenches. “I don’t what this lot,” he said, thumbing in the direction of a couple of senior CBA types, “Have got against you all. We should be welcoming and capitalising on their expertise and knowledge.”
Today in the UK the Portable Antiquities Scheme is producing superb results as the foundation for academic research. Unfortunately, a tiny minority of yappy Luddites exist on the fringes of archaeology dedicated to sabotaging the PAS. This species often found herding with the ‘pontificators’ are readily identifiable by their unexceptional, even undistinguished, archaeological ability. For anyone even loosely connected with archaeology to set out to denigrate this superb research tool, is a heritage vandal of the worst kind and just as damaging to the heritage as clandestine excavators. Their words and actions speak volumes – not about the PAS – but about them.
Nevertheless it’s imperative that records of finds are kept – whether in a private finds diary or passed on to the relevant data collators such as the PAS. There is nothing inappropriate about selling finds provided a written record exists of the find-spot. Even historic finds found on a beach should also be recorded. This coin found by me might signify an offshore roman shipwreck, for it’s unusual to come across this class of ‘find’ on a beach. Despite what the empty-headed and mouthy critics yelp, the number of class and wedding rings, medals, lockets, and badges of sentimental value that are returned to their original owners through sheer detective work by hobbyists rarely ceases to amaze, or indeed, the local media. Apart from the usual twaddle of the pompous grousers, treasure hunting/metal detecting has added a million times more to the common record that it has ever taken away. The number of fabulous hoards and treasures brought to the light of day by detectorists - all properly recorded – is evidence of the fact and the inspiration for dedicated television programmes. The Archaeo-Luddites are left coughing in the dust as the caravan roars on.
When I spoke with my archaeologist friend those years ago, neither of us could have imagined that so many people in archaeology would owe their livelihoods to this hobby of ours. The PAS is both inspirational and world class, and UK Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, is to be heartily congratulated for his achievements.
I am sure most of you aleady know that I also have a blog that is very similar to this website, and that it allows for comments. It has become the "go to" place for most of those who follow Stout Standards, and as a result I will no longer be posting updates here starting in March 1.
I have no intentions of taking this website down. I've put too much work into it and despite it's "amateurish" design, it still offers a lot of useful information. So please, if you enjoy Stout Standards, why not go to the blog and click on the link in the left hand column ("Follow Blog"). That way you will receive an email each time I post an update. Thanks....
Over the years people have asked me what my favorite place to detect was, and I would always answer old picnic groves, and here's why....
In the mid 70’s I was living in central New Jersey, and spent every waking moment treasure hunting. I was addicted, obsessed and embarrassingly fanatical. As a result I decided to join the local historical society. It was a wise move, and one that resulted in my finding my first old grove. Amazingly it was located on….are you ready for this? Picnic Grove road! Wow, who would have guessed? Actually Picnic Grove road was not on any of the local maps, nor was it even a known entity to most of the locals. It was, at that time, nothing more than an overgrown path, connecting one road to another. At one time however it led to a fun day for the locals.
When I first searched the grove I was using one of the first detectors that offered a visual ID meter, and while I am ashamed to say it, I was brainwashed into thinking it was infallible. As a result I left there empty-handed. Then a week or two later, I decided to give the area another go. I just had this feeling that I had not really given it my best. Anyway when I got there I decided to dig every signal, no matter their readout and it was a huge learning lesson for me. The first item I dug was a “fat” Indian Head cent, which read out ‘below’ the penny mark on the analog meter. I continued to dig every single audio response, and at the end of the day I had an apron full of coins, with dates ranging from the mid-1800’s thru the early 1900’s. My silver consisted of mostly Seated and Barber, many of them in excellent condition!
I continued to hunt the grove for some time, and almost always came home with a few keepers. I also decided that there had to be other groves in the area and headed back to the historical society, as well as the county library. I had ‘grove’ on the brain, and read everything and anything that might help me locate others. I eventually found mentions of few more and needless to say I was pumped.
At the same time it also occurred to me that there were other roads with the word ‘grove’ in their names, and I spent a lot of time driving them, looking for any indication of another “picnic” grove. I had the advantage of knowing what the first one was like, and started looking for something similar…an area with a canopy of trees to keep out the summer heat, very little ground vegetation, and one that was conducive to picnicking, i.e., enough spacing between trees where people could put down a picnic blanket. A path or entrance was more icing on the cake.
My travels resulted in quite a few areas that deserved a closer look, and I made my way to the county tax assessor’s office to see if I could find out who owned them. It took some time to accurately locate the exact areas on the tax maps, but eventually I had the names and addresses and began making phone calls. To make a long story short I was able to contact maybe eight or ten landowners and they were all extremely helpful(Remember detectortists were few and far between back then).
Two of the property owners verified my suspicions and knew their properties were once a gathering place, while the rest didn’t think so, or simply didn’t know one way or another. Amazingly all gave me permission to detect anytime I wanted. I eventually wound up with five or six more very productive sites to search, all within ten miles of home.
If you are a coinshooter do yourself a favor and join your local historical society, and for that matter, join those in the surrounding areas as well. They will have books, periodicals, memoirs, diaries and photos not available anywhere else, and individuals more than willing to share their knowledge and experiences.
Many of the groves in the Northeast came about because early churches would frequently have outdoor gatherings after services (I have also heard them referred to as “harvest home suppers”). In the South they are sometimes referred to as “dinner on the ground”. Depending on where you live you might also throw in keywords like reunion, revival, potluck, meeting, feast and break bread when searching online.
If and when you do find a grove, search in the all-metal mode and dig all of your targets. I also found a lot of coins among the roots of trees, probably the result of them growing out and over through the years. In one grove I wandered out of the wooded area to an adjacent field and found coins there as well. My guess was it had been used for games and/or athletic events. Finally, most of the groves I hunted were carpeted with years of decaying leaves, leaving ‘tekkie-friendly’, easy to dig, loamy soil.
I am not sure if any of what I’ve shared here will get you enthused about seeking out similar sites in your area, but if so you might want to read this earlier post from May of last year…
PLEASE NOTE: Do not assume that every road or street with “grove” in its name is going to provide you with great detecting. It was just a starting point. Here in North Texas street, road and highway names are seemingly pulled out of a hat, with no relationship to landmarks or logic. Research!
John Winter and I have always had a lot in common, and his latest post makes me think he is a distant relative....
Owners of Garrett ATPro’s and ATGold’s who want increased ground coverage per sweep, are up a creek without a paddle because Garrett don’t make anything bigger than their 8.5" x 11" PROformance DD coil - an already impressive performer – for the AT range.
Fear not, help is on hand. Here in the UK, Regton Ltd, our biggest and most comprehensive retailer of metal detecting equipment is the agent for ‘after-market’ NEL coils specially designed to complement most major manufacturers’ machines and Garrett is no exception.
NEL coils are factory tuned to the operating frequency of particular machines thus enhancing their depth and performance capabilities. On the ATpro that’s 15 kHz and 18 kHz on the ATGold.
The 12” x13” Tornado model is real asset; a Double ‘D’ configuration giving excellent target separation. Target pinpointing is spot on …immediately in front of where the detector’s lower stem bolts to the coil. The Tornado is good compromise between ground coverage, weight, depth, without significant loss on earing-sized targets. Owing to the increased coil diameter, keep the Tornado well away from trash-filled areas of beach, or junk-infested inland sites, where target masking will be a problem for the unwary. Nevertheless, the Tornado is ideal for hunting pasture land.
There’s little point in owning a well-built, top-performing machine such as an ATPro/ATGold, only to fit a flimsy, poorly designed ‘cheapo’ searchcoil. You’ll discover NEL build-quality is robust and attentively designed even down to positioning the cable plug on the coil so as not to have an acute angle that might lead to later problems. Priced at £129.95 post free (UK mainland), with a coil cover thrown in for good measure, the Tornado’s a bargain.
The NEL Tornado performs exceedingly well on the ATPro, giving up to 4" extra depth (in air) on a UK £1-coin. That translates to about 3" in-ground. Having tried it on a couple of sorties on the local beaches, from the wet sand thru to the dry. In one especially trash-filled section of beach it went beserk and me with it; since the wide diameter of the coil takes in both junk and good targets simultaneously.
Though the larger 15"x17" NEL Big Coil is currently unavailable for the AT models, and I'm sure these bigger jobbies have their particular following, but for me, the Tornado is the ideal compromise between all-round performance and weight.
Regton’s ‘Grand Fromage’ Nigel Ingram, tells me these larger NEL coils are going out through the shop’s front door in droves - for all makes of metal detectors - so much so that he’s bulk-buying from the manufacturers to keep up with demand.
For more information contact Regton Ltd., 82 Cliveland Street, Birmingham, England B19 3SN
Telephone: 0121 359 2379 Fax: 0121 359 7975
…was the headline that caught my eye on US Attorney and respected numismatist, Peter Tompa’s excellent and informative Cultural Property Observer blog. So what’s coming down?
Peter Tompa has shown unequivocally that The Archaeological Institute of America is firmly set against private collecting: “that it's against all trade and private ownership of archaeological objects, not just those without a collection history dating back before the 1970 UNESCO Convention.”
According to the AIA's new membership rules, he tells us, by quoting :-
“The Council of the AIA met on Saturday, January 10 in New Orleans for its regular annual meeting. During the meeting it held a hearing “...to consider the AIA’s response to AIA-St. Louis Society’s recent commercial transactions.” At the conclusion of the hearing a motion was made and approved. The motion reads as follows:
“Moved, in accordance with Article III.3 of AIA Regulations, St. Louis Society charter be revoked as of February 1, 2015, unless 100% of the current members of the Board of Directors of St. Louis Society be replaced by that date.”
On Tuesday, January 13, the members of the St. Louis Society held an extraordinary meeting. It has been reported to the AIA that, at the conclusion of their deliberations a majority of the members of the St. Louis Society voted not to elect a new board notwithstanding the Council resolution.”
All of which inspired the internationally distinguished numismatist, Wayne G Sayles (email@example.com) to comment:-
“I don't personally know a LOT of archaeologists, but I do know a score or more of them who are active collectors of ancient coins. One might wonder if they will all resign from the AIA and encourage their friends to do so? I really doubt they will give up collecting. In fact, I actually know more than a score because I also know a good many Art Historians that are AIA members and they DEFINITELY have transactions with the trade in cultural property.”
Judging from the content of AIA’s website (http://www.archaeological.org/) aspiring tin-pot banana republic dictators might find it beneficial.
For many years, archaeology per se, has maintained a façade that private collecting by archaeologists was a fiction spread by nonconformists (such as me!) who support, and fight for the inalienable right to collect and own antiquities, and indeed, search for them. Now it seems, the AIA’s clampdown on its members’ collecting activities has unwittingly proved that I and others had been right all along.
So what does all this mean for US treasure [Maybe Terminator here?] hunters? Does it affect them? Yes, it certainly does and with the potential for confrontation. It means the AIA is officially set against private ownership of antiquities and they will - in their wisdom (?) - no doubt issue an Encyclical from on high as to what constitutes an antiquity. Some in the archaeological arena appear to be working to a political agenda with the more radical of their number advocating the notion that history (and its artefacts) dates from yesterday – including 2014’s nickels and Dimes. Judging from past judgements the US (like the UK) has its fair share of politicians and legislators who can’t tell their arses from their elbows over who’s eyes the archaeological wool is regularly pulled by sharper, scheming arkies!
Detectorists who’ve amassed wide-ranging collections of Civil War artefacts for example and are acknowledged authorities on the subject, ought to keep a weather eye on unfolding events.
Forewarned is forearmed.
Nothing in the entire world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
I thoroughly enjoyed John Winter’s recent blog post about forums. It was on the money, and the aftermath or follow-up was true to form with John being banned from two of them....despite his comments being light-hearted and humorous. Gotta love social media! Where else can you say something and instantaneously be famous, banned or exiled?
On the plus side social media has become one of the most popular advertising mediums going today, and that's not just me saying it. You can spend your money on newspaper or magazine ads, radio and TV but nothing goes further or reaches more people than social media. Just throw it out there, attach a catchy subject line, or better yet, give something away and you've got 'em by the balls.
The "giving away goodies" thing has also become the everyday norm for detecting blogs, websites, FB pages, forums and podcasts, of which there are thousands of today. Good or bad...the 'numbers' are all that matter, or at least it seems to be the case. "Tune in tonight and you win a detector", or "like my page and win a pinpointer, cap or pouch". Doesn’t matter what you are giving away....the “I wants” will show up en masse, totally oblivious of the topic or spiel you are spouting. It's the ole..."I am only here for he food"
So here I sit, with my blog, a glass of red and nothing to offer. Fame and fortune awaits, and I haven't a damn thing to give away. Nada! What am I to do? My books are old hat, I have no T-shirts, caps, patches or DVDs, and I don't care to give away any of my finds. I thought about asking John if he had anything to offer, but sh*t he still owes me $20 from 1984....
So please, if you are reading this, and you have any ideas on how I might attract more tekkies here, please let me know. Remember though I have nothing to give you in return, unless you want an autographed, used pair of Jockey shorts, (skid marks and all).
I am a failure, a SOB, and a cheap one at that. Poor me....
No matter that I don’t get out detecting much any more, I still get questions from tekkies about which detector I use and why. Likewise they ask what detector I would recommend for their given situation, or which model should they buy for their child or spouse. I suspect too that after I respond and give my answer they are more than likely disappointed because my answer isn’t technical enough or more detailed. Anyway, I use the MXT Pro and have for some time. It’s just the right machine for “me” and because my explanation why might not satisfy you I’ve asked other tekkies why they use the MXT Pro and they kindly responded as follows....
My MXT All-Pro is a great coin & relic machine and very user friendly. I Hunt in the Relic mode in 2 tone ID. Most iron grunts read as low and non ferrous targets give a nice high tone. The MXT All-Pro excels in the iron areas and is able to pick out the non ferrous targets with ease. Of course some iron will give off a high tone due to its size and shape, but at colonial sites it's good to dig the iron, not only to get it out of the way, but because sometimes it ends up being a nice hand forged colonial relic, like a horse shoe, axe head or strap hinge.
I have to admit after having used my XLT for many years and after have become accustomed to it's tones and how well it treated me, I was very apprehensive about trying the MXT All-Pro. After a few outings that uneasiness quickly disappeared because of the coins & relics I was finding. Sad to say but my poor XLT now sits in the corner and has dust on it.
Ok, so with cellar hole hunting...
I hunt in Relic Mode and in only two tones so I hear whether the target is Ferrous or Non-ferrous. In my opinion, this is the perfect setting for cellar holes because they are usually iron infested. These sites are also highly mineralized and we often times have to deal with "hot rocks". That is where the double D coils come into play. I have found that the 10" & 6" DD coils really shine in these instances.....
With this set up and the extremely fast processing ability of the MXT Pro (one of it's best attributes), I am able to dive into these difficult areas and isolate non-ferrous targets amongst the hundreds of square nails and iron scrap. The Relic Mode also allows the MXT Pro to run much smoother, without a lot of unstable chatter. When I do hear a non-ferrous signal I hold the "ground grab" button to isolate it.
So to sum it all up... two-tone, relic Mode, DD coils, ground tracking, along with the MXT Pro's exceptional recovery time makes this machine a BEAST. I would guess that 95-99% of these sites have already been hammered, yet we always seem to pull out a pouch full of keepers. Don't forget too that the most important thing is a level and slow swing speed, otherwise you are not going to find much.
There's a lot more I could say about the MXT Pro but then I would be giving away all my secrets....
My go to machine will always be my whites MXT! The MXT is a simple yet powerful detector, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. Simply choose between one of the three modes, turn the machine on, pump up and down a few times for a good ground balance and you're off and running! You can choose between beach, relic, or coin and jewelry mode. I prefer and usually hunt in relic mode. I believe relic goes a little deeper and you will still hit on those small deep coins. When in relic mode, this thing is a metal magnet! I enjoy setting my discrimination right above iron and digging away. I also feel this will help you eventually get those deeper targets that might have been previously masked out.
With the new MXT All Pro you can hunt in one or two tone ID. I prefer two-tone ID so that way I am digging mostly off sound. I have also come to the conclusion that the MXT loves the 10 inch D2 coil. I think that they were secretly made for each other- haha. The d2 will give you the best average depth with great separation on trash. One thing you might experience with this coil is sometimes it's a little sensitive to EMI but can easily be tuned out.
In my general opinion the MXT is a great all around metal detector. Once you get to know it, it really is like having three machines in one! I always said that I consider myself a coin shooter but hunt with a relic machine, so I get to experience the best of both worlds....
I like the MXT Pro because it’s an excellent coin machine with great depth. I primarily hunt in the preset coin and jewelry mode, and use the Eclipse 6x6 inch coil most of the time (bring back the old standard 7 please). Adjustments or secret settings? None really. I will however always set the gain as high as possible. Likewise if I get a whisper response and no readout I will take the threshold down below audible and crank up the gain in hopes that I can get some sort of “positive” readout (numerical). This does not work in ever instance but when it does its well worth the effort.
Next I like the audio options on the MXT Pro. I know it’s the lazy man’s way out but that would be me today. Bending down is not what it used to be.... Oh, and did I tell you about the knobs and switches? Love em. Old school I know but you can have your push pads.
Let me also refer you to my earlier explanation from 2013...
FINALLY…If you are a newcomer to the pastime, buy a detector that is affordable. Don’t go into debt. It will not matter what detector you have in your hands if you are not hunting in the right places. Spend your time researching and not obsessing over which detector to buy. That goes as well for the seasoned detectorist. If you want to spend $2,500 on that top of the line model, have at it. Go into debt if that makes you happy. I will still put my money on the guy with the ‘cheapie’ detector who has spent his time at the library and is cock sure about where he’s heading….
John Howland sent along this shortened version of an article he wrote for the Searcher magazine in 2004. Guess he’s feeling guilty about that $20 he owes me. Thanks Bubba...
Sixty kilometres south-east of the northern French ferry port of Boulogne - about one hour’s drive – brings visitors to the hamlets of Azincourt and Tramecourt. On farmland between the two, under leaden autumn skies on Friday, 25 October 1415 (St Crispin’s Day), a tired, hungry, ragged, and dysentery- ridden English army of 6,500, commanded by King Henry V, engaged a French army of 26,000 in perhaps the greatest battle of the Hundred Years War. By the day’s end, the name of one of those hamlets would burn itself into English history.
Today, visitors will find a very fine museum dedicated to that day’s events; one of modern design, but lacking period artefacts, save for four arrowheads found by metal detectorists. All the medieval weapons are superbly made modern copies. In a fusion of technology, innovation, and a dab of the dramatic, history comes spookily alive, not least by the eye-ball rolling, mouth-moving life-size figures of the battles’ two commanders – Henry V and Conetable D’Albret: Which comes as a shock to the system in the wake of a hearty lunch and a few glasses of Chateau Latour. The Centre is tactile and designed to interact with visitors able handle a variety of weaponry. The longbow simulator for example, where one can try drawing an 80-lbs pull longbow brings the physical attributes of medieval bowmen into sharp focus.
Here some 600-years later over lunch with Claude Delcusse in Agincourt’s first-rate Charles IV Restaurant, we discussed the events of that fateful day. Delcusse, who is not only the Director and locomotive force behind Agincourt’s Centre Historique Medieval, but at the time of my visit 2002 was arguably the greatest living authority on the battle. “How could 6,500 English defeat 26,000 French?” I asked him.
“Snobbery,” was the unexpected reply.
The French commander, Conetable D’Albret, a minor aristocrat, was held in low-regard by many of his more blue-blooded knights, some of whom held him in outright contempt. Between the hamlets of Tramecourt and Azincourt lies a narrow strip of funnel-shaped, open farmland, bordered to the north and south by woods; 1,200- yards wide at the northern end and 900-yds wide to the south. D’Albret massed his troops across the wide end of the ‘funnel’.
On the 24th October, the English troops marching north for embarkation at Calais to England, found their way barred by an overwhelming French army. Battle was inevitable. The French positioned themselves at the northern end blocking Henry’s route to Calais. That evening Henry ordered his bowmen to cut themselves stakes between six and eight feet in length.
Henry V formed his men across the 900-yard southern end, positioning 2,500 bowmen on each flank, lined up from the centre where his 1,500 men-at-arms and knights were stationed and out to the edge of the woods. He sent some his best bowmen into the woods on either side to act as ‘snipers’. It was a common problem for enemy knights riding into battle against the English, that if they lowered their helmet visors too soon, the narrow slits tended retain their exhaled breath with its inherent carbon dioxide making them disorientated. Hence, they rode into battle visor up, looking to one side or another, breathing fresh air, but importantly to avoid a full-on arrow in the face well knowing how the English bowmen volleyed their arrows. As the French knights began their slow advance, visor up, became easy targets for the English bowman ‘snipers’.
Henry organized his forces into three divisions: the vanguard, commanded by the Duke of York; the main division commanded by Henry himself; and the rear-guard commanded by Lord Camoys. Sir Thomas Erpingham marshalled the bowmen on the flanks in two herce (inverted ‘V’ formations). The stakes, sharpened at both ends, were driven into the ground at about 45-degrees – the standard English defence against cavalry. The French, to the north, formed up over a 1,200-yard wide front on freshly ploughed fields. Spirits were high and defeat impossible. They were eager to crush the English and anxious for battle. In the English lines, the mood was naturally sombre.
Army chaplains took the final Confessions of the English troops, all of whom were resigned to their fate with few expecting to see another sunrise. All captured English bowmen, the French announced, would suffer having their first two fingers lopped off so they’d never draw a bow again. Henry V knew he held the advantage of the ground. Somehow, the French had to be lured into charging the English line. Henry signalled Erpingham, who gave the famous order…"Nestroque." (Now, strike!). Five-thousand archers fired en masse, high into the air, the so-called ‘cloud’ shot. Arrows fell like bolts from the blue into the ranks of the French knights who had advanced fortuitously, without waiting for orders, heads down into the withering hail of English arrows that came pouring into their ranks at the rate of up to 50,000 a minute.
Those horses struck by special, crescent-shaped, flesh-tearing arrows became unmanageable unseating the French knights at the feet of the English bowmen, who stepped from the line to deliver the coup-grace to the fallen with swift dagger thrusts through the eye-slits of the helmet visors, or deep into the armpits.
Behind the mounted knights came the lines of foot knights and men-at-arms whose line of advance had compressed from the 1,200-yard front to the width of the English line of 900-yards. Into this densely packed line bolted the fallen knights’ hideously wounded horses trying to escape the pandemonium. All the while English bowmen poured volley after volley into the seething mass of humanity. Those knights that did manage to get to their feet found themselves stuck fast in the mud; and easy meat for the dagger-men.
Being only 150 yards from the English line, individual French knights were prey to the legendary accuracy of English archery. Specially designed armor-piercing arrows struck these hapless and helpless souls at speeds estimated at over 125-mph fired from longbows with draw-pulls of 100-lbs or more. Many knights were pierced through.
The screams of the dying and wounded amplified by the sheer terror of the ripped-open horses is a scene we can hardly imagine today. Finally, the English men-at-arms moved in for the coup-de-grace.
The French reserves seeing the appalling tragedy unfolding before them failed to counter-attack, unable to break through the mass of dead, dying, and wounded, strewn in front of the English line. Estimates vary, but certainly between 10,000 and 15,000 Frenchmen died that day at a cost of 800 English dead.
There was however, a horrendous postscript to the day’s unbridled slaughter. Henry, fighting at the head of his troops received news that units of French were attacking his wagon train well to the rear. Fearing they might free his captives creating a second front, ordered that all prisoners immediately have their throats slit; an order that was met with severe misgivings and reluctance. Nevertheless, the order went ahead. Only later did it dawn that far from it being French troops attacking the wagon train, but unarmed local peasants foraging for food and anything else of value. The French naturally enough, regarded the killings as a gross act of butchery earning Henry V the soubriquet, ‘The Cutthroat King.’
Immediately following the battle, the English swarmed onto the battlefield to retrieve their valuable arrows – yanking them from the bodies of the dead and wounded alike – and looting anything remotely valuable. After which came the turn of the peasantry to ransack whatever was left. Seven days after the battle, one French chronicler recorded what he saw and referring to the 15,000 dead: “The bodies,” he wrote, "were as naked as when they were born."
Of the English dead, only the corpses of the Duke of York and Earl of Suffolk were brought back to England, but not before these had been boiled in a cauldron to render them skeletal. The bones were laid to rest in the Tower of London.
Clearly, Agincourt was a battle ‘lost’ by the French – not because of any inherent lack of courage, quite the reverse – but through a potent mix of ill-discipline, snobbery, and English good luck.
English bowmen went into action carrying two sheaves of arrows (48) and these were stuck into the ground point first next to the bowmen’s left feet: A practice that led the French to believe the English used poison-tipped arrows. In fact, arrow wounds were contaminated by traces of soil picked up when the arrowheads were stuck into the ground. The ‘poison’ is known by modern medicine as Tetanus.
Though the English fired over 500,000 arrows, only four arrowheads have ever been recovered from the battlefield. “This was due to the fact that the English retrieved most of their arrows after the battle,” Claude told me. Why only four, I wondered. “Some time ago,” Claude said, “We had a controlled search with a group of people with metal detectors. They only found four arrowheads.”
That said, the Agincourt battlefield is a protected area and off-limits to clandestine excavators with, or without, metal detectors.
The famous two-finger ‘V’-sign of disrespect, dates back to Agincourt, when some of the defeated French were paraded through the ranks of English bowmen, they, to a man held up the first two fingers of their right hands to say…Look, we’ve still got them! Over the years, the ‘V’-sign, has become a symbol of impolite defiance to pomposity; the modern vernacular equivalent of …Up Yours!
As Henry rode from the battlefield, he saw a village church to his left. Turning to an aide, he asked,
“What is the name of the village?”
“Then let the battle be recorded as fought at Azincourt.” Thus, a tiny French hamlet carved its place in English history; known forever by its anglicized name…Agincourt.
Since this Bubba is dealing with cold temps and nursing aches and pains, I am once again recycling a scribble from one of my books. This one is from "In Search of Treasure", published of course by White's Electronics... Heres hoping it's informative and useful for someone, somewhere...
I want to expound a little now on the actual act of coinhunting…. what it’s all about and what you can realistically expect of your efforts. In case you didn’t know, metal detecting, or if you wish, treasure hunting, is not an exact science, nor is it a subject you need to have a degree to excel at. It’s an outdoor activity that involves four ingredients… a goal, good equipment, a plan and adequate research.
You buy a metal detector to find coins or other similar treasures, and as such you already have a goal. Next, assuming that you studied the various manufacturer catalogs, and compared the various bananas and oranges….you’ve bought the best detector your money can buy. Now all you need to do is go out and find treasure.
Sounds easy, right? Well it’s really not. You’re overloaded with all the information and specifications you read about, what was promised you in the magazines, and now you are puzzled as to just where to begin? You want to find old turn-of-the century coins….Barbers, Seated Liberty coins, etc., but just what do you need to do to find them?
Well start by exhausting those sites you “thought” held treasure… those areas that initially caused you to purchase a metal detector. After all no one invests in one if they don’t have some idea of where to use it. Whether it’s Uncle Buck’s liquor stash, Grandpa’s buried cache, or that old ball field off highway 66 that no one knows about but you, there’s a reason why you spent the money.
Initially you will find a coin or two, realize that indeed your detector does do what it’s supposed to do, and that in itself is exciting. I mean damn, now you can go home and justify the expense to your wife. Soon however you will exhaust those sites you were sure would give up more than they did, and you will become frustrated. You will then start detecting the local school yards, parks and beaches, hoping old coins will surface and when they don’t, or when the finds aren’t of significant value, you will put the detector in your closet, to use another day.
Am I beginning to depress you? Am I on the money with my description of your coin hunting experience so far? Well, while this is not my intention, it is my purpose to explain where you went wrong.
All seasoned detectorists have been through this scenario, and those that continued and had success were those that had a realistic plan, and knew how to achieve their goal. They read a lot, asked questions when needed, and documented their findings. In essence they knew that to find old coins, they had to find old sites.
To find a 1914D Lincoln penny, they had to hunt areas that were in use in 1914, and to find lots of silver they had to spend their time at “money sites”….areas that necessitated the use of money to exist (old carnival grounds, amusement parks, roadside stands, etc.). They had a plan, and they did what was necessary to make it come to fruition.
So if you do all these things will success come automatically? Absolutely not, but it will happen more frequently. Anyone with a metal detector can participate in hit or miss searches. Their finds will reflect that, with a decent find sprinkled in here and there among the trash. The successful detectorist however will consistently bring home interesting finds, day in and day out. He will also become more knowledgeable each time he searches because he took the gamble, and searched that site that no one had thought to check, and now understands the potential it offered…good or bad.
Each trip into the field should be a learning experience for you. Never waste your precious time searching the same ole school yard, when there’s a newly plowed field alongside that old farmhouse just outside town. Better yet instead of wasting time with clad finds and pull tabs, spend it at the tax office, looking up landowners whose property you’ve been wanting to detect. A phone call may be all that is needed to assure your next trip out is a profitable one.
While you don’t need a degree to be a successful coin hunter, you do need to put in time and effort. Your detector will find coins IF there are coins to be found. Taking it to the right places is YOUR job, and it’s not a difficult one, unless YOU want it to be. You can work at your pastime or you can mope and complain. The end results will show which path you have taken, and you know what? It ain’t rocket science!
They profess that it’s not jealousy when a hoard or historical find is uncovered, but my, my, my how they can suddenly go berserk when one is made. The recent Lenborough hoard has the archaeological blogosphere huffing, puffing and blowing so much smoke it’s hilarious. They piss and moan about how it was physically recovered (despite there being a FLO present), what damage was done to the area, and how now, everything of importance is gone. Well of course. I mean now that this small, six by six area was disturbed, no reason to follow-up with any additional digging is there?
Yep, probably better this hoard, like all the others found by detectorists, was left in the ground for that archaeological dig that was surely going to take place someday in the not too distant future?
Over the years I've never been one to make new year's resolutions. I learned early on that they were usually pie in the sky, frivolous and hard to keep up. This year however I have decided to turn over a new leaf and came up with the following list of "to-dos"...
Just noticed that my pal Nigel Ingram from Regton made the cover of the January edition of Treasure Hunting magazine. Goes to show you Nigel that even old tekkies get noticed once in a while...
A treasure hunting pal of mine searches for treasure and is always on the lookout for disused footpaths, former habitation sites, and other lucrative sites, only he now does it from the air. When in late summer in 2015 the time when the crop marks in fields of wheat and barley surrender their up their secrets he’ll be there; recording and digging and recording and digging.
How does he do it? Simple. He’s got a new-fangled, four rotor, drone helicopter camera platform that allows him to take Hi-Res, image-stabilized videos and stills from way up on high and swoops down for a closer look-see on anything of interest. It transmits in real time to either a mobile phone, or a laptop. He operates it while perched on the tailboard of his Range Rover and organizes his ‘ground crew’ (the lovely Miranda) via a walkie-talkie.
It all came about while helping out one of his farmer pals who wanted aerial photographs of his property borders and farm outbuildings. In the course of the overflights, he spotted what appeared to be a derelict footpath crossing one farm and ending in a neighbouring farm’s field near the edge of a copse. Naturally enough, his pal gave him permission for a ground search with a metal detector, first with a two-box type hoard locator, capable of finding a six-inch cube at up to six feet. That search is on-going, and he’ll progress with an orthodox metal detector once he’s happy that the land is hoard-sterile.
Drone hunting is new cutting-edge technique as far as metal detecting is concerned and stands to revolutionize research. Imagine for instance, being able to check out canyons, ravines, and other hard-to-reach sites of treasure potential. The drones themselves can be bought from upwards of half the price of a new, mid-range, metal detector. All are re-chargeable battery powered with a flying time of up to an hour. The real-time results are absolutely stunning, and can be downloaded to a mobile phone or laptop for later study at home.
I’m sure research methods are undergoing great changes and will result in finds of great value and importance. Given another year, I fully expect to see ‘How-To’ drone hunting manuals on the bookshelves.
....has not been a good year for yours truly and for a lot of reasons, most of which I don’t care to discuss, nor are you interested in hearing. My biggest regret or should I say biggest problem is my health. I always knew growing old would take it’s toll on my physical well being, but I never thought it would happen in one fell swoop, or at least it seems that way.
Then nine days ago I unexpectedly lost my best friend Barnum. He was my companion, my shadow and a reason for me to wake up every day. Words cannot express how much I miss him...
There were lots of great finds by detectorists in 2014, both here in the good ole USA and even more in the UK, much to the chagrin of our archaeological overseers (or so they like to call themselves). The larger or more historic the find, the more they whined. How dare WE make headlines!!
And of course Warsaw Wally and Heritage Harry continued to cry and complain, and get banned from even more blogs, websites and forums.
Finally there was Wally’s Christmas day photo. It tells you exactly how he feels about us and what we do. What a guy!
I continued to beat up on the FMDAC, TASK FORCE and WWATS but to no avail. The FMDAC did, finally, offer up a decent website but so far nothing new has been added. Likewise the Task Force has gone into hibernation….again. And WWATS? Who knows? Their new website was due the end of April but now it’s ‘coming soon’.
It might have been nice if one or more of these groups could have taken the time to say “Merry Christmas” but apparently they were too busy. Maybe doing battle with evil-doers. Ya think?
As expected, there were a few negative responses about things I or John had said throughout the year but I am used to that. It comes with the territory. Early on when trying to promote Diva’s all-gal detecting calendar, I was accused of only wanting to promote Stout Standards. Yet another reminder to stay away from forums. SS is a blog, and blogs can be defined as this or this. Take your pick!
I’ve known John for 30 years and he knows where he’s coming from with regards to the metal detecting pastime, especially in the UK. Me? Just a long time hobbyist turned curmudgeon in my old age, or at least that is how I’ve been described.
The pastime pretty much stayed the course in 2014, with the exception that everyone now wears camo, is a movie producer and has their own podcast/radio show.
Hey, that’s showbiz...
I was fortunate to have guest posts by Joe Patrick and Lisa MacIntyre in 2014, and hope I can twist their arms to do more in 2015. Joe is a true pioneer, an icon and a veritable vault of information. Lisa, on the other hand, loves kicking our ass and she’s good at it. I can say however that we are very good friends and have a lot of respect for each other. If only she would send me that bottle of wine she owes me...
I will try and approach 2015 with guarded optimism. It almost has to be better than 2014, but time will tell...
I want to wish you all a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year, and remind you that there are a great many treasures right in front of your nose. Take time to appreciate them….they can disappear quickly and can never be replaced.
Thanks once again to John Howland for keeping things moving here on Stout Standards. Hopefully I will be more into things after the holidays. It's been a very difficult few days...
Cash for archaeological digs doesn’t grow on trees. Someone, somewhere, always has to stump up the cash, either voluntarily or through taxation. Every excavation as every sceptic knows, is labelled (by the excavators, who else?) as either, ‘nationally important’, or, ‘vast’, or, ‘will extend our knowledge…’, or, ‘vitally significant’, and so on, ad nauseum. And so it came about that I took a sideways look at a recent splurge on the gormless Heritage Action (HA) archaeo-blog.
Persimmon Homes “have been most generous” to archaeology. Will they go the extra mile? Screams the headline on Heritage Action’s God-awful blog, padded out with:-
“Persimmon Homes are building 120 new homes and Archaeological Solutions have been carrying out the site investigation. Many Anglo Saxon and Bronze Age features have been excavated and the day before work was to finish they unearthed their most significant find, a warrior buried with his sword and dagger...”
Golly! Gosh! Many Anglo-Saxon and Bronze Age features, eh? Hmmm.
The deluge continued, but the gobby, self-styled expert, Paul Barford, seems to have put a damper on things if his recent comment that, “digging up "such stuff is not what archaeology is primarily about,” is to be believed. Er…um, so why bother then, you might ask? It’s not as though this is the first time a Bronze Age site has been unearthed. So, why all the fuss, or, has it more to do with employment?
The gushing HA puffery piece ends with:
“Let’s hope the people of Exning get their way. They may not as investigations are very expensive of course. However, according to Andy Peachey of Archaeological Solutions, “Persimmon has funded the excavation and as a developer they have been most generous and flexible in their approach to archaeology”. [My highlights. JH] So maybe they won’t resist the idea of extending the dig. Building 120 houses presumably nets them a pretty massive amount of money so they can probably afford a bit more generosity!”
Which enticed one of Swift’s, Heritage ‘Actioneers’, to ask the cat-outta-the-bag question seldom used in polite archaeological circles:-
Why are archaeological digs so expensive?
The embarrassment was palpable. The answer, simply and evasively put, came via ‘Alan S’ (Who he? Dunno, don’t care) :-
Simply put? To do it right (and thoroughly) takes time and care and training. You only get one shot as an archaeology dig is by it’s [sic] nature destructive. And a great deal of the cost can come post-excavation: finds processing, writing up the investigation results etc.
All of which raises several significant questions, not least among them… how much? Obviously it’s no one’s business outside that of Persimmon Homes and Archaeology Solutions Ltd, just how big a wedge AS slipped into its back pocket. Or is it? Indeed, are all archaeological expenses to be added to the cost of the 120 new homes, or, is Persimmon Homes generously digging deep into its own coffers to cover all the costs which won’t be added to the final selling price of the new homes. One hopes it’s the latter of course, but who knows? Currently AS charges around £240 ($384) per hour for the kind of post-excavation reports, finds processing and writing up the investigation results, that ‘Alan S’ soothingly reassures us is so expensive.
If as he claims that, “an archaeology dig is by it’s [sic] nature destructive” then there is a strong case some might feel, for not doing the excavation in the first place thus saving hardworking families from the possibility of extra debt.
Moreover, as ‘Alan S,’ writes, “And a great deal of the cost can come post-excavation: finds processing, writing up the investigation results etc.” Now we all know thanks to information published by the archaeo-blogger and detector/collector-hating Paul Barford, a Brit who lives in Warsaw and who styles himself as an ‘archaeologist’ (albeit an undistinguished one), that there’s a major heritage scandal hanging over Britain. In one of his rants he reckons that hundreds of thousands of unreported excavated items are laying unclassified across Britain, languishing in sheds and hangars; which does not bode well for any excavation. As for, “finds processing, writing up the investigation results,” only time will tell .
While the UK’s detectorists have taken recorded finds with the PAS well past the million mark leaving archaeology sprawling, the likes of Swift, Barford, and Gill, to name three of archaeology’s intelligentsia not known for their approval of detectorists, continue to play the ‘profiting from the heritage’ card against them. But is there any difference between hobbyist detectorists making a profit from their legal and wholesome detecting and collecting activities, and private commercial archaeological outfits doing precisely the same? The well-respected AS describe themselves thus:-
Archaeological Solutions Ltd is an independent archaeological contractor specialising in the full range of field archaeology investigations (consultancy, archaeological assessments and evaluations, archaeological excavations, building surveys and post-excavation services), nationwide. It provides an archaeological service to both public and private sectors.
Perhaps Persimmon Homes should adopt Heritage Action’s (read, Nigel Swift’s) advice published earlier this year, “The Portable Antiquities Scheme is to advise landowners to “ask to see all archaeological finds”. It’s the equivalent of the Government or police warning old ladies not to agree to let someone take things away unseen from their loft.”
AS, being the professional outfit it is, will I suspect, have already adopted Swift’s advice.
Under the banner MUSCULAR OUTREACH WORKS, LIMP-WRISTED APPEASEMENT DOES’NT *, was this little gem:
Well back in July we highlighted that Britain’s largest metal detecting shop, Regtons, was marketing lots of the night vision equipment loved by nighthawks as “metal detecting accessories” and we asked the public to write and ask them to stop. It took a while (and our reminders in August and September) but at last they’ve deleted all such items from their site. Well done Britain, you look a tad less oikish today.
The same types of night vision equipment I’m delighted to report, are currently on sale and have been for many weeks, at Joan Allen’s excellent detector shop at Biggin Hill. The other lie being that it was not letter-writing pressure that Regton’s gave up the night vision franchise as Swift would have the world believe.
*With more than a tad of irony, the headline wording is somewhat unfortunate given Nigel Swift’s unfounded allegations of ‘muscular outreach’ by detectorists objecting to his insults.
Wise Words (1)
Going through Bob Sickler’s outstanding book, Detectorist, first published in 1993, two of his musings leapt from the page. The first of which concerned PI machines and their propensity for elongated iron/ferrous objects: Bob poses the question if it’s technically possible for the signal to be transformed to visual display or readout which would go a long way in helping to overcome this tiresome aspect of PI machines. Garrett’s have something similar with their awesome GTI 2500 machine so why can’t this technology be adapted to PI machines? I cannot image that since 1993 when Bob put pen to paper, the men-in-white-coats in downtown Garland have not considered the prospect. On the other hand of course...
Wise Words (2)
Probably the most succinct aspect of Bob’s book, is at the back, where he says that it’s not so much the price of your metal detector that will fill your goody-bag, but how, and where you use it. The most expensive piece of kit in the world won’t find coins where none exist. However, if you use it where coins are EXPECTED, then even the lowest priced machine will do the business.
The late Colin Hanson (FID’s former Secretary) often used a simple to use, entry level metal detector and time and again, whether on a Roman site or on the beach, he invariable did better than me.
We have absolute proof that those who fancy themselves as 'archaeologists' often have poor memory recall, are usually coy about their employment record, and a tendency to lapse into hypocrisy. Self-described archaeologist, detectorist, and collector hater, Paul Barford, demonstrates his prattery to perfection; this utter (but funny) garbage posing as intellectual comment appeared on his blog:-
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
"Why are US authorities and politicians protecting cultural racketeers […] Why are US police and prosecutors routinely failing to investigate and prosecute cultural heritage traffickers?”
...and so he whined thereon, et al, ad nauseum.
For some reason, Barford, made no comment when it was reported that Daniel Amick pleaded guilty to violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, admitting to removing 17 artifacts, including arrowheads, from public lands on two field trips to New Mexico, according to the statement by Kenneth Gonzales, U.S. attorney for the District of New Mexico.
Amick received just ONE YEAR’S probation for the heritage crimes of which Barford so bitterly complains. Could it be in the Barford psyche, ONLY non-academics (read, you and me) should face the firing squad?
What a 24-carat plonker he really is!
My thanks to the wags who sent in these jokes which I happily reproduce below. (And ‘Lisa Mac’, if you’re reading this none of these jokes refer to you, though I suspect you know the direction of my aim) :-
A man in a bar stands up and proclaims, "All archaeologists are ASSHOLES!" A man at the front of the bar stands up and says, "Oi! I resent that!" So the first man asks, "Sorry, are you an archaeologist?"
"NO! I'm an asshole!"
At a convention of biological scientists, one researcher remarks to another, "Did you know that in our lab we have switched from using rats to archaeologists for our experiments?" "Really?" the other replied, "Why did you switch?" "Well, for three reasons. First we found that archaeologists are far more plentiful, secondly, the lab assistants don't get so attached to them, and thirdly there are some things even a rat won't do."
An archaeologist dies and goes to Heaven. "There must be some mistake," the archaeologist argues. "I'm not ready to die. I'm only 95."
"Ninety-five?" says Saint Peter. “According to our calculations, you're 22."
"How'd you get that?" the archaeologist asks.
"We added up your excavation reports,” St. Peter replies.
Q: What do you call a smiling, sober, courteous person, at an archaeological convention?
A: The caterer.
Q: What's the difference between Wally and God?
A: God doesn't think he's Wally.
As the archaeologist awoke from surgery, he asked the nurse, "Why are all the blinds drawn?" The nurse answered, "There's a fire across the street, and we didn't want you to think you had died."
A woman and her little girl were visiting the grave of the little girl's grandmother. On their way through the cemetery back to the car, the little girl asked, "Mummy, do they ever bury two people in the same grave?"
"Of course not, dear," replied the mother, "Why would you think that?"
"The tombstone back there said... 'Here lies an archaeologist and an honest man.'"
What's the difference between a bad archaeologist and a good archaeologist?
A bad archaeologist makes people wait an eternity for the excavation report: A good archaeologist takes longer.
In the early 80’s archaeologists working for Poland’s then Communist Regime, uncovered a mummy in Egypt, but were unable to determine its identity. The SB’s Political Commissar present at the dig, offered his help, whereupon the mummy was duly delivered to the SB’s headquarters and interrogation center in Warsaw. After two hours, the SB man appeared and announced, to the press, "His name was Amenkhotep the 23rd."
"How did you find out?" asked a newsman.
"He confessed," the SB man replied.
Wanted to share again Chicago Ron's effort to help his niece Jolie. By contributing you will be giving one of the best Christmas presents ever and who knows, you just might come away with a new detector in the process. Hope too that you will pass along Ron's effort to your friends and relatives. It’s a chance to help a family facing a very difficult time, and a great way to show them just how much detectorists care about friends and family....
Please check the prize list....lots of new items have been added!
Received an email from Bill Puetz, enquiring about regulations regarding the beaches in and around Pensacola, Florida. Bill, a Viet Nam vet now living in Norway, will be spending a couple of weeks there over the holidays, and would love to to do a little detecting. If you live in the Pensacoloa area and interested in helping and/or meeting up with Bill you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know he would appreciate it.
It was inevitable! Fisher’s new F19 detector is now available in both camo & pink camo.
It seems no matter where I travel in cyberspace anymore, the mainstream tekkie is running on all cylinders…buying the best equipment, traveling, spending hours in the field, showing off his finds on social media and basically living the good life. Me? Well Big Tony recently reminded me that I lost my “giddy up” and while I hate to agree with him on anything, he is right. My giddy up got up and went!
For the past couple of years I have been dealing with something called “peripheral neuropathy” and it’s kicking my butt big time. While it started with numb toes and fingers, it has now spread up my legs and arms. Outwardly I appear fine (shut up Howland). Inside? Numbness, pain and burning, all at the same time. Add in arthritis and I am one beat up old soul. Having said all this, there are millions of people out there battling much more serious health problems than I and I consider myself lucky.
Okay, now that I’ve cried in my beer and played on your sympathy, let me get back to those tekkies I mentioned above. They are all bastards and I hope they find nothing but bottlecaps for the next twenty years! Okay, okay, all kidding aside…. I envy them, their youth, their expertise and their finds. They are in a league of their own and there’s no way I can compete with them. I’d like to think however that I’ve become a wiser tekkie in my old age, and want to talk about something I feel strongly about…
This will sound strange coming from someone who spouts off like I do, but a lot of what I read and see on the internet nowadays concerns me. While our pastime is fun and worthy of sharing, we all need to be more careful when doing it. Show off your finds, your knowledge and your expertise, but be aware that there are anti-detecting people taking notes. They are professional trolls who spend all their waking hours looking for something, anything, to beat us up with. It’s unfortunate but they thrive on it, and in some instances get paid to do it. If you doubt that spend a few hours here and here. Both of these individuals can and will take your words and turn them around to suit their needs, and yes they work the US sites as much as those in the UK.
So while you are babbling and bragging away on that forum or Facebook page, I highly recommend looking over your shoulder and keeping an eye not only the on the opposition, but on your fellow detectorists as well. One is out to take away your pastime, and the other might be unwittingly helping him by saying all the wrong things.
Okay, where the hell did I put my walker?
Been knocked over out of late with all the amazing old coin finds that are showing up out in cyberspace. Apparently it’s not a matter of diminishing returns and just expertise, or at least it would seem so....?
I recently mentioned the passing of Derek Ingram, and wanted to share a eulogy written by his family and friends at Regton, Ltd..
(Derek was a fascinating, talented man and a major player in the early, formative years of treasure hunting, both in the UK as well as here. It was indeed a privilege to have known him and he will me missed… D.S.)
I received an email from Todd Hiltz the other day, and he shared with me his rarest find to date. A George Washington Success Token! He added, "One theory is that it could have been a "game token" in the mid 19th century, but more the more reliable sources indicate it was probably made between 1792-1795 for Washington's 2nd inauguration. The token has 15 stars and the words "Sucess to the Unite States"...
Todd, congratulations, a really nice find. You continue to amaze me but listen, should you ever need money or face tough times, give a call. I will give you 20 bucks for it, no questions asked!
Across the pond the BBC has a new show called "Fake Britain", and it's purpose is to make viewers aware of the many pirated products no in the marketplace. Nigel Ingram from Regton was just featured and the topic....Garrett Pro-Pointers.
Nigel you never seem to age, and that really baffles me given your years of over-indulgence in all things bad. What's the secret?
One of the buzz words we continue to hear from archaeologists is “provenance”. Its become their rallying cry of late, intended I suspect, to impress us with their knowledge of words that have more than one syllable. If we are lucky maybe they will tackle words like self-serving, righteous and irritating.
So what is provenance? If you look up the definition you will see some of the following:
As I pondered the above definitions the first thing that came to mind is that detectorists would not have to deal with provenance, if not for the fact that we actually find things that are important and of interest to others. That in itself is a good thing, no matter how you look at it. The alternative would be for those items to remain buried and perhaps lost forever. Of course the archaeological community would indeed prefer that because it’s better never they never see the light of day, than for a lowly, undistinguished hobbyist to find them. An exageration? You decide.
I wonder too what archaeologists would do if there were no metal detectors. No hobbyists or collectors looking for treasure (no one to piss and moan about). What would happen to the millions of items buried throughout the world? Would they ever be found and shared, or would they be lost forever? Would 'all' the items they say we “hoik” or collect be better off plowed under or concreted over? Would the archaeological community ever have the resources, the manpower and the time to find them?
Okay, back to the word provenance! For me and I think for most detectorists, we do care about the origin and history of what we find...even more so now with all the information available to us on the internet. We know where an item was found and we can approximate the date of its origin. We can also sometimes determine who lost or owned the item because we know the owner and the history of the property we are searching. Most of the time however we can only guess...which is what archaelogists do most of the time.
Speaking just for myself, if I am on public property 'I' am the owner of the items I find. Certainly I think about who the last person was to have held them, but I will probably never know, nor would an archaeologist. You see to me, archaeology is nothing more than an imperfect science that is based on nothing more than guess work and speculation.
Other than spending a few days detecting a farm in Gettysburg, I have very little relic hunting experience, but I do know relic hunters who can talk at great lengths about their finds and run circles around most archaeologists. They do due dilligence, document their finds, know it’s place of origin and it’s historical importance. Many report and/or donate their finds to museums, historical societies, and quite often share their finds at community events and celebrations. Do they document every single item they find? Probably not, but as long as they are not breaking the law they are not beholding to anyone!
Finally, as a law abiding detectorist I will continue to enjoy my pastime as I have for many, many years. To those of you who keep trying to stop me, I've got your provenance, right here!
Just wanted to share again Ron Guinazzo’s latest project, and ask you all to help by digging deep into your pockets and by passing the effort along to your friends. It’s a chance to help a family facing a very difficult time and a great way to show them just how much detectorists care about friends and family....
Likewise, the more you spend, the better your chances to win a few really great prizes!
Today's post is John Howlands and I hope you will take time to read it. It concerns good ole Warsaw Wally. You remember him don't you? He's the self annointed, self ordained savior of the archaeological blogosphere, who wakes up each morning to battle the ever evil detectorist/collector!
That’s what some ‘archaeologists’ call YOU behind your back - for no better reason than they lack the moral fibre to say it to your face. It comes via their international gobby mouthpiece, the arkie-oaf, Paul Barford, one of the more undistinguished members of their community. In keeping with his kindergarten-style of abuse so typical of the narcissistic, and so lacking in any academic intelligence, he penned (and I use that word in its loosest sense) on Friday 28th November, the following :-
“Heritage Action, referring to my post about the tenth century 'York Area' hoard the finder "just had to" flog off, remarks "surely there’s a better way for a First World country to deal with heritage blackmail?" A new term is proposed for a certain category of artefact hunter well illustrated by many of those commenting in the thread:
(Short for Selfish Undeserving Ignorami)”
Amazing, eh? All this bile from a man who calls YOU ignorant whilst simultaneously claiming elsewhere on his vile blog to be an academic, whose intelligence he thinks (wrongly) is far above that of the average detectorist and collector. What it shows is that here’s a man who can only express his offensive views in terms that would even disgrace the limited lexicon of a ten-year old. Like a façade, Barford has length and breadth, but no depth; typical ‘know-nothings’ of limited learning.
‘Stupcommiebast’ is springs to mind.
The impressionable among us - yes, they do exist - might imagine he has a point, but significantly, many scholars do not. Here’s John Boardmans’ take on what Barford terms illicit antiquities:-
“Objects cannot be “tainted” or “illicit”, but only be so described by scholars who do not understand them, or by legislators. Objects are testaments of antiquity, whether handled by a thief or scholar; their integrity must be respected and their safety assured. To suggest that they should even be destroyed rather than kept in a museum betrays an appalling vacuum of scholarly integrity and responsibility, even philistinism.”
While James Cuno commenting of the matter of ‘context’ (of Barford’s favourite soapboxes) is less than impressed by the propagandist Barford, Gill, Swift, view of things:-
“Archaeologists often argue that antiquities have no meaning outside their archaeological contexts. If we don’t know where they were found, they argue, antiquities are meaningless and only of aesthetic value, which they judge to be subjective and inferior to the “objective” value of the excavated antique artifact. But of course antiquities have all kinds of meanings outside their specific, archaeological context: aesthetic, technological, iconographic, even, in the case of those with writing on them, epigraphic.”
David I. Owen is less than impressed with fanatical opinions prostituted by archaeological radicals:-
“So extreme have these positions become that one archaeologist has gone so far as to equate those who publish unprovenanced finds with drug dealers, murderers, and supporters of terrorists, and another has even advocated the killing of looters.”
Perhaps the most telling piece is written by John Boardman, on the topic of modern censorship that appeals to the hermetically sealed skulls of the usual suspects.
“A major threat to scholarship in all this is the censorship practised by those scholars and others convinced of the wickedness of collecting. Distinguished scholars have had their lectures in Cambridge cancelled because someone has thought some material involved had not been properly, in their terms, acquired. Elsewhere international and other conferences forbid allusion to “suspect” material. The Archaeological Institute of America will not publish or review scholarly work deemed to be contaminated by such material. This is pure censorship. The German Archaeological Institute now takes the same line, admitting that it has to safeguard its status with countries where it excavates. I suppose in these days, when we no longer trust our politicians to tell us the truth, censorship may seem a slight offence. I was brought up to believe that censorship is worse than theft, and especially so where scholarship is concerned.”
So what about the scandal of excavation reports never seeing the light of day? John Boardman is again unequivocal:-
“The results of my investigation were depressing. Although the British record was better than many – more with regard to their excavations overseas than at home – I would judge that, over the last fifty years, far less than 25 percent of material and results of professional archaeological excavations has been properly published, and the rest will never get beyond preliminary reports, if that…[…] The scandal of unpublished and inadequately published material from excavations is one that archaeologists, quick to decry collecting, are willing to acknowledge but do nothing about, while the fact that it is some way regarded as “my material” will often encourage an excavator from withholding information – an attitude shared by no museum that I know outside source countries, and very few private collectors. […[ It is particularly ironic that those who often do not publish their own excavations are the very ones who are most committed to stopping the publication of inscriptions and other unprovenanced artifacts.”
So who is this Paul Barford some of you in the US ask? To cut a long story short, he’s an archaeo-blogger who likes to describe himself as an ‘archaeologist’ but one who’s extremely coy about his past and qualifications (if indeed he has any). He decamped the Free West in 1986 to live and work for Poland’s then Communist regime in their ancient monuments inspectorate. He resides in Warsaw in a fine example of Warsaw Bloc architecture. He occasionally tip-toes back to England.
He regularly, and variously, abuses detectorists describing them as ‘thugwits,’ of low IQ, frequently portraying them as thieves, or destroyers of the heritage, and generally exhibits narcissistic traits (of superiority) towards anyone with views contrary to his own. He detests and insults the Portable Antiquities Scheme and everyone connected with it, collectors, and regularly berates internationally renowned numismatists in the most offensive manner. His own archaeological career is undistinguished compared to the many diverse experts within the detecting community and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
Here on Stout Standards, we mostly ignore his fallacious ‘anti’ ranting but think it only right to bring this nitwit to a wider audience. Occasionally however, after he’s thrown his toys out of the pram in a particularly spiteful outpouring, we bring him up sharply to remind him that he’s overstepped the bounds of what is acceptable in a polite society.
His kindergarten-style blog, constantly echoes that perennial teenage rant familiar to many parents, “it’s soooo unfair,” and is invariably the epitome of boorishness:-
"...The first is the obvious one of the digging up of stuff to flog off to unscrupulous dealers (who are patronised by equally unscrupulous collectors) to raise cash to finance their operations [...] When however a group in an attempt to impose a new identity attempts to wipe away national identities, the heritage that supports them also suffers. Wiping out monuments to national identity and a common past is what the Nazis did in Poland, its what ISIS appears to be attempting in Syria."
Barford supports the view that ISIS terrorists, the same ones who decapitated US and UK hostages, are subsidised by ‘unscrupulous’ coin collectors (mostly in the US apparently) aided and abetted by equally ‘unscrupulous’ detectorists.
It’s increasingly transparent that ISIS fills its war chest from the proceeds of ‘hot oil’. The allegations that these terrorists profit to the tune of $-millions from the sale of illicit antiquities is a fantasy, spun in the main by radical archaeological lobbyists anxious to bolster their propagandist agenda. Their aim is to swing legislative opinion in favour of draconian legislation to limit the legal antiquities trade using collectors and detectorists as the excuse. Some legislators are being led by the nose while others can spot the con from a mile off. Paul Barford is in the vanguard of the movement. So no surprises here then.
Indeed, the internationally respected Gainesville (MO) based, numismatist Wayne G Sayles, wrote on his influential blog, Ancient Coin Collecting:-
“While the evidence of ISIS looting and/or intentional destruction of cultural property is undeniable, the connection to ISIS funding through the sale of antiquities is far more spurious. That evidence is conspicuously lacking and the trade is essentially devoid of material that could conceivably have come through the hands of ISIS."
I commented on Sayles’ blog about a prime example of archaeological ‘evidence’ conspicuously lacking facts:
"It seems that the fabrication of statistics on cultural property issues has become another cottage industry in the field of archaeology," you write. You are too generous.
There's no 'it seems' about it...fabricated statistics were alive and well in the UK in the form of the now-widely discredited Artifact Erosion Counter, the brainchild(?) of unsurprisingly, Paul Barford and Nigel Swift, with the tacit approval of David Gill, and the CBA's Mike Heyworth.
Though the AEC is now in the trash can, it illustrates the lengths some in the archaeo-sphere will go to present a false picture, but leaving a lot of egg on a lot of faces.
All of which spurred Jessica Dietzler, to comment (about my post) on Barford’s blog, “I read the snippet you referenced in your post and he's right that evidence is lacking. He's also right to question things.”
Dietzler is a PhD student in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow, who was awarded the ‘Illicit Antiquities and Global Criminal Markets Scholarship’ to analyse comparative criminal market control mechanisms in order to learn if there are more optimal modes of governance at our disposal that may be effective in treating the illicit cultural objects market. I doubt she has much time for collectors and detectorists either, but at least she plays a straight bat.
Much to Barford’s chagrin, and in an effort to deflect Dietzler ‘s defence of my comments, offensively dismisses her as being ‘young’, and ‘fluffy’ alongside a picture of a rabbit, inspiring another commentator to take Barford to task:-
“Transparency and cooperation at all levels is required, and to be honest, by posting items on a fellow professional in the field, claiming her to have a 'fluffy bunny' point of view—a view that actually represents a humanistic take on deeply rooted socio-economic problems and their criminogenic effects the poorest in the world—is highly unprofessional and offensive.”
It seems Barford never tires of making a prat of himself in that while he condemns collectors as ‘unscrupulous’ without a shred of supporting evidence, makes no condemnation of those who buy ISIS’s stolen ‘hot oil’ raising multi-billions of dollars for its war chest along with funds raised from general criminality. It naturally follows that anyone buying ‘hot oil’, or petroleum products refined from that oil, or anything else derived from it, are the truly ‘unscrupulous’ operators.
Of course, those archaeo-bloggers running automobiles on petrol processed from ‘hot oil’ might well be, albeit and unknowingly, supporting ISIS terrorism, murder, kidnap, and rape.
On Thursday, 27 November 2014, in denial that ISIS/ISIL terrorists’ main source of income is NOT from illicit antiquities, Barford trots out this garbage:-
“The notion that coin collectors are homegrown scholars, doing important "research into the past" is a recurrent leitmotif in their attempts to justify the continuance of the damaging status quo. So let us have a look at this scholarly "exhaustive investigation". Does it consist of an exhaustive literature search of where claims have been made and the verification of their sources? Does it perhaps consist of a breakdown of the information we have about the mechanisms of ISIL funding in general? Well, heck, no. "during the last week, two articles have been published by independent parties supporting our point of view, one from Suddeutsche Zeitung, the other the blog ‘Chasing Aphrodite’". So this "exhaustive investigation" consists of just a single newspaper article and a single blog post. The author of this text (Ursula Kampmann) actually cannot even manage to quote either of those accurately in support of her thesis.”
Barford, the principal architect behind the now discredited AEC, shows once again he is no position to disparage the research of others.
Nevertheless, on current form, he’s treasure hunting’s BFF!
God Bless you Sir!
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that the recovery process is going well. I don't care how much you promise to pace yourself, it's damn difficult when you looking at Turkey, stuffing, potatoes. green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, pecan pie, cheesecake and wine! Someday I will learn. As for today? Nada. Those wanting to shop today can have it all.
Just saw John Winter's post about the forthcoming Searcher magazine and was very impressed with the cover photo. Clear, detailed and well presented. Why can't the magazines over here do the same? Seems they beg for cover photos and then when they get a good one they plaster it over with type and hype. JMO.
Well the promise of a new WWATS website for December 1 has now been change to a "coming soon". Oh well, at least now they don't have to keep changing the date. With all the "free" website and blog programs out there why is this so hard?
Many thanks to Dave McMahon and his Inside Detecting podcast for mentioning Stout Standards on his show of November 25th. My post Through These Old Eyes was brought up a couple of times and I appreciate it. Nice to know that every once in a while I do scribble something that people relate to. Thanks Dave.
Since I am not getting out much anymore I decided that over the coming months I will share a few old articles from my books as well as Western & Eastern Treasures magazine. I will do my best to find those that might still be pertinent today.
When you decided to purchase a metal detector you surely had places in mind to search. You kept thinking of that vacant lot across town where you played ball as a kid. You thought about the house and homesite where you grew up that is now nothing more than a field, and you had visions of riches when you thought you were the only one to remember the old carnival area just outside town. All good and very noble reasons to buy a metal detector, but chances are few of these sites proved productive.
These assumptions and/or dreams of wealth achieved a purpose. They got you involved in a pastime that was fun, and that made you learn how to use a metal detector. They taught you that old coins are only there for the taking if you do your homework, and they taught you that you must find newer and more productive areas to detect. Most important they taught you never to assume you were the only one privy to a given area or site. You were not the only one with a metal detector and dreams of riches!!
The question now is what are you going to do to correct this situation? You can continue to hunt the school yard or the corner lot, but don't you long for those very old and often valuable coins? Of course you do! So what's stopping you? The answer of course is you are reluctant to put forth the effort to find them. Why? Because you're lazy!
We're all creatures of habit, and one of our most popular habits is opting for the path of least resistance, the most obvious....... the most accessible! If it's simple and easy we do it. If it involves effort we put it off. Well my friends, that doesn't work when it comes to coin hunting. Every time you put off doing your homework you lose another site to the detectorist ho has done his! Continue this pattern and you will surely be left in the dust!
If you think that by reading this book you will discover some overlooked, obscure, long secreted, metal detector setting or technique that will let you find those deeper coins, forget it!! Such information is not within these pages, or for that matter in any other metal detecting book I've read over the past twenty years. Metal detecting....coin hunting is hard work! What makes it palatable is that it's fun, and if you want to work a little and have fun at the same time....read on.
Forget about your first forays in the field.....they are history. Accept the fact that you must find new areas to detect. Also accept the fact that you need to know more about your town, your county and your state, and that you must get more from your equipment. You remembered the early sites, you took what they had to offer, but now you must move on. It's time for greener pastures!
A productive coin site is not that difficult to define. It's an area that was used by hundreds or maybe even thousands of people for a long period of time, and has never been searched with a metal detector. A fantastic scenario right? Maybe, but such sites do exist, and they are your goal! Are there many like this out there? Absolutely! Finding them however is up to you. The process is not easy, but with a little fortitude, dedication, good research and hard work you will be successful!
Over on Paul Barford’s detector-hating and collector-cursing blog, size apparently matters if his latest offering is anything to judge from.
To further illustrate the problems with ascertaining accurate figures on heritage matters (like those behind the current hounding of Michael Danti by the antiquities trade), in reply to my question, Peter Tompa not only differs markedly from the information supplied on his behalf by Wayne Sayles, but decides to use the Chasing Aphrodite blog to compare penis size […].”
The rest of the blog lurches on ad nauseum in Barford’s typically turgid schoolboy prose style. It’s Nembutal in the written form….zzzzzzz.
However if the renowned Washington attorney and widely respected numismatist, Peter Tompa, really is organising a competition to find the largest male organ, I nominate two possible candidates; Paul Barford himself and his pal, Nigel Swift, widely regarded as a couple of p****s (to use the vernacular of the obscene). Neither I nor Dick Stout will be entering the competition as we are not in Barford and Swift’s league when it comes to prickery.
Barford obviously reckons he’s in with a title chance since his blog carries a picture of the Cerne Abbas Giant, a figure of antiquity carved into the hillside above the village of Cerne Abbas, Dorset. Beneath the picture he’s written…. “Mine's bigger Than Yours”.
Only appropriate that on this day before Thanksgiving the update belongs to the biggest turkey I know....John Howland. Thanks Bubba. I will have a"breast" for you tomorrow. Oh, and John wanted me to remind everyone that his "illustrious" ancestor, John Howland, was one of the original Pilgrims and a folk hero to boot! Jeezus, how scary is that?
The gentle exercise involved in walking and swinging a metal detector not only burns up calories but also exercises the cardio-vascular system, strengthens the heart and lungs, and increases fitness giving a sense of overall well-being. Add to this the prospect of stumbling across the ‘Big One;’ that potentially life-changing reward for reporting a trove of ancient gold or silver coins, Viking, or Saxon treasures, then hunting with a metal detector has a lot going for it.
For retired hunters who are able to spread their treasure sorties of say, an hour or so, over three or four days a week, the health benefits increase dramatically. It’s recommended by scientists and other health professionals that adults take at least two-and-a-half- hours of moderate physical activity a week, or put another way, five thirty-minute sessions as recommended by the Harvard Medical School’s Dr I-Min Lee is the minimum ideal spread and will do very-nicely-thankyou.
Beachcombers for example, will typically cover several miles in a session and one of my favoured places is a remote stretch of coast requiring fair old hike to reach it but one where some very collectable items are known to roll in with the tide. Exercise coupled with lungful’s of clean, fresh, sea air, is doubly exhilarating – and there’s more. According to the UK’ s National Health Service walking estimates, just thirty minutes of walking will help a 60kg (9.5 stone) person lose 99 calories. Exercise peps up the system and increases libido. My detecting pal told me the other morning when I picked him up that he hadn’t had ‘it’ since 1959. “Jeez”, I said. “Yeah,” says he, “And it’s only half-past eight now.”
Nevertheless, there are some other thoughts to consider before sallying forth and not least of these is breakfast, and a proper breakfast will set you up for the day ahead. My own preference is for a couple of poached eggs on toast, or a potato waffle, fresh coffee, toast and marmalade. After which you’ll need to consider what food to take with you.
Treasure food needs to be a cocktail of good nutritional value, portability, and light in weight. In summer it’s imperative to carry ample water. However, one litre of water weighs 1-kg (approx. 2.2lbs) which reduces through the day as it is consumed. So what about the type and amount of food to take on your treasure sorties?
I always carry a handful of boiled fruit sweets along with a bar of chocolate so as to maintain blood sugar levels, but only in winter when temperatures are colder preventing the chocolate from melting, otherwise in summer, it’s a fruit bar or mint cake. Lunch is invariably an apple/banana, 2-ozs of Cheddar cheese, and a portion of flapjack. If the hunting area is close to where I park my car, I’ll return for a sandwich and Thermos of tea/Bovril.
It’s worth remembering that even on the coldest days in winter, cold food is as nutritious as hot food, though nowhere near as morale boosting. To this end, especially if I’m doing a remote coastal spot, I carry an ultra-lightweight butane gas stove; small aluminium backpackers’ kettle. Believe me, a mug of tea/coffee/Bovril on a bitter winter day is life’s greatest pleasure…well almost. I limit my all-up weight in the backpack to seven pounds including water.
Probably the worst thing you can do in winter is to carry a hipflask loaded with whisky or brandy, which at first gulp delivers a warming sensation but within minutes, lowers the body’s temperature. Neither is it much of an advantage if you get pulled over on the way home by the Highway Patrol or Traffic Police and breathe whisky fumes over the cops. No problem if you’re the passenger, but otherwise you’re in doo-doo.
“Professor David Gill has just asked a very direct question that challenges the whole basis of the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s database: “How far can we trust the information supplied with the reported objects? Are these largely reported or “said to be” findspots?“
Prof. Gill (aka the ‘Ginger Whinger’) makes the bullets Warsaw Wally and Heritage Harry fire, and judging from the question posed, shows that Gill is attempting (and failing miserably) to sabotage the ground-breaking work of the widely and well-regarded, factual PAS, that currently - and unlike the AEC - is the firm basis for a host of on-going academic research projects.
The answer to his question is obvious…Researchers can and do trust the information of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as opposed to the wholly invented fictional data masquerading as ‘scientific’ in the now widely discredited Artefact Erosion Counter that he supports.
Indeed, Gill, Barford, and Swift, are in no position - holding the moral low-ground as they do - to question the veracity of anyone or anything so long as they keep administering the Kiss-of-Life to ludicrous AEC. In the meantime, the mighty PAS rolls on.
However, on the website Academia.edu, Gill lists his antecedents thus:-
Professor of Archaeological Heritage and Director of the Heritage Futures Research Unit at University Campus Suffolk. He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome, and was a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was previously a member of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University (where he also chaired the university's e-learning sub-committee). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He is the holder of the 2012 Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) Outstanding Public Service Award, and the 2012 SAFE Beacon Award.
Curiously, Gill makes no mention of his association (wisely perhaps) with the Artefact Erosion Counter. Understandable of course: A hand-in-bra relationship with the AEC is perhaps not the best thing to have on one’s CV?
Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. It’s the only holiday that doesn’t demand you buy gifts or attend religious services. It’s simply a day for family, friends, feasting and great conversation. It doesn’t get any better than that. Do me a favor…eat one more helping and pour one more glass for me!
For a great many of you it’s winter time, and while I am pretty much free of having to deal with it in any big way, I do remember the long frustrating days of detecting withdrawal. So if I may, let me offer a few suggestions that might help with the winter doldrums. They are not new or earth shattering but as you know, neither am I...
Okay the ole "spend time at the library" has to come first. I don’t care how long you sit in front of your computer and stare at the screen, your local library has material you will not find online. So grab a pad and pencil or your laptop (most all libraries have wi-fi), pick up a cup of coffee at Starbucks and head on down. Once you get there, find the research area, make yourself at home and don't be afraid to ask for help. I am willing to bet the research person knows where the good stuff is kept.
So where do you start? Well I would go with community, county and state history, and no matter how much you hated history in school, this is different. No one is going to test you and remember you have a long cold winter to make sense of it all. It's also okay to skim pages and look for the more enticing bits and pieces. Take notes of anything at at all that you think might prove useful to you down the road. Somewhere in the garage I have a couple of the old traditional black & white splattered composition books filled with info that I spent many a night reading.
If you are lucky maybe your neck of the woods had a part in the Revolutionary or Civil War. If so there should be a great deal of material relating to battles, skirmishes, camp sites, forts and the like. Guessing too that there will be a few old maps pertaining to these events as well.
Next do make sure you check out the various community 'celebration booklets' that might be on the shelves. It was quite common years ago for communities to publish Centennial and/or Bi-Centennial souveneirs. They were almost always filled with old photos and offered “fond looks back” by seniors that often included:
I also supect that your local library has one or more "Arcadia" books on hand, and they are great for finding new and potentially productive sites. I personally own ten of them...four from my old stomping grounds in New Jersey and six pertaining to the Dallas area. Go to their website and type in the names of towns and cities near you and see what pops up. I highly recommend these books.
Be sure to check out the library’s maps and plats. Here again there are a lot of these that are not online. If you find any you like, see if you can photocopy. While perusing these documents don't be surprised if you see a few road names that are not familiar to you. Make note of them because there's a possibility they are nothing more than overgrown lanes or paths today (IF progress hasn't already taken it's toll). The same for unfamiliar town names. Years ago a community might have been nothing more than ten or twenty buildings and as times got tough or when progress passed them by, those living there moved on, leaving only foundations and cellar holes today. If you doubt that, ask Dave Wise or Todd Hiltz!
Next? Old high school yearbooks. Pay particular attention to photos of outdoor sporting events (football, baseball, soccer) and activities. Many athletic fields of yesteryear were a far cry from what you see today. Look for bleacher areas, refreshment stands and admission gates. I hunted a field in Frenchtown, New Jersey that continually yielded turn of the century coins for many, many years
Next enquire about older newspapers (the older the better). They may be on microfiche although today I suspect they have been transferred to hard disk. This task is very time consuming but here too you can skim and cherry pick. Look for any mention of outdoor activities and be sure to check those published a day or two after a major holiday. Celebrations, fireworks, picnics, parades, etc., all attracted crowds.
Okay you now in the comfort of your own home, a stiff drink in hand and farting away at will. Turn on the ole PC,let your imagination run wild and get your treasure hunting juices flowing. Where to start? Go to Google, enter the name of your town or county then a few of the following....
The winter months are also a good time to clean and catalog your finds from the year, and if you are so inclined, find a way to display them. Here are a few sites that might help if you decide to do so....
If you are still bored why not come up with a program that you can share with the various groups within your community....senior citizens (great source for new leads), scouting organizations, Lions club, Rotary, etc., just to name a few, and while you are at it why not promote the pastime at public events and celebratons? Set up a table with your detectors, finds, displays, manufacturer catalogs & promotional items, as well as information on treasure hunting clubs in the area.
Dan Hughes latest podcast is about getting permission to hunt someone's property, and as usual he offers up a few very good ideas and suggestions. Hope you will take a moment and give it a listen here. Dan has a way of taking a topic and in just a couple of minutes, making it fun and easy to understand. Thanks, as always Dan.
If you find yourself getting fatigued while swinging the coil, not to worry. Your prayers are answered. Check this out....
Just wanted to share again Ron Guinazzo’s latest project, and ask you all to help by digging deep into your pockets and by passing the effort along to your friends. It’s a chance to help a family facing a very difficult time and a great way to show them just how much detectorists care about friends and family....
Likewise, the more you spend, the better your chances to win a few really great prizes!
Happy too see the FMDAC has finally come up with a decent website. Hopefully they can find time to keep it current and keep their members abreast of what they are doing or planning. Last update on their old site was November of last year.
Now waiting for WWATS to premiere their new site. Was promised for April 1st but has been pushed back each month with the lastest promised date being December 1. zzzz...
From what I've heard the retirement party for Alan Holcombe at White's a fun one. Really sorry I couldn't make it. Thanks to Cari Brewer for sending along the following photos and for using a few of mine for the display (even if you did throw darts at them).
This morning I received an email from Nigel Ingram of Regton, Ltd. informing me that his father Derek had passed away. Derek was 83 and had been battling prostate cancer for quite some time.
I first met Derek back in 1988, while working for Garrett Electronics and found him a fascinating and multi-talented individual. He dabbled in a lot of different areas and was instrumental in a few of the early metal detector designs and configurations. I hope to share more about Derek at a later date.
Fay and I send our condolences to Nigel and Marcus as well as other family members. RIP Derek....
Just wanted to share Ron Guinazzo’s latest project here and ask you all to help by digging deep into your pockets and by passing the effort along to your friends. It’s a chance to help a family facing a very difficult time and a great way to show them just how much detectorists care about friends and family....
Likewise, the more you spend, the better your chances to win a few really great prizes!
Well today is National Pickle Day and I can't think of a better way to celebrate it than by turning the blog over to the big pickle from Bournemouth, John Howland. Enjoy...
One of my friends is a poultry farmer in Cornwall where he rears free-range turkeys and chickens, though he keeps a dozen prize geese for special customers and occasions. He’s also a very keen treasure hunter with access to lots of land thanks to many of his farmer pals, and by return, allows them to shoot game and foxes on his land.
Some weeks ago apparently, one of his prize geese escaped. He managed to track it down to a neighbour’s garden where it laid an egg, and that’s where and when the trouble began. The neighbour was man who liked to be known in the community as an ‘archaeologist’ and in an effort to earn greater communal respect went to great lengths to portray himself as educated, erudite, but had the unfortunate trait of treating everyone he met with utter disdain. He also ran a blog slagging-off treasure hunters, collectors, the US, Israel, and various heritage organisations, though ironically was himself a clandestine collector.
To cut a long story short, my friend made contact with the arkie, who for brevity and the purposes of this story, I’ll refer to as ‘Paul.’
“I’ve come to collect my goose,” says my pal.
“Well, hurry up about it. I haven’t got all day” he snapped, “And by the way it has laid an egg, which I’m going to have for breakfast.”
“Sorry, but that egg belongs to me,” says my friend.
“No! It laid the egg on my property and I’m going to keep it, that’s the law.”
And so the argument raged for several minutes. Finally my pal says to ‘Paul’, “We’ll settle this once and for all in the traditional Cornish way.”
“What’s that?” says ‘Paul’
“It’s a contest of stamina,” says my pal, “Whoever gives in first, loses. OK?”
“Oh, very well, if you must, anything to keep you quiet,” says Paul, “What do we do then?”
“We stand three feet apart facing one another and take turns to kick each other in the balls,” says my pal, “And as it’s my goose, and as tradition demands, I get to go first.”
With that, my friend proceeds to kick ‘Paul’ in the balls. “Oooh, F-f-f-f…f-f-f-f,” screams ‘Paul’ as he slowly sinks to his knees, eyes watering profusely, clutching his groin then rolling on the grass in agony. After five or six minutes, ‘Paul’ staggers to his feet clutching a severely bruised pair of plums. “Right. My turn,” he says.
“Nah, it’s all right mate,” says my pal, “You can keep the egg.”
“…there were no “experts” back then,[‘70’s and 80’s] just a few “regular” guys who liked share a beer, metal detect and have fun.” So writes Dick Stout. Hmmm! But I must take issue with him on this one; yes, there were ‘experts’ back then – and he was one of them and will long be remembered for his ground-breaking ‘Washington Update’ column in Western & Eastern Treasures. He’s right too about the 70’sand 80’s. They were indeed great times spawning names and personalities that would morph into treasure hunting lore and legend; ‘Hardrock’ Hendricks, Karl Von Mueller, Jimmy ‘Sierra’ Normandi, Charles Garrett, and Ty Brook, to name but a few.
Since those halcyon days of thirty-five years ago, our hobby has undergone an amount of self-inflicted dilution. The expressions ‘treasure hunting’ and ‘treasure hunter’ for example, have since become No-No’s; unacceptable terms in polite archaeological society. Nowadays, we are all ‘amateur archaeologists,’ or ‘detectorists’ or worst of all perhaps, that most cringe-worthy and sickening label, ‘Responsible Detectorist.’ Yuk!
The greater part of this utter tosh materialized so as to ease the pastime’s passage into the ersatz approbation of archaeology’s top-brass who, by the ‘90’s had the NCMD’s balls firmly in their hands and were gently squeezing. The hobby’s hard-core defenders had long been back-stabbed so as not to compromise the conspiratorial New Way…that of…appeasement.
Unlike thirty-five years ago, the hobby survives today, not because of representative, or Governing Bodies, but in spite of them. Even back in those days they (the CBA among others) were trying to sweet-talk the NCMD of which I was then General Secretary (and a Founding Member) to adopt changes to the Code of Conduct. The part of the Code that really got up archaeology’s collective nose came out at a subsequent meeting with the CBA.
Our Code of Conduct included a statement (among others) that it was a perfectly simple task to remove an artefact from the ground with a trowel. “We’d like that changed,” said one of the more pompous CBA delegates. He got two words from me; the second one was, “Off.”
In their minds, the phrase, “a perfectly simple task to remove an artefact from the ground,” devalued, or lessened archaeology’s mystique; they couldn’t have mere mortals saying such things…oh, no! Hoiking stuff out of the ground was a specialist task! Little seems to have changed in some quarters down the years; the acid nowadays is thrown not at treasure hunters so much, but at the hugely successful Portable Antiquities Scheme Database (PASD). The odd-ball and often narcissistic antagonists are riven by spite and envy that their long-term enemies - metal detecting hobbyists – have at last found official recognition and funded by government.Last word must go to Dr Katherine Robbins, who in August 2014, wrote: "With over 90% of artefacts attributed to metal detectorists, it is the process of metal detecting and the relationship between metal detectorists and archaeologists that has principally affected the development of the PASD."
Not sure why but tekkie Dave McMahon liked my last update so much that he shared it on a few blogs/FB pages. He labeled it a wake up and added "I found the last part of this article to be not only eye opening, but the no bullshit truth!! Finally a voice of reason emerges from this hobby/lifestyle, amongst all the lost purpose, this article rings like the bells of beautiful revolution!!! Excellently written and thanks to Dick Stout for opening my eyes and reminding me why I do this!!!" Damn, finally someone recognizes I am indeed the 'voice of reason"! Now if Dave would only have a chat with my wife.....
Dave also added "Be interesting to see Dick Stout, what your opinions are on the hobby going back to the simpler, more genuine ways, and get away from all the nonsense.." So here goes Dave but remember it's only my recollection and opinion.
Everyone knows by now that I tend to get turned off by the ever increasing overkill and over hype of our hobby. I also suspect I am the only tekkie today who feels this way. Perhaps it’s because I am 73 and like most seniors, tend to remember my early years, the good ole days, a time when I could seemingly do it all. It might also be because the internet has a way to over amplify everything. I honestly don’t know. I mean aside from the Shadow “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of ‘old’ men?”
I started out detecting in the early 70's because I was a coin collector. I would see metal detector ads in Coin World and thought “damn, how cool to be able to find coins instead of buying them”. Eventually I scratched my itch, bought a White’s ‘Coinmaster’ and voilà , I was a treasure hunter. Interestingly, Joe Attinello*, the White’s dealer who sold the detector to me, became my detecting partner and we had a helluva lot of fun over the years.
In the beginning we hunted parks, schools and of course the Jersey shore. Joe wasn’t happy unless he was on the beach checking out the ladies wear (or lack thereof). In fact he was so into hunting the shore that he came up with an ingenious plan that would get us there for under a dollar.
You see when the first casinos opened in Atlantic City, they offered free round trip bus rides from various towns and cities within the state. They also gave you free lunch and ten dollars in tokens just to get you in their place of business. Joe’s plan? We put our detectors in small gym bags, got on the bus and once we got to AC we each took turns watching our gear so we could get our free lunch tickets and our ten dollars in tokens. Next we stored our bags in one of the beach lockers (50 cents) and started detecting. We’d hunt for a while, put our detectors in the lockers, eat our free lunch (which was a fabulous all you eat buffet) and then used our tokens in the slots. If we didn’t become independently wealthy we would hit the beach again and hunt until it was time to catch the bus back home (usually late afternoon). I hate to admit it but Joe’s plan worked like a charm.
Back then we almost always came home with quite a few silver coins and that’s not bragging. It was just how things were in the 70's and early 80's. The competition in our neck of the woods was virtually non-existent and it was a rarity to even come across someone else with a metal detector. Likewise, if you were diligent and did your homework, there was a good chance you would be the first to hunt that turn of the century one room school, church or picnic grove. As a result I spent a great deal of time at the local library and became good friends with the gal in the research department, who always had a few new things for me to look at each time I visited.
At any given time I had a long list of places to try to locate and I would guess maybe a third of them would pan out and prove productive. I was also lucky to be living in rural Hunterdon County, with old homesites and cellar holes literally in my back yard. I was having fun and as I kept adding to my coin collection I soon became bored with anything newer than 1900. If I didn’t come home with Barbers, Seated or Large cents it would be a bad day.
Okay, by now you are probably saying “knock off the BS Stout and tell us why this was a simpler time”... Well for starters, I only had ONE detector, with ONE coil, a carpenters apron and a large screwdriver. That my friends was my treasure hunting arsenal and I can’t ever remember having a malfunction in the field. I also somehow managed to survive my forays into the wild without camouflage or week-long planning. It usually went something like this…
Hunt, come home, throw trash in garbage, junk items in box, clean coins, store in safe place, wash hands and pour a stiff one. Next day…repeat. It was a simpler time.
Today it seems everyone has to advertise their next “expedition”, spend five days getting their “gear” together, drive 300 miles, take photos and videos and when they come home, analyze every single thing they found. Maybe it’s just me, but honestly I really don’t give a rat’s ass about that 1945 lid from a Vaseline jar or that rusty ole toilet seat hinge you found in an outhouse. Sorry if that offends…JMO.
It was a simpler time because my pastime was not fueled by social media, but rather a once a month club meeting and a treasure magazine here and there. Likewise I wasn’t insulted or told how stupid I was, nor was I chastised for giving my opinion. I was not reminded, or should I say beaten over the head, about having to have other searchcoils or accessories in order to be successful. I was doing quite nicely thank you, with my stock 7 inch coil and miracles of miracles, I was quite successful without having a pinpointer, shovel or camera! Jeezus, If my mother ever knew she would have killed me!
It was a simpler time because instead of chatting on a forum I spent my spare time driving the back roads, looking for new places to detect. I spent my winters reading, researching, taking notes, having coffee and ‘face to face’ conversations (imagine that) with Joe or Dan Hamilton (a later detecting partner of mine). We would talk about where we might hunt when spring came and we’d joke about our past adventures, which almost always involved getting the best of each other at the end of the day. Our outings were not just about finding things…they were about fresh air, exercise and camaraderie, and for all you forum groupies..there were no “experts” back then, just a few “regular” guys who liked share a beer, metal detect and have fun.
Without a doubt the 70's and 80's were some of the best years of my life as well as the best years for enjoying my pastime. I was privileged to live in an area that had a lot of history and offered a lot of treasures to anyone who cared to seek them out. I can also honestly say I was never bothered or chased by anyone while swinging my coil, and the few tekkies I knew and associated with were always courteous and conscientious about leaving a site exactly as it was found.
Now having said all this, I don’t mean to imply that the pastime today is in ruins. I do think however that because of social media it’s choking on it’s current popularity and everyone’s over-hyped visions of grandeur. I really do try hard to get interested in and understand a lot of what you all are saying but honestly it’s hard for me. Certainly there’s a generational thing involved, but I worry that what you are all ‘shouting and sharing’ in cyberspace will soon come back to bite you in the ass and in the long run, do more harm than good. Then again, what the hell do I know? To me it’s still just a hobby and not a very complicated one at that.
Finally, what happens to your ability and/or right to metal detect five years down the road will certainly affect you a helluva lot more than me, so I would urge you to stay classy and be cautious at the same time.
In my efforts to keep my readers updated on all the latest and most important information out there I offer up the following. I urge you to remember what is presented here and file it away in case you are faced with dire survival situations....
I found this tidbit on Janner53's Metal Detecting Blog and wanted to share it here.... great PR and pretty much sums up who we are, despite the jerk in Warsaw.
This guide has been produced as part of the Leverhulme Trust funded project ‘The Portable Antiquities Scheme as a tool for archaeological research’. It builds upon a thesis funded by the University of Southampton and the ‘Arts and Humanities Research Council’
a. That metal detecting provides a solid and dependable foundation for archaeological research.
b. That the Guide puts meat on the bones of the claim in my previous post where I wrote: “The precise number of similar projects based on the Barford/Swift AEC database is unknown.”
So long as finds are voluntarily recorded with the PAS database then detectorists have complied and are free to sell, collect, or dispose of the find as they so wish, and with the added benefit of a PAS record that proves both legitimacy of ownership and provenance. Any historical finds that I have made while searching beaches, have been logged with the PAS and offered to the relevant museum.
To get your free copy of the Guide go to: A Guide for Researchers
I think by now you all know that I am pretty much an old school/old fart when it comes to this pastime. The funny thing is I could never understand my parents similiar, seemingly outdated views of things when I was growing up, but now I do. They were merely reliving what was probably the best years of their lives and relating it to anything that came later. In their minds they had been there, done it and were just trying to share it with someone who would listen.
I can’t put a time frame on things but I think my reluctance to go along to get along with all the hoopla today started with the increasing popularity of social media, especially whenever it pertained to my beloved pastime. Social media was and still is a vehicle to instantaneously throw out information, both good and bad, to millions via the click of a mouse. A medium, ideally, where people could come together to share, assist and unite. Unfortunately it also became a place where people could lie and exagerate to their heart’s content and I am not just talking about archaeologists but detectorists as well. The need to back up your bullshit wasn’t and isn't necessary anymore. Once it's out there there are millions who will take it and run.
Then came shows like Amerian Digger, Dig Fellas, Dig Wars and Diggers, making the metal detecting pastime an instant favorite way to get rich, despite the fact that most of the storylines were over-the-top, geared to keep you watching and wondering what the big payoff was going to be. Everybody in the country wanted to be a “digger” a “treasure hunter” and retire a millionaire. I so wanted these shows to succeed, but all they did was lure hundreds, if not thousands, into the pastime and of course Go Pro’s profits soared because every tekkie now wanted to be a TV star.
While all this was going on the manufacturers decided it was a great time to introduce a more sophisticated and more expensive product, resulting in detectors priced in the two thousand dollar range, all promising greater depth and more finds to put you on easy street. With this increased depth of course you also needed to own a pinpointer, priced at between $150 and $200. Suddenly this ever so simple pastime was becoming one that required a small fortune and a college degree, that is if you believed all the hype. I didn't and I suddenly became my parents overnight.
I have often wondered whether or not I would find this hobby as fascinating if I were just starting out today and I honestly don't think I would. Too costly, too much competition, too many areas being placed off limits and too much emphasis on making things more complicated than they should be. I am sure YOU would call it progress. I prefer to call it overkill and heavy drama. Metal detecting to me is a fun pastime and no matter how much spin anyone puts on it the odds of making a living swinging a coil are nil and next to none.
I wonder at times how we ever came together back in the 70's & 80's and accomplished what we did without social media. Organized trips to the UK, the formation of a World Council, a better than average record when it came to fighting city hall, and all thanks to Ma Bell and the US Post Office. No PC's, iphones or ipads. Think about that and then think about where we are today.....are we really any better off?
Not too long ago Dan Hughes called me a curmudgeon and perhaps I am, but I much prefer to be called a"realist" or "down-to-earth"....
Two archaeologists promised themselves if one of them would die, he would return to visit the other and tell him about Heaven. One night the dead one visited the other and says, “Fred, I am visiting you as promised and I have two bits of news; first there are lots of excavations up here, and secondly, you will be directing one next Thursday.”
All detectorists are heritage thieves, hoikers, heritage looters of their respective countries for profit, denuding the archaeological record of valuable information, and who wilfully fail to report or record finds; and worse still, are artefact collectors uninterested in history. Their activities MUST be curbed, even outlawed.
Who says so? Nigel Swift does for a start. He lives in England and a leading antagonist-cum-snooper for the ad hoc and colossally pompous, anti-detecting collective known as Heritage Action (or more accurately, ‘Heritage All-Talk and No Action’). When he’s not slagging-off the Government, the PAS, National Trust, English Heritage, detectorists in general, and anyone else who won’t toe his bossy heritage line, he’s known to lurk in and around metal detecting retailers earwigging on private conversations between detectorists to use as damaging ‘evidence’ for publication on his Heritage Action blog. He also prowls detecting forums for similar ‘evidence’. I’m told that every retailer within a fifty mile radius of him has his picture.
Swift is underwritten by Paul Barford, another Brit who describes himself as a “British archaeologist living and working in Warsaw, Poland. Since the early 1990s (or even longer).” He is the undistinguished ‘gobby’ half of what has now become a comedy duo… known colloquially as Heritage Harry and Warsaw Wally, and arguably ‘Harry’ is the intellectual colossus of the two.
This comic twosome has gone to heroic lengths to sully and tarnish the reputations of metal detectorists and collectors worldwide, and Barford especially, takes a narcissistic pleasure in portraying them as uneducated, intellectual dimwits, and thugs. To denigrate hobbyists even further, they dreamed-up the Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC), a fact-free, fantasy database of detector-based heritage crime bearing all the hallmarks of having been roughed-out on the back of a beer mat in a downtown Warsaw speakeasy. The AEC database purports to show that over twelve-million (12,000,000) of archaeological artefacts have gone unrecorded or stolen by detectorists (who they compare to shoplifters) though are more than coy about how their ‘facts’ and ‘figures’ are collected.
Most detectorists and many archaeologists are familiar with Barford’s caustic opinions, but less acquainted with Swift’s, Heritage Action melange. Writing on his own blog, Paul Barford is unsurprisingly toe-curlingly embarrassing, with his hammy, saccharin, toadying homage:-
"Heritage Action is a grassroots organization […] a group of volunteers passionately interested in the historic heritage […] One of the topics of their recent concern is government policy towards artefact hunting and collecting, damaging archaeological sites in Britain on a worrying scale with very little being done by the authorities to prevent it."
[Ah! The aroma of burning martyr! DS]
Excruciating or not, Thursday, 27 November 2008, again saw Barford 'bigging-up' the preposterous AEC on his blog:-
The Heritage Action Erosion Counter
"I should perhaps admit that to some extent I was involved in the creation of the Heritage Action counter (though it is not by any means my own work or based solely on information I gathered) and I know how much thought and work of a number of dedicated volunteers passionately interested in conserving Britain's historic record actually went into it. I need not add that it did not cost the taxpayer a penny, but addresses questions that bodies that do should have been answering about the common archaeological heritage and how it is being "managed" (which in this case seems a loose use of the term)."
So just how kosher is the AEC’s accuracy? Data compiled by a man who describes himself as an archaeologist (whether he is, remains unclear) and his co-author described impressively as a “grassroots volunteer,” then it would reasonable, you might think, for that data to be forensic. But not everyone took it at face value least of all the British Museum’s Dr Roger Bland, Head of the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) who wrote on the Barford blog:-
"Equally, how can anyone put any credence into Heritage Action's Artefact Erosion Counter when the basis on which it is calculated is not stated? 316,000 finds a year? How impressive to be so certain on so little evidence. For you simply to say that you believe it to be accurate is hardly adequate."
Commenting further, Dr Bland pressed-on...
"Paul, I was not scoffing but simply asking a question: what is the basis of the Heritage Action Counter's claim about how many archaeological objects are found by detectorists? We cannot be expected to believe it without knowing the assumptions that underlie it. People will no doubt draw their own conclusions from your reluctance to answer the question."
On the 28 November 2008, and to use a boxing metaphor, Barford ducked, dived, and weaved, but always outclassed by the ‘Basher’ Bland in what was – for Barford at least - the ‘Bungle in the Jungle.’ Pinned in his own corner and on the ropes, Barford suddenly blurted out:-
"Well, until the book comes out with the details of the basis of this estimate, you can take it or leave it. But if one rejects it out of hand, one question remains. "By how much would it have to be wrong for the current situation to be acceptable"? People will no doubt draw their own conclusions from the reluctance of the pro-collecting lobby to answer that question."
Unable, or unwilling to answer this perfectly legitimate enquiry about the precise foundation of the AEC’s data, the whole caboodle imploded, irreparably damaged. Though Dr Bland rightly stated in regard to the AEC data, that, “We cannot be expected to believe it without knowing the assumptions that underlie it,” the Council for British Archaeology’s Director, Mike Heyworth, who one assumes knows which way is up, swallowed this pseudo-academic claptrap in a single gulp, “It provides a reasonable basis from which to consider the scale of the loss of knowledge caused by metal detecting,” he enthused (Oh, no it don’t, and you fell for it, mate).
Barford, Swift, and Heyworth, seem oblivious to the fact that science is founded on two principals: hypothesis and data. If the data does not, or cannot support the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is wrong.
Barford apparently, (and to a lesser extent, Swift) appears not to have learned from his ‘Bungle in the Jungle’ bruising as both still trot out the same old, hoary, threadbare, and comprehensively discredited AEC, clinging to its ‘data’ as drowning men to straws, in manic desperation to stigmatise a wholesome, legitimate, and educational hobby that has contributed massively to the common heritage. Indeed, 426 scholarly research projects are currently under way and all based on data from metal detectorists. The precise number of similar projects based on the Barford/Swift AEC database is unknown.
Metal detectorists have proven to be valuable assets to the greater understanding of the heritage as their catalogue of amazing and breathtakingly wonderful finds recorded with the PAS, not to mention a prime time television series, visibly demonstrates. Whether the same can be said of Barford, Swift, or Heritage Action, is doubtful.
Comparing the fact-driven PAS database to the illusory AEC, people will as Barford says, “… no doubt draw their own conclusions…”
TAKE A GOOD LOOK at these clowns; for these are precisely the sort of people who want us all to entrust them with the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think.
In 1987, a Polish anti-Communist dissident and Solidarity member, was walking through the suburbs of Warsaw when a black car suddenly stopped and a man was thrown out at the side of the road. The car sped off. He ran over and saw that it was his old friend Moishe who had been beaten almost to death by the Communist Secret Police. He was barely conscious, his eyes opening and closing.
“Moishe, Moishe,” he cried, “It’s me, Abram. Don’t you remember me? We were in Auschwitz together.”
“Ah, yes,” said Moishe dreamily, “Ah yes…Auschwitz.”
"Mrs. Brown, please."
"Mrs. Brown, this is Doctor Finlay at Saint John’s Laboratory.”
“When your husband's doctor sent his biopsy to the lab last week, a biopsy from another Mr. Brown arrived as well.”
“We are now uncertain which one is your husband’s, and frankly, either way the results are not too good."
"What do you mean?" Mrs. Brown asks nervously.
"Well, one of the specimens tested positive for Alzheimer's and the other one tested positive for syphilis. We can't tell which is which."
"That's dreadful! Can you do the test again?" asks Mrs. Brown.
"Normally we can, but the Lab will only pay for these expensive tests one time."
"Well, what am I supposed to do now?"
"The folks here at the Lab recommend that you drop your husband off somewhere in the centre of town. If he finds his way home, don't sleep with him."
Tony Conti, my gangster good friend from North Jersey is a big time treasure guy. By that I mean he can’t be satisfied with a coin spill or a gold coin, he wants the big one that will put him on easy street. Tony’s an avid reader and can tell you all about the likes of the Oak Island Money Pit, the Lost Dutchman Mine, Victorio Peak, etc., and his current favorite is the Forrest Fenn Treasure. It’s recent and offers the armchair hunter a chance to score, or at least it would seem that way.
If you take the time to read some about Forrest Fenn you will find there are people who think both he and his treasure are frauds. Then again just perhaps ALL treasure legends should be taken with a grain of salt! Who is to say? I searched, as did Tony, for the John Ringo treasure in New Jersey but came away empty-handed. To the best of my knowledge no one has ever found it (if it ever existed in the first place).
Another supposed buried treasure that I spent a little time looking for was one that the Doan Gang had supposedly hidden in a cave along the banks of the Delaware River. The late Joe Attinello and I searched the area in question (only five miles from my home) and found a couple of caves but nothing else. Lastly one would have to ask… if these treasures did exist and if someone found them, would they come forward and lay claim to them? Somehow I seriously doubt it.
Anyway Tony sent along he following articles/updates and I thought I would share them should you be interested in reading more. The Oak Island blurb is interesting in that it seems the arkies are now wanting to get involved. Have to wonder if they are worried about someone other than an archaeologist actually making headlines...
Tony thanks for the updates and good hunting. Remember if you do find the big one, you have my address and if that’s out of the question, I love single malts...
Okay, to keep up with the Joneses I am having a contest. Send me a photo of your best find and if you are the winner you get to give it to me. Thanks and good luck!
If I ever run into you and you are looking at a smart phone, save me time and bend over...
I always find it amusing that detectorists think after market searchcoils are “better” than those that came with their detector? Do they think the manufacturers are holding back? Methinks it’s a matter of marketing and a psychological need to buy something that “has to be better” and “will be better” because “they said so”...
I’m against recycling because it makes me look like a big time alcoholic to my garbage man...
Writing a metal detecting blog without actually getting out and doing it is difficult to say the least. Then again even if I was able to, I doubt I could get enthused enough to take a photo of a 1960’s silver dime. Unappreciative? No, absolutely not. Just that there’s already a zillion such photos already floating around in cyberspace and if you have seen one you’ve seen them all.
So consequently I write a lot based upon what I see, hear and remember (uunfortunately the remember thing is getting more difficult). There’s also a lot of internet fodder, (as in rumors, stories & bullshit) floating around that makes my writing easier. Take the ‘Warsaw Warbler’ for instance…he abuses the definition of a troll and is always good for a laugh or two.
Then there’s the lack of any real organizational representation for our pastime here in the states, despite the promises and proclamations by the “Big Three” tekkie groups. Apparently nothing too bad is going on that warrants staying in touch with their membership, and yes I know I harass them. If I didn’t who would?
Lastly there’s always new technology to talk about, although things have been slow of late. I almost always hear about new and upcoming products through the grapevine but its been uncommonly quiet. I am certain however that whatever the next big, must have item is, it will be in camouflage.
I hope my situation will improve and that I will be able to get out in-the-field in the not too distant future. Just watching the Todd Hiltz videos has certainly been an incentive. You see I remember that rich loam, the quiet and solitude of being in a wooded area and most important, I remember those neat 1700/1800 era coins. Nothing at all like that exists here in my neck of the woods and If it does I haven’t found it.
Anyway I appreciate you all and hope you will hang in there with me. Can’t promise that every post will be a winner but I will certainly try to make them fun and informative...
Here’s a perfect example of unalloyed, industrial- strength narcissism by the man himself, the anti-collector, serial insulter, and anti-metal detectorist, Paul Barford. It’s one of his best yet! This is a collectors’ piece. ENJOY:-
Er…um…since when has a FLO been local to Warsaw? Someone take the lad aside and explain geography to him, huh? For some unfathomable reason HE THINKS his query is more important that anyone else’s, simply because he is a British (undistinguished) archaeologist of unknown provenance, living in Warsaw (Poland) which in his mind demands an immediate reply! Hahahahah! Oh dearie me! Hahahahah!
The words; ‘dickhead’, ‘pompous,’ ‘a,’ and ‘what,’ spring to my mind.
Barford as usual is seemingly incapable of grasping the kindergarten fact that his local Fields Liaison Officer (FLO), is NOT actually…er… local to him; since by no stretch of the imagination can Warsaw be described as local to the English county of Essex. In days past, when having deserted his homeland and cuddling-up to Polish Communists in 1986, then he might well have had a higher profile to command immediate action.
What a stupid Comrade!
Back in October of last year we (American Digger magazine and I) initiated a benefit effort/drawing for Ken MacIntyre, son of archaeologist Lisa MacIntyre. Ken was diagnosed with cancer and facing a series of chemotherapy treatments, without any adequate insurance or monies to cover them. Thanks to the manufacturers, distributors, dealers, magazines and all of you, we were able to raise $7,200, paying for all of Ken’s treatments. Shortly thereafter Ken was declared cancer free!
Ken's cancer has returned and it looks like he will be going through an even more complicated and more time consuming set of procedures this time around, including the potential for extended stays in the hospital. The family's insurance situation is somehwat better this time around but I know he could use some cheer. Please when you have a moment or two send along your best wishes, thoughts, prayers, good vibes, whatever. I know he and the family will appreciate it.
Ken Macintyre 4335 Hercules Avenue Jacksonville, Florida 32205
On his Detecting US History Facebook page my good friend Stan Shoemaker posted the following:
"I'd like to take a moment to share how I feel about a few things about this hobby. First and foremost it's strictly a hobby to me, to get me out and about in the woods or outdoors in general. I personally have never met or even heard of a Pro detectorist. I've met and detected with folks who conduct themselves in a professional manner, but are merely enthusiasts the same as I.
I feel Detecting has been evolving as of late with new technologies available such as smart phone's, sports camera's, GPS and so on, but at its core it's still just a pastime. There are those that spend a little more time than others doing it for various reasons but are still just enthusiasts like everyone else. I bring this up because I see so many folks claiming to be professional detectorists, and my question is, what qualifications does one have to have to be a professional detectorist? Is it years in the hobby? That can't be because I know folks that have done it 20 years, that I wouldn't be on the same property with just so I won't get blamed for the damage they leave behind. Is it the amount of finds? Quality of finds? That can't be it because I also know folks that have detected for less than a year, that have had mind blowing finds.
My point is, as a long time detectorist recently said, it's not "rocket science"! This is in no way meant to slight anyone in the hobby but meant more so to warn new detectorists that anyone who claims to be a pro in this hobby, and you haven't seen them on TV, to be careful following where these folks may lead you. Being humble and asking questions will take you further than following those that think they know it all. I've been an enthusiastic detectorist for many years and still ask questions and still learn many new things about the hobby daily. Just what's been on my mind....."
First let me say that I agree with Stan. Today’s technology aside, the internet has made it easy for a lot of people to claim professional status, not just in this pastime but in every walk of life. Why I bet you didn’t know I was professional “lawn mower guy” in my younger years and while I’ve done my best to hide this, I am also a professional “wine drinker”. So der ya go! No need to congratulate me...I am a humble guy. In fact I am a top notch, professional" humble guy.
Honestly, in all my 40 years of detecting I have never met anyone who made their living swinging a coil. Now there are certainly professional “treasure hunters” out there who have scads of money, investors and equipment but even they are few and far between. Remember too that they also have to eat and are usually indebted to investors who seek a return on their money. An exciting life, but not exactly the life of Riley either.
Anyway you too can become a professional anything you like online. I mean hell go for it. Be whatever your little heart desires, but it might be nice if you backed your claims with statistics, not photos, videos or bullshit. Just the fact mam!
Now because I doubt all this doesn’t make it so. If you just happen to be a professional detectorist, let me know and please share your story. I and I know many others would love to hear it. I mean you just might be able to entice a few others to quit their day job and join you. In the mean time I would urge you all to take what you see (as well as what you hear) on the internet with a grain of salt. Having said that did you know that I am also a professional “archaeologist”? Yep, went to same school as Wally!
Back in October of last year we (American Digger magazine and I) initiated a benefit effort/drawing for Ken MacIntyre, son of archaeologist Lisa MacIntyre. Ken was diagnosed with cancer and facing a series of chemotherapy treatments, without any adequate insurance or monies to cover them. Thanks to the manufacturers, distributors, dealers, magazines and all of you, we were able to raise $7,200, paying for all of Ken’s treatments. Shortly thereafter Ken was declared cancer free! Unfortunately that's not the case now....
Ken's cancer has returned and it looks like he will be going through an even more complicated and more time consuming set of procedures this time around, including the potential for extended stays in the hospital. The family's insurance situation is somehwat better this time around but I know he could use some cheer. Please when you have a moment or two send along your best wishes, thoughts, prayers, good vibes, whatever. I know he and the family will appreciate it.
Ken Macintyre 4335 Hercules Avenue Jacksonville, Florida 32205
Todd Hiltz sent along his latst video and no, I did not come up with the title. Apparently these two guys finally saw themselves in the mirror. Enjoy...
As usual Dan Hughe's lastest podcast was not only informative, it was a lot of fun. The topic? Canadian Pennies! Now you might say 'big deal' or 'who cares', but do yourself a favor and give it a listen, all the way through. I learned something by doing so and you just might too. A suggestion too....sign up for Dan's updates. You won't be diappointed.
Okay boys and girls, it’s Curmudegon Time....ra da da da!
Much like my needs or necessities for metal detecting my need to communicate with people 24 hours a day is tied to a home phone and flip phone. Yep, you heard right, FLIP PHONE! I have decided I am not smart enough to have a smart phone and more important, not rich enough to pay for one. Now I know you are thinking what a cheap bastard but that’s not true. I can spend or gamble when needed. I just have no need to stare at a tiny screen all day to see what my friends are putting on theirs, or check prices in order in order to save a dime or to amuse myself playing Candy Flush!
To make matters worse I was about to pay my AT&T bill this morning and I noticed it was about five dollars more than normal. Baffling because we hardly use our phones and have the most basic package you can find...69.99 for two phones and 700 rollover minutes per month. We might use our phones once or twice a month and it's usually for weighty stuff like “pick up bread while you are at the store” or “you left the toilet running” damn you. As a result we have accumulated six hunded thousand free minutes of call time...unless of course we need to get information, customer service or call 911. That costs extra because someone at AT&T has to actually lift a finger.
Anyway I flip over the bill to see what’s going on and I am immediately blinded by a flurry of nickel and dime charges that run off the page....
So when all this is added to my basic charge my bill comes out to $1,225.00 plus the title to my car. Well okay, not quite that much but close. Please, can someone explain what a Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge is? And why you are at it, the State Recovery Fee and the Texas Universal Service? Oh and then you got to love the 'City District Sales Tax', 'the City Sales Tax' and the 'Texas State Sales Tax'. I mean what the hell, go ahead, everybody pile on. I also have no idea when we used used 'Directory Assistance' but I guess the 'Administrative Fee' wasn't enough, and the recorded voice that tells you the requested number is someone special...
So I paid my hundred dollars for the two calls this month and only cried for about fifteen minutes. I sure miss the days where you just picked up the phone and Mabel (really) would say "hi Dick, what can I do for you?". Don't believe me? Well it's true.
John Howland will take over from here on with his view from his table in the Malamute Saloon. John, based on the timing of this post, have another for me.
Sunday July 24, 1892 was not a good day for John Ruggles and his brother Charles...
About two months earlier John and Charlie held up the Wells Fargo, Weaverville to Redding stagecoach at a point some five miles north west of Redding, settling on a location on what is now known as Middle Creek Road, at a point where the stage would be moving slowly and the horses tired from the uphill gradient. They ambushed the stage on May 12, 1892, and all went according to plan, until the guard riding shotgun inside the coach opened-up peppering Charlie with buckshot. More shots rang out, and passenger George Suhr, and Johnny Boyce the stage driver, along with guard ‘Buck’ Montgomery were all wounded. John Ruggles ran up to the seriously wounded ‘Buck’ and finished him off by shooting him in the back with his revolver at point-blank range. Johnny Boyce managed to regain control of the team and drove off as fast as the horses could manage.
Thinking his brother Charlie was mortally wounded, John grabbed the express box he believed to hold $20,000 in gold coins – but in fact it held only $5,000 - made off. The stage finally made it into Redding where a posse was organised and returned to the scene and found the wounded Charlie still lying in the road. He was taken into custody to get medical attention, though at this stage his identity was still unknown. He had been hit thirteen times with buckshot; his most serious wounds having knocked out some teeth and exiting out via his neck.
In custody, he soon recovered well enough to be questioned though refused to say who his partner in the robbery had been; the shrewd Wells Fargo detective John Thacker quickly figured it out. Charlie finally admitted to Thacker his accomplice had been his brother John.
A bounty $1,100 was posted for John’s capture, and on 19th June, in his hometown of Woodland, California, while eating a meal in the Opera Restaurant, he was arrested by Yolo County Deputy Sheriff, Wyckoff, who walked in, sat down at the table next and levelled his pistol at the outlaw’s head. Taken by train back to Redding, John was overcome with joy at seeing his brother was alive and a tearful reunion ensued.
Their trial was set for July 28, 1892. In an effort to save himself and his brother, John sought a deal with the Wells Fargo detective Thacker that the stage guard, Montgomery, had been in on the hold up with them. He told Thacker that he’d hidden the gold in Middle Creek, saying that he’s attached to the strong box a floating device that came within a foot of the top of the water that would help him in finding it later. True or not the $5,000 in gold coins remains unrecovered.
Though precise times vary, nevertheless on the 24th a vigilante group seeking to avenge the cold-bloodied killing of ‘Buck’ Montgomery, forcibly entered Redding jail, dragged the brothers from their cell to a spot where Shasta Street meets the railroad, where they were summarily hanged from a derrick. No one was ever prosecuted for the lynching.
If you ‘google map’ Middle creek Road Redding, this will give you the scene of the crime. Good luck!
Unearthing the past: Heritage Lottery grant supports new initiative to get the best from archaeological finds
Every year, metal detectorists, farmers and walkers discover archaeological finds that could have important stories to tell us about the past in Wales. But do we get the most out of these discoveries?
Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales in partnership with The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales has attracted a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to fulfil the exciting potential of new discoveries. The project Saving Treasures, Telling Stories has been awarded £349,000 to work with finders and communities and enhance the archaeology collections of national and local museums across Wales.
As part of the Heritage Lottery Fund's Collecting Cultures initiative, which supports museums, libraries and archives in developing their collections through strategic acquisition projects, the Saving Treasures, Telling Stories project will create a long-term collecting culture to underpin responsible discovery and reporting.
The Saving Treasures project will establish collecting networks across Wales, enabling museums to share skills, expertise and knowledge and offering training to interpret collections in new and strategic ways. It will also allow for targeted purchases of newly discovered artefacts to develop national and local collections over a four year period 2015-2019. This will involve discoveries covering many periods, from the Stone Age to Medieval times.
The project will deliver a three-year programme of community projects, taking inspiration from significant artefacts or treasure discoveries. Museum staff and partners will collaborate with community groups and participating audiences to develop their responses to the portable heritage on their doorsteps. Community project outcomes will be co-presented in local museums and the national museum, with a range of digital media presentations created and captured online.
A lively and engaging website will be developed for the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales, as a point of access for profiling discoveries, stories, successes and creative responses relating to the portable heritage of Wales.
There will be bursaries for journalism or media studies students and additional volunteering opportunities linked with collecting, community projects and Portable Antiquities Scheme work.
Peter Wakelin, Director of Collections and Research, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, said,
"Each year hundreds of objects of archaeological significance are found by metal detectorists in Wales and there are some 20-30 discoveries of treasure. This is a crucial resource for understanding the past".
"Targeted purchases of newly-discovered artefacts for national and local collections, collecting activities, ongoing resources and community projects will make a lasting change in bringing together detector clubs, local museums and communities around the stories new discoveries reveal.
"This five year project will help to create and celebrate a new culture around collecting the portable archaeological heritage in Wales and this generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help us save more treasures and make them more accessible to wider audiences to tell their stories for future generations."
Rachael Rogers, The Federation of Museums and Galleries of Wales:
“We are delighted that this scheme is going ahead. It is a great opportunity for museums across Wales to work both with Amgueddfa Cymru and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales to develop their archaeological collections. We particularly welcome the opportunity to work with local communities that this project will bring".
Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, added
"Collecting Cultures was a hugely popular grant programme and we have responded to this positive feedback by bringing it back a second time. Our first Collecting Cultures grants made a real difference to how cultural institutions approached and planned their long-term collecting strategies. Now, five years on, we're pleased to be able to help a much wider range of applicants, including Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales in partnership with The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales."
Proof, if proof were needed, that collectors and metal detectorists are getting a big thumbs-up from government as they continue to swell the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s database. Worryingly though, few archaeological societies, especially the amateur kind lauded by Nigel Swift, Heritage Action’s ridiculous, gobby, Chief Mouth and Barford bag-carrier, and one of the loudest, empty-headed detractors of metal detecting, contribute hardly anything.
One has to ask:- Why, if metal detecting is how Barford and Swift would have everyone believe it is; founded on greed, theft, trespass, lies and deceit, why is the government pouring £-millions in to it? Perhaps the smell of bullshit has I suggest, finally reached the nostrils of those in power.
I guess the ‘Chuckle Brothers’ have been ‘sussed’?
In the past I have posted links to my blog updates on quite a few of the many detecting forums out there. I no longer do that, nor do I post them to the various metal detecting Facebook pages. If you wish to receive an email when I do post, click on the photo below and enter your email address where it says "Follow blog via email"...bottom of left column. Thanks....
I’ve known for a while now that my dear friend Alan Holcombe, Whites Corporate Manager, was about to retire. Now that it’s official, I can share my feelings and they are both happy and sad. I say that because I have been privileged to know and work with Alan and I will miss him. I also know that he has more than earned the right to finally take it easy.
Alan and I go back a long ways….30 years to be exact. Thanks to the late Ken White, Sr., we first met in College Station, Texas, back in 1984 and we have been good friends ever since. Even when I accepted the director of marketing position at Garrett Electronics, we remained friends in the truest sense despite being competitors.
Two years later when I lost my job at Garrett I was pretty depressed, having moved my reluctant family half way across the country. Not surprisingly, Alan Holcombe was the very first to call, not only to offer moral support but to ask if I wanted to come to work for Whites. I will never forget that and as tempting as the offer was, I was not about to put my family through another move.
Then later on that same year Alan was in Dallas and we met for lunch. While discussing all things detecting, he asked if I would consider writing a book for Whites…. an easy to read, easy to understand beginner’s book for those looking to enter the hobby. That book, “Metal Detecting, the Hobby”, was my first but not the last for Whites.
Over the years we have shared a lot. Alan has kept me abreast of what was going on at the factory, within the industry, and I did my best to keep him up-to-date on what was taking place out in the field. Also, thanks to Alan, I was privileged to be part of White’s field test team and asked numerous times what my thoughts were about new ideas and projects. Visiting the factory in Sweet Home was always like visiting family.
Lastly what a lot people don’t know about Alan is that he is a very caring individual on a personal level, and over the years he and Whites have helped a lot of folks who were facing difficulties, be it with their business or personal life. I can’t count the number of times I would share a story about someone going through tough times and he would always say “how can we help” or “what do they need”…..and it was always without fanfare or publicity. I could go on and on with stories about Alan but I won’t embarrass him. Suffice to say, he’s a good man and will be missed by many...
Alan’s last day will be October 30th, which also happens to be his 70th birthday (jeezus, just a kid). So Alan, let me be the first to wish you a happy birthday and a very enjoyable, fun-filled retirement. Knowing you, it will not be easy to sit around so let me suggest you give metal detecting a try. I know of a great manufacturer up your way and I would be more than happy to put in a good word for you...
Every day I read a couple of twopenny, odorous archaeological blogs that never fail to give me a chuckle. That’s because these particular bloggers live and die to insult and belittle the detectorists/collector and stop at nothing to accomplish it. Lying, embellishing, misleading and making up their own facts and figures are just part of who they are. They could of course find something else to do with their time. Something constructive, informative or maybe even useful (not that I don’t appreciate the comedy). Instead they lay on the horn, constantly pissing and moaning about our pastime. Well you know what? At one time I might have cared about or considered what they had to say, but now? Screw em!
I am quite aware that some of you reading this still want to find a way to work with the archaeological community and to that I say fine. Go for it. Good luck and please let me know how everything works out for you. Go to their events. Let me know how much THEY charge you listen to how THEY do things and let me know how much THEY charge you take off work and plant flags. Then let me know how much they are going to pay YOU to learn YOUR methods, to join YOUR relic hunt and dig YOUR finds. How much will they pay to learn from YOUR years of research and in-the-field experiences? I mean YOU gave up YOUR day, YOUR week, whatever, helping them. Surely they won’t have a problem doing the same for you...
Well okay if they aren’t going to do that, then surely they will show up and defend you when you are trying to get that local detecting ban overturned. Well, er, no, probably not. Well,then maybe they will sit down, put pen to paper and amend those state archaeological laws that discriminate against us. Hmm, no I don’t think that will happen either. You see there is no give and take, no compromise! It’s their way or the highway and always has been, but hey if you want to go to work with them and for them, have fun. Just leave me out.
I often wonder why these same self-righteous and self-anointed archaeological dignitaries don’t share stories about those in their own field who go afoul of the law, but that of course would not suit their purpose, or in the case of one bat shit crazy, archaeo-blogger in Warsaw, please the folks that employ him. Likewise why don’t they aim their anger at those that build roads, shopping centers, airports, golf courses, dams, pipelines, strip-mines, waste dumps, military bases and firing ranges? And what about farmers. I mean hell they dig up soil all the time, surely damaging, if not destroying, historical artifacts in the process. Nah, the fish are too big there…so day in and day out they blast away with their derogatory portrayals of those who dare to enjoy a healthy, wholesome pastime. How small and how sad. What a life!
Do you recognize this guy? Is it Woody Allen, Gene Wilder? Nah, it's our good friend Dan Hughes showing how not to field a ground ball. Hope the honker gets better soon Dan.
Lastly with Halloween coming up I wanted to share the following with you. It's something you need to get right on and no need to thank me. It's the least I can do for my friends.
Over the past few months I’ve looked at the number of visitors to my site and which particular posts attracted the most. Not surprisingly they were the ones that had lots of photos & videos and where I use terms like “the best”, “how to” and “where to”….a.k.a. top-secret revelations. I found this pretty funny because I haven’t had a revelation since grabbing Sarah’s butt in 5th grade.
Likewise, when the topic was anything other than the above the the hits went down. I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone is looking for some new item to spend their hard-earned cash on or some dark, long held secret formula that will put them on easy street (do me a favor….when you find it share it with me please).
I am somewhat disappointed but not really surprised. The pastime has changed dramatically in recent years, and showing my age, I am not sure it’s for the best. I would like to think that you are interested in other aspects of our pastime (like whether we will even one two or three years from now), but it appears that’s not the case. Funny thing is it will affect you more than me...
Look, despite being a voracious reader I enjoy looking at photos too (take Playboy for instance), but come on, are we that so wrapped up in this pastime that we can’t see the forest for the trees? Can’t we find a way to consider and discuss the more serious topics, the larger picture? How much more money must you spend and how many brains are you going to pick to find out there are no magic potions or quick fixes out there?
I know you are tired of hearing me say it, but metal detecting is not rocket science. You can pretend it is and buy every little doodad that comes out that promises to make you the next Mel Fisher and you can make all the videos you want, but it all comes down to swinging that coil in that place that offers the best return on your time. I also think the recent detecting reality shows accomplished nothing more than to create a large group of wannabe TV stars.
Stout Standards is not going to change, nor do I expect you will either. What I would hope however is that we somehow can create an atmosphere of caring about more important issues than what detector Jim Bob was using when he found that Confederate buckle. Bottom line is he found because he was in the right spot at the right time and just happened to scan his coil over it (JMO). I would also like to think that we haven’t forgotten the years of hard work that Eddie Black put in trying to overturn the metal detecting ban in Louisville, Kentucky but apparently we have. Could we have helped Eddie and made a difference there? Who knows, “we” never really tried....
A couple of days ago I shared a link about the recent Viking hoard found in Scotland and there’s a very ice write-up about Derek McLennan, the finder, on John Winter’s blog. John also posted a link to the entire 3rd episode of new BBC show The Detectorists. Click HERE and enjoy. Thanks John....
With daylight’s shortening hours commensurate with rapidly falling mercury levels, and the barometer’s hands in brickfast descent, there’s nowt like a winter warmer to come home to at the end of a hard day’s hoiking, particularly after several hours’ out on the coast muscling up to the breakers in an easterly wind. When I say ‘winter warmer’ I don’t mean snuggling up to a busty wench either (Oh, how I lie!), or a hunky bloke (depending on what floats yer boat!). What follows is a little about food and drink which is probably of more interest to my UK reader, than my US one, as I’m reliably informed two of the ingredients are not available in the colonies.
One of mine and hunt-partner Jack Dey’s winter favourites is a Thermos of hot beefy Bovril. What I find so amazing is that while the colonials have the technological know-how to put a man on the moon; make the best metal detectors, and lead the world in truck-loads of science and allied technologies, they are unable to avail themselves of a jar of this superb, world-beating beef extract. Neither it seems, do they have access to that other mighty British innovation, the OXO cube. Sheesh!
Nonetheless there’s an added twist to this elixir that comes courtesy of the Royal Navy….a hefty glug of (preferably) dry sherry. On a cold, bitter, winter’s day nothing beats this wonderful brew (well, almost nothing). Make the brew in a jug according to the directions on the packet/jar of Bovril/OXO, glug in the sherry and pour into the Thermos.
With this brew swilling around yer innards I doubt you’ll never feel the cold ever again, and if you choose sup this ambrosia at the end of the day next to a roaring log fire…well, you’ll likely sweat your nuts off! The ladies will have to make their own arrangements.
And now to the tastier victuals …aside from all those Mescalero Apache recipes about roasting cowboys over log-fires, or that redneck stuff about marinating Democrats in moonshine, or, Jim Bowie’s way with fillets of Brown Bear - this is authentic, good stuff.
Firstly, take one arkie [Ooops!], a large glass of red wine, and quaff deeply. It has nothing to do with the recipe but you’ll feel a whole lot better! Gets you in the mood, so to speak.
OK. You’re gonna need: (for one serving) one pound of mussels, one chopped onion, 4-fluid ozs of Scotch whisky, 4-ozs of double cream, ½ teaspoon English mustard, a dash of nutmeg, ½ teaspoon of ground coriander, a shake of garlic granules and chopped flat-leaf parsley as garnish.
Rinse the mussels under running water and remove the grit and all the bits of seaweed, and throw away any shells that are open – why? They are, as the Cockneys have it, ‘Donald Ducked’ and not to be cooked or eaten. I rinse mine a couple of times under fresh running water.
Place the chopped onion in a large pan, sweat off until translucent, and stir in the mussels with a wooden spoon. Mix ‘em well.
Pour the whisky and the cream into a bowl, add the mustard, nutmeg, ground coriander and the garlic granules (I prefer to mash a clove of fresh garlic) and pour this over the mussels. Bring the whole caboodle to the boil then simmer the lot for between five and ten minutes by which time the mussel shells will have opened and bin any that haven’t; they are not fresh, and probably poisonous.
Dish up the mussels with the chopped parsley sprinkled on top and pour the juice from the cooking pan over the whole shebang, and wash down with (large) glasses of (mildly) watered whisky. Serve with warm crusty, or garlic bread. YUM!
Double-up on ingredients for any additional servings.
Certainly looks like it, with one ‘Paul’ (of Barford), who currently describes himself as an ‘British archaeologist,’ has - like his biblical namesake, Paul (of Tarsus) - undergone (apparently) a Damascene Conversion if his pleas for fidelity, decency, and morality, are to be believed….take a peek:-
“Where possible… […] …let's have facts, verifiable facts rather than all this politically-motivated myth-making.”
“Unless western diplomats chatting to journalists at the after-conference shindig can actually cite concrete information, we are entitled to treat such unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable allegations with a dose of scepticism, and even suspect these stories are being totally made-up…[…]… Come on, where is the evidence?”
Now known as ‘St. Paul of Warsaw’, his demands for unvarnished truthfulness from others have painted him into a corner, leaving him little wiggle-room, since that which he demands of others he must – to avoid charges of hypocrisy – apply to himself. What price then his fact-free, Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC), it being a propaganda exercise, chock-full of, “unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable allegations,” and unverifiable facts, wholly designed to smear and sully; in this instance the reputations of Britain’s thousands of detectorists along with the administrators of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
Certainly the metal detecting community, and to a lesser extent the CBA’s rank-and-file, are entitled to treat these, “ unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable allegations,” on which the AEC is based, with as he might say, a “dose of scepticism, and even suspect these stories are being totally made-up […]”
Undeniably, ‘St. Paul of Warsaw’s position is indefensible if he refuses to renounce the AEC; when he intones of others, “Come on, where is the evidence?” Of course there is no evidence and never was, but in order to live up to his newly-found credo, he’ll soon (presumably) dump the AEC lacking as it does, PAS-quality data. Presumably our newly self-beatified ‘Worthy One’ will have no truck with his previous unscientific speculations concocted in a downtown Warsaw lean-to. Even when attacking that fine body of men and women, Britain’s detectorists, along with his trade-mark discourteous and ill-mannered insults flung at the PAS, he blunders back into his AEC-style inexactitudes; “quite a few […]” and, “a few…[…],” et al, ad nauseum.
Maybe, just maybe, ‘St. Paul of Warsaw’ is scrotally-deep in the quagmire of bovine scatology of his own making and in too deep to extract himself without appearing a bigger buffoon, or to prevent the CBA’s top-brass - who stepped into his elephant trap - from looking complete idiots by their tacit and ill-advised thumbs-up of his science-free AEC twaddle.
So, hypocrite, or Heavenly? Writing the Cultural Property Observer, Washington lawyer, Peter Tompa’s formidable blog, former US diplomat Arthur Houghton, a highly respected Getty Museum Curator is unequivocal.
"You seem to have more than the average share of intelligence for a man of your background," sneered an archaeologist to the treasure hunter witness at a Treasure Trove inquest
"If I wasn't under oath,” replied the treasure hunter, “ I'd return the compliment.”
This magic potion cures coughs, colds, scabby dooh-dahs, and all known ills. Drink it just after turning in – you’ll soon be in the embrace of Morpheus. You will need:-
Two-fingers of Scotch whisky (vertical not horizontal)
A good teaspoon of honey
A tablespoon (or two) of fresh lemon juice
In a mug, add the honey, lemon, and whisky. Pour over the boiling water and fill. Drink! Sweet dreams.
Ever wondered why some archaeologists – especially the appalling, bobble-hatted, wispy bearded, amateur variety (and that’s just the women) - want it all for themselves? Then have a look at the Heritage Journal webpage for an answer; check-out the ‘Comments’ by some of the snooty nitwits who want the whole heritage shabang for themselves. Not that they are any more qualified, or entitled to it, than detectorists you understand, it’s just they THINK they are morally and ethically superior, revealing a hideous brand of academic snobbery of the worst kind. Ever heard of arkies signing finds agreements with landowners as we do? No? I didn’t think so.
It might be in you and your landowner/farmers best interests to forewarn them of the dangers of doing deals with archaeologists to prevent excavations turning into pseudo-intellectual grabfests. Make sure that if they are tempted to let these pseudo-academic hoikers onto their land, then they should be advised to demand that all artefacts are shown to them, recorded with the PAS, and returned to be disposed of in a manner that suits the landowner. And don’t forget to inform them of the implications if treasure is uncovered. They are entitled to 50%!! Better still have the arkies sign a copy of a finds agreement similar to that used by detectorists.
Better still have them include a paragraph signing over ALL treasure rewards to the landowner/farmer. After all, archaeologists never tire of telling us all how they are not in it for the money.
Look after your landowners and they’ll look after you.
This is an all points bulletin! Be on the lookout for the following groups, all three missing for months. It is believed that aliens have taken them or that they are in hiding. Either way your help is appreciated....
THE TASK FORCE FOR METAL DETECTING RIGHTS, last heard from in August, explaining the current problems with York city parks. Missing as well from that update was any mention of their efforts in Cook County, Illinois, started in the spring of 2013. If you see or know of anyone from this organization who can shed additional light on these areas please let us know.
THE WORLD WIDE ASSOCIATION OF TREASURE HUNTERS, last heard of promising a new website in March of 2014. That date has changed monthly and the new projected website is now scheduled for November 1 of this year. Stay tuned but don't place any bets on this happening.
THE FEDERATION OF METAL DETECTOR AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL CLUBS, INC.. Last heard from November 2013 and assumed to be deceased. If you know of anyone in in the hierarchy of this orgnization please ask them to show some signs of life. Even a fart would do...
Am I being sarcastic? Insulting? Antagonizing? Of course I am but don't promise the world then disappear. These three groups supposedly represent you. If you are happy with what they have done and what they are doing, fine. Just don't bitch when you are unable to enjoy your pastime a year or two from now.
Still loving this show and hope you are too. If not I am sure there's a zillion websites and forums out there that will surely fill your need for photos and videos....
Have had numerous emails about why I no longer talk about a certain someone in Poland and I think the following pretty much sums up my reason....
I am still getting emails (a couple quite nasty) about my not posting future update links on FB pages, so here goes one last time...
I have been adding links to Facebook pages now for almost two years and without great results. Oh every once in a while I will get a “like” or a brief comment but more often than not I receive no response at all. That could mean a couple of things…(1) No one likes the blog and/or (2), no one understands it nor wants to take the time to try. I have no problem with either one of these two scenarios but at the same time I will not continue to go through the motions. My blog is what it is and I am proud of it. I will not force feed it to anyone.
I also feel that those folks who do enjoy reading what John and I have to say will have no problem adding their email addresses in the left column. Many have already done so and I thank you. If you have doubts about following along ask yourself this…… “where else can I find crap, information like this”?
Please read John's latest blog post and then save it and share it when needed. It says a lot about who we are and how we should be viewed, not as we are painted by the jealous....thanks John.
With the advent of fall and winter do yourself a favor and do not venture into rural or wooded areas dressed in camo. Save it for Sundays and church. Over the years I came close to getting shot a few times and it was my fault. No I wasn't wearing camo but I wasn't very colorful either (tans, greens, etc.). Didn't take me long to decide those picnic groves had to wait until the all folks sitting in tree stands got their thrill for year.
Sharing John's latest here and hope you enjoy. As usual he take a shot or two at the Warsaw Warbler but honestly it's really hard not to. He's pretty funny and should do standup comedy, but alas that would necessitate him showing his face and that's not going to happen. Anyway here's Johnny.....
In the wake of the Museums Association’s decision to suspend Northampton Borough Council’s membership for the heinous heritage ‘crime’ of selling its own property - the Sekhemka statue - a Council spokesperson told the pompous Museums Association (MA) to stick its membership where a monkey stuffs its nuts.
Replying to the MA’s action a Northampton Council spokesperson put it somewhat bluntly:-
“It is curious that the Museums’ Association is choosing to review our membership when we have already notified them that we have resigned from the Association and have no desire to ever re-join. Having reviewed the value of membership we could not see what benefit it offered to our museums. We are focusing on the future and our exciting plans to invest in improving both museums including the huge expansion of the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery rather than the odd bureaucracy of an organisation we no longer belong to.”
Unsurprisingly, one archaeo-blogger put his own spin on events by racing to the MA’s defence:-
“Northampton Borough Council is only the fourth organisation that has been barred from membership in the MA's 125-year history.” Oooh! And I doubt they’ll be the last.
Hat’s off to Northampton Borough Council for giving the bossy-boots, po-faced MA the Agincourt Salute.
Talking of po-faced organisations, the Daily Express’ Adrian Lee, writing about the new BBC sit-com, Detectorists, a gentle comedy ‘ revolving around the bizarre world of metal detecting,’ quotes the National Council for Metal Detecting’s General Secretary Trevor Austin, on the self-important and near-impotent NCMD’s decision to wash its hands of any involvement in the making of the new detectorist sit-com because, “We didn’t think it was something we wanted to be involved in. It does worry me that they are taking the mickey out of metal detecting. It is a serious hobby.”
Really Trev! And to borrow a line from another famous sit-com, Only Fools and Horses, “What a 24-carat plonker you really are!”
*Rodney Trotter a main character in the UK television sit-com series, Only Fools and Horses.
A ‘hoiker’ hater writes:-
“[…]…archaeology per se does not fight world poverty, ebola, capitalism, globalism, industrial pollution, global warming, terrorism, the progressive extinction of the world's wildlife, child abuse, drink-driving, drive-by shootings, police brutality, or anything else.”
Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that his list is the recognizable face of academia’s self-righteous, smug, and detector-hating political Left Wing; though this particular ‘hoiker’-hater, maintains his woeful standards by tritely avoiding revelations that some archaeologists have thrown their lot in with brutal regimes where the violent crushing of political dissidents, and State-sponsored murder was commonplace. Pre-democracy Poland is a perfect example. Bizarrely, he expects the world to take him seriously. Ha, ha, ho, ho! Oh, dearie me, not on this form!
Small wonder his anti-collecting, anti-detecting blog, is a burlesque of absurdity.
“LUSTRATION"....someone, somewhere, reading this edition of the Malamute Saloon, knows precisely what the word means, and knows too, that I know what it means.
The first episode of television’s new sit-com, Detectorists, is receiving critical acclaim. “It is a classic sitcom set-up which has been executed well here […] viewers have already struck gold,” writes Rupert Hawksley in The Telegraph.
Sam Wollaston, writes in The Guardian equally enthusiastic, “It’s sharp, nicely observed, good to look at, with lovely understated performances from Crook and Toby Jones.”
The series will - on current form - greatly inflate the public profile of the detecting pastime and generate new hobby-interest which augurs well for the retail section. It bodes less well for the green-eyed naysayers, the whingers, the whiners, the ill-mannered, the ill-educated and the rest of the detritus at the arse-end of immoderate archaeology’s pantomime horse and pecking order.
Meanwhile, over on a familiar unrestrained and downmarket blog (where, horseshit rules OK!), there’s a typical piece of the Knows-F**k-All-About-Detecting genre. Indeed, while trying to carve a new career as a TV critic and somewhat disastrously it must be said, the writer validates his trifling comprehension with a pubertal effort worthy of a work experience ‘yoof’s’ first outing with a pen:-
“The detectors used are not the cheapest […] During the first meeting with a landowner we see, there is no signing of any search-and-take agreement. We were shown no checking to see if the land was protected, no organised search technique... How typical is that? And when will the Essex FLO feature?”
So, the nit-picking plodder – who’s obviously never heard the maxim of writing about what you know - wants ‘typical’ eh? Never mind the Essex FLO, what he should do is introduce is a bearded, spectacle- wearing chinless wonder, into the equation; one with a nause-rating of ‘8’; dresses like his mum buys his clothes, and typically, squeals, bawls, and throws his toys out of the pram whenever metal detecting or the PAS hits the headlines.
Detectorists is a sit-com my old son, not a documentary. Better not give up yer day job, eh?
Archaeological Assault Brigade?
There is some talk in twitterdom about the need for archaeologists to team up with the military to defeat ISIS/ISIL. CPO is all for it. Committed archaeologists should sign up, get some basic military training, and be inserted into Syria and Iraq to help reclaim archaeological sites from terrorists.
What could this mean if hordes of arkies mobilise?
Can we expect then, to see that threadbare fighting unit, Vlasov Barford’s Kommissars, who always fight to the last Heritage Action man, or who surrender en masse (as they did when Communist forces marched into Poland), and again, when faced with withering Truth Missiles fired by high IQ metal detecting ‘special forces’?
They will of course be supported and well to the rear, by Swift’s Mercian Fibbers, known colloquially as the ‘long range snipers,’ who avoid hand-to-hand combat at all costs preferring to report fictional attacks to the police. Behind these will be the Canadian, Knell’s Pioneers, experts in digging latrines when under heavy fire. Their Vocal Support Division (Infantry) will try to halt the enemy’s attacks with shrill cries of; ‘It’s Soooooo unfair!’ or the coup-de-grace, ‘You utter bastards’.
As you know one of my favorite blogs is that of my good friend John Winter. John and I could almost be brothers given the things we have in common, such as age, intelligence and good looks. I know, I know…you are envious but hang in there. As you age you too will join our ranks (well maybe not the good looks thing).
Anyway I had to laugh at the lead-in to his latest post….a perfect example of how much we mirror each other...
You see like John, I too have experienced all those things, only my inferiority complex was soon replaced with an “up yours” type. Yep, that is indicative of one’s aging process, but it is what it is and if you remind me of it too often I will show you another of my complexes called “KMA”! If you are not familiar with that one then my complex and my perception of you is more than justified.
I do understand the generational thing. You are young. I am old. Nothing complicated there. I also understand your need for instant gratification, as in I want, I need and I will spend, so please don’t bore me with words….just photos and videos and if I can’t Google it I don’t want to know. While I won’t speak for John (my spelling, grammar and punctuation have already made him a basket case) you all need to be nice to your elders. We are a whole different breed, born in a long ago era and only related because we love metal detecting too.
We somehow managed to find treasure without Google, Twitter, computerized detectors, Go-Pro and the plethora of metal detecting accessories available today. How amazing is that? We spent our time researching and swinging a coil while most of you spend your time seeking out the newest and latest in equipment and clothing (if it’s Saturday it must be camo). And come on, turn that baseball cap around! Now did we find more? Probably but only because we didn’t have a lot of competition or restrictions placed on us due to the “if it beeps, I’m digging” mentality of today.
All kidding aside I do my best to participate in the various websites, forums and FB pages, but it’s not easy for me. Try as I might I find it hard to get excited over Billy Bob’s 1945 wheat cent or deep digger Dave’s circa 1920 barn hinge, bullets that all look alike and having to repeat “nice find”, “cool” or “sweet” (jeezus I hate that word) over and over drives me up the wall. I would much rather read about a park ban being lifted, but of course a topic like that is not on anyone’s radar. Sigh....
Finally, it used to bother me when I was banned from a forum or website but after talking to others I found it was actually a badge of honor and as for my writing being crap….hell yeah. It is what it is my man, and for your information any link to my site will not be a ‘trap’ nor will it ‘ravage’ your computer. It will however let me know exactly where you live so when you are nasty to me I can not only ban you, I can find you and kick your ass. Sweet huh?
Speaking of John Winter, his post of October 1 was an interview with Mackenzie Crook, star of the new BBC show “Detectorists”. I hope you will take the time to read it. Mackenzie Crook is upfront and John does a great job of asking the right questions.
I asked John what the prevailing thoughts were about the show and he replied that they are very positive. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope you will too, so pour yourself a cold one and watch the first episode here. A nice change from the reality shows we have experienced here in the US.
Well, after all my years of traveling I finally got to visit Denver, Colorado and while it was only for a long weekend it was packed with fun. A big reason for that of course was seeing family members, especially my brother Phil, whom I haven’t seen in three years. He’s currently in an assisted living situation there, getting his jollies hitting on all the young females who work there. I was asked to persuade him to knock it off but after seeing the gals I changed my mind and joined him. Phil still has great taste in women and knows how to keep the Stout reputation alive and well!
The trip also allowed time for me to see my old tekkie friend, Bill Chapman. For many years Bill owned and ran “Gold-N-Detectors” in Golden, Colorado, a small community about fifteen miles west of Denver and the home of the Coors brewery (no job openings at present but I left my resume). Also running through the heart of Golden is Clear Creek, a popular trout stream and just one more reason I need to visit this town again. I mean Jeezus, think about it? You can fly fish and get high at the same time just breathing in the air. Doesn’t get any better than that!
Bill is a long time member of the Eureka Treasure Hunters Club and was it’s newsletter editor (The Soundoff) from 2005 through 2006. He was one of the first ever to put a club newsletter on CD rom and later to put it on the club’s website for members to download. Following Bill’s lead many other clubs started doing the same. In my opinion The Soundoff it’s one of the best club newsletters out there!
One of the early contributors to the Soundoff was Chelsea, Bill’s dog, best friend, shop companion, detecting partner, club mascot and a gal I personally fell in love with. She would write in the first-person and challenge Eureka members to find her buried treasures (bone shaped blue metal dog tags), all of which were worth prizes. Sadly Chelsea passed on in 2006, but the contest continues today albeit under another name….Lulu’s Bling Hunt.
In 2011 Bill sold Gold-N-Detectors to Louise Smyth, another long time Eureka member and today the shop is still going strong. Louise was very kind to open the shop last Sunday so that I might visit. Bill soon showed up along with Cliff McGaughey and a lot of great information flowed forth, amazingly unhampered by the fumes emanating from the brewery just downstream (that came later).
Be sure to check out the Eureka club’s website and when you do, spend some time perusing the Soundoff archives. They go back to 2001 and are loaded with lots of “useful” information. One of my favorites is Cliff’s “Get a Clue” column. He lives and dies research and as such, is a man after my own heart. We both also have a penchant for wearing berets, and if I were not so much better looking I’d think we were brothers (sorry Cliff).
Should you ever visit the Denver area be sure to take a side trip to Golden and to Gold-N-Detectors. They’re a multi-line dealer and the shop is one of the nicest I’ve ever visited. Be sure too to tell Louise that Dick Stout sent you....