About the Malamute Saloon

When Dick emailed asking for a favour back in March of 2010, my immediate thoughts were....Oh Jeez, not another twenty bucks'. But as I read further, it turned out he was asking if I'd like to contribute, unpaid (no change here then) to his excellent website, a tribute indeed, best summed-up by a quote from the late, great, Jack Benny; "I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either."

I've known this old reprobate, and his fragrant wife Fay - a top notch photographer - from way back, about the time the Dead Sea first reported sick. During our long association we discovered much in common, foremost perhaps, in both being published authors have scribbled a few lines about treasure hunting from time to time, but with the Old Boy himself knocking out several half-way decent tomes on the subject, I remain in his shadow. My journalistic background is as a former Deputy editor of a consumer magazine with an abiding interest in military history, history both modern and ancient, the Cold War, espionage, and any other subject capable of turning a dollar or two.

Old 'salmon and trout' - Cockney rhyming slang - work it out for yourself, is the only guy who's ever got me to write for zilch. Oh, a friend in need really is a pain in the ass, and there's more than a few beers riding on this one!

We are both treasure hunters (or in these politically correct times, Detectorists), are aficionados of cold beers and grilling, BBQ's, and with a penchant for the odd glass or three of the red infuriator. We both love cooking with wine, sometimes he's even been known to actually put it in the dish he's cooking. So, with this heady mix of ingredients, a column is born. Hallelujah! So, if you're offended by references to drink, sex, women, treasure hunting, this column ain't for you.

Author/Treasure Hunter John Howland

Where I lie on the southern coast of England, close to the country's premier holiday resort, Bournemouth, with it's seven miles of golden sands and sub tropical micro-climate, tourists escaping ravages of the usual English summer time, flock here in their squillions. The locale is a treasure hunter's paradise, packed to the gunnels with nubile, bronzed, female bodies. Moreover, the detecting ain't too bad either. Hereabouts, proficient coinshooters do better than well during the summer months, and manage to eke out a living, of sorts, off season.

Winter hunting is a lean mean enterprise, where quality rules over quantity. It takes no prisoners, and there's nothing surer to raise one's spirits (apart from the aforementioned scantily-clad beauties in summer) than this tasty supper dish ....

Pilchards (Sardines) in Whisky

For this you will need a 450 gram (16 ounce) tin (or thereabouts) of pilchards in oil, lots of freshly ground black pepper, three or four slices of wholemeal toast, a generous slug of whisky (or bourbon at a push) and butter for the toast.

Drain the oil from the tin. Put the pilchards in a frying pan, add the whisky (generously). Then over a medium to high heat, toss the pilchards around in the pan to coat them with the whisky, until most of the spirit has burned off. Grind over lots of black pepper, then serve the fish on the slices of toast and pour over the remaining juices from the pan. Best of all, wash it down with watered whisky.



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.




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.

So, all staff at Joan Allen had better be on the lookout for a furtive looking, trench-coated, bespectacled, bearded ‘Sam Spade’ character with a striking resemblance to actor, Anton Rogers, lurking among the optics.

*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.



It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages…..Henry Ford


I’ll see y’all in the bar!

Have a great ‘hoiking’ Christmas season and I’ll see y’all in the New Year!


December 19,2014


Dateline: Bournemouth, England - December 21

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 Letting Culture Criminals off the Hook?

"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!


‘Tis the Season to be Jolly…..Yo, Ho Ho Ho!

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.



Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous, lucky New Year....

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


AUGUST 15, 2014


Some of you might remember that some time back while beachcombing on a Cornish beach, I found a Roman coin? Well, after a lot legwork what I thought was a Dupondius (Latin two-pounder) of Domitian, a brass coin used during the Roman Empire and Roman Republic valued at 2 asses (1/2 of a sestertius or 1/8 of a denarius), is probably of Fortuna the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion.

Dupondius Domitian/Obverse
Dupondius Domitian/Reverse

Though she might bring good luck or bad: she could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Justice, and came to represent life's capriciousness. The dupondius was introduced during the Roman Republic as a large bronze cast coin, although even at introduction it weighed less than 2 pounds. The coin featured the bust of Roma on the obverse and a six-spoked wheel on the reverse. Though not in the best condition, being the best part of 1,800 years old, it represents a rare piece for the particular area, and maybe an important piece in the local archaeological record owing to its find spot. I shall carry it as a good luck token. In the hope it leads me to buried gold.

It shows, yet again, the value of metal detectors in heritage research. I am keeping the record of its find for future referral.

Financial value? Not a lot.


July 1, 2014


My reader emailed to ask for a reprise of some earlier tips about getting even better results out of a couple of Garrett’s detectors – the ATPro and ATGold -- so here goes. But first a word of warning: Though these tips will not invalidate your Warranty, they could fast-track newbies into a twilight home for the terminally ga-ga.

ATPro – Going Deeper, Going Gold!

If despite owning a Garrett ATPro International (ATP), your haul of gold rings is a tad on the lean side, try this over the next three/four beach outings. Dig all signals of ’45’ and above -- it’s soft sand after all -- in PRO ‘Custom’ with Iron Discrim at ‘30’, or, in PRO mode with ‘All Metal’ and ‘Iron Discrim’ set to ‘00’ out on the wet stuff. Besides digging pull-tabs, you’ll also be digging platinum too!!!! Let Stouty how you get on, with pics if possible for publication on here.

Indeed, you can ‘sharpen’ the ATPro by dropping the GB to between ‘12’ and ‘14’ when working over dry, or saltwater (wet) beach sand. It’ll be noisier than normal, popping and crackling and liable to take those among you of a tense disposition to the edge of insanity….but you will find deep coins and rings especially when harnessed to the ‘45’ technique. Give it three/four goes, eh? But I have to say, that I cannot pay the medical bills should you go completely doolally!

The ATGold

Despite what Garrett’s blurb writer says about the ATGold (ATG) not being up to the mark in a saltwater environment, this supreme nugget hunter actually turns in a not half-bad performance over the salty wet stuff. So, if you’ve got one of these jobbies and fancy a few hours on the beach…give it a go! It’s superb up in the dry sand when in DISC 1 mode.

However, if during your beach sortie and for some inexplicable reason you’re tempted out onto the wet sand, then DISC2 (US coins mode) is where it’s at! It’s a pre-set mode that eliminates one pixel of foil and two pixels in the pull-tab range, and Ground Balance accordingly. You’ll soon start digging coins and if you’ve been a good Boy Scout, heavier gold rings will start to show – at least those weighing in excess of 4-grams. You can forget smaller, thin-section gold rings, but then again, half a loaf is better than nowt in an area previously thought to be off-limits to ATG’s. How do I know this? Garrett’s Steve Moore tipped me off when I had a problem with a section of highly mineralised beach known to contain some tasty bits and pieces.


I haven’t a clue about this latest Garrett (pi). Sorry folks!



A Scotsman and his wife were walking past a chic new restaurant.

"Did you smell that food?" she asked. "Incredible!"

Being a kind hearted Scot, he thought, "What the heck, I'll treat her!"

So, they walked past it again...


Ferrari ‘375 Plus’ Fetches £10.75-Million at Auction

A fine example of the legendary ‘375 Plus’ was sold at Bonham’s Auctioneers for the record sum making it the most expensive car sold in Britain. Only five were built and they competed in the 1954 World Sports Car Championship; at Le Mans, Silverstone, and in the Italian classic, the Mille Miglia. This particular car still bears traces of the 1957 Cuban Grand Prix race colours.

But let me play Devil’s Advocate for the moment. Following the dictum of archaeology’s ‘Hard Left’ faction who promote the notion that all land, artefacts, and collectibles should belong to the People (read; them!), would this Ferrari be better served – as would all other collectibles presumably – by being taken into public ownership, as opposed to being stored in a private collection where it will (according to them) only be appreciated by privileged few? But as an archaeological artifact, one has to ask; has this superb example of automobile heritage lost its contextual importance? Further, is it ethically right to deal and profit in or from collectables?

Perhaps it all depends who’s in power at the time, and who defines what constitutes a ‘collectable’. I suspect Stalinists, Marxists, Leninists, Ho Chi Minn-ists, Pol-Pot-ists and émigré Englishmen of the Burgess, Philby, and Maclean manqué, will have little doubt.


“They Got an Awful Lot of Football in Brazil… “

My apologies to Ole Blue Eyes, but this is serious. Can you believe it: The USA getting so far in the World Cup when England went out in the early stages? I mean, it’s the English national game! It’s simply not cricket, old boy. How would the former-colonists like it if an English team went to the US and won their World Series? Huh? Huh? And what’s the FMDAC/NCMD or Task Force, doing about it? That’s I’d like to know?

I reckon ‘Yogi’ Berra (NY Mets, and Yankees) had it right when he said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”


Oi Vey!

(1) An old Jewish man is dying in his hovel in the Steppes of Stalinist Russia. There is a menacing banging on the door. ‘Whose there?’ the old man weakly enquires. ‘Death,’ comes the ominous reply. ‘Thank God,’ he says, ‘I thought it was the KGB.’

(2) A KGB officer is walking in the park and he sees and old Jewish man reading a book. The KGB man demands, "What are you reading old man?"

"I am trying to teach myself Hebrew," the old man replies.

KGB presses on, "Why are you trying to learn Hebrew? It takes years to get a visa for Israel. You would die before the paperwork got done."

"I am learning Hebrew so that when I die and go to Heaven I will be able to speak to Abraham and Moses. Hebrew is the language they speak in Heaven,” the old man replies.

"Ah,” says the KGB man triumphantly, “What if when you die you go to Hell?"

"Russian, I already know," replies the old man

(3) Why do communist archaeologists operate in threes? A. One to read, one to write, and one to keep an eye on the two intellectuals.



“Those who are weak don't fight. Those who are stronger might fight for an hour. Those who are stronger still might fight for many years. The strongest fight their whole life. They are the indispensable ones.”…..Bertolt Brecht

I’ll see y’all in the bar….


June 24, 2014


They say ‘Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man’ and when the ‘hour’ came the ‘man’ was there. Recently, Roger Barbrick got all fired up, and took on ‘City Hall’. This hobby of ours owes him a huge vote of thanks, and we are all the beneficiaries of his tenacity. He recognised a breach in the wall, stepped in and went after the ill-informed local legislators to win a major victory in protecting the future of metal detecting on Massachusetts’ beaches.

Yet again, another piece of arkie-inspired anti-metal detecting legislation was defeated, and yet again, a local authority acting on spiteful partisan prejudice masquerading as ‘evidence’ came seriously unglued.

Roger inspired thousands of detectorists to sign his petition. ‘City Hall’ backed down. Why? Perhaps the elected counsellors realised that thousands of very angry detectorists amounts to thousands of very angry votes that wouldn’t be coming their way. It’s a truism that for every vote lost, TWO have to be won to break even. It’s probably the first time the power of metal detecting votes has been marshalled in this way.

Nevertheless, the depressing element of Roger’s magnificent victory was that it happened in SPITE OF the national detecting organisations (who pocket your cash to supposedly defend your hobby) NOT BECAUSE of them. To me at least, that sounds their death knell.

Nonetheless, just imagine what a committee of ‘Roger Barbricks’ might achieve nationally!

Large ones all round!



If you have any doubts whatsoever about the sanity of some of the more vocal anti-metal detecting archaeo-bloggers’, check out a couple of the more vociferous cess-pits where the outbursts are likely to confirm your suspicions. Here you’ll learn – according to one of the outpatients -- that ISIS terrorists are financially supported by anyone who collects coins or relics, which certainly includes metal detectorists. Yep, you read it right!

The psychosis lurking in this unhinged logic illustrates perfectly the extent of their phobias and the fragile grip these people have on reality. In the terms of their warped logic then, you, your family, and anyone else who supports your hobby, supports terrorism. Arguably what’s more disturbing, is that these people are not getting the counselling they so obviously need.

On the other hand, they could simply be; repugnant, malicious, ignorant, wilfully ill-informed, and certainly ill-mannered specimens of the human race – nutters!



Over on the Peter Tompa’s excellent Cultural Property Observer blog the Washington, DC Attorney poses a question:-

“It's estimated that there are only approximately 11,000 archaeologists in the United States […] of this small number, only an infinitesimal few seem to be active in lobbying against private and museum collecting, perhaps 50-100 or so.

“So, why all the influence? Could it be because this small group works hand in hand with foreign governments (including most recently the Egyptian military dictatorship) that offer excavation permits? Or that they are joined at the hip with cronies in both the State Department and in US law enforcement? Or that their time and efforts are effectively funded by tax or tuition dollars? Or that lazy media outlets are all too often ready to take what they say at face value rather than actually check sources? Or, all of the above? “

Er…all of the above Peter!


Some of our critics already know and abide by Mark Twain’s celebrated quote ….

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please"...

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


June 19, 2014


Here in the UK roman, Celtic, and medieval hammered coins are regular ‘keepers’ but some hobbyists to my knowledge are selling too cheap. How then do you get the premium rate for your finds, especially coins? Well for starters every British treasure hunter should have on the bookshelf a copy of Seaby’s Coins of England (often available in charity shops at a fraction of the new price), and Roman Coins and Their Values, as guides of what to expect pricewise. However, bear in mind that the figures quoted are the buying, not the selling prices. The principle of what follows applies equally Stateside.

However before we get into the meat of the subject let’s get one thing out of the way first; that of Nighthawking and the illegal acquisition of coins and finds. Trespassing on any land at any time of the day, not just at night, with the intention of stealing coins and other valuable artefacts is theft and covered by the Theft Act.

In truth, the £66.000 Nighthawking Report (paid for by the taxpayer!!) showed less than 1.5 incidents of so-called ‘Nighthawking’ per month; or put another way and to put this so-called ‘heinous crime wave’ into perspective, more people are caught and prosecuted for riding their bikes at night without lights. The ‘1.5’ figure is a worrying statistic in that there are some really dumb asses out there, but like death and taxes, the brain dead will always be with us.

It works like this:- Fred and Jim are going out to trespass and steal roman coins (for arguments sake) from a protected archaeological site under the cover of darkness. The penalties if caught are severe with the possibility of several months in the ‘slammer’ a real prospect. Let’s further suppose they find ten roman gold coins, each worth on the legitimate market, a Grand apiece. But these coins have no provenance, and the dodgy dealer knows this so offers them a fraction of their real worth in cash, say, £50 per coin. That’s a total of £500 split two ways for a night’s work which works out at £20 per week in wages over the three months. Oh, these guys are smart! Not!

They have risked prison for the equivalent of £20 a week. I’ve only ever met one man I knew to be a nighthawk, and though a cunning individual, he was mentally, thicker than pig-shit, could barely write his own name, and was destined forever to be at the bottom of the heap. He’d previously done time yet hadn’t, it seems, lost the taste for porridge.1 What a loser!

The moral of the story is to do the job properly; get the requisite permission of the landowner, do the agreement, then sell them fully provenanced and recorded at the highest price! Simples! If you later call in on your farmer/landowner and drop say, £500 ‘smackers’ in his/her mitts, you’ll be held in the highest esteem and offers of other farmland will come rolling in as other landowners clamour for a slice of the action. Works for me!

Porridge is the staple breakfast in UK prisons...


A Fistful of Celtic – The Man With no Name is Back: The Dodgy Dealer is Waiting!

Never mind trying to identify stone circles in metal detector adverts, here’s a real poser: ‘Horn-rimmed Harry’ another bad-mouthing ‘anti’ arkie; he of the girly shoulder length hair is at it again and looking decidedly shit-faced when recognized by two of my informants as he was leaving a London coin-dealer’s premises in somewhat of a hurry and tucking what appeared to be a bulging wallet into an inside coat pocket. Why the haste one wonders? Perhaps he was bursting for crap? Yes, of course, that must the reason……


A man who had been caught Nighthawking thousands of pounds worth of Roman Gold bracelets went to a lawyer seeking defence. He didn’t want to go to jail. But his lawyer told him, "Don’t worry. You’ll never have to go to jail with all that money.” And the lawyer was right. When the man was sent to prison, he didn’t have a dime.


The two arkies were having lunch when suddenly one of them jumped up and said, "I have to go back to the office - I forgot to lock the finds safe!"

The other arkie replied, "What are you worried about? We're both here."


Remember (the words of Mighty Confucius)….

Swinging chain denotes a warm seat...

Man with no lining to trouser pockets, feel cocky all day..

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


May 28, 2014


Whether you detect inland or on the beach, correct Ground Balancing (GB) is vital for maximum depth and applies to all machines fitted with the GB facility. As many readers already know, my beach machine is a Garrett ATPro International, though my ATGold will in some circumstances (high ferrous contamination) find gold where others fail – despite Garrett’s advertising blurb about it being not best suited to beach work!

Nevertheless, there’s a stretch of coastline I hunt where, due to storm erosion at the back of the beach, vast amounts of ‘inland soil’ (and all it contains) swills down onto the beach and foreshore, creating GB figures between ‘55’ and ‘70’, which as ATPro beachcombers will recognise, are unusually high numbers, considering seawater produces readings between ‘12’ to ’14.’

On a recent sortie and with the GB balancing out at ‘65’ and the SENS knocked back two segments, I picked-up a faint but clear signal over damp sand. Scooping away down to 10-inches and with the signal still audible, I finally located it with my Pro-Pointer. The target turned out to be a run-of-the-mill 20-pence piece. It could have been something more rewarding of course, but the point is that correctly GB-ing the machine really had the ATPro working at maximum efficiency. It’s from among this eroded soil that many silver, and solid silver coins from 1900 to 1944 have previously come to light. From the signal strength I estimated the 20p-coin could have been another 1 ½ - 2-inches deeper and would still have been located.

Over saltwater-soaked sand however, GB-ing is still just as critical in achieving maximum penetration, though deep coins are a real pain in the butt when wading waist-deep and your retrieval technique is little on the sloppy side; Chicago Ron I ain’t, but I still manage to recover a good percentage of in-water signals.

It’s equally imperative that if your machine is not fitted with auto-tracking to the keep the machine singing like a nightingale and correctly balanced throughout out your searching session, you’ll need to check the state of play at frequent intervals. On the ATPro, this is best achieved using the auto-GB facility and ‘pumping’ as per when initially setting up.

Now, all that’s gone before, and what I’m about to say will probably get Garrett, Whites, Minelab, Tesoro, et al, joining forces to kick my arse outta town. Oh well, here goes!

In the hands of an expert, costly machines will find treasure; no doubt about that. Inexpensive machines IN THE RIGHT HANDS, IN THE RIGHT PLACE, will find more!!! US fly-fishing legend Charles Ritz reckoned that, “All rods will catch fish, but it’s the hand that uses it that gets the results,” or something along those lines – but ya get ma drift?

One of my beach hunting buddies way back, was FID’s late Colin Hanson. Not only could he find gold, he could smell it! It was uncanny. It made no sense. Time and time again I hunted with him on southern beaches and while I went begging, he’d come up with rings, chains and gold watches. Phenomenal! There were times when I could have kicked him in the nuts with frustration.

His favoured machine was an entry level, British-built, C-Scope 200 with a 6”-coil. I never outperformed Colin on the beach, neither did anyone else. On every beach trip I ever went with him, he never once failed to find gold. I once asked why he didn’t buy a more expensive machine. “What for?” he replied (stupid bloody question I suppose). It all serves to show that it’s not so much the machine but where one uses it….if you can read the beach, understand how the tides work, and where it ‘parks’ coins and rings, you’ll become another Colin Hanson.

The moral of the story is to find a beach, study it and its tidal movements, and act accordingly. If this is too difficult to take on-board, try Morris Dancing, or, archaeology!


"If the scale do turn, but in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate." (The Merchant of Venice, by Wm Shakespeare)

In the recent European Elections, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) swept the political board bringing Great Britain many steps closer to giving the European Union; a confederation run by unelected bureaucrats, primarily designed it seems, for snouts-in-the-trough, corrupt, sleaze-balls, the Bum’s Rush!

If Britain does eventually leave this corrupt, inefficient, UNESCO-esque gravy-train, how will ex-pats Brits abroad fare? What will become of UK treasure hunters living abroad in the European Union, say in Poland? Will they become ‘aliens’? Will they be required to take Polish citizenship for example? Will they have to apply for work permits? Maybe they will be forced to return to their native land to find work? What will happen to those of them who’ve spent their waking hours slagging-off the UK government, its principles and its heritage work?

Perhaps it’s a case of what goes around, comes around? I can see trouble ahead (with any luck) …for some!



”Bad men are full of repentance”….Aristotle

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


May 23, 2014


There’s a lot of confusion particularly amongst some UK novice detectorists as to the ins and outs of written agreements with landowners. In fact, it’s all very straightforward. If you want it Kosher then go to the fountain’s head for refreshment: The Portable Antiquities Scheme is the source, handing down excellent advice on the subject from its website http://finds.org.uk/ (much of it applicable in principle to the US too, by the way). I quote:-

Guidance for landowners, occupiers and tenant farmers in England and Wales

Metal-detecting, Field-walking and searching for Archaeological Objects: guidance for landowners, occupiers and tenant farmers in England and Wales

This guidance had been jointly produced by the Country, Land & Business Association, the National Farmers Union and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, September 2010.Finds Agreement

  • It is recommended that landowners/farmer occupiers have a written 'finds agreement' (available from the CLA or NFU) with anyone wishing to search, outlining the nature of the permission, the area to be searched and what happens to any objects found.

  • Many people go to the countryside to search for archaeological objects. They mostly search on cultivated and arable land.

  • The majority of people looking for archaeological objects are metal-detector users, and are likely to be members of the National Council for Metal Detecting (www.ncmd.co.uk) and/or the Federation of Independent Detectorists (www.fid.newbury.net). Both organisations have a Code of Conduct by which their members are required to operate as a condition of membership and also provide members with public liability insurance.

  • Field-walkers and/or other amateur or professional archaeologists also may seek permission to search. In most cases they will recover finds from the soil surface, such as worked flint or pottery, but (with the landowner/farmer occupier's permission) may also wish to excavate. Such individuals may be affiliated to a local museum, archaeological society, university or be professional archaeological contractors. Many archaeologists will be members of the Institute for Archaeologists (www.archaeologists.net) and follow its Code of Conduct.

  • A Code of Practice on Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales (see www.finds.org.uk) has been endorsed by all key archaeological bodies and metal-detecting and landowner/farmer organisations. This is the first time that these bodies have joined together to define responsible metal-detecting and provide a clear definition of what constitutes good practice.

  • Landowner/farmer occupiers also have a duty of care under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 and 1984

Bill Pearlstein, a principal of the US law firm, Pearlstein & McCullough, summed-up the basis of it all when he wrote on Washington, DC, Peter Tompa’s authoritative Cultural Property Observer blog, that, “The fundamental principal of US and UK law that no one can ever take title of stolen property has been the basis of numerous successful claims for the return of antiquities.”

Some of the more astute and better organised detecting clubs and groups retain their own firms of solicitors (attorneys in the US) - whose names appear on the clubs’ headed notepaper – and who negotiate mutually agreeable search contracts with third parties. The contents of these contracts are nobody’s business except the signatories: It’s their deal, their business. The same goes for rallies. These are legal and wholesome events enjoyed by many and the fact the usual suspects foam at the mouth in protest, is hard luck on them!


A group of terrorists burst into the conference room at the Hilton Hotel, where the British archaeologists were holding their annual convention. More than a hundred archaeologists were taken hostage. The terrorist leader announced that unless their demands were met, they would release one archaeologist every hour.



It’s manifestly obvious, even to the terminally dim, that anyone venturing forth on land that’s not theirs requires permission – Rights of Way accepted -- to do so from the landowner. Though it’s mainly metal detectorists who chase down this permission, other pursuits requiring similar access include among others, ‘field-walkers and/or other amateur or professional archaeologists’ who all need the same agreements to some degree or another. Precisely how many amateur fieldwalkers/archaeologists ride roughshod over landowner’s rights by wilfully ignoring written permission, or how they divvy-up of their ill-gotten pottery shards and flint tools without the landowner getting a fair shake -- though figures are apocryphal – is at best rare; at worst non-existent. There’s little more frustrating than researching a meadow or field only to have had these ‘Sunday Strollers’ removing artefacts willy-nilly and all going unrecorded. Is this ‘irresponsible’ archaeology? Of course it is!

What at first glance appears to be a new phenomenon, currently dubbed, ‘Dayhawking’, has been going on for years, especially by well-meaning bumbling amateur history societies. Indeed, archaeology has a long and distinguished record of looting other country’s artefacts mostly craftily cloaked in the mantle of ‘research’. Yeah, right!

The total sums ‘earned’ from this insidious mugging is anyone’s guess; but assuming the miscellany of items hoiked from the UK’s arable farmland as just one prime example, pans out at £1.00 per item, yes just one pound, for every pottery shard and flint tool stolen without written permission since 1900 say, must run to millions of pounds.

I often come into contact with landowners in a social context, and many tell me they have given verbal permission to non-detectorists (arkies, etc.) on the basis that, “they seemed harmless enough,” and are astounded when I tell them pottery shards and flints are worth good money. “What b******s”, one NFU man told me, “Thanks for the information.”

Whereas all NCMD/FID affiliated metal detecting clubs initiate written agreements as a matter of course, sadly similar ‘agreement templates’ are unsurprisingly, you might think, missing from archaeological websites. This suggests amateurs of the Sunday afternoon, rambling ‘Bobble-hatted Brigade,’ dupe landowners to ‘opt in’ – or put crudely…. ‘If they don’t ask, we won’t tell ‘em.’ One has only look at the PAS database to discover the huge discrepancy between the over-abundance of detector-found items compared to what amounts to a famine of artefacts from archaeological activity. Why is this I wonder? I’ll leave that for you to answer!

So, be alert to the threat of Dayhawks. Tell your landowners about them and negotiate where you can; sole search rights!


Pillow Talk

A guy goes down for breakfast and it is quite obvious his wife has the hump with him. He asks he what’s the matter? She replies, "Last night you were talking in your sleep and I want to know who Linda is?" Thinking quickly on his feet he tells her that Linda was 'Lucky Linda' and was the name of a horse that he bet on that day and won him £50. She seemed quite happy with the explanation and he went off to work. When he got home that night, his wife had the hump with him again. Asking her what the matter was now, she replied "Your horse just phoned."


I’ll see y’all in the bar,…arrrgh!


May 14, 2014

Pirate’s Treasure Up For Grabs!

Born near Calais in northern France between 1688 and 1690 into a wealthy middle-class family, Olivier Levasseur after a good education, became an officer in the French navy and fought in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714); a period of hostility between the European powers, including a divided Spain, over who had the right to succeed Charles II as King of Spain.

France's King, Louis XIV, conferred on Levasseur Letters of Marque, effectively licensing him as a privateer -- or pirate -- to attack foreign shipping and seize cargoes for the French crown. Privateers were an accepted part of naval warfare and were authorised by most of the major naval powers.

By the cessation of hostilities and he and his crew had developed an unquenchable thirst for the adventurous, not to mention lucrative, pirate life; a lifestyle they were reluctant to abandon. In 1716 they threw in their lot with master pirate, Benjamin Hornigold.

A born leader, Levasseur was every inch the pirate figure, and looked the part; sporting a livid cutlass scar across his face. His bold, swift, attacking and raiding style, earned him the soubriquet, ‘The Buzzard. ’ The legend of Levasseur was born. He had found his niche in life. He was successful, very successful, amassing great wealth from his nefarious activities and is widely regarded as the wealthiest of all pirates and much of his vast wealth remains undiscovered.

In one of piracy’s most renowned exploits he captured the Lisbon-bound, Portuguese galleon ‘Nossa Senhora do Cabo,’ loaded to the gunnels with treasure. Levasseur boarded her without firing a single shot because the Cabo, having been seriously damaged in a violent storm had jettisoned her cannons to avoid capsizing.

The captured booty was vast; gold and silver bars, chests laden with golden Guineas, precious stones, pearls, silks, and religious icons belonging to Goa’s, Se Cathedral, including the fabulous, so-called, ‘Flaming Cross of Goa’ made from the purest gold, inlaid with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds (valued at around £10,000,000). The Cross was so heavy, three crewmen were required to carry it aboard Levasseur’s pirate ship!

As was the pirate custom, the captured treasure was shared amongst the crew with each man receiving some £50,000 in golden guinea pieces, and forty diamonds apiece. Levasseur naturally, took the ‘Flaming Cross of Goa’.

In 1724 the French government issued a pirate amnesty. Levasseur despatched an emissary to the Indian Ocean island of Bourbon (now known as Réunion) east of Madagascar, to talk terms with the French government’s representative. However, the amnesty came with strings attached… the French wanted the return of their stolen loot. Levasseur was having none of that!

For next few years he kept a low profile living a quiet life in a hideout in the Seychelles. However, French agents eventually captured him on Madagascar, where taken prisoner, he was shipped in chains to the town of Saint-Denis, on Réunion. On 7th July 1730, he was hanged for piracy.

Standing on the scaffold, he tore off a necklace which he threw into the assembled crowd with his final words, "Find my treasure, the one who may understand it!" The necklace bore a code of seventeen lines leading to, legend says, his fabulous treasure. The whereabouts of the necklace remains unknown. Many tried to decipher the code; it remains unbroken.

The code is reproduced along with an alphabet believed to have been used by Levasseur previously which some believe, believe has masonic undertones.

If you think you want to tackle this be sure and read the following first.....

Seychellois man tormented by treasure hunt

Good luck.

Congrats to Odyssey Marine

The world leaders in underwater exploration have done it again with the recovery of gold bullion from the wreck of the Central America which went down in a storm off the Carolinas. Their success again highlights the fact (unpalatable for some) that private enterprise leads the way in underwater exploration and treasure recovery projects. Investing in these ventures is a gamble but one worth taking, as opposed to what might one expect in the way of financial returns from sinking one’s ‘hard earned’ into (presumably) for-profit private archaeological companies? Not a bloody lot I suggest. I can already hear the gnashing of teeth and the whining and moaning from certain quarters at this obvious truism.

Critics of Odyssey Marine are more often than not, green-eyed heritologists rampant with jealousy, or others of this ilk with radical axes to grind. Naturally enough, they very conveniently forget to mention that Odyssey funds its own explorations, unlike archaeology that relies on financial support often arm-twisted out developers, builders, local councils, or unwilling tax payers. They huff and puff that private enterprise treasure hunters are making money from the common heritage – then pocket thousands from the public purse – in salaries -- to do ‘archaeology’. The result? Simply look at the appalling situation across the country where millions of artefacts hoiked from archaeological digs are languishing unloved, unrecorded and unclassified. The loss to the historical record by some of these so-called professionals, beggars belief.

All of which raises the question: Should ‘private-enterprise archaeology’ be more accountable to its financers, particularly where the term ‘professional’ is the incestuous metaphor for ‘excellence’? Some people earnestly believe the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, consider primary legislation to put an end to this shameful state of affairs.


Ty Brook – The Thinking Man’s Treasure Hunter

Following on from Dick Stout’s comments on Ty Brook, I have to add that if one thing in this life is for-sure, Ty Brook, will never see the inside of the US Diplomatic Corp’s staff canteen! No Suh! I doubt they’d even give him the key to the Janitor’s toilet! He is to diplomacy what the Boston Strangler was to door-to-door salesmen; you see, he’s possessed of this very embarrassing gift for saying things the way they are. He takes no prisoners. Oh yes, he’s an A-1 electronics engineer; A-1 treasure hunter and writer who he knows what he’s talking about!

His book, Inside Treasure Hunting, is a revelation; what he writes is equally applicable to the UK. The section on buying and selling used equipment for example, is a real-eye-opener. His comments and advice on over-twiddling with the controls, especially the DISCRIM and SENS, will as usual, fall on the stony ground of the terminally dim.

It’s all good stuff and well worth a read and well deserving of a place on every thinking treasure hunter’s bookshelf.


Oh Yes, Size Really Matters…

I sometimes wonder - not so much how many hobbyists really understand this hobby – but how many really understand the workings and capabilities of their machines. During a recent sojourn in the Duchy of Cornwall I managed a couple of beachcombing sorties to a particular cove; mostly sandy but with a rock-strewn reef exposed by the Ebb tide.

During one of the sorties I met up with a fellow traveller searching the boulder-strewn and rocky reef section of the beach, an area screaming out for a small-diameter coil and a sharp thin-ish trowel, or screwdriver for hoiking out coins wedged into, and between the rocks. He was searching with a hard-wired, 10”-coil, and a spade-type digging tool. Me? I had my ATPro kitted out with a 4.5”-Super Sniper and a 25-yr old Alligator trowel.

During conversation, he grassed-up his detecting mate, “My pal searches here with a 15”-coil.”

“Well good for him,” says I, “That leaves more for the rest of us.”

He looked baffled.

“And he takes ages to dig down through this stuff. I don’t even bother! This area has been picked clean,” he advised, then looking down at my machine (the ATPro), “Ah, there’s a lot of them down here. They’re very popular.”

“Surely,” I says, “You both must be missing lots of stuff, especially that mate of yours?”

He again looked baffled.

“Anyway, have you found anything?” says I.

“Nah. You?”

“Only this,” says I, “Right where you were hunting along the edge of the rocks. It was end-on, with a crisp clear signal,” fishing out what appears to be a sestertius of Emperor Commodus (31 August 161 AD – 31 December 192 AD). According to the Cornwall Heritage Trust, ‘Roman sites and finds in Cornwall are few and far-between, providing only tantalising glimpses of their presence…’.

The coin weighs 10.6 grams and is 26mm in diameter, and struck from oricalcum, a golden bronze alloy. It may have been washed inshore from a roman shipwreck, particularly bearing in mind that the romans evolved a lucrative trade exporting tin-ore mined in Cornwall, to Europe.

“Those small coils don’t miss much do they,” he said.

This time I looked baffled. This is not rocket science, I mused to myself.

Why, I wondered, was my new pal using a non-changeable, 10-inch hot-wired coil in an area where he must have known a 10”-coil would be as effective as a concrete parachute? More to the point why does his pal insist on using a 15”-incher over the same ground; where all coins will be end-on, wedged in rocks and ‘blind’ to most coils over 8”-diameter and where a screwdriver or thin trowel, not a shovel, is the ideal recovery tool?

I’ll tell you why. He’s a beachcomber who works the sandy areas out on the extremes of the foreshore; rightly he opts for depth. But mistakenly, he imagines he’ll find the same degree of success over rocky reefs. The problem for him is that he’s trying to cover the entire beach with a single machine and one that doesn’t allow for coil interchangeability. His metal detector was the type that’s perfect for deep, wet/dry sand work only.

As I’ve written previously, I’d always opt for a smaller coil before buying a larger diameter one especially something half the size of Texas. On beaches where rocks and rubbish rule…go small!



Gold is a treasure, and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in this world, and succeeds in helping souls into paradise….Christopher Columbus

I’ll see y’all in the bar,…arrrgh!


May 2, 2014


My apologies to Oscar Wilde; playwright, wit, and celebrated homosexual, who first coined the phrase, though in the example above I substituted ‘To’ for his original ‘Not’. In the late Victorian era, when dear old Oscar was holding court in Victorian London’s artiest haunts and affecting minor outrages with his mon amour, Lord Alfred Douglas, being ‘gay’ was punishable with incarceration in one of Her Majesty’s hotels. Oscar finally wound up doing two years Penal Servitude (hard labor) in Reading Gaol – the inspiration for his famous ballad.

Thank goodness in these enlightened times society is more understanding. Nowadays, tyrants are narcissists, hard-Left archaeo-politicos who peddle the Marxist line that private property is a no-no, along with other assorted dross posing as academics (even detectorists!) whose life’s work is portraying detectorists/ treasure hunters -- that’s YOU by the way – as the kind of thing one might inadvertently step in on the sidewalk. They get their rocks off insulting anyone they consider their intellectual inferiors…usually detectorists/treasure hunters.

Of course, there’s nothing unethical in being a treasure hunter – far from it. Neither is there anything wicked about hunting for profit PROVIDED, I suggest, that what you find is legally found, and suitably recorded somewhere; in a diary perhaps; on a pack of Marlboros (other cigarettes are available); or better still, with a museum – just give ‘em the data. It’s YOUR history too! More people own metal detectors than dabble in archaeology as a pastime….so don’t let the tail wag the dog! The United States is the spiritual home of treasure hunting…be proud of that heritage.

From my experiences of visiting the States, I know there’s cadre of detectorist/treasure hunters who have amassed superb collections of material from the Civil War era -- for example -- and who are themselves experts in the subject. The problem is that researchers unconnected with metal detecting have a hard time tracking down these expert historians; they and their collections scattered to the four winds.

Perhaps what’s needed is a register/database of these clued-up specialist historian? From my own experience as a freelancer and editor, tracking down good and reliable specialists can be a nightmare; not only where a photograph of a particular artefact is required for illustration, but how and where to locate such a piece. If such a database existed it would prove to be an invaluable research tool.

If it were possible to engage this database – if the will exists to bring it to fruition – it would dovetail neatly with an emerging new phenomenon. Taking their cue from the UK’s world-beating Portable Antiquities Scheme, some of the shrewder US archaeologists are beginning to both recognize the advantages of tapping into this seam of knowledge, and are slowly realizing that the usual lurid tales about metal detecting is nonsense propaganda. Some are even on the receiving end of ad hominen insults and abuse from the aforementioned vacuous ‘academic’ archaeo-dross for siding with us, and many are keen to put daylight between these weirdoes and mainstream archaeology for fear that all archaeologists will be similarly branded. So while we have to contend with our detractors, so do some archaeologists.


A translator is someone who liked words as a kid but didn't have enough charisma to be an accountant.



It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.….W. C. Fields

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


April 22, 2014


Most of you will recall the debate on Stout Standards when UK archaeologists tried to deny that they, unlike us ‘unscientific’ types, carefully excavated the top three to four feet of topsoil – the same topsoil in which we as detectorists find our casual losses. These UK archaeological know-nothings, aided and abetted by their bum-licking stool-pigeon who inhabit the fringes (yes, this kind of low-life really does exist), collaborated to say that ABSOLUTELY, we were destroying so-called, (but) mythical contextual data in that topsoil.

This is the logo of RESCUE. Says it all really!

Now ‘Eres a Funny Thing!

‘North Korea detains a ‘rash’ American’… headlined a brief report. Intrigued, I read on...

According to the brief report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph on the 26 April, the North Koreans detained a US citizen identified as Miller Matthew Todd, 24, for “rash behaviour” on the 10 April while passing through immigration control. According to the North Korean news agency, KCNA, he was taken into custody for “his rash behaviour in the course of going through formalities for entry.” Upon his arrival, the KCNA announced, he tore up his tourist visa shouting that “he would seek asylum” and had come to North Korea “after choosing it as a shelter.” Blimey! What sort of loony-toon would leave the free West to live under communism?


April 22, 2014


Over on a certain Warsaw blogsite where miscellaneous claptrap masquerades as educated opinion, and rarely fails to disappoint, has just had a top-up of the usual ad hominen and sexist insults. It’s all quite amusing, though it says more about those who commit this kind of nonsense than those on the receiving end of the vitriol.

The latest effort is a classic, laced with latent envy. The Warsaw blog’s chief scribe informs us that Roberta Mazza, a Classics lecturer and Ancient Historian at the University of Manchester (UK) wrote a screed on her blog under the attention-grabbing title, 'Papyri, private collectors and academics: why the wife of Jesus and Sappho matter,’ giving intricate details about a fragment of papyri. The Warsaw blogger quotes Ms Mazza thus:

"Dirk Obbink does not provide any detail on acquisition circumstances and documents in the final publication of what is now called in papyrological language ‘P. Sapp. Obbink’, just out (Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 189, 2014, 32-49).

The Warsaw scribbler then adds a rider:

“It seems rather unfortunate that somebody (Dr Obbink himself?) chose the scholar's name to define the papyrus. It rather suggests he himself is the owner. Is he? How come?”


Is Wally on a Roll?

So, the famed Dr Dirk Obbink of Oxford University has secured a place in posterity by having an important piece of papyri named in his honour? Well not too worry I say to our Warsaw-based comrade, an internationally respected, academic colossus; you have your place in posterity too. Another type of paper exists that certainly reveres your memory…it comes on a roll of about 240 perforated sheets and usually found in the smallest, public room in most museums.



"The United States of America became the envy of the world because we welcomed the best and brightest minds from anywhere on the planet and gave them the opportunity to succeed". (I guess the dunces went East? Dick.) ......Naveen Jain


I’ll see you in the bar


April 15, 2014


"Although the UK is not a signatory to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (CPUCH) and therefore not bound by CPUCH, Odyssey’s proposed agreement is consistent with the archaeological principles of CPUCH."

Precisely why the UK is not a signatory to CPUCH’s shenanigans is unknown; maybe Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) is following the lead of the US?



On the face of it UNESCO appears to be a safe anchorage for a host of fellow travellers: Self-righteous culturists; holier-than-thou archaeologists; and sanctimonious heritage crusaders.

Contrary to the soap-box ravings of Unesco’s fanatical evangelists, along with some of its bigoted casual labourers demanding full legal control over everyone else’s culture, and anyone audacious enough to question -- what many people regard as -- a rag-bag, corrupt, doctrine; this organization of international collaboration (so-called) is hardly the epitome of a non-corrupt, crime-free, non-political Utopia. An amalgam of sleazy, right-on, Collectivists perhaps.

The New American magazine’s recent analysis of Unesco unsurprisingly perhaps, pulled no punches.

“…In 1984, President Ronald Reagan, responding to considerable public outcry over a long string of UNESCO abuses, announced that the U.S. was dropping its membership in the organization. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) by that time had accumulated a longstanding record of notoriety for waste, corruption, subversion, and espionage,”

Neither is The New American alone in its views:

UNESCO Damagine the World's Treasures?

Leaked Documents

E. Guinea Leader Sends Playboy Son to UNESCO

Prize Fools

The New American, continues:-

“Tens of millions of our tax dollars could soon flow into the massive UNESCO bureaucracy to fund a plethora of radical activities. UNESCO is busy worldwide promoting […] usurping national sovereignty over historical landmarks and natural wonders, claiming authority over maritime salvage and excavation, and devising new spiritual guidelines for humanity. Most importantly, UNESCO is pursuing a dangerous agenda that aims at establishing its authority as a global school board that will direct lifelong education for every soul on the planet.

“Noble-sounding words. Almost since its inception, however, UNESCO has been a lightning rod for criticism and bitter debate, due largely to its service as a conduit for blatant Communist propaganda, a forum for virulent anti-Americanism, and an aggressive advocate for radical social engineering. In 1955, Congressman Lawrence H. Smith of Wisconsin described the United Nations and UNESCO as “a permanent international snake pit where Godless Communism is given a daily forum for hate, recrimination, psychological warfare against freedom, and unrelenting moral aggression against peace.”

“Anti-Communists, patriotic organizations, and veterans groups had been protesting and documenting the offenses of UNESCO for many years and building the case for withdrawing U.S. membership, but it was UNESCO’s proposed New World Information Order (NWIO) that finally proved to be the last straw. Under the Orwellian NWIO scheme, UNESCO proposed to license and control all journalists, broadcasters, and media personnel worldwide — the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights notwithstanding. This finally got the attention of members of the “liberal” press, who for decades airily dismissed the warnings of UNESCO’s conservative critics. The NWIO provided the critical impetus needed to spur U.S. withdrawal.”

The cannier readers will already know where to find the dogma’s Mother Lode; now crystalized into a calorie-free regime, dubbed the Warsaw Diet, intended for the consumption of archaeo-politico weirdoes dipping their serving spoons into the rancid gumbo of a poisonous anti-collecting, anti-detecting, and anti-American blog. This dictatorial, but plentiful fare where the truth is carefully filleted out, is ravenously wolfed down by the loony fringe, along with the Commissars-in-Waiting, and heritage hangers-on, for whom, “usurping national sovereignty over historical landmarks,” is a core strategic belief.

“The Gipper” got it right it perhaps. The “Kipper” (two-faced, yellow, and gutless) and like the effect a smoked fish can have on one’s digestive system repeats; getting it wrong, again, and again, and again!



How can you spot a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you spot an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin …..Ronald Reagan

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


April 10, 2014


TAMPA, Fla., July 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – “Odyssey Marine Exploration pioneers in the field of deep-ocean exploration, has recovered over 61 tons of silver bullion this month from a depth of nearly three miles.

“This recovery of bullion from the SS Gairsoppa, […] consists of 1,574 silver ingots weighing about 1,100 ounces each or almost 1.8 million troy ounces in total, sets a new record for the deepest and largest precious metal recovery from a shipwreck. The silver has been transported to a secure facility in the United Kingdom.”

SS Gairsoppa

The 5,237-ton SS Gairsoppa with her cargo of pig iron, tea, general cargo, and silver ingots (then worth £600,000 - $1.8 million US) inbound to London from Calcutta was part of convoy SL.64, when she was detached to Galway due to lack of fuel.

On February 16, 1941, west of Ireland, a patrolling German Focke-Wulf Fw 200 ‘Condor’, a four-engined long-range reconnaissance/attack aircraft circled her at 08:00 and being in radio contact with U-101 directed the submarine into the attack. Kapitänleutnant Ernst Mengersen* the U-101’s commander put a torpedo into the Gairsoppa’s starboard side by the No. 2 Hold. She went down within 20-minutes; her last reported position; 50°00'N 14°0'W, 300 miles (480 km) southwest of Galway Bay, Ireland.

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor

Three of the ship’s lifeboats were launched, but only one, in the charge of the Second Mate Richard Ayres with four Europeans and two Lascars on board, made it away; the remaining crew were lost. By the 13th day adrift in wintry Atlantic seas only Richard Ayres, Robert Hampshire the radio officer, seaman-gunner, Norman Thomas, and a Lascar seaman, remained alive. Ayres’ boat reached the Cornish coast two weeks later off the rock-strewn, Caerthillian Cove in the parish of Landewednack. The boat capsized in heavy seas off the Lizard Point. Only Ayres was pulled from the sea alive. The others Robert Hampshire, Norman Thomas, and the unknown Lascar sailor, died trying to get ashore. They are buried in St Wynwallow's Churchyard, Church Cove, Landewednack, Cornwall.

In 2011, Odyssey Marine discovered the wreck and her cargo of silver bullion bars with an estimated value of £150-million (($210 million US), delivering twenty per cent of the silver bars to the Royal Mint who have minted twenty-thousand .999 fine silver Limited Edition coins, denominated as a 50-pence pieces, struck from the recovered silver bullion.

SS Gairsoppa Britannia 2014 UK Quarter-Ounce Silver Coin
£30.00 each

A fine tribute, and memorial, to a gallant crew.
Kapitänleutnant Mengersen among the crew of
U-101 after patrol in December 1940

Born 30 Jun 1912 Bremke, Lippe, Died 6 Nov 1995 (83)
  • 12 ships sunk, total tonnage 68,071 GRT
  • 1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,190 tons
  • 3 ships damaged, total tonnage 20,159 GRT
Norman Thomas

Co-incidence: Norman Thomas’s surviving aunt it transpires, a near neighbour of mine).


Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake….Napoleon Bonaparte

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

April 5, 2014

John Howland

This little gem from that droll charity’s website, the Council for British Archaeology, under the heading;

Treasure and Portable Antiquities

“Treasure hunting' appears to be becoming increasingly popular in the US and now the UK. It is therefore increasingly vital that everyone fully understands all the issues involved in the search for 'treasure' and the potentially devastating impact this can have on archaeology.”

Never mind all that bullshit CBA…what about the damaging impact archaeology has on metal detecting? It’s about time the CBA got it through its collective s dense noggin that searchers for ‘treasure’ have as much right as CBA members have to search for what they term ‘archaeological items’, and the days are over when they could insult us, and lie without being taken to task. Them days is over! And on current form, treasure hunters/detectorists are streets ahead in the reporting stakes as the dreadful situation that endures in the UK proves.

If there is a ‘devastating impact’ on the heritage, then it’s one caused by archaeologists themselves by allowing hundreds of thousands of priceless artefacts to lay unrecorded, unclassified, in hangars and sheds across Britain. The Institute of Archaeologists in Ireland (IAI), describes the situation as, “a very serious problem”. Even the CBA’s freelance sidekick, the detector-hating archaeo-blogger and AEC clairvoyant, Paul Barford, was moved to helpfully throw his hat into the ring, “The problem, however, is one that affects museums throughout the British Isles.”

All of which seems somewhat at odds with CBA Director Mike Heyworth’s remarks further down their website’s page:-

'New discoveries have a lot to tell us about past human behaviour, but this can only happen if we record the fullest information about the finds and the place they are found. Evidence from the past is fragile and should not be damaged or lost in an attempt to generate financial profit for individuals. Britain’s treasures should be available for everyone to understand and appreciate, and kept safe and available for long-term study.'

Indeed, Britain’s treasure should be available for everyone to understand and unlike archaeology, detectorists and treasure hunters log finds with the Portable Antiquities Scheme; where again, unlike archaeology, hundreds of thousands of artefacts are NOT lying about in plastic bags unrecorded.

I doubt the CBA’s ‘rubber heel squad’ -- if they have one -- will pour into any passion into the badly needed investigation into the corruption, theft, and cause of the prevailing maladministration of the nation’s heritage. Whether any CBA members or affiliated archaeological groups have been party to the current ‘widespread’ scandal, and in the absence of a definite and positive statement from the CBA’s top brass, then the dark cloud of nudge, nudge, wink, wink, hangs over them.

Conceivably, the CBA ought to seriously consider issuing an edict; that all its members report the fruits of their excavations to the PAS so as to be sure of correct recording, and classifying.

Until then CBA, don’t lecture treasure hunting/metal detecting. You’ve got work to do!!


Two men are approaching each other on a sidewalk. Both are dragging their right foot as they walk. As they meet, one man looks at the other knowingly, points to his foot and says, "Vietnam, 1969." The other points his thumb behind him and says, "Dog crap, 20 feet back."

Un-Organized Crime?

As the scandal of unclassified artefacts piling up in sheds and hangars across the land gathers momentum, there’s one outstanding question that needs answering….security. We know that down the years rogue archaeologists (oh yes, they exist) and those employed on excavations have slipped more than the odd roman oil-lamp down the sides of their Wellie boots, though such nefarious activities have , and still are, deflected towards metal detectorists as the sole cause of dodgy stuff hitting the cobbles. Precisely how a metal detector will locate a ceramic bowl or lamp is never explained by these propagandists.

Nevertheless, the right questions urgently need asking and archaeology put under intense scrutiny, especially where the public funding of excavations is involved. Daring to even suggest the question is in the eyes of some archaeologists tantamount to Heresy. It’s never popular and I can hear some in archaeology squealing like stuck pigs at the prospect, or, sticking pins in voodoo dolls of me, hoping that I’ll drop off this mortal coil before the truth emerges.

With highly collectable (read, pricey) ceramics such as oil-lamps, one has to look at artefact integrity and excavation security. Once artefacts highly saleable pieces have been hoiked from the ground only the terminally dim are unable to guess their future; currently, a proportion wind up in a shed, unclassified, un-recorded, though for others they with the added bonus that their origin is un-traceable. In an ideal world, every piece should be traceable back to the precise point from whence it was recovered. But we don’t live in an ideal world and shady archaeologists stride the globe; otherwise this rotten situation such as exists would never occur.

If the security surrounding archaeological artefacts is as porous as some believe, where are these stolen goods heading? Collectors? Maybe…but collectors are fully aware that for an item to have any value as a future investment, provenances are vital; and corrupt officials know this only too well also, which brings us the soft underbelly of heritage wheeler-dealing… corruption…who’s providing these faked provenances for stolen items? Though I can’t tell you precisely, I can certainly say who’s not and it ain’t treasure hunters or metal detectorists.

Ancient Rome, Redware oil lamp

Here’s the irony. Let’s suppose for the sake of illustration, one of aforementioned oil-lamps is a mint-condition example of a 2nd Century roman type. For a no-questions-asked, cash deal, a provenance – so I’m told -- can be arranged, though nailing down the oil-lamp’s exact source – the original excavation – might be a little more difficult to establish, especially if that excavation was known to have, unusually, intense security. It wouldn’t take long for a sharp-eyed curator to realise that an ‘extra’ oil-lamp appearing on the market when say; only five were ever recovered from a particular dig.

However, with the current situation in Britain, there’s no such problem it seems, as apparently, no one knows where, or when, any one of the hundreds of thousands of priceless items were sourced. It has the potential of being a rogue’s field day! It stands to reason therefore, that under the current archaeological non- reporting system, it’s possible that thousands of excavated items have may never have even reached the so called sanctity of a rural shed, having been illicitly been provenance and flogged off!

Former US diplomat Arthur Houghton, put it rather succinctly in a comment on Peter Tompa’s Cultural Property Observer website, “Peter, this is archaeology's dirty secret. Excavate, do not classify, do not publish, excavate, excavate, it is such fun. Those who carry on in this manner or accept and enable it should be severely sanctioned.”

If only, Mr Houghton, if only!

The British bearded, salad-munching, bicycling, archaeologist who lives and works in Warsaw, Poland, came up with the brilliant idea on Peter Tompa’s CPO blog, with the answer to the whole debacle, “Maybe you and Mr Howland think the whole lot should be sold off to private collectors?”

I can’t speak for Peter Tompa, but that’s a terrific idea.



"I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it. .... Edith Sitwell

I’ll see you in the bar….


April 1, 2014


by John Howland

Britain’s archaeologists are apparently world leaders when it comes to maltreating artefacts. This depressing lack of an efficient recording and classification system makes that which is happening in Egypt look almost regimented. That hundreds of thousands of precious artefacts hoiked from excavations by ‘archaeologists’ (often by assorted work experience ‘yoofs,’ or students whose only motivation is the possibility of an ‘off piste’ leg-over at base-camp) are languishing unrecorded and unclassified, is nothing short of a national disgrace. Heads must roll.

The scandal broke in the wake of a report by the BBC’s, News Northern Ireland correspondent, Kevin Magee who reported that, “Hundreds of thousands of archaeological items recovered from historic sites in Northern Ireland are lying unclassified in plastic bags and boxes.

They are often being kept outside the jurisdiction because there is no proper facility to store them. One estimate says up to 24 container loads of archaeological objects are being stored by private companies.

The Institute of Archaeologists in Ireland (IAI), said it was "a very serious problem". It said no tangible progress had been made to find a solution […] “It cost millions of pounds to dig the material out of the ground, but because of storage problems, neither students nor the general public can access them,” his report claims.

To no-one’s surprise at all, archaeology’s top brass have so far escaped censure, nor are resignations expected any time soon. In a perfect world, resignations would be a matter of personal honour - but we are dealing with cavalier archaeologists – some of whom clearly don’t know their dutiful arses from their ethical elbows. This putrid state of affairs demands the guilty ones be de-frocked, or whatever it is they do with disgraced archaeologists, whose next job (for which they are apparently under-qualified) should include the work mantra, ‘Do you want fries with that.’

Hundreds of thousands of Northern Ireland's
archaeological items are lying unclassified

But what do we get from archaeology’s arrogant element in reply to this national disgrace – you know the ones, them that’s always banging on about detectorists not recording ‘finds’? Nothing! Not a peep! Schtum! Behind-the-scenes apparently, there’s a concerted damage limitation exercise under way to deflect public attention away from the scandal by turning up the propaganda wick to encourage the belief that the real scourges of the heritage are detectorists. It reveals a particular mind-set amongst these Artful Dodgers: Go on the attack and sweep any deficiencies under the carpet. Well that bullshit won’t work here and certainly won’t for as long as I can tap the keys on my keyboard.

For a start, we have the ‘random number generator and AEC diviner', Nigel Swift, giving hectares of space on his pisspoor blog over at the Heritage Journal posing the ersatz question, ‘So what IS responsible metal detecting?’ No doubt this incisive question causes enormous erectile functions amongst the dimmer of his male commentators’ along with the holier-than-thou ‘responsible detectorists,’ he’s got in tow. The question he should be asking is, ‘So what IS responsible archaeology?’

In one breath, this out-of-touch, detector-hating Grampy (one of Barford’s UK sock-puppets) berates detectorists for all manner of heritage crimes, whilst simultaneously ignoring the UK’s greatest heritage scandal of all time – one that’s going on right under his nose, and he can’t, or won’t, come to terms with it. You couldn’t write this stuff!

The millions of alleged heritage crimes ‘Grampy’ Swift attempts to lay at metal detecting’s door pales into insignificance by comparison to this latest archaeological outrage. But what of gobby Barford? You know the chap, the British fellow who claims to be an archaeologist who lives and works in Warsaw, Poland. Surely this scandal is right up his alley, innit? What’s his take on it all? “The problem, however, is one that affects museums throughout the British Isles,” he writes accusingly, but on what evidence he’s based that fact, he remains his usual coy self. Perhaps the Council for British Archaeology, always keen to be at the forefront when it comes to hammering the hobby, have something to say? Nope…f**k all! Could it be those who’ve caused this debacle are affiliated to the CBA? What one wonders, does the CBA and the Museums Association make of Barford’s ll-embracing claim of UK museum inefficiency?

So it’s hardly surprising to my mind and others, that heritage matters are of such vital importance they MUST NOT be left in the hands of people who simply can’t cut the heritage mustard. If ever there was a case for archaeology as a whole being legislatively bound to report their activities to a body that can actually do the business, then PAS is precisely the organisation to do it.

Tax-payers hard-earned money has been squandered by the millions on ‘archaeology’ and which now ought to be diverted away from incompetent ‘archaeology ‘and ploughed into the PAS to ensure nothing like this scandal ever happens again to our heritage. What will the Minister responsible make of it? Well if there’s any guts in Government and considering the amount of piss-taking, insults, and criticisms levelled at Conservative Culture Ministers - let me remind you Minister…Nigel Swift, Editor, Heritage Action is in the vanguard; read his blog to get the full flavour, http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/ Show us Minister, what you’re made of and get stuck into archaeology, Big Time. Save us taxpayers even more money…PLEASE!

The last thing archaeology needs is more money – they’d only squander it on useless conventions, piss-ups, and ‘Lefty’ conferences designed to condemn you and your government.

It’s the PAS that needs more cash so as to manage that which archaeology is clearly incapable of doing; properly recording and classifying OUR heritage, which is far too important to be left in the hands of the current crop nincompoops.

If you believe that public money ought to be diverted from ‘archaeology’ and into a scheme to reduce the hundreds of thousands of artefacts piling-up every day in unsuitable warehouses and storage facilities, then make you views known to the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Maria Miller at:- Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ. Tel: 020 7211 6000. Or email at: - enquiries@culture.gov.uk marked ‘For the attention of the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP.’


Burke or Hare? The Sound of Silence.

Non-archaeologist digs up human remains – shock horror!

Archaeologist digs up human remains and puts them on show in a glass case for people to gawp at? ….Deafening silence all round, and especially from Warsaw Wally along with others of his particular ilk.

One man’s alleged body-snatcher (?) is another man’s student of prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artefacts, inscriptions, and monuments (!) Jeez…give us a break!



If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters… Harvey Mackay

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


March 28, 2014


Before deciding either way you need to understand precisely what is meant by a Portable Antiquities Scheme. In the UK, the PAS describes itself thus:-

“The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a DCMS [Department of Culture, Media, and Sport] funded project to encourage the voluntary recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales. Every year 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.”

Judging from the responses to straw polls along with ad hoc comments from US hobbyists, the general consensus is that few, if any, valid reasons exist why such a scheme would not work in the US given there’s goodwill and determination on both sides: Which if harnessed correctly, could provide an historical record the like of which has never been seen previously in the US. The UK’s PAS is a truly impressive undertaking delivering a unique database upon which over four-hundred levels of academic research are currently being undertaken ranging from a Masters Degrees down to sixth-form A-Level archaeology studies.

Opponents of the PAS concept - predominantly in the minority – are incredibly within the heritage circus itself, or, camped out on the lunatic-fringe. Antagonists fear the PAS chiefly because it possesses the potential to expose ‘bad’ archaeology; which after gutting, exposes the entrails to intense public scrutiny. ‘Bad’ archaeology is problem archaeology itself must address; it has nothing to do with metal detecting. Critics of PAS are only too aware that sooner, rather than later, someone in the press corps, or even Congress, will land the sucker-punch question: What the hell have we been paying you guys for when all this stuff is coming in from amateurs?

So, a PAS for the US? Certainly, and why not? Even metal detecting’s arch-enemy who once dubbed its devotees as ‘in-breds,’ was moved to acknowledge that, “…archaeologists who for sixteen years have been trying to make it [the PAS] work and assess and present the results in the positive light that has earnt artefact hunting its current good reputation in the UK.” – Paul Barford, a translator living and working in Warsaw, Poland, commenting in this column on 2nd February, 2014.

Even his associate at Heritage Action (a volunteer internet ensemble) bandied about the words of archaeologist, Dr P Prentice - words of nuclear proportions:-

"Real archaeologists without an agenda have acknowledged for some time that amateur metal detectorists do little real damage to the archaeological record" - heritageaction quoting the good archaeologist on the Barford’s PACHI blog, Wednesday, 26 March 2014, by which time Barford had retracted earlier approbations and in an unsurprising volte-face, blurted out:-

“Artefact hunting is not considered anywhere else "a win-win for anyone who loves history", it is called looting, and archaeologist Prentice perhaps should think more carefully about the broader significance of what he so glibly says in support of artefact hunters.”

A PAS-system quite rightly elevates the status of metal detecting hobbyists to such a degree that radical opponents such as those in the UK and Europe who’d have us all summarily executed, are incandescent with self-righteous anger. But their efforts to thwart are fragmentary; amateurish to the point of being puerile, and unable to withstand proper scrutiny. Nonetheless, expect large helpings of this displeasure plus the usual ad hominen abuse (of the kind they dole out to me) as the US/PAS gathers momentum near the Start Line. This kind of airy-fairy censure is no cause for concern…and is best ignored.

That said, there is apparently, a deal of initial support from American heritologists too, not least from Florida archaeologist, Lisa McIntyre (herself a target of ad hominen abuse from unchivalrous archaeological extremists), whose tacit approval is in the vanguard of the fledgling US/PAS movement. From a personal standpoint, she would be an ideal figurehead to move things along. Though I don’t always agree with her comments on various aspects, at least she is possessed of the common decency to discuss matters in an adult, insult-free manner, and radically, has a CV with traceable provenances.

The general consensus between hobbyists and the likes of Lisa McIntyre is that all finds really ought to be recorded along with valuable ancillary data. As with the UK’s system once finds are properly recorded on the PAS database, they are handed back to the finders, who can then keep, or sell them to the highest bidder. Items that are legally found, legally recorded, can be legally sold. Indeed, all finds, complete with their written provenances, will certainly reinforce private collectors and museums who acquire pieces with the assurance that such artefacts are coming into the market-places legally, as opposed to illicitly or clandestinely excavated.

An added bonus of a PAS-scheme provides protection for private collectors, and collections resulting from metal detecting activity, from radical critics on the fringe of sanity tempted to point fingers with unconfirmed accusations of theft or illegal activity.

Naturally enough, a PAS should also apply to all the thousands of items that go unrecorded from archaeological excavations so as to avoid the truly appalling state of affairs in Northern Ireland as a prime example. In the UK, archaeologists are not bound to record finds with the PAS with the depressing result that on the 25th March 2014, BBC News Northern Ireland, reported:-

“ Hundreds of thousands of archaeological items recovered from historic sites in Northern Ireland are lying unclassified in plastic bags and boxes. They are often being kept outside the jurisdiction because there is no proper facility to store them.

One estimate says up to 24 container loads of archaeological objects are being stored by private companies. The Institute of Archaeologists in Ireland (IAI), said it was "a very serious problem".

It said no tangible progress had been made to find a solution.”

Curiously, while our history and heritage gathers dust, languishing unrecorded, nearly one million artefacts have been fully recorded and logged with the UK’s PAS database, predominantly by the matchless labours of Britain’s metal detectorists. Seeing as how this hobby contributes to the overall record, I’d like to see contributors getting a little more information in return with extra data accompanying each record such as the type and make of metal detector used, size of coil, and approximate depth.

Currently, the US is losing heritage data at an alarming rate; not because of clandestine or criminal trespass, but simply because the finds that are lovingly cared for in private collections remain uncoordinated. Authors and students wanting the deep-study of military movements in the Civil War say, would if they had any sense, try to make contact with the legion of expert relic hunters specialising in this era. Currently this web of experts is at best a loose patchwork, suggesting an improved system is required. But how? Where is the mechanism for this to happen?

Whilst some Civil War relic hunters are extremely well-educated, the lack of a university degree should not be mistaken for lack of expert knowledge! Nevertheless, these Civil War experts are scattered and various and for the serious students not easy to track down. I’m sure a US/PAS would be able to rectify the situation and bring these knowledgeable souls to the fore.

I am certainly not advocating legal compulsion, quite the opposite, since contributors to a voluntary scheme tend, in the main, to have greater integrity and respect with an undoubted willingness to share historical information. I’d bet a dime to a dollar that the appalling situation that exists with the UK’s inability to record artefacts from its own heritage uncovered by orthodox archaeological excavation, also exists to a greater or lesser extent in the US.

Perhaps campaigners of the US/PAS should seek-out the opinions of influential and internationally respected numismatists such as Washington lawyer, Peter Tompa, and Dave Welsh, et al, and bring them into the loop.

A PAS for the US…..you choose! No guts, no glory!



A couple of treasure hunters, Fred and Bill, are hunting a field close to a main road. Fred is just about dig out a gold coin when he sees a hearse driving slowly past. He stands up, removes his headphones and cap, closes his eyes, and bows his head in prayer.

His friend Bill exclaims: “Wow, Fred, that’s the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You truly are a kind man.”

Fred replies thoughtfully: “Yeah, well we were married for 35 years.”



Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game…….Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I’ll see y’all in the bar


March 25, 2014


It’s Been Fun…Lots of Fun!

My God, doesn’t time fly when you’re not getting paid for it! But let’s press on. One hundred and fifty Malamute Saloons on, Dick and I look back with hands on hearts and say we have had a ball during which we’ve met real gems of humanity, but stumbled across a few 24-carat rectums of the archaeological persuasion who were, and in some cases still are, as much of an embarrassment to their fellows as they are to anyone else with gram of common-sense.

On the fiscal front, the now infamous incident of the ‘twenty bucks’ ($20) owed to me for supplying copious ‘Buds’ and Bourbon’ chasers in an AC bar off the Boardwalk in 1986 remains legendary, not to mention unpaid. I’m now waiting the chance to get the defaulter – who must remain anonymous - in the bar of the Mayfly where retribution will be invoked.


Colin Hanson

All deaths are a tragedy but I was especially affected by the recent death of Colin Hanson, the Federation of Independent Detectorists brilliant secretary. Colin and I go back over thirty years, he was a great hunt buddy, and one who worked tirelessly for the hobby, even while fighting the long, hard battle against cancer which finally took him. Rest in peace old friend.


From Small Acorns…

In what began life as just a throwaway line when I asked the question why shouldn’t the US have a UK-style Portable Antiquities Scheme, has now morphed into a serious consideration and gathering momentum. With determination, backing, and money, it could all become a reality for the benefit of all.


Boo! He’s Behiiiiind Yoooo!

Some of the aforementioned rectums continue to labour under various peculiarities ranging from persecution complexes through to deliberately presenting fact as fiction, even graduating to outright lying. Annoyingly for them, they influence no-one, neither are they of any importance being out there in the Loony-sphere. That said, they provide great sport!

One of these cerebrally disadvantaged odd-balls is well-known to the cops who’ve advised him to refrain from being a nuisance and supported my claim that he’d libelled me.

A still-wackier member of this cadre regularly exhibits inconsistencies, which if absurdity were electricity, could illuminate Times Square. Some critics are less kind about these behavioural absurdities with descriptions ranging from ‘embarrassing nutter,’ to ‘bizarre boor,’ through to ‘delusions of adequacy.’ Obviously not the kind of medical characterizations sensitive souls like Dick and me would use to describe someone who is evidently a few sandwiches coins short of a picnic: ‘Shit-for-brains’ is probably more accurate.

Nevertheless, the rabidly ‘anti’ metal detecting, Mad Hatter, is a dangerous adversary for the unwary, naïve, and those who are desperate to plant a kiss on the loon’s sphincter as an act of reverence and compliance. I don’t begrudge him the few well-deserved scalps hanging outside his tepee. Hopelessly under-gunned, these Babes-in-the-Wood regularly fall prey to the ‘embarrassing nutter,’ who metaphorically speaking, regularly spills their blood in debate despite their white flags. They are easy meat. Very easy. Their regular ritual disembowelling is apart from being an excruciating read for the faint-hearted, is for a dyed-in-the-wool cynic like me - highly amusing.

Perhaps it all goes to illustrate the old adage that you can’t educate bacon.


I…Treasure Hunter

Turn away now, those of a nervous disposition. For almost thirty years I’ve used Garrett metal detectors. Why? Simply because they are the best in my view for my kind of treasure hunting. Be under no illusions - I am a treasure hunter and I sell what I find and I operate for profit. Provided records of finds spots are maintained then the subsequent fate of the find is academic. Oh sure, it will send heritologists into orbit, but if it’s legally found, it can be legally sold and I don’t give a toss what they think. I am not an arkie nor do I have any pretentions or ambitions to be one, but, I don’t mind helping them out when the need arises. However, I won’t be lectured by preachers looking for a religion. I have as much right to follow my interests as they have to follow theirs! Treasure hunting is legitimate, wholesome, healthy, and fun….don’t be afraid to admit to being one! Be proud!

Some people will vehemently disagree, and so be it: Nevertheless, records, accurate records, not the bogus stuff trotted out by those posing as arkies, are important. All this AEC guff has been rightly assigned to the trash can. Metal detecting – the search for casual losses from down the ages – is an important adjunct to our friends in Arkiedom. They need us if they are honest about recording the historical record and we ought to contribute to that record and a PAS-style system is overriding advantage to all concerned.

Ah! Some of you say…you ‘push’ Garrett because you’re on the payroll. I am not, and the reason I am not is because when the day dawns that a better set of machines – in my view – hits the cobbles, I’m not contractually shackled or under obligation remaining a free agent. My Garrett ATPro International for instance, at around £550 a throw, is an excellent machine – complex – but excellent. It’s adaptable; takes a host of coils making it exceedingly adaptable to all situations; being waterproof and dustproof, it’s the deal of the century. If you ‘horse trade’ with your dealer, you can get an ATPro and an ATGold (the benchmark for all nugget hunting machines) for under a Grand or thereabouts and with these two bits of kit you’ll have covered all the bases. Remember….high prices are no guarantee of success.

Having bought your two machines if you then swap the ATPro’s ‘standard’ coil and fit it to the ATGold…well try it out…you’ll be gobsmacked ….yeah it’s that good! Then fit the ATGold’s coil to the ATPro and hunt in the junkiest beach or park you can find… Though Garrett probably wouldn’t admit it, their ACE250, the world’s best-selling metal detector, has I reckon been under-pitched. Whereas they say it’s a ‘novice’ or introductory machine, I still maintain it’s arguably the best priced machine in the performance/price equation. I’ve used mine for beach work and in seawater-soaked sand and have recovered coins, watches, and other goodies where so-called ‘testers’ went to great pains to tell us that the ACE250 was not a beach machine. Fit an environment cover to the control box to keep the blowing sand at bay…and you are in for a glorious, treasure hunting ride!

Finally…I recommend what I use; I recommend what gives me the results. That is Garrett.


Look Where You Step…

Undoubtedly one of Stout Standards’ major victories was exposing the Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC) of which we are all familiar. With the help of our very astute and clued-up readers, it was shown to be nothing less than a huge con-trick for the consumption of the gullible. It surely ranks alongside the Piltdown Man debacle, and the Hitler Diaries catastrophe, in the annals of archaeology’s gaffes and bloomers; and like these two earlier balls-ups the AEC was also a fact-free enterprise, or as one critic succinctly dubbed it - a ‘random number generator.’ This ‘man-trap’ though carefully laid, landed an unexpected prize when the UK’s droll Council for British Archaeology who apparently hadn’t seen it lurking in the undergrowth of pleonasm - stepped right onto it!!!

Two birds. One stone, Job done!


Saving the Best till last - THE Team Effort!

Of all the mickey-taking and lampooning I have done over the years, there was one particular issue that reinforced my belief in human nature when, without equivocation, Stout Standards’ readers, relic hunters, and manufacturers rode at full tilt to help Ken McIntyre overcome a serious medical problem.

Well done to all of you who made it possible.



If you have enemies it means that you’ve stood up for something, sometime, in your life….

I’ll see y’all in the bar


March 13, 2014


“As most of you are aware Colin Hanson passed away in late January. At the time we decided to look into offering an alternate 3rd party liability insurance so there was a choice of groups to go with. Out of politeness and etiquette we contacted Colin’s family, with various discussions over the past month we have taken over FID itself with the families blessing.

At present the whole system is on a card file index so there is a lot of work to transfer Data onto a database, so please understand we have lots to do so please have patience with us if you have outstanding payments for renewal etc. we will deal with them ASAP. You were informed by Elaine that you will be covered until the end of this year, which is still the case, this will give us enough time to sort things, change all the stationary with all the new details, etc. for now we will adapt what we have.

For this year you will not receive any bulletins, these will start again in 2015 if all goes to plan. We did not take over any finances from Colin and his family, all that is left in the account will be donated to cancer research as requested by Colin, so we are starting completely from scratch financing things ourselves.

We will be having a dedicated phone line installed the number is yet to be issued, you can get us on mobile number 07944 464822 or email fid.cs@virginmedia.com. This is so it Separates it from our home life and Central Searchers. At Elaine’s request please do not contact her anymore regarding FID all enquiries to us. For any future correspondence please contact us on CSFID 27, Webb Road, RAUNDS, Wellingborough Northants NN9 6H

Kind Regards Richard and Gill Evans.”

I wish Central Searchers the very best of luck in getting FID back on track.



Dr David Clarke (http://drdavidclarke.co.uk/secret-files/secret-files-4/) is a senior lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University where he specialises in teaching media law and investigation skills, writes on his absorbing blog:

What is known today as the Rendlesham Forest incident has been described as “the world’s first officially observed, and officially confirmed, UFO landing” – Britain’s equivalent of Roswell. And as the witnesses were all US Air Force personnel, their accounts have naturally been regarded as being highly reliable and credible.”

So, there you have it…we have allegedly been visited by aliens. But over on one particular blog where the writer -- one Paul Barford – who lays all the heritage ills at the door of detectorists writes about a mysterious hoard found at Rendlesham, Suffolk (complete with dodgy spelling and odd grammar):

“Fields on a Suffolk farm have yielded small but hugely significant finds which have led archaeologists to believe they have found a royal home and one of the most important settlements in Anglo-Saxon East Anglia. The investigations have been kept secret because of You-Know-Whos,

The surveys began in 2009 after nighthawks – treasure hunters using metal detectors illegally – began looting the fields [...] Mr Argent said the investigations took place around the diary [??.Ed] of the working farm, waiting until fields had been harvested, with a team of four authorised and responsible metal detector enthusiasts combing the fields in all weathers.

That's what we need more of, authorised metal detectorists.

Jude Plouviez, lead archaeological officer at the county council for the project, [...] “What has been lost from the field at Rendlesham is suggested by the finds that were recovered by the survey, such as a number of 6th Century copper-alloy items.”


Key Barfordian and archaeological words:

(a)‘believe they have found’ = usual suffixed by ‘important ceremonial.’ Actually means, have no idea.

(b)‘Is suggested by’ = absolute certainty

(c)‘What has been lost’ = What has been found

(d)‘hugely significant’ = slightly trivial

(e)‘took place around the diary’ = ‘took place around the…journal/personal organizer.’ Not to be confused with ‘dairy’, a room or building where milk and cream and sometimes other perishables are stored.

(f)‘You-Know-Whos’ = aliens?


Is it possible that Wally is covering-up the alleged nocturnal activities of his fellow beings on the planet where he lives in blaming extra-terrestrial visitations on the unknown, unproven, existence of nighthawks? Was architect, David Vincent, right all along about the ‘aliens’? That they had certain characteristics by which they could be detected, such as the absence of a pulse and the inability to bleed. Nearly all were emotionless and had "mutated" little fingers which could not move and were bent at an unnatural angle.



Is She Correct…

"Authoritarian political ideologies have a vested interest in promoting fear, a sense of the imminence of takeover by aliens and real diseases are useful material”… Susan Sontag

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


March 13, 2014

I am advised that being ‘responsible’ means being nice and polite to Prof. Boor-ford, who holds the Warsaw Chair in Modern Disinformation Here goes:-

Thanks Paul….(This from his blog):

“The Warren Cup: A piece of mimetic craftsmanship around 1900?

“Brilliant phrase that, "mimetic craftsmanship" (metal detectorists: that means "fake").”

I’m obliged to Paul for pointing it out. I know what mimetic means as do most detectorists I suspect, but you know what Paul’s like – he just loves a ‘larf’ with us ordinary folks! Aw, Bless him.

I don’t want to appear ‘picky’ but what do you call a man who...

  1. hides his identity;
  2. his occupation;
  3. his past;
  4. keeps schtum about his UNESCO (cash-in-hand?) odd-jobbery;
  5. and, who surrounds himself with the cloak of an ‘archaeologist’?

A Mimetic? Could well be, though judging from the rancid (Paul: that means putrid) content of his blog…emetic (Paul: that means causing a person or animal to vomit), might be more on the nail.


On the Subject of (Rancid) Blogs …A Bum Steer?

I can heartily recommend the above mimetic’s blog and the entry under the banner:-

Tuesday, 11 March 2014: Caveat Emptor: The Warren Cup, a piece of mimetic craftsmanship around 1900?

Here you’ll discover the so-called Warren Cup that depicts an ‘ancient’ homo-erotic scene on the side of this silver drinking vessel. Whether the cup is a forgery as is suggested, I know not, nor do I overly care, but I defer to Paul’s apparently far superior knowledge about homo-eroticism when he states, that, “Prof Giuliani observes that one of the sexual positions depicted is copied from an Arretine depiction of [explicit deleted] copulation, but the artist applied it anatomically incorrectly to [explicit deleted] copulation, thus (it is suggested) giving the forgery away. (This logic is surely only watertight if one assumes that an ancient artist depicting a homoerotic scene had actually practised [explicit deleted] him/herself.)”

Why ‘assume the logic’ Paul? It’s illogical. There’s no reason that I can see why the ‘ancient artist’ should have been a practising gay. Then again, hypothesis (Paul: that means “supposition”) is your hallmark. For those interested further, check out his discredited Artefact Erosion Counter for details! All-in-all, I think he’s talking through the orifice he says the ‘ancient artist’ favoured – again!



Taken from the Task Force Blog:-


Meeting with the Architect of the English Portable Antiquities Scheme

On February 17, 2014, Minelab Americas hosted a conference in Chicago featuring Mr. Norman Palmer, one of the authors of the English “Portable Antiquities Scheme” (PAS) law as the speaker.

Those attending the conference were: Malissa Salzinger, Jeff Otero & Jin Peng of Minelab Americas; Stuart Auerbach & David Spencer from Kelly Co (Stuart Auerbach was also Alan Holcombe of White’s Electronics proxy at the meeting); Michael McComb of First Texas; Matthew Hallisey of Government Affairs, Connecticut; Mark Schuessler from the FMDAC; James Hurst of Garrett; J. Smith, Historical Archaeologist from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission; Jim Selburg of Outdoor Outfitters, and Allyson Cohen from the Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights Foundation.

The purpose of the conference was to introduce leaders from the U.S. Metal Detecting Community to the English “Portable Antiquities Scheme” law.

Mr. Palmer gave a slide presentation, during which time he discussed the metal detecting laws in England, and how they have helped provide for a more mutually respectful relationship between the detecting and archaeological communities in their country.

The English system is successful because detectorists and archaeologists have accepted the need for a system of government oversight, and the proper documentation of finds. The PAS law provides for trust, cooperation and mutual respect between the two groups.

The English government also realizes that financial rewards, based on fair market value, is the best incentive to foster an honest system where all parties involved benefit.

In order for something like the PAS system to move forward here in the U.S., it would also have to be enacted as a law, and it was noted that the Florida Treasure Coast could benefit greatly from this type of law.

Finding lawmakers who are interested in Metal Detecting or Treasure Hunting, and who are willing help by introducing pro Metal Detecting legislation, would be a good first step.

The Task Force would like to keep on top of this idea, and will work with Minelab and all the other attendees in promoting a system similar to the Portable Antiquities Scheme in the United States.

Here’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to move the hobby up a gear Stateside. I urge you all NOT to let this unique opportunity to slip through your fingers. It matter not one jot that ‘modern’ history stretches back to around 450-years especially in New England. History is history and should be recorded at every opportunity. Native American history dates back to time immemorial.

If you lose this opportunity, then the US hobby fully deserves what will surely follow. As in the UK, hobbyists are advancing knowledge as never before. Hundreds of archaeological jobs depend on a healthy PAS system and together, great strides are being made. Only those on the loony fringe will oppose this strategy.

Neither should US legislators turn their noses up at a PAS system. The first one who picks up the ball and runs with it will carve a niche in history.


Nah, being nice to Barford ain’t for me! Don’t seem right somehow....



The history of free men is never really written by chance but by choice; their choice!…..Dwight D. Eisenhower

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


March 9, 2014


Apparently, those suffering with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) show certain characteristics which easily identify them, typically displaying some, if not all of the following traits:

  1. An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges

  2. Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships

  3. A lack of psychological awareness (see insight in psychology and psychiatry, egosyntonic)

  4. Difficulty with empathy

  5. Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)

  6. Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults

  7. Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt

  8. Haughty body language

  9. Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them (narcissistic supply)

  10. Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)

  11. Using other people without considering the cost of doing so

  12. Pretending to be more important than they really are

  13. Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements

  14. Claiming to be an "expert" at many things

  15. Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people

  16. Denial of remorse and gratitude

The so-called ‘seven deadly sins’ of narcissism are:

  1. Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.

  2. Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.

  3. Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may re-inflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.

  4. Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person's ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.

  5. Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an "awkward" or "difficult" person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.

  6. Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.

  7. Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other.

Should you stub your toe against, let’s say a doctrinaire anti-metal detecting/collecting blog for instance, where the writer in his/her ravings meets any of the above symptoms (1 to 16, and 1 to 7), you’ll have hit the Mother Lode. Beware though, if you value your time; there’s no benefit or profit to be had in arguing/debating with an obviously unbalanced mind. It’s treatment and/or counselling that’s needed, not argument or provocation.


Meanwhile over on the banks of the Vistula…

Our old pal continues to delight with his pisspoor blog and takes incivility and pomposity to new heights in a reply to Charles Peters who had the temerity to question the great man:-

4 March 2014 01:20

Paul Barford said... @ Charles Peters

And your "subject matter" is ?

You really are being very tiresome.

First of all, your entire history of posting comments over here (and elsewhere) in reality consists of various attempts at "gotcha" comments, rather than questions intended actually to elicit information, and whatever you say that goes for this series too. There is nothing in what you say that I can "share with and engage in a mutually interesting conversation"

Secondly, it is not, and has never been, my intention to use this blog as a means of having a "dialogue" with collectors. This is ABOUT them, not FOR them.

Thirdly I say again, take it to the FLO, it's her job to answer queries like that.

Alternatively you could just look it up, the PAS audience survey says the PAS website is "excellent" at providing this sort of info, so why are you not using it?

Fourthly at the moment, I am trying to contact my friends in Ukraine and find out how they are, and you keep pestering me with your silly gotcha games and asking questions that a normally intelligent person could find the answers of themselves. So yes, you are being lazy and a timewaster.

Fifthly, yes I am both pompous, and verbose, you forgot arrogant and afew other adjectives. I can live with it. Nobody makes you read what I write.

As I say, go and pester the FLO with your questions, that's what she's there for.



Now you could be forgiven for thinking -- particularly bearing in mind Barford’s evident enthusiasm for communist Poland where it seems the political climate was more to his liking back in 1986 – his “friends in Ukraine” who he’s so anxious to contact could well be Russian?

Our man describes himself as a: “British archaeologist living and working in Warsaw, Poland. Since the early 1990s (or even longer)……” bashfully avoiding precise dates presumably in deference to the current political tensions between Ukraine and Russia. To set the record straight, in 1986 he was sucking on the cultural eat of the former totalitarian Soviet Communist satellite state, Poland. Ironically, in today’s Ukraine, the Russian invaders have for their President the former Head of the KGB, Vladimir Putin. The KGB, the Committee for State Security, infiltrated spies to the Polish ‘Solidarity’ movement, and into the Catholic Church; and in ‘Operation X’ the KGB co-ordinated the declaration of martial law by General Jaruzelski’s Polish Communist Party; however, ‘Solidarity’ finally blunted the KGB’s iron grip over the Polish people in 1989 when the communists were booted out and democracy restored. Neither would it surprise me in the least if our man shared Putin’s view that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geo-political catastrophe in modern times, as opposed to its nativity.

But take note! Barford is the apple of the eye of the UK’s increasingly comical Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and will remain so for as long as he wages his odious, brainless, offensive claptrap, of a mission against metal detectorists. This is the man who with his equally fatuous chum, tries vainly to breathe life into the rotting corpse of the Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC); a nutty fact-free database cocktail, blended from conjecture, speculation and fantasy. He has a penchant (metaphorically, speaking) for jerking-off the more naïve in our ranks, the self-styled ‘responsible’ ones, as much as they seem to enjoy being on the receiving end of his metaphorical ’jerkery’ -- much to everyone else’s relish and glee.

In what appears to be one of his rare acts of…Yo Dude, respect! he describes me as, “a dangerous nutcase…” which draws me to the conclusion – as a fly to a turd - that he’s like a crêpe chef who can’t flip ‘em over – yep, you’ve got it…. a useless tosser! Yo Dude, No Respect!

Here on Stout Standards, we proud to have destroyed the credibility of Barford and Swift’s AEC by exposing it for what it really is; hilarious, meaningless twaddle. Even Swift is emerging from the darkness and into the Light of Truth by admitting that ‘maybe’ the AEC really does, ‘lack credibility’ and that ‘maybe,’ it “should be viewed with contempt.”

“What is Archaeology if not knowledge?” asks Swift. If archaeology is based on the principles of the AEC he’s answered his own question….archaeology, Nigel and Paul, is fact-free guesswork posing as…well…er…um…bullshit!



You can't fix stupid…Ron White

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


March 7, 2014


Q. At what age did you first realize that you enjoyed looking for lost treasures? Where would you look and What types of items did you collect back then?

A. I first went coin hunting when aged about twelve, on the site of Curium in Cyprus, with the then Curator and a few friends. I found a coin and hoiked it out with a penknife.

Q. When did you get your first metal detector? What kind was it, and What types of treasure did you find with it? Do you still have your first metal detector?

A. My first machine was TR-type Fieldmaster back in 1976/7. I donated it to the Detecting Museum at Regton Ltd.

Q. When you first started detecting, did you have a mentor that you learned most of your detecting knowledge from, or was most of what you learned just trial and error?

A. Nope…it was mostly suck-it-and-see.

Q. When did you really become serious about metal detecting? What had changed that made you take your hobby to the next level?

A. I eventually got access to a friend’s farmland on which was a roman villa, and the roman coins came rolling in from the ploughsoil!

Q. What was your first real metal detector, and how did it differ from most detectors today?

A. I moved up to a VLF Garrett ADS Groundhog. It was back in 1979, cutting-edge stuff, but with the coming of improved circuitry, chips, Graphic Target Imaging, and All-Terrain design and weatherproofing, we are now light years away.

Q. Have you ever been a product tester for metal detectors? If so, how did you like doing that?

A. Yes, I have tested a few and did not like the experience at all. I’m still amazed that many manufacturers put their reputations in the hands of so-called ‘reviewers’ who simply haven’t the faintest idea how to review a product. It’s a bit like a car manufacturer asking a cyclist to write a review on a sports car! I was eventually banned from writing reviews because in one notorious case, the machine I tested was so good – and I said so – that retailers locked into dealerships with rival manufacturers, threatened to withdraw their advertising. I got the boot!

Q. How has the hobby evolved from when you first started metal detecting and now?

A. For over thirty years, radical archaeologists have smeared the hobby and its practitioners, and some still are trying to eradicate the hobby entirely, or to bring the hobby under their direct control with such stringent rules and regulations that it becomes pointless. With the advent of the 1996 Treasure Act and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, all backed by the British Government, the British Museum, and successive Culture Ministers the hobby has come of age and is well-respected and valued.

Q. Do you think that is a good thing or a bad thing?

A. Er…what do you think?

Q. Would you consider yourself to be a pioneer in the detecting community?

A. Not so much a pioneer, but I’ve always have been in the Vanguard in the fight for, and to protect the hobby. I simply object to people -- mostly from the Marxist/Socialist school -- telling me what I can or cannot do, based solely on their detestable political views. I don’t remember ever voting for these swine who’d just love to change the politics of it all. Frankly, I don’t give a shit for them! And they know it.

Q. Who is someone that you consider yourself lucky to have had the chance to go metal detecting with?

A. Oh, my late friend Ron Scearce.

Q. Take us down memory lane, tell us about one of your all time favourite hunts. What did you find and where?

A. In 1986 while on a visit to Atlantic City to help set up the World Council for Metal Detecting I had the chance to hunt close to, not on, the field of Gettysburg. Time was at a premium having just about two hours allotted for the hunt but I managed to lift a Confederate Minnie Ball. It sits at home in pride of place.

Q. Do you have any humorous adventures that you'd like to share with us? Maybe something funny that happened to you while metal detecting or a memory that you get a chuckle out of when you think about it?

A. Oh, there are many! But one favourite was on the site of the aforementioned roman villa; my pal had to answer a call of nature and disappeared behind some bushes on the perimeter of the field, followed by a piercing scream and him emerging clutching a smoking organ…he’d peed on an electric cattle fence.

Q. Have you ever returned a lost item to someone? If so, what was it and how did that make you feel. What are your thoughts on returning lost items?

A. Many times. It makes the hobby that much more worthwhile and personal. In one instance it led to an offer of farmland to hunt, anytime.

Q. If you could add one new feature to a metal detector design, what would it be?

A. A bottle opener/corkscrew?

Q. Where do you see the hobby of metal detecting in the next 10 years? Do you think the scale will tip towards more regulations against metal detecting, or do you think that organizations like Task Force For Metal Detecting Rights will help open more places to detecting in the future?

A. The hobby in the UK at least, has survived not because of organisations such as the National Council for Metal Detecting, but in spite of them! I wouldn’t mind betting the same applies in the States. Fortunately, with so many people in the hobby, both here and Stateside, hobby numbers mean votes. ‘I hunt and I vote’ is the new mantra that’s not wasted on politicians. The hobby is very weak in the States where by all accounts, the antis are successfully spreading the poison with increased land now off limits. It’s not because the antis are smarter, simply that the hobby has failed to defend themselves. It will get worse, but not here in the UK.

Q. Do you still get out metal detecting, and if so, what types of hunting do you like to do most?

A. I live by the sea on the England’s south coast so beachcombing is my game.

Q. How has metal detecting affected or changed your life?

A. It’s taken me around the world where I’ve met some the best people in the world in this hobby of ours. On the downside though, it’s brought me into close proximity with mad-hatter academics and others in the ‘anti’ lobby, some of whom are the most detestable creatures imaginable, over whom I wouldn’t urinate even if they were on fire. Some display obvious mental peculiarities which are ruthlessly exploited by the ‘back-room’ boys back behind the lines to fire the bullets they lack the courage to fire themselves.

Q. Tell us about another hobby that you enjoy that we may not know about.

A. Fly fishing for trout and lure fishing for coastal bass. Sampling the wares of local micro-breweries!

Q. Lastly, If there was one message that you would like to share with the detecting community as a whole, what would you like everyone to know or remember?

A. You only get the hobby you deserve or are prepared to fight for. It’s an honourable hobby; a legal hobby and adds significantly to the greater knowledge of our common past. It is not archaeology, nor should it ever be; it’s all about looking for casual losses through the ages. Now if some academics don’t like it they can **** off!


March 5, 2014


I’ll lay even money that at some stage in your treasure hunting career you’ve secured permission to hunt on potentially ‘treasure rich’ land that’s been so mineralized it rendered your metal detector marginally less effective than a concrete parachute? You have? Well read on and try this for size. The problem I encountered recently was not inland, but coastal. Nevertheless, I’m sure it might well strike a chord. Indeed, the answer might open up for your immediate perusal, a heavily contaminated area; one that’s previously has been ‘no-go’ treasure tract. Alternatively, it could turn out to be a smack in the kisser! One never fully knows which way these things are going. So, what’s it all about then?

On a beach close to me, is a pebble reef of such ferrous intensity there’s hardly a machine able to cope with the conditions, save perhaps Garrett’s ground balancing ATX pi, though I’ve yet to use one hereabouts. The reef is a natural treasure vault. One machine I’d definitely ruled out was my ATGold. Its manual reads:-

“Because the AT Gold is optimized to find small gold pieces, saltwater use is not recommended for this detector [my italics]. Its ability to find small gold makes it equally reactive to the conductivity of saltwater. This detector's ground balance adjustment is optimized to provide the greatest resolution in the normal ground range and is not designed to address saltwater. The ATGold (ATG) will, however, perform well for hunting coins and jewelry on dry sand beach areas.” That’s as unambiguous as it gets you might think.

Certainly the ATG’s efficacy in the dry sand areas of the beach is as the manual says, but take it closer to the saltwater and it screams in protest louder than an archaeo-blogger caught in a lie. The ATG is not a saltwater ‘beach machine’ in the accepted sense of its stable-mate, the ATPro.

The manufacturers, Garrett, inform us it’s: “Highly Recommended - Prospecting, Coin, Jewelry, Cache Hunting, Relic Hunting, Organized Hunts and Shallow Fresh Water Hunting,” […] and that its 18kHz frequency is specially selected…”for enhanced detection of small gold nuggets, jewelry, coins and relics!” The ATG is a ‘nugget hunter’ having carved for itself a reputation par excellence which for many is the benchmark by which other types are compared. It has a fine bias towards to all things gold -- especially small gold -- and not just nuggets; gold rings, gold jewellery, and gold coins (especially small ones). Inland, when fitted with the ‘standard’ coil from the ATPro, it morphs [in my view] into an eye-wateringly efficient relic-hunting tool.

Such is the contamination of the pebble reef; previous attempts to open up its secrets have rendered my ATpro (even with the Sniper coil) near-unusable with a constant background noise banging away in my eardrums making it impossible to pick out the good signals. My Sea Hunter II pi was not much better either; marginally worse even. The ATG was a ‘no-no’ too; it being an inland machine and goes berserk near saltwater. Thus it was back to the drawing board and a chat with Mr Johnnie Walker (a fine Scot) to mull things over in a search for the solution.

In the event I sent a begging email to my old friend, Garrett’s globe-trotting in-house treasure hunter, Steve Moore with the details of the problem. His ten cents worth might well be worth far more and hold the key, which when I dropped into the Inbox came like a smack in the mouth: “ATG may be the answer. The next best thing will be a PI machine that can ground balance to that mess.” Huh? Wassat? Beach? ATG? Huh?

Why was he contradicting the manual? Why would I take an ATG whose manufacturers claim “saltwater use is not recommended for this detector” for walkies to the very environment it’s claimed it can’t handle? Huh? Wassat? Beach? Huh?

In follow-up emails he went on to explain the ATG’s DISC 2 (the US coin) Mode could provide the key to unlocking the reef’s vault, but warned that gold detection might be reduced on small items. A quick bench-test proved him right on thin-section gold rings though heavier stuff targeted well. Steve Moore still had me baffled, though more likely I’d lost his plot; nevertheless, hope sprang eternal.

AT Gold set-up in Disc2

Down at the water’s edge, ATG in hand, it crossed my mind that I might be the victim of a cruel example of an American practical joke…nah, he wouldn’t do that to me…would he? After all, I mused, we’d quaffed heartily of the ‘Stingray’ Ale in Dorset’s best hostelry, the 1776 Square & Compass Inn, when he last visited God’s Country. I pressed on.

Steve Moore with certain rogues and vagabonds outside
a certain Dorset hostelry.

The tide was fast approaching High Water and the pebble reef almost covered, but I reckoned I’d got about 45-minutes over the reef. However, not wholly convinced DISC 2 might be a winner, especially with all those pre-set gaps in the Notch Discrimination Scale, and notwithstanding Steve’s email advice that it might miss some gold, I set up the ATG according to his advice:-

DISC 2, and GB’d (over the reef) to ‘90’ set the GB window to ‘6’ so as to spread the GB variance; dropped the SENS to ‘3’; Iron Discrim to Max; and Iron Audio, ‘off’. Magic! I was not disappointed and the coins, though not the gold ones I’d hoped for, but coins nevertheless, soon appeared before I was flooded-off. Then my digital camera’s batteries went belly-up, immediately followed by two solid-silver, heavily-blackened, coins dating back about 100-years. Steve Moore and the ATG had busted the reef! All Hail the Master!

Silver shilling and six pence
pieces after cleaning

Previously in Malamute Saloon, I wrote that sometimes you have to know when to break the rules of convention. Here was such a case. But before you gallop off to try anything similar, or, become over-enthused by whiskey-fuelled ‘Eureka! Moments’ go for a second opinion from the guys who know about these things.

The ‘ferrous’ pebble reef mentioned, is a rare-ish phenomenon in the UK, though I understand there are parts of the US where the ground conditions are almost equally prohibitive, and seem to recall my knowledgeable American colleagues Ty Brook and Bob Sickler mentioning somewhere, that parts of Georgia (?) meet this detector-busting criteria.

An email dropped in the right ear often works wonders in problem solving, not only with Garrett, but with other manufacturers too. I can only speak for my experiences with Garrett, though I’m told Whites are also up there with the Great and the Good when it comes to such things.

Most manufacturers will be happy to offer technical advice and even happier to receive success stories that may in some way lead to technical or design improvements. If in doubt…ask!

Happy treasure hunting!


Remember.....(Listen up, Wally and Harry)

The truest characters of ignorance are vanity, pride, and arrogance [and write pisspoor blogs. Ed].....Samuel Butler

I'll see you in the bar....


February 25, 2014


So what’s your ‘High Five’ when it comes to metal detecting success? Do you set yourself high targets, or, are you a suck-it-and-see-I’ll-take-what-comes type? Or, are you a beach hunter for whom the beach is nothing less than a vast vault to which, through your skill and local knowledge, your metal detector is akin to the key on the side of a sardine can? Me? Oh, I’m with the sardines. I hunt coins.

The most well-known and successful detectorist in hobby circles is arguably, Chicago Ron. Why so? Not only does he make excellent Tekkie videos about How, Where, and When to hunt; but he puts his money where his mouth is, does the biz, and videos us the results. He is consistently successful aware of the foibles of his target areas and hunts accordingly. It’s probably fair to say that even with the kind of Mickey Mouse metal detectors that fall out of Christmas Crackers, ‘CR’ would still fill his boots with gold and put clean air between himself and a novice armed with the latest ‘Sooper-Dooper, Sat-Nav-Guided,’ jobby. He earns ‘Brownie’ points with me because he’s a firefighter and having worked with these guys in a previous life; well yeah…he’s an OK type of guy. Wouldn’t sharing a couple of pints with him in a decent pub.

So what’s it all about; this elusive butterfly of success? Patently, the measure of success comes in all shapes and sizes: Some of us measure it by the overall enjoyment distilled in a pleasant day out in the fresh air - in a back-to-Nature kinda way. Others see it in much the same but with the addition a few coins, clad nickels and dimes - chucked in for good measure. More often though, success is calculated by the steepness of the vertical line on the treasure graph in relation to the size and value of the ‘find,’ or the cash value of the cache, relics, or coins. Each to their own as the saying goes. The detecting hobby is all things to all men (and women).

Fly-fisherman, Charles Ritz, described success thus: No matter how good the rod, it’s all down to the hand that’s using it. Arnold Palmer attributed to his golfing triumphs to the fact that the more he practised, the luckier he seemed to become in competition. Marshall Zhukov the crusher of Hitler’s armies on the Eastern Front in WWII was more succinct: Train hard, fight easy.

Absolutely metal detecting has therapeutic qualities; I’ve never met anyone who could worry and hunt at the same time; and it’s a great way of recharging one’s health ‘batteries’ -- coins or no! Health-wise, time spent meal detecting is rarely wasted.

For Terry Herbert who found the £1,600,000 ($2,400,000 approx.) Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold, ‘success’ came after eighteen years in the hobby and fortuitously, while he was unemployed. Was it skill or luck that caused him to locate the treasure? Certainly he was in the right place at the right time, but had he not been au fait with the operational usage of his metal detector, he might have walked on by, and over, that fantastic hoard. The esoteric characteristic we call ‘luck’ plays a hand too, but why, or how, remains a mystery. Emperor Napoleon always asked before promoting any of his generals, “Is he lucky?”

But there’s another facet besides luck, in all this. What appears to be ‘luck’ is actually nothing of the kind. There are people in this hobby of ours who can ‘read’ a landscape with an uncanny ability, and will always come up trumps. It’s also a reality that many hobbyists are anglers, or former anglers; these people are experienced enough to look at a river or stillwater and know precisely not only where the fish are lying, but the species too. They bring this uncanny ability into treasure hunting. They’ll point to a hilltop for instance and mutter…”There!” They rely on a gut instinct to tell them where they’ll find coins, or relics. Hundreds of years ago they’d have been burnt at the stake for possessing this ability.

You can usually find John on
the beach. If not check the
closest pub...

I’m sure this ‘gut instinct’ is present in all of us; only in some it’s just sub-surface. In others it’s less well-defined and goes unrecognized. For example, have you ever detected an area you thought would be productive and where your ‘plan’ came together? You have? Welcome to Salem! Prepare the stake, Master Witchfinder General!

If you take this ability, this experience, call it what you will, and blend it with the capabilities of modern metal detector, you’ll find you’ve got some really powerful ju-ju on tap. Indeed, the machine itself is not the catalyst, but, when combined with the extension of your ‘unseen’ ability you will find relics in the places you suspected them to be.

It’s the same with beach hunting. I live by the coast. I know its moods. If you can recognize when a beach is ‘right’ after a strong blow; the ‘right’ blow, from the ‘right’ direction; and at the ‘right’ state of the tide when nature does the digging for you, then, and only then, might you be in with a chance. Then again, you have to know when to break the ‘rules’.

Allied to all this comes the ‘techie’ stuff. What machine should I use? Should I go with Pulse Induction, or VLF? What frequency? What coil….concentric or DD? What coil size? Where will I be searching and for what targets?

Expertise or Lottery? I think this is where we came in, but bear in mind; fortune favours the brave! Mostly.



Luck is always the last refuge of laziness and incompetence….James Cash Penney

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


February 18, 2014


In 1712 the Spanish empire was near bankrupt. To solve the problem the Spanish assembled the richest of treasure fleets and by 1715 it consisted of five ships of the Nueva España (Mexico) fleet, and six ships of the Tierra Firme (Main Land) fleet.

Considerable quantities of silver bullion, gold ingots, precious jewels; rubies, emeralds, and pearls, along with other precious items such as goblets of silver and gold were loaded aboard the fleet at Vera Cruz, Cartagena. As further defence against pirates (English privateers) they waited until just before the hurricane season before setting off from Havana for Spain; an epic mistake.

On the evening of July 30, 1715, seven days after departing from Havana, Cuba, the ships of this fleet were lost in a hurricane near present day Vero Beach, Florida. Thousands of sailors died. During the next five years Spanish salvors recovered what some estimate as about half the total lost consignment, all the while fighting-off English privateers. Today, some of that treasure in the form of coins, gold and silver bars, cups and chalices along with jewellery still wash ashore. Do visit www.mdhtalk.org/articles/beaches/1715-fleet/1715-article.pdf? a terrifically well-informed site.

been located but only a fraction the vast treasure has been recovered. The San Miguel, has yet to be discovered, having been separated from the treasure fleet the day before the storm broke. Carracks being smaller than galleons were used to carry treasure they being faster under full sail with greater chance of outrunning storms and the avaricious privateers. The objective being to get the treasure back to Spain with the greatest possible speed.

The richest undiscovered cargo is the San Miguel’s that awaits discovery, all $2-billion of it!



“Due to an Allied intelligence failure,” writes archaeo-bluffer Paul Barford, “ the Medieval monastery was almost totally destroyed. Fortunately,” [my highlight] he gushes enthusiastically:-

“As the Allies pushed further north, towards the abbey of Monte Cassino, the division's workshop detachment [the atrocity-committing SS Herman Göring Divison] under the command of Oberstleutnant Julius Schlegel, volunteered their services to the monks to remove the abbey's precious artworks. The monks agreed, and the division's vehicles were used to transfer the irreplaceable works of art, including paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Raphael and the remains of St. Benedict himself. The cargo was deposited at the Vatican and was so spared destruction in the Battle of Monte Cassino. Because of Göring's reputation as a looter of artworks, a detachment of SS military police were sent to the abbey to arrest and execute Schlegel. It was only through the persuasion of the monks and the intervention by the divisional commander on his behalf that Schlegel escaped punishment [presumably by Courts Martial] and the operation continued. In thanks, the monks of Monte Cassino celebrated a special mass, and presented Schlegel with an illuminated scroll recognizing his efforts.”

Or, in Barford-speak (complete with inadvertent anti-Semitism) it all boils down to this: US = villainy/stupidity BUT the SS Herman Göring Division = the ‘good-guy art salvors’.

After the occupation of Poland by German forces in September 1939, the Nazi regime attempted to exterminate its upper classes as well as its culture. Thousands of art objects were looted, as the Nazis systematically carried out a plan of looting prepared even before the start of hostilities.Tenty-five museums and many other facilities were destroyed. The total cost of German Nazi theft and destruction of Polish art is estimated at $20-billion, or an estimated 43% of Polish cultural heritage; over 516,000 individual art pieces were looted, including 2,800 paintings by European painters; 11,000 paintings by Polish painters; 1,400 sculptures; 75,000 manuscripts; 25,000 maps; 90,000 books, including over 20,000 printed before 1800; and hundreds of thousands of other items of artistic and historical value. Germany still has much Polish material looted during World War II. For decades there have been mostly futile negotiations between Poland and Germany concerning the return of the looted property.

(Sources for above paragraph: Olsak-Glass, Judith (January 1999). "Review of Piotrowski's Poland's Holocaust". Rewindykacja dóbr kultury at Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Barford rounds off his novel account of the battle with a final swipe at the US… “This was well before the US 'Monuments men' got there to try and clear up the mess the US bombing raids had made. A tragic mistake.”

Naturally any mention of war crimes committed by the Herman Göring Division (HGD) is neatly side-stepped, or any mention of the HGD being art looters of the highest order scavenging Europe and the Occupied Countries for cultural works for the ‘Fat One’ back in Berlin, and inflicting unspeakable atrocities en route.

Post war, Schegel was arrested as a suspected war criminal and looter, and it was only after the personal intervention of British Field Marshal Harold Alexander that he was released.

HGD War Crimes
Herman Goering on trial at Nuremburg

According to a British Government report, the Hermann Göring Division was involved in many reprisal operations during its time in Italy. One of these atrocities occurred in the surrounding area of the village of Civitella in Val di Chiana on 6 June 1944 where 250 civilians were summarily executed. Other examples of atrocities committed by Hermann Göring Division are on record. As Director of the Four Year Plan, Hermann Göring bore responsibility for the elimination of Jews from political life and for the destruction and takeover of Jewish businesses and property....He was quoted as saying, "I wish you had killed 200 Jews and not destroyed such valuable property"...He looted art treasures from occupied territories and arranged for use of slave labour.

It wasn’t just cultural objects the
Nazis looted. These rings were
taken from Jewish prisoners in
Buchenwald Concentration Camp
before being sent to the gas

Polish sources claim soldiers of the Hermann Göring Division used civilians as human shields in front of its tanks.

So let’s take a closer look at Barford’s ‘Heroes.’ Prosecutor Sir David Maxwell Fyfe cross-examining Field-Marshal Albert Kesselring at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial raised this regarding the atrocities committed by the HGD:-

"Two German soldiers were killed and a third wounded in a fight with Partisans in the village of Civitella. Fearing reprisals, the inhabitants evacuated the village, but when the Germans discovered this, punitive action was postponed. On 29th June" - that, you will remember, Witness, was nine days after your proclamation to reinforce your order - "when the local inhabitants were returned and were feeling secure once more, the Germans carried out a well-organised reprisal, combing the neighbourhood. Innocent inhabitants were often shot on sight. During that day, 212 men, women and children in the immediate district were killed. Some of the dead women were found completely naked. In the course of investigations, a nominal roll of the dead has been compiled and is complete with the exception of a few names whose bodies could not be identified. Ages of the dead ranged from one year to 84 years. Approximately one hundred houses were destroyed by fire. Some of the victims were burned alive in their homes."

Sir David Maxell-Fyfe, centre, one of
the British prosecuting team/Nuremberg.

“That is the report of the United Nations War Crimes Commission on the incident. Now, Witness, do you really think that military necessity commands the killing of babies of one and people of 84?”


The HGD was active in killing non-combatants in Poland too. Some 800 troops from the HDG took part in fighting during the Warsaw Uprising in the Wola district, where mass executions of civilians occurred in connection with Hitler's orders to destroy the city. The units involved were:

II./Fallschirm-Panzer-Regiment "Hermann Göring"

III./Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier-Regimen "Hermann Göring"

IV./Fallschirm-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment "Hermann Göring"

It will come as no surprise at all to anyone who’s sampled Barford’s previous attempts at accuracy, or that his particular brand of anti-Americanism rears its ugly head yet again. But his previous form in this arena is dazzling: Aided by his ardent disciple and sock-puppet, Heritage Action’s, Nigel Swift, he is the co-perpetrator of one of the outstanding examples of contemporary archaeo-historical buffoonery intended to hoodwink the public into believing that millions of artefacts found by Britain’s dedicated metal detectorists are going unrecorded. Little wonder then, that what they have dubbed the Artefact Erosion Counter has morphed into one of the most laughable, widely discredited, debunked, and derided fact-free ‘databases’ of all time.

Barford and Swift would have the world believe that unlike detectorists or private collectors, they deal in facts, but on this and past form, I doubt they’d recognise ‘facts’ if they jumped up and bit them on the arse. It’s all a bit like saying the Boston Strangler wasn’t all bad because he was kind to his Ma!

Significantly, the UK’s Council for British Archaeology hasn’t chucked this émigré archaeo-bluffer and his comical puppet out of the lifeboat having fished them out of earlier stormy waters, is telling. Maybe, they fully deserve this duffer who thinks it was ‘fortunate’ the brutal, art-loving Herman Göring SS Division were on hand, though I seriously doubt the descendants of the murdered villagers of Civitella would mention the words ‘fortunate’ and ‘Herman Göring SS Division’ in the same sentence.

One certainly has to ponder the accuracy of Barford’s archaeological excavation reports, interpretations, or anything else he’s committed to paper purporting to be factual!



Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either….Albert Einstein

I’ll see you in the bar….


February 11, 2014


In the UK a responsible detectorist/treasure hunter is one who adheres to the letter of prevailing laws covering such things; the laws of trespass, criminal damage, and the 1996 Treasure Act. Those hunters, adhering to additional, non-legislative conditions above and beyond the requirements Treasure Act, or the voluntary PAS scheme, often claim with po-faced expressions, they are somehow ‘acting more responsibly’. It’s a moot point. It’s argued in some (archaeological) quarters that the sale of metal detectors ought to be banned outright and their use strictly limited to ‘qualified’ archaeologists (whatever that means) and all private collecting of artefacts older that ‘yesterday’, also outlawed, all with heavy penalties or a spell in a Gulag for transgressors.

Some suggest that to be seen as ‘responsible’ or imagined as such membership of a local archaeological or historical society is vital. I cannot imagine for one moment that a detectorist applying to join such a society or club would be refused membership provided his/her metal detector is used the way they want it used, and, under archaeological control or supervision. No one can have any argument with that since it is the personal choice of the detectorist involved. Of course it’s a bridge too far for the majority of orthodox detectorists.

However, archaeological membership could have certain advantages for gaining access to farmland provided the society’s rules don’t prohibit it and could be a positive advantage when explaining to landowners and farmers that one is a member of the ‘so-and-so’ archaeological club or society and “Here’s my society’s membership card.” Those detectorists anxious to take this path should do so.

However, those who choose not to, and who want to plough an ‘independent’ furrow, are no less irresponsible and indeed, just as wholesome. Believe it or not, there are relic hunters out there who, while strictly adhering to the PAS write about their ‘finds’ and the efficacy of the PAS on various blogs, then give succour, comfort, and support, to fringe archaeological societies and individuals campaigning to put an end to the PAS and metal detecting. Yes, you read that right!


Déjà vu – Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens’ classic tale set in 1840’s Victorian England has perhaps, a modern day parallel. The tales’ principal character is Oliver Twist an orphan born into poverty, who on his ninth birthday is taken into the local workhouse, where in the harshest surroundings, the young Oliver toils alongside other boys picking oakum in conditions amounting to slave labour. Life is hard. The food is scant and poor; virtually starvation rations. Eventually the malnourished boys rebel and agree to draw lots; the loser must ask the well-fed workhouse bosses for second portion of their daily bowl of gruel. The task falls to Oliver, who at the next meal tremblingly comes up forward, bowl in hand, and makes his famous request: "Please, sir, I want some more". For his troubles Oliver is sold by the workhouse bosses to an undertaker who uses Oliver as a mourner at children’s funerals.

In the end Oliver runs away to London to seek his fortune. Here he falls in with – albeit unknowingly - a band of rogues led by the arch-criminal Fagin, and his Number Two, master pickpocket, Jack Dawkins, better known by the sobriquet, the "Artful Dodger." Significantly, Oliver’s innocent nature prevents him from recognising this hint that the boy may be dishonest. ‘Dodger’ takes Oliver under his wing provides him with a free meal and tells him of a gentleman in London who will "give him lodgings for nothing, and never ask for change". Ensnared, Oliver lives with the gang of juvenile pickpockets in their lair at Saffron Hill for some time, unaware of their criminal occupations. He believes they make wallets and handkerchiefs.

After many adventures surviving in the savage world of the Victorian London’s underclass Oliver is finally being rescued and rehabilitated to normality.

Does any of this seem the slightest familiar to you? Does to me….but for the moment, precise details escape me…


Ponder and Inwardly Digest…

What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist…

Salman Rushdie

I’ll See Y’all in the Bar


February 7, 2014


With the dust settling and Barford limping back to his lair to lick his wounds, most of you will now realise a reptilian faction inhabits sections of archaeology, cosseted by the bullet-makers safe in their Ipswich and York bunkers.

You’ll have seen how one of these creatures branded, without ever meeting the actor Mackenzie Crook (who’s also a metal detectorist), as a ‘slack-jawed heritage hero’ below a photograph of the thespian. UK readers might be unaware that the term ‘Slack-jaw’ is a highly derogatory North American expression of abuse used to describe – according to the Urban Dictionary – an “extremely ignorant, possible inbred person. Usually of rural heritage.”

Whether this offensive, even libellous, term is widely used amongst the archaeology set to describe detectorists – ALL detectorists, even the ‘Neville Chamberlain-types’ - remains unclear. In a cloudless sky this vile term hangs as a dark cloud; a testament that Barford’s lexicon remains inextricably linked to the cess-pit. I doubt Barford has the courage to use the term face-to-face.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at his behaviour, for he is precisely the sort of creature the CBA welcomes into its bed and into whose hands they expect us to entrust the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".


*For the benefit of our US reader: A kipper is a whole herring; a small, oily fish that has been split in butterfly fashion from tail to head along the dorsal ridge, gutted, salted or pickled, or cold-smoked. A favourite English breakfast dish. Though like Barford, tends to ‘repeat’.



“Its about time that the true "responsible" detectorists put their heads above the parapet and actually provide hard evidence that what we are doing can actually contribute to the historical record in a positive way,” writes ‘responsible’ UK detectorist, Steve Broom.

Er….umm…they have Steve, it’s called the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and it’s funded by HM Government and steered by the British Museum. Oh, by the way, that offensive piece about the Southern Detectorists Group being akin to shoplifters over on your pals’ Heritage Action blog has been removed. It seems on the face of it that the Malamute Saloon has done a tad more to preserve your Group’s (so far) excellent reputation than you have.

It’s good to see even with only four-and-a-bit years detecting experience under your belt, people are impressed. Paul Barford, the Warsaw-based PAS- hater, rates you highly:

“Steve Broom for example is in a different class from the majority detecting hoi polloi, and has no time either for vacant oiks like these….” Ending his tribute with:

“….Metal detecting needs more normal people [timid ones – unlike you Howland! Dick] speaking for it and engaging in intelligent discussion.”

They already are Steve. It’s called the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the same Scheme by the way, your admirer in Warsaw wants to see shut down, and who spends an inordinate amount of time insulting everyone connected with it and pooh-poohing the veracity of its database in favour of his own widely derided Artefact Erosion Counter.

Perhaps you should have a look at Barford’s blog for Monday, 11 November 2013 under the heading, Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Passionately Interested in the Past - well, not all of it. He’s less than complimentary about UK Metal detectorist, Andy Baines.



Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity…

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


February 4, 2014


In his book, Hitler’s Hangman – The Life of Heydrich*, Professor Robert Gerwarth writes an interesting paragraph on page 267:

“Heydrich’s ‘educational policy’ was very much in line with Himmler’s view, articulated in 1940, that schooling for the local population in the occupied territories should be reduced to ‘simple arithmetic’ up to 500 at most; writing one’s name; a doctrine that it is divine law to obey the Germans and to be honest, industrious and good.”

Now, just for fun, replace the words ‘Germans’ with ‘archaeologists’ or ‘archaeology’ as befitting; ‘Heydrich’ with ‘Barford’, and ‘Himmler’ with ‘Swift.’ Then read the paragraph again.

*Hitler’s Hangman – The Life of Heydrich. Yale University Press (2011)

Reinhard Heydrich was the Acting Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, who ruthlessly supressed the Czech nation through a systematic rigorous persecution, of torture, mass-executions, and the liquidation of Jews in the Czech and Slovak lands. On 27 May 1942 his staff car was attacked in Prague by SOE-trained Czech assassins. He died of his wounds on 4 June 1942.



Some people are under the impression I am on the Garrett payroll (oh, how I wish) on the basis that because I write (mostly) good things about their products I have a vested interest. I am not on the payroll, never have been. Being a free agent I use that which best suits my hunting needs what I consider is the best machinery for my treasure hunting needs (surf and beach hunting)….and Garrett’s machinery, especially the ATPro, ATGold, Pro-Pointer, and the Sea Hunter II pi, fit the bill nicely.

ATGold???? Beach??? Yep, top-of-the-beach, up in the dry sand – in amongst the junk where the angels fear to tread - and fitted with the small coil, or the 4.5” Sniper, it rips the guts out of the opposition. Keep it to yourself!

Why Garrett? Simply because I’ve always had a soft spot for American made machinery (not least because of the build quality) and have used Garrett machines for over three decades; back in the ‘80’s though they were unbeatable on depth but were always ‘ironed-out’ on ferrous-infested roman/Celtic habitation sites. Here, Tesoro’s Golden Sabre ruled okay (especially with the small coil), lifting out tiny roman silver and gold coins with ease from amongst the trash. However, away from iron-infested habitation sites, Golden Sabres lacked depth. Back then, the cognoscenti usually carried two machines: One for depth, the other for iron-infested habitation sites, so it was not uncommon to see two machines being carried. Usually, this would be either an Arado 120b, or a Garrett Groundhog, backed up with a Golden/Silver Sabre. The Compass 77b was seldom outclassed.

But time moves on, and top-end hardware prices are up in the Jet Stream with Minelab’s all-singing-all-dancing thingummy-jig, and Garrett’s ATX, costing an arm-and-a-leg. The question is... are they worth the bread? Having laid out two Grand’s worth of one’s ‘hard-earned’ dosh, what’s the chance of initial outlay recovery, and over what timescale? I simply don’t know. The answer to that conundrum depends entirely on the experience of who’s using the machine.

Previously to owning the ATPro, a Garrett ACE250 was my constant companion, which, when fitted with the larger coil was peerless on the beach over the wet, and the dry sand. When equipped with the 4.5-inch Super Sniper coil it opened up the junky ‘no-go’ beach areas much like the key on a tin of sardines. The ACE250 is a formidable beach machine and in the right hands, outperforms machines costing four times the price.

But like all metal detectors, the new breed of expensive high-end machines, and certainly in a beach context, will only find the ‘goodies’ where the ‘goodies’ are likely to exist; they won’t find ‘goodies’ where they ain’t! Though according to some ‘experts’ the precise opposite rules!

What then, you may be wondering is a good beach result? In my part of the world where miles of golden sands attract hundreds of thousands of day-trippers and holiday makers, £15 -£30 in a daily three-hour coinshooting session is about the norm plus a few ‘trinkets’.

A good day at the beach

It’s always useful to make yourself known to the Beach Wardens’ Office who’ll make a record of any identifiable ‘finds’ and refer the losers to you. I have had some stunning offers to detect prime sites inland from grateful owners reunited with their trinkets…but that’s another story!

Often the Beach Wardens will roar up alongside on their quad-bikes or dune buggies with a request for me to search a part of the beach for a day-tripper’s lost mobile phone, digital camera, even lost jewellery. I remember one time while having a tea-break back at my car, an elderly man and his wife parked in nearby in a huge 4x4 came over to me saying that they could see I was a metal detecting enthusiast and could I advise them where they might get a repair done on their grandson’s machine. The gentleman gave me his phone number and I called over a couple of days later to an address in the New Forest; took the machine away, and had repaired what was just a very minor fault. On my return he was so pleased he gave me permission to search many acres of his prime arable land any time I wanted. We became firm friends and I and my wife often enjoyed a hearty Sunday lunch at his sumptuous farmhouse.

One day I met a Member of Parliament strolling the beach with his wife and young family. His son was fascinated and a new recruit was in the offing. During the ensuing conversation he was aghast at the opposition to our hobby especially when I referred him to certain ‘anti’ websites and commentators, as proof of my veracity.

You never know who you’ll meet on a beach!



Albert Einstein

There are many motivations for doing archaeology, theft, and the chance of making a fast buck not least among them as some court cases highlight, but when pressed, the Arkies might claim to have 50-50 agreements with one farmer but not with another and so …..

“That’s very rare,” the Arkies say without knowing if that’s factual: “don’t insult the rest of us,” they’d squeal. But actually it’s merely the Arkies saying they are no more saintly than anyone else (A Member of Parliament once told me that he knew detectorists didn’t have the monopoly of the heritage villainy).

Therefore, if 1,000 randomly selected heritage professionals were asked, “if you could double your money by saying you found something in Harrow when you really excavated it in Jarrow, would you do it?” and let’s suppose ‘X’-number of them said, ‘Yes’. Now, unless you can precisely define what that ‘X’-number is, which you can’t, you’d have to accept there’s a degree of archaeological dishonesty that can never be known for sure. The pressing question for Britain’s public must then be: How can we be sure that all heritage professionals are not involved in artefact theft? You’d also have to accept that an unknown portion of those asked, would have lied. If you then attribute figures to the unknowns, then the equation is meaningless. It’s also meaningless if you don’t attribute numbers or percentages.

Nevertheless, this is precisely the moronic mathematical nonsense published recently by Heritage Action in their on-going campaign to discredit the Portable Antiquities Scheme and detectorists in general.

Bearing in mind this equation comes from the same stable that dreamed up the Artefact Erosion Counter it soon becomes clear its data is utterly valueless to anyone - apart from those who believe in fairies - when the ‘AEC’s data’ is deliberately falsified with numbers of artefacts allegedly stolen, or not reported. What makes it all the more astounding is this garbage comes from people who claim archaeology is a ‘science’…ho, bloody, ho!

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the CBA has as partners and to whom they want us all to entrust the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".



In order to have the stuff of a tyrant, a certain mental derangement is necessary…

Emile M. Cioran

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


January 29, 2014


This from the PAS intro:-


The Portable Antiquities Scheme is currently developing its potential as a tool for "lifelong learning". The Scheme's database now holds nearly 700,000 objects [soon to reach 1-million.Ed] and over 300,000 images. The records of these objects that our staff, volunteers and the public contribute are quite often the only chance we will get to document their existence. The database provides us with a record of their attributes and an image (if available.

We make our data available freely, under a creative commons licence, for the academic and lay communities to use for their research. We also have a team of finds specialists (the National Finds Advisers) who are available to answer queries on specific periods/ object types.


Quite apart from the high academic value the Scheme represents, mostly as a result of metal detecting activity -- not archaeological endeavour -- the UK’s PAS is the perfect template for a US-style version.

A PAS serves several functions not least of them addressing that which Rob Bendus, State Historic Preservation Officer and director of the DOS Division of Historical Resources has told the Press: “Artifacts are a finite, nonrenewable resource. When they are taken, destroyed or stored in private collections without being documented, they, and the history they represent, are gone forever.” Once recorded, items take on another dimension: The State gets to see, inspect, all that’s found, and able to purchase from finders (who may wish to donate) whatever it wants.

Additionally, a PAS does not make criminals out of its citizens for no better reason than they want to collect artefacts from public lands, collecting that which only a small minority of academics (who also thieve) want for themselves. Bendus ironically proves the value of a UK-style PAS-type scheme, a scheme covering all the bases: At a stroke, it shrugs off two legal anomalies: firstly, by allowing private collecting from public lands (an ersatz crime dreamed-up by academics to protect their interests). Secondly, the State is sanitized of pandering to, or supporting, the totalitarian dogma promoted by the same politico-archaeologists working to (socialist) agendas; the anathema of all that’s good and wholesome in a free America.

John Howland

The State gets to see and record all that’s found and is able to purchase from finders whatever it wants. In addition, such a scheme does not make criminals of its citizens and at a stroke rids the State of pandering to, or supporting, totalitarian (Soviet-style socialist) dogma.

Since the introduction of the PAS in the UK, the number of ‘Nighthawking’ crimes; the clandestine excavation of artefacts under the cover of darkness is according to the £66,000 government- funded Nighthawking Report, averages 1.5 incidences per month out of the 166,000 protected ancient sites. More people are booked by the police for riding bicycles at night without lights!

For the detectorist, the PAS is a boon. Every artefact recorded has a provenance. Should the State not want to buy it, it’s returned to the finder with a written provenance proving it was legally found, a fact that adds confidence in the buyer and in the value to the piece itself. Indeed, it further protects the casual finder, or non-detectorist, from a night in the slammer!

Who would anyone oppose such a brilliant scheme? Just take a look at Florida’s bureaucracy (for example) and the academics (for example), who feed the monster. Lisa MacIntyre excepted!

Now she’s a go-ahead gal, who, with your support, could pioneer ground-breaking changes across the States. Get together with Lisa and let the ‘wagons roll!’

In the UK the PAS by virtue of it detectorists, is pivotal in providing fabulous research data:-

Research project types:

Level of research:-

  • Undergraduate 50
  • Master’s degree 109
  • PhD level research 73
  • Large scale research AHRC 13
  • Major publication 18
  • Magazine or journal article 5
  • Desk based assessment 14
  • Major research (Leverhulme funded) 2
  • Personal research project 78
  • Archaeology society project 2
  • External project (UK only) 9
  • External project (International) 3
  • A-Level archaeology project 5
  • Total projects: 381

The implementation won’t be easy as you’ll be fighting an influential but academically bankrupt opposition (a bit like Wally & Harry). The State of Florida, for example, can only benefit and bring archaeologists, historians, collectors and detectorists, closer together for the good of all.

Why Not a Portable Antiquities Scheme for the US? No reason at all...


It is better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution...

Alvin Toffler

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


January 25, 2014


Steve Broom is a nice guy. He’s a driving force in the Southern Detectorists Group (SDG), a friendly band of presumably, southern English detectorists, who go about their business in an honourable and legal fashion.

But here any pretence of legality ends. Thanks to Paul Barford, and Nigel Swift, and the phoney shit-stirring, farmer Silas Brown, all members of the SDG are branded (somewhat libellously, you might think) as thieves. The SDG have not contested that label.

Mr Broom, instead of going for the legal, libel, jugular (for whatever reason), chose to ignore and defend his groups’ position by assuaging Barford with a toe-curlingly embarrassing series of comments on both Barford’s and Swift’s blogs. Broom’s comments are the stuff of cross-channel ferry sick-bags; a real gift to the more seasoned, political savvy, anti-detectorist, anti-collector, Paul Barford – and I don’t begrudge him one iota for rubbing Broom’s nose in the shit – all’s fair in love and war. Broom the political boy, played a man’s game and lost – spectacularly.

In short, he’d allowed himself – on behalf of his group – to be kicked in the balls by allowing Barford to tag him and his group with the badge ---THIEF. Without any defence to contrary, the Southern Detectorist Group is, as farmer Silas Brown, says, populated by thieves.

Game, set, and match to Barford.



There is no sin except stupidity…

Oscar Wilde

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


January 21, 2014


Metal detecting, relic hunting, treasure hunting - call it whatever – will always have its detractors and critics in varying degrees of hostility in much the same way that for example, anglers, huntsmen, shooters, meat eaters, and even professional boxers, attract the brickbats.

Of those opposed to whatever it is they campaign to outlaw, many are lucid, espousing sincere, and (in their minds) logical reasons for their actions while others are clearly deranged and in need of psychotherapy.

But when I take the occasional peek at two of our hobby’s arch-critics - Paul Barford, and Nigel Swift’s puerile Heritage Action blogs – another category emerges. Here are two individuals who lapse into regular insults, sometimes personal, displaying unsurprisingly, an arrogant disregard for facts about our pastime and who’d have the world believe they ‘experts’ in the matter. When challenged about their views they immediately lapse into ‘victim mode’ attempting to garner sympathy. They are I’m afraid, of that strata of humanity that I’d wouldn’t urinate over even if they were on fire and I’m sure they feel likewise should I spontaneously combust.

Barford for example, has described hobbyists on his blog (in one of his less vitriolic tirades) as ‘slack-jaws’; another term for ’in-breds’ with all the connotations of incest. Though he’s of little importance and influences no-one, why should anyone really bother about the invectives he hurls scattergun fashion at a legal hobby? Well, I do! And so do a few others.

My hobby, your hobby, is legal, healthy, and wholesome, and don’t you ever forget it. Be proud of it. The fact he objects to it (and who’s he anyway?) is his problem and when we meet, we will I’m sure, have a ‘frank and forthright’ exchange of views. In the meantime, I’m not going to sit back and allow anyone, least of all him, to promulgate the suggestion that I, nor any of my detecting pals, are the fruits of unlawful sexual coupling. Neither am I ever going to let his insults go unchallenged and neither should you! The fact that the Council for British Archaeology has aligned itself with him and therefore his views, puts them in my firing line too!

Perhaps the CBA’s Patron, the Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne, might like to explain to us why he supports (by association) Barford’s assertion that a sizeable number of his mother’s subjects (our present Queen) are the results of incest - ‘slack-jaws’- simply because they use metal detectors?



“I reckon the BM [British Museum] after all those years of liaison got it right, they are partnering "Treasure Hunters" seeking as Mike Heyworth says, to deplete the archaeological record for personal profit.” Yep, it’s the arch metal detecting hater, Paul Barford, sounding off again. Anyway, what’s wrong with the BM partnering Treasure Hunters? Nothing! Depleting the archaeological record for personal profit? Nothing wrong with that either!

Curiously, though, the CBA maintains a link on its website to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the same scheme that, according to Heyworth, aids and abets the alleged rape of the UK’s archaeological record. It’s a bit like the FBI having a link on its website to The Mob.

Of course, when one realises this is the same Mike Heyworth who dashed to Barford’s defence to shore-up Barford’s flagging Artefact Erosion Counter – where propaganda and fact-free bunkum elbowed out archaeological precision - such as it is - shortly before it fell flat on its arse, then everything drops into place.

If you think the Task Force, or the FMDAC are doing a poor job for you, just imagine what it must be like having these buffoons in your corner during a title fight!!!!!



“Furthermore from my own point of view, and I lived right through it, Communism (as such) was a weak force in Poland with mainly symbolic meaning even in the late 1980s, and was not the only thing defining Poland, Polishness and what was happening on the streets and elsewhere.” There is no end it seems to the utter, absolute drivel vomited by this man Barford. It’s all so typical of the apologist claptrap spewed by Leftist academics; a testament to misconceived idealism among Britain's intelligentsia in the 1930s and to the futility of MI5's hunt for Britain's Communist traitors. Those who betrayed the West; Art historian Anthony Blunt, Diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, MI6 officer George Blake, MI6 agent Kim Philby, and the former UN translator, John Cairncross, serve alongside Aldrich Ames, the renegade CIA officer who sold the US to the Soviets, are the perfect role models for treachery.

Unlike Barford, many Poles fought (and died) to rid themselves of the burden of Communist oppression so as to experience the warm embrace of democracy; the embrace Barford so willingly surrendered for a hand-in-blouse grope with cold Communism.

That ”weak force…” as Barford bashfully refers to it, murdered (among others) Polish priest Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko in the following circumstances: A car accident was organised to kill him on 13th October 1984 but the plot went awry. He was then kidnapped on the 19th October 1984, beaten to a pulp, then murdered by three Security Police officers who dumped his battered body into the Vistula Water Reservoir near Wloclawek from where it was recovered on 30th October that year.

The assassination of the good priest made world headlines two years before the metal-detector hating Barford took up with the floozy of Communism in 1986. Whether he failed to notice the manner of how the Polish secret police dealt with dissidents, is unclear but his enthusiasm for a life in the Worker’s Utopian State remained, apparently, undiminished.

Perhaps Barford could explain to Popieluszko’s relatives precisely how, “Communism (as such) was a weak force in Poland…” I doubt he has the capacity to take on board why so many -- and I am one -- regard him as a clown. Nearly everything he espouses connected with heritage affairs, and especially anything to do with metal detecting or private collecting, will always be for the purposes of accuracy…derisory.

The Council for British Archaeology -- who on the one hand accuses detectorists of imprecision -- yet is the comically creaky academic crutch for Barford’s now widely-discredited to mention widely ridiculed) Artefact Erosion Counter; the unscientific exercise in baloney so beloved by Nigel Swift of the rag-bag Heritage Action group and its posse of acolytes. Barford is apparently well-respected by David Gill (dubbed by the less-reverential as the ‘Ginger Whinger’) of the University Campus, Suffolk, at whose personal invitation Barford tiptoed back to the UK to hold the now famously pisspoor lecture about heritage looting in East Anglia.

The Bowery Boys live!



Down on the farm at Heritage Action where regular anti-detecting contributor, farmer Silas Brown, holds court on their blog attempting to persuade landowners and farmers what a thieving bunch of swines we all are, has gone tits up and Silas is looking not so much the farmer, but more the village idiot (nothing new here then you might think).

Old Silas you see, scribes in his earthy column, mordant manure as ‘Exhibit One’ from his latest dispatch shows: “The Southern Detectorists Group detects 20 farms and in no case do they hand the finds to the farmers at the end of their digs. I’m only a humble farmer, less educated or socially responsible than the average detectorist, but to me that’s scandalous” adding somewhat libellously M’learned Friends might think, “And it’s not just me. Tesco’s [a fine UK supermarket chain. Dick] don’t like people taking things home without going through the check-out either.” So now we know - the Southern Detectorists Group is entirely populated by thieves. What do Heritage Action readers make of Silas’s bile?

Natasha Hendridge, commenting in reply to Silas on the 19th January at 12:42, gored him like a bull in heat and the blood flowed: “And you are most likely just like the other greedy farmers such as the one at Oldport farm that are willing to sell of their land to build house right up against a nationally important Hillfort – Disgraceful. Do not expect any sympathy from me or anyone else who can see what a shady bunch of money grabbers you really are.”

Oh dearie me…not quite the reaction Heritage Action had expected – one of their own slagging-off a farmer for being greedy! In a near panic-driven damage limitation exercise twenty-five minutes later at 13:07, HA replied patronisingly:

“Natasha, If you read more of Farmer Brown’s contributions to the Journal you’ll realise he’s a literary device. And a saint!”

My God! Farmer Silas Brown is a fictional character ? Huh? Can it be that everything grumpy old Silas Brown has ever written has been the rabid musings of an anonymous imposter? It’s all been fiction? But hang on a moment…Heritage Action’s got previous form in the Fiction Stakes. Their previous outing on heavy going (and failed to finish) was with the Artefact Erosion Counter, where despite a serious lack of credible data (it was all made-up) purported to show how squillions of artefacts were being hoiked out of the ground despite the scrupulous accuracy of the government-backed and funded Portable Antiquities Scheme that decisively, proved otherwise. The PAS shows what jolly good chaps detectorists really are having been rightfully referred to as ‘Heritage Heroes’ by Britain’s Culture Minister.

Surely Heritage Action wouldn’t lower itself to fibbing about important heritage matters for propagandist purposes simply to bolster their anti-metal detecting stance? Certainly looks like it! If they are prepared to portray Silas Brown as a bona fide farmer, what credence can be placed on anything these people say? Not a lot, quite clearly. Worse still, if they gild the lily when ‘advising’ landowners, how can anyone be certain of their veracity in anything else?

So, if you are a farmer or landowner and you’ve been following the Silas Brown column, now show to be fiction….YOU’VE BEEN HAD FOR A MUG – BIG STYLE! This Heritage Action bunch outfit are people who would have you believe the heritage is safer in their hands than yours. Maybe you might consider more seriously when any of these uninsured, bobble-hatted buffoons come whining for permission to field walk (read; denude) your pastures of valuable flint tools and pottery shards. As Silas Brown said of the supermarket chain, that like you, they, “Don’t like people taking things home without going through the check-out either.”



He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave….

Andrew Carnegie

See you in the bar!


January 5, 2014


It was a good year for Tekkies on both sides of The Pond. Without the help of US or UK representative national bodies (who, as usual, are struck mute on any controversial subject)…we…that’s Stout Standards and ironically, with the unwitting help of its main architect, the anti-metal detecting archaeo-blogger, Paul Barford, who describes himself as a…”Sartorial subversive living and working in the very centre of Warsaw Poland,” finally laid to rest one of the biggest lies in archaeology (apart from the Piltdown Man fiasco…the Hitler Diaries debacle) the ludicrous Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC). This carefully contrived deception was finally exposed as a very unscientific; anti-metal detecting propaganda-driven fantasy, masquerading as pseudo-scientific archaeology, or more accurately perhaps, to use the vernacular of the obscene; complete, and utter bullshit, from start to finish.

Nevertheless, it was initially, powerful and convincing bullshit. The final bonus, or icing on the cake, came with the Council for British Archaeology’s (CBA’s) headlong flight to shore-up the Erosion Counter's flagging veracity with its tacit approval for the Goebbels-like trickery when the AEC came under public and probing scrutiny. In the event, the CBA (Patron HRH The Prince of Wales) came out of it covered with excrement a somewhat less dignified image than its self-appointed role as the august champion of accurate, heritage methodology; never again could British archaeology point an accusing finger at metal detecting hobbyists and say… ‘J'accuse’. The trap had been sprung.

At a stroke, the CBA’s Director, Dr Mike Heyworth consigned the CBA to the role of ‘heritage pantomime dame’. Were I batting for the CBA's anti-metal detecting team (and most CBA members are it appears), I’d not be satisfied with anything less than having his testicles on a platter for creating such an unholy mess – he’d have to go! Indeed I'd want anyone connected with this Erosion Counter staked out over an anthill.

Does or should this victory resonate with US hunters? Perhaps not at first glance, but, seeing as some of the more rabid of US archaeologists would figuratively beat to death any metal detectorist they encounter, and would have no compunction in using the deceitful AEC data as the foundation to promote State-wide ‘anti’ legislation, then yes, it is pertinent. You can now say, hand on heart, the AEC is a dead duck. The AEC was proven to be guesstimation-based.


2014 Looks Even Better

The UK’s Federation of Independent Detectorists (annual subs £4.50) and it’s phenomenal £10,000,000 Third Party Liability Insurance cover, and ID Pass, is just about the one organisation that resolves anything. I fully recommend membership.

Contact: Hon. Sec Colin Hanson http://www.fid.newbury.net/...And PLEASE enclose a stamped addressed envelope (keeps costs to a minimum).


Still Clinging to the Wreckage!

There’s an old press adage that when the legend is greater than the facts – print the legend! Never was this old saw better demonstrated than by Heritage Action’s online pisspoor blog, Heritage Journal (HJ). They report that:

“English Heritage Chief Simon Thurley has just said there is evidence that many of those who dig up archaeologically rich sites looking for valuable artefacts are … “habitual offenders” who “trawl English Heritage’s own databases of protected…….”

Er…."Just said?" Well actually, no it wasn’t, "Just said". Factually, Thurley made his comments (though somewhat and unsurprisingly twisted by HJ then shepherded towards their own propaganda) on 26 December 2012. Accurate reporting? Hardly. Neither was this cutting edge news, though laughingly, the scribbler who penned committed this nonsense wisely remains anonymous goes on to reinforce the ‘facts’ with….wait for this….the already disgraced and proven lie-graph; the Artefact Erosion Counter.



Fortune and love favors the brave...

I’ll see y’all in the bar…



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