Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"За Волгой земли для нас не было".

"I am Vassily Zaitsev".
Василий Зайцев (let's get the spelling right, one 's') was facing Hitler in one of the most atrocious battles of the so-called Eastern Front. I wonder, in using such a bold comparison, Person-hiding-behind-the-pseudonym-Buffet thinks he is "defending". I wonder what 'threat' he sees across the Wye?

"Buffet's" blog is aimed at my main blog "Portable Antiquities and heritage Issues" and is named "paul-barford-blog-response". The reader will easily note that he has not actually responded to any of the points raised there about portable antiquity hunting and collecting. But then, there is nothing new about that from the whole sad pro-collecting lobby, the British archaeologists among them. All they can do is pretend to be heroic saboteurs and snipers. They may take random pot-shots at the "messenger", but the issues sadly remain wthout a proper response from the whole pro-collecting lobby who usually drag any discussion down to the level of ad hominem attacks.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ray Blaker gets it wrong too

Ray Blaker Says: December 2, 2007 at 5:12 am
Hmm, maybe one of these guy´s should go back home (To Poland), and open his mouth there (Although I doubt he has the courage to do so), as in his home country they are robbing and pillaging throughout Europe, and selling on the black market. Instead he comes here and tries to destroy a system that is
working, and improving every day !!

Coldfeet uncovered

Another anonymous blog about metal detecting problems, my goodness there do seem to be a lot about don't there?

Coldfeet uncovered: This blog is by a mole within the Covemoles who has seen enough and feels it's about time the UK detecting scene is aware of the devious goings on of Coldfeet (David Hutchings/Chester)
The author calls himself "Crusader" and his profile says: "For obvious reasons my identity must only be available to those that need to know. Quite simply because Coldfeet will do anything to prevent the truth from being revealed." Yes, another UK "detectorist" who wants to make accusations without having to put their name under them and take responsibility for their words.

Buffy declies to play the "issues" game: he has another one of his own

"Just seeing when you visited. posted by BUFFET, The Ham Pie Slayer at 13:21 on 30-Dec-2008". I replied:
I am just checking to see if you are going to post anything of substance, as you promised. To see if you are going to attack the knotty issues rather than continually anonymously snipe at the personal traits of those (or just ONE of those) that raise them. There's ten thousand guffawing tekkie mates out there waiting for the next little mousy taunt. Not to mention Dave Connolly.
Paul Barford

The view from Germany

According to Ray Reddich
Und hier noch ein schreiben von Julian Evan-Hart (British Museum) gegen Barford (Ein Polisch ammateur Archeolög in England) und Swift (auch ein Hobby Archeolög), zwei "Kopf in Sand" HOBBY Archeolögen !!......
Actually the guy is wrong on all three counts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Recording, but what?

I should point out I am not a pro-collecting archaeologist. I am a pro recording archaeologist” protests Scottish professional archaeologist David Connolly (“purveyor of dots”).

Let’s have a look at what this means in real terms. Barely literate internet auction seller danny 1970000 has what looks like a bronze statue of Diana for sale to the highest bidder.

“danny” of Beccles, Suffolk, England clearly has a metal detector or sells items found by others who have. Over the past few weeks he has been selling a substantial number of little metal items all from his “own collection”.

Well, interestingly enough, last week he had another, a statue which looks like it is of Minerva

Now let us assume that "metal detected object collector Danny" is telling the truth here, that these are truly ancient objects and found in the UK. Maybe David Connolly as an archaeologist would like to reflect on where he would go himself if he wanted to find such a figurine. They are not two-a-penny in fieldwork on the average Romano-British site. My thought is that if they are authentic, these finds suggest that “Danny” or his supplier has come across a votive deposit which he is now emptying onto eBay.

Now a merely “recording archaeologist” (for example a PAS-partner of artefact hunters) would pat "danny" on the head, say “
that’s nice Danny boy, if you would be so good, my dear artefact seeking partner, and give me some idea where you found this, a six-figure NGR will be sufficient, that’d be nice, now scamper off you history-hunting rascal, my old mate, and enjoy finding more”..

To my mind this is indeed being “pro-collecting”. To my mind a deposit like that which “Danny’s” finds seem to suggest is being emptied onto eBay deserves preservation for proper investigation under controlled conditions to add to our knowledge, not merely some token “recording” merely so some collector can increase the money in their paypal account.

“Pro-recording archaeologists” are doing nothing (NOTHING) to stop the erosion of Britain’s archaeological heritage through the exploitation of the archaeological record as a source of collectables. They are condoning and encouraging collecting and not trying to combat it. They are giving it an air of social respectibility instead of standing up and saying that this is not how a finite and fragile resource which most of us value should be being treated by a minority of self-centred individuals largely focussed only on their own material gain. And that is where I and Mr Connolly simply do not see eye-to-eye. Should real ornithologists be "partners" with egg-collecting nest-vandals in order to "record" where Ospreys HAD been nesting? This is a conservation issue not one of personal rights.

Mr Connolly congratulates middle class metal detecting enthusiast "Buffy the hampie slayer" on his blog for "pulling the cheesy mat from under the clay footed one....." and encourages him to "keep it up". I would like to ask him what is clay-footed about the arguments against encouraging this kind of exploitation of the archaeological record for personal entertainment and profit? He is welcome to comment here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Connolly comes clean

Professional archaeologist David Connolly admits:
I have now been accused of a terrible thing.... being a quote: persistent purveyor of all those dots marking an inability to formulate complete sentences
It was fairly obvious to those "in the know" that the unnamed person who had sent congratulations and encouragement to Person-hiding-behind-the-pseudonym-Buffet for a "well needed" "pulling the cheesy mat from under the clay footed one" (i.e., Paul Barford) was pro-collecting Scottish archaeologist David Connolly. So it seems we were right.

Any time Dave Connolly feels like having a proper discussion about the archaeological issues involved in artefact hunting and collecting, he knows where your comments are welcome. Why "cheesy"? Where precisely do you see these "clay feet"? Why do you feel confident that the pro-collecting arguments are so much better founded? If they are, then surely it is the pro-collecting archaeologists like yourself that should be putting them forward and defending them against their book-writing critics rather than relying on the sniping efforts of rodent-obsessed "metal detectorists" to do the dirty work.

More sniping and ducking

Buffy the “middle class” blogging pie-scoffer claims
“I have been getting many messages of support but the one below was very well received by myself.. I have omitted the posters details as it is someone from outside the metal detecting community and well respected in their professional field so probably best we just see the comment. "Thank you....!, this has been well needed.......... pulling the cheesy mat from under the clay footed one.....keep it up" You know who you are- many thanks and keep checking the Blog (and emailing the Blog link within your professional community and posting on forums)

Best indeed. We would not want you revealing the name of the persistent purveyor of all those dots marking an inability to formulate complete sentences. After all hiding behind false names and sniping from behind the anonymity of the Internet is what it’s all about isn’t it? Do I respect a “professional” who cannot actually address their “professional” arguments to my face and leaves it up to “metal detecting” bloggers to do the dirty work? I'll give you three guesses “metal detectorists”.

As for posting links to Buffy's blog to their professional forums, let him by all means. Let the professionals see who Kate Clerk's review of the Portable Antiquities Scheme makes their PARTNERS.

If any professionals (including Pantomime Archaeologists) have anything to say - negative as wwell as positive - about the archaeological issues I raise about artefact hunting and personal collection, then I invite them to my other blog Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues. It's just a mouse click away from Buffy's rodential buffoonery.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Who is the mouse?

Buffy the self-styled “middle-class detectorist” who apparently imagines he is the conservation lobby’s intellectual nemesis seems to be losing his grasp of things. Yes, Mr "Buffet", one can edit these blog posts (as Buffy himself frequently does. So what?

The “name plate” he accuses me of “unscrewing” from the banner of my blog of course never existed (he confuses the text of my profile with the banner heading of my blog).

Let us get one thing straight, archaeology is not and never has been for me a
chained library”. There is however as far as I am concerned a difference Mr Buffy between a library and a box of comic books and girlie magazines at a car boot sale. There is a difference between archaeology as a field of human enquiry and mere collecting of isolated fragments of the past. This IS a conservation argument, not one of personal rights. That is what the book I wrote with Nigel Swift (Chairman of grassroots conservation organization “Heritage Action”) is all about. Like it or lump it, but don't try to misrepresent what it is we are talking about.

Buffy is determined to define something he calls “Barfordisation” (of the “known facts” about “metal detecting”) and then seizes on little factoids from the blogosphere support this notion. Anyway he seems determined to represent me as some kind of rodent, but who is the man and who is the mouse, who uses their real name to stand behind their words, and who hides his puerile sniping behind anonymity and aliases?

Paul Barford (Real name)

The Buffetisation of Debate on Conservation

It seems to me that "Buffy" the self-styled “middle-class detectorist” who apparently imagines he is the conservation lobby’s intellectual nemesis has lost sight of his own arguments. The sole basis of his blog consists of a series of taunting accusations that in writing of the erosion of the archaeological record by artefact hunting and collecting I am engaging in something he calls “Barfordisation” of the hobby. In reply to his comments, let us simply observe that (what seems more justifiable to label) “Buffetisation”:

- puts the presenter of the argument above the substance of the argument,

- uses inverted snobbery to gain the moral high ground,

- utilises negative social stereotyping to maintain that high ground.

Maybe person-calling-himself-Buffet could look in his own "mirror" . At least I write under my own name so it is clear who is saying what.

Buffy promises his readers "later on we will further examine ‘Barfordisation’ within the context of the much maligned and vilified activity of metal detecting". Hmm. if past performance is anything to judge by, somehow I do not think this is really going to be worth waiting for. Probably a lot of glib platitudes, puerile personal sniping interspersed with things he's found on the internet that some famous bloke has said and pictures of assorted rodents. Still I am sure it'll keep his tekkie M8s amused.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anti-PAS Ham Cabaret

Buffy the pie-scoffing Middle Class Detectorist is not the only clown one can find on the UK "metal detecting" scene; now they have DIY cabaret.

Two days ago a really awful new video " You Called Me Irresponsible" appeared on You Tube. In it Norwegian "metal detectorist" Gary Brun holds a metal detector while jigging frenetically around behind a microphone with a series of photos flashing on and off a monitor behind him. He is lip-syncing (badly) a song about... well, what on earth is it about? It seems to be a personal attack on Roger Bland and the Portable Antiquities Scheme and refers in some oblique way to the UK Detector Finds Database. Quite what posessed him to do that is anyone's guess. I am in no doubt that his equally "responsible" "metal detectorist" mates think its side-splittingly funny. As apparently does one archaeologist.

The video is apparently:
Dedicated to all metal detectorists who record their finds in
the UK and around the world. The UK Detecting Code Of Practice calls you "responcible" ONLY if you record with the PAS. What about all those detectorists who have been recording for years with the HER and other organisations?? The heritage belongs to all and not just those with an ology.

Now, why would a truly responsible artefact hunter have anything against the Portable Antiquities Scheme? Which of its aims is in conflict with their beliefs?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Portable Antiquity Collection and Archaeololgy in the UK

For some time now I have been gathering and collating material for a book on Britain's" Portable Antiquity Heritage: Artefact Collecting and the Archaeological Record written together with Nigel Swift. The publishers' blurb on Amazon says:
In recent years the discourse on artefact hunting and portable antiquity collection, and their relationship to archaeology in Britain, has become dominated by a particular blend of ideas grown up around the ethos of 'liaison'. These have had a far-reaching impact and are reflected in almost anything that is currently being written about artefact hunting and portable antiquity collection. This book takes as its starting point an examination of some of the fundamental assumptions on which this model is based and subjects the rhetoric of this discourse to careful analysis. As a result, a somewhat disturbing alternative picture emerges. After a historical chapter, artefact hunting and collecting are discussed with reference to basic principles of archaeological practice and ethics. The phenomenon is also examined against the background of portable antiquity collecting and the antiquities trade. The authors then move on to consider justifications offered by the advocates of collecting both in the hobby itself and the profession; the role of the media in forming public opinion; the part played by metal detecting; the use of personal collections as a means of curating Britain's archaeological record; and, the role of the Treasure Process and export licences in creating a national heritage from the finds of artefact hunters. Alternative proposals for dealing with the problem are also presented in this title.
No doubt airheads like Buffy the Middle Class Detectorist and his guffawing portable antiquity seeking mates all over the UK will hail the way we have presented our arguments as some kind of "misrepresentation" and no doubt redouble their attempts to attack the authors instead of actually addressing the issues raised. Nevertheless the book is not written for them - or even primarily about them.

Buddy quotes Goethe

Buffy the Middle Class Detectorist now attempts further to set himself apart from his fellow detectorists by now quoting Goethe:
"Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows thier image"
Goethe Coming some time soon.
Obviously the forthcoming post is not going to be a remark on the ethics of artefact collecting either. This is despite his blog being called "Paul-Barford-Blog-Response" (referring to my Portable Antiquities and Heritage Issues blog). No matter, it is rapidly emerging that Buffy has nothing to say about anything much, let alone on that topic.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Righteous Seeker

"Buffet" the pie-gobbling middle class metal detectorist tries to set himself up above the others of that ilk, he claims:
I don't collect items, I find them and record, bag and tag the items and give them to the landowner as part of the history of their home and surroundings. The enjoyment of sitting down with someone and explaining the age of a buckle, the usage of a strap end or the value of a coin is as exciting and interesting as
making the actual find.
This is an interesting perspective. Instead of launching the detector-typical cheap personal attacks and name-calling (“Barfordisation”), he might like to contribute something concrete to the debate by using his blog to tell us what he thinks of the other type of metal detectorists. The ones who actually do collect the portable antiquities they find, those who do not “tag” them and “record” them, and those do not give them all to the landowner. Many of them sell some of them on eBay (though we do not know in how many of those cases the profits are split with the landowner). So for example we have the wonderful Mike Pegg video “metal detecting down to Earth” of which a small extract can be found on YouTube. I made a blog post about it a few weeks back. In this video, Mr Pegg is enjoying sitting down and explaining the age of a buckle and strapend, though I cannot see any “tags” on his finds in a heap on the table, some of which have broken out with bronze disease. Maybe the anonymous blogging non-collecting "metal detectorist” could tell us all his thoughts on the ethics of this kind of metal detector use and collecting. I guess "Buffet" must feel the same distaste as me when he sees all those detector finds on eBay, as they quite clearly belie the deception that these individuals are only interested in it (“detecting”) “out of a passionate interest in history”. Not all of them are, and I am sure we'd all like to hear “Buffet's” views on those others.

Buffy the Pie Gobbler Blogs and Gobs

Buffy the Ham Pie Slayer strikes again. He says: "I notice that this Blog has reached across the water to the depths of Poland and Warsaw in particular". Hardly surprising as its author or one of his mates sent me a message inviting me to look at his handiwork. Needless to say, hiding behind his pseudonym, does not advance any argument about the erosion of the archaeological record or the Valetta Convention or any meritorial matters I have raised about portable antiquity collecting, but focusses largely on my mistyping, and quite unneccessarily lectures me on the use of the word "perjury", (I had earlier expressed surprise that a person claiming to be "working in law" would misuse it in the way the author of the new blog did).

Never mind, the guy clearly has nothing to say about what I have posted on my other blog about the ethics and archaeological implications of collecting or any of the wider issues, so intends merely to continue (as do most artefact collectors it seems) a series of personal attacks. It seems that, despite being so concerned in the earlier posts on his blog to point out how unlike the rest of the metal detectorists in the UK he is, he intends to behave in this respect in no way differently from any of the rest.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Buffy the Ham Pie Slayer blogs about portable antiquities

“Edward” “On Blogger Since December 2008” left the following taunting comment on my blog:

"[I] think you should go take a look here: regards Edward

A blog about a blog. The author of this blog turns out to be coy about using his real name (as are most artefact hunters). He reckons “Who I am by name is irrelevant”. He appears to come from Monmouth and refers to himself as “BUFFET, The Ham Pie Slayer”; presumably related in some way to this. He defines himself as “Middle aged, middle class, professional working in the field of law”, though the lawyers I know can generally use apostrophes correctly and spell.

“Buffet” has ambitions to create new terms:

Like a child entering the world kicking and struggling, a new fledgling word enters into our language and that word is 'Barfordisation'. So, how are we to define 'Barfordisation'? Primarily, Barfordisation is used to describe a misrepresenation of facts. The selective use of the unknown as the expense of the known if it does not fit the argument presented. It is speculative yet perjorative (sic) in its useage. It distorts the argument and twists it to fit the agenda.
Hmmm. What “knowns” would they be then “Buffet”?

I do not think the anonymous “Buffet” understands what the Heritage Action Erosion Counter represents either, he writes:
Suddenly all metal detectorists become 'artefact hunters' in order to swell the numbers and exaggerate the statistics”.
This claim is really baseless, it seems to me however that Heritage Action spell out what their concern is in plain enough English. There then follow some pieces of detecting dogma no doubt firmly affirmed by the detectorists’ new partner the Portable Antiquities Scheme:
Farmers chemicals & heavy farm machinery would have their toll on these artefact's and increase their numbers as they disintegrate to become 'partefacts'. Knowledge only becomes known when we unearth (sic) the facts. if we don't unearth the facts we know nothing at all so the status quo is kept. But
this is the gist of Barfords arguments. He doesn't want the artefact's removed from the soil but he offers no solution to his self satisfying problem. For Mr Barford, no knowledge seems to be better than increased knowledge. What purpose would that serve?
Um, Valetta Convention? Heard of it “Buffet”? Know what its for? Thought not. Ask the PAS to explain it to you. If they can.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cold Brayfield 2

Well, not being one to be fobbed off by half answers, I decided to write again to Mrs Evans about her remarks about the photos of Julian Watters attacking the ground with a blunt mattock on a december day in 2006 on her website:
-------Original Message-------
From: Paul Barford Date: 10/31/08 08:22:36
To: Gill Evans Subject: Re: Account deletion

Dear Mrs Evans,
The photos Gary Brun publicised however came from your website. They have now been referred to on David Gill's "Looting Matters" blog. I just wanted to get at the truth what they show since Mr Brun is insisting that they show Mr Plason and Mr Phillips digging up the hoard mentioned the other day in the Milton Keynes news.
Are they your members?

All I wanted to do was to follow up the lead Gary Brun had provided to get to the truth, despite the secrecy some wish at each step to wrap around the recovery of elements of the national heritage by metal detector users. Seeing the reference to the photos in the forum would help see if there is any evidence that Mr Brun is telling the truth. If so, then I would of course publish a correction to what I wrote on my blog. The fact that I am prevented from independently verifying this means I cannot.

If you do not want to let me look at what is on the forum to see if
there is anything there or not, then I am sure you will see why I can indeed be forgiven for thinking that you may be hiding something. If your members have nothing to hide, why the secrecy?

You write: > as you are so anti detecting I see no reason why you should wish to join therefore deleted the application.Do Central Searchers support only responsible detecting? Is there a reason why those interested in finding examples of responsible detecting should not see what is on your forum?

As I say, I was only interested in looking around in order to get to the truth about what was reported in the newspapers (where there was NO mention of "devastation to crops", maybe we are talking about two different newspaper reports?).
Paul Barford
I know, a "trifle" pompous, but I tend to get annoyed with metal detectorists who want to hide what they are doing from the rest of us as though it does not concern us. It does. Anyway, this is the reply I got in return, and this is where it gets interesting:

Dear Mr Barford, I do not have the time or inclination to get into a long drawn out conversation with you regarding this matter. I have explained in a previous email what the photographs are the chap in the mustardy coloured jumper in Julian Waters, I would suggest if you have any problems regarding this hoard
that you speak to him direct.
As for Gary Brun I have no idea where he has made these comments or what he has said. But for the record I will tell you the three photos are of Mr Phillips, Mr Plassom and Julian Waters around a week after the initial find was made and they show Mr Waters in the hole checking finds and any relevant history. These photos are not of the actual day the original find was made when Mr Plassom and Mr Phillips were on their own, as far as I am aware there are not photographs at this particular point. And for what happened that day I would suggest you contact Mr Phillips direct.

As far as CS site is concerned it is our forum we have nothing to hide but to be blunt we don't want you on our site and that's our decision, many of our members are also on the other forums minelab owners, ukdn, ukdetectorist etc. I to am on those sites and have seen the "discussions" between yourself and members and they often become very heated. Our forum runs very smoothly and I cannot be doing with these foreseable disagreements should I allow you to join.

As for no link to the PAS we did have all the FLO's and a whole section to them on our website, but to be honest I have lost touch with which FLO is where at the moment as they seem to swap and change constantly, we therefore removed the page as we did not wish to relate false information to the public. We have lots of dealings with Ros Tyrell and in Jan are starting up club meetings every month and will be asking the new Northants FLO is she wants to come each time and record finds (that is providing she has actually started work by then as at present Northants does not have a FLO). But because our membership is country wide a lot of our members record their finds with their local FLO's. Gill Evans

Well, its not clear whether she is saying that the hole Mr Watters (not "Waters") dug is the same findspot as the coins recovered in the night by Phillips and Plasom (or whether she means no photographs were taken in the dark), and whether she is deliberately writing so as to be ambiguous - to cover up why she originally called the Cold Brayfield hoard the Buckingham Hoard... dunno.

What however is clear is that according to his words on David Gill's "Looting Matters" blog, Julian Watters is under the impression that he had been called to a site where the night previously a find had been made and almost totally retrieved by the finders. Mrs Evans, whose husband took part in this recovery, asserts that in fact the nightime digging had happened a week before that, at the end of November. Now, if that is true, why would anyone not want to admit that? There are a number of obvious reasons that come to mind, but it is not my place to suggest them here, the reader can work them out for themselves.

As for the rest, well putting a link to the Portable Antiquities Scheme webpage alongside all the links to coin dealers and suchlike does not mean they would be supplying "the public" (sic) with false information... since the PAS update the references to local contacts on their webpage on a regular basis. That excuse falls flat, there must be another reason why Central Searchers have their own "rules" which make no mention of any official Code of Practice for Responsible Detecting, and makes no mention of the existence of the PAS. What could it be? She did not answer my question about responsible detectorists.

As for the crap about these forums where I allegedly produce such mayhem, I challenge her to point to any of the archived posts of any of those forums (which I regularly visit) where this has occurred. The only example she will find is from the UKDN forum when a few years back I inadvertanly used the words "common heritage" and all hell broke loose (that was in the days before David Lammy chummily told them all they were "unsung heroes of the heritage") and I only joined in the discussion there because one member (he seems to have since gone silent -probably choked in his own bile) was attacking me on the britarch forum. This was over a coin that was alleged by a detectorist had gone missing while in archaeological custody. I stated (as did John Hooker) that the photo showed a fake coin... His fellow detectorists rallied round and made a huge fuss. The accusing detectorist is now several years later standing trial accused by several dealers of trying to sell fake coins....

Cold Brayfield 1

On Friday I wrote to the owners of the Central Searchers website to ask about their refusal to allow me access to the website. Here's an exchange of correspondence between me and Gill[ian] Evans, one of the list owners, some interesting details of the case emerge from this and I feel it is in the public interest for me to post this here as supporting evidence for some of the comments I feel I will be making about this hoard in the future. This is the common heritage and there should be no need for any kind of secrecy about what these people are doing with it.

-------Original Message-------
From: Paul Barford Date: 10/31/08 07:11:24
To: Gill Evans Subject: Re: Account deletion

Hello, Gary Brun posted to me something from your site which he claims shows the Cold Brayfield hoard under excavation. I just wanted to have a look around the forum to see if I could get to the truth of the matter. Does this photo shoot
show Dave Phillips and Barrie Plasom excavating this hoard as Gary Brun claims, or does it show the Buckingham hoard being investigated?

I cannot see why you are so worried about somebody just looking around that you have to "delete" an account that was not even opened !! What is it you and your members have to hide? Thank you Paul Barford
The reply was surprising:
Dear Mr Barford,
Firstly there is nothing on our forum regarding the Cold
Brayfield Hoard so therefore nothing there for you of interest.

Secondly my husband was invited by Mr Phillips at the time of the investigation of the hoard site by Julian Waters which is what the photographs in the link show. We merely posted the photographs so folk could see that there are still crops
around the area and that the find spot had not been decimated as suggested.

As far as us being worried and having something to hide this is not the case, our forum is purely for our members and for promoting club membership as you are so anti detecting I see no reason why you should wish to join therefore deleted the application.
Gill Evans
What is interesting is that at the same time as i received this, I got a message from Julian Watters that the excavation shown was on the site which was known in PAS-FLO jargon as 2006/T631. That number in fact refers to the Cold Brayfield hoard. So why is Mrs Evans trying to convince me that there is nothing on their website about the Cold Brayfield hoard when her own husband posted photos of this site there to "show that the crops were not decimated"? Why do they insist on calling it a "Buckingham" hoard, when its nowhere near Buckingham, but on the Bucks county boundary? It gets even more confused and curious with the next letter...

Central Searchers: are they hiding something?

In order to follow up the tip that Norwegian "detectorist" Gary Brun sent me last night that the newspaper I was citing in my blog had misquoted the finders of the Cold Brayfield hoard in their account of the treasure hearing, I decided to look over the forum of Central Searchers club for "unsung heroes of the British heritage". I opened an account with my own name, chose an innocuopus password and registered and waited for my account to be activated by the list owners - Richard and Gill Evans. This morning I received this:

Hello Paul Barford,

Your account was deleted.--

Thanks Richard and Gill.

Not even a decent use of the present perfect. Now what is it that Central Searchers have to hide that they don't want anyone looking in on their discussions of how they heroically handle the British archaeological heritage?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Norman Smith replies

Norman Smith's reply was in prose typical of the usual elegance of his literary style and gets right to the point. He wrote:


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stixwould Rally organizer asks





I replied:
From: Paul Barford
Sent: 25 October 2008 13:14
To: Norman Smith

Dear Mr Smith,
no need to shout ! What's the matter, was it raining at the Little Chef and nobody came today?

The discussion about Stixwould, like the rally, ended ages ago. Old news. Thanks

If I am a "waste of space" and "not taken seriously" by those that matter including the whole of DEFRA, the whole of EH, the whole of the NT and all those "archaeological contracting companies" as well as Mr Oxymoron "the well-known Polish archaeologist", then why should it be of any concern what I write and think? I'll just witter away and you carry on hanging around Little Chef carparks and everybody is happy. Just don't drink their tea, its diabolical.

Paul Barford

I know who is his main contact in the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (an odd Scottish archaeologist who loves dressing up in funny costumes and hanging about with metal detectorists). When Smith says "several archaeological contracting companies" I bet I know the ONE he means (run by an odd Scottish archaeologist who enjoys hanging about with metal detectorists). I do not know who in English Heritage and the National Trust have the same penchant, but I would not be at all surprised to find such oddballs among their employees. I really have no intention of losing any sleep over their criticisms of my views. The metal detecting club run by Mr Smith tends to meets in Little Chefs before they all set off to rob some secret location of bits of its archaeological record. The tea there is awful.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hot links and metal detected finds in museums

Steve Taylor replies to my previous post asking him to explain what he and his lawyer mean by the use of the term "copyright":

Hello Mr. Barford

You obviously are a very
knowledgeable person and seem to know everything there is to know about nothing.

Here is some information for you to digest about hot linking
and the theft of other peoples videos for your own blog.

You seem to be a collision course for self destruction
on your private war against UK detectorists.I have now instructed the various Museums I have loaned items too over a number of years, to return them, because
of your personal attracts on the hobby.Many of these museums did not have the funding to purchase these items and were loaned by myself for the public to
view.I have told them why I am now asking for the items to be returned, and I now hope to turn the archaeological community against yourself.

Regard Steve Taylor

Hotlinking, aka inline linking, is the practice of displaying a file such as an
image or flash object on a page that is stored on another site. While it has legitimate uses; often people will hotlink images without the permission of the owner of the site being referenced. Because the object is being called from the server of origin, that account is the one that wears the bandwidth expense for delivering the image for display. In the cases of unauthorized hotlinking, it's not only a copyright issue, but
bandwidth theft. It become a particularly nasty problem for sites with many photographs and original images.

Mr Taylor seems to be unaware what the term "hot linking" actually means. In my Portable Antiquities and heritage Issues blog, within a text discussing a video on Google Videos, I provided a hyperlink to the Google Video site which opened a video on that site. this is NOT "hot linking" by any stretch of the imagination. The term seems reasonably clearly explained in the text Mr Taylor cut-and-pasted to me (I am sure he sought the page owner's permission first given the general 'touchiness' of this milieu about such things). So I am puzzled why he does not understand it.

This is simply the normal time-wasting tactics employed by the detecting milieu when they have nothing substantiative to say.

As for taking "his" objects from public display as a reaction to me discussing a video he made of a detecting holiday in Suffolk on a blog, then really that simply demonstrates the depth of the public responsibility detectorists like Mr Taylor display. What were his motives in loaning them to museums in the first place - to offset criticism by archaeologists, or to make a contribution to public knowledge? I wonder if he will be contacting the landowners on whose land these things were found to explain the reasons why he is now not sharing them with the public? We still have no news whether the finds from Suffolk we saw in the video reached the PAS or local museum.

What is "copyright" in the eyes of a metal detectorist's lawyer?

On Sun, Oct 19, 2008 at 6:07 AM, Paul Barford wrote:
Your sad erotic fantasies about Mrs Barford's lingerie are neither here nor there. Despite my asking, you have not enlarged on the theme of what you think "copyright" is, thus you are unable to specify with reference to its proper definition how I allegedly "infringed copyright". Could you also enlarge please on what your copyright lawyer says about the term "host" with reference to the Internet? Thanks.

Paul Barford

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Intimate apparel fantasies of Steve Taylor?

latest from Steve Taylor. I wrote:
the video to which I posted a link is certainly hosted here:[...], not "a metal detecting forum", though it was a metal detectorist who drew my attention to it.
He graciously replies:

Right Turd brain.

The video titled 'The Plunderers' which you posted a link too, was an unlisted video on Google, which I had hosted to friends on the detecting forum.

This was a private video which you had posted on your blog, without my authorisation, so you had no right to host it.

It would be the same if I was to break into you house and host photographs of your wife's soiled crutch less knickers for all to see, then maybe you might be a little pissed off.

What are "unlisted" videos?

If you have a video you'd rather not share with the entire world, you can choose to restrict access to it by marking it as "unlisted."
Similar to an unlisted telephone number that isn't available in public phone number databases, videos that have been unlisted are not accessible through Google Video search results. This option is especially useful for family videos. Just set your video to "unlisted" and email the link to your family and friends.

Feel free to post this on your blog, WANKER!

Nevertheless, it was hosted on Google, and the link was posted on a public forum, which I too visit and was not there indicated as in any way "restricted", so I looked and commented. I really do not see what there is to hide, there was no illegal detecting going on there, was there? Why the secrecy?

And for the record, I did not "host" the video on my blog, merely posted a link from it to the Google site. Secondly when the video was active, it could be accessed from outside by a search under "Steve Taylor" and "other videos by this author".

As I said to Mr Taylor in my letter "Since this is beginning to get rather repetitive, let's have a proper discussion on what the word "copyright" means". Mr Taylor has not indicated where my posting a link to his video is "an infringement of copyright". It is perfectly legitimate fair use.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sheddy the Gracious

Richard Lincoln, acting as though nothing had happened, attempted to post another comment on my blog last night:
Sheddy has left a new comment on your post "Excluding the stakeholders":
It turns out that Mr Lincoln did not have the permission of Judith Plouviez to disseminate her photo on the metal detecting forum where I found it (still less make commercial use of it as reported here). It has now, I am told, been removed from that forum too.
The image you used was not Ms Plouviez' image to decide as to its use and distribution. It is my image. It was taken in a place to which the public had access at the time it was taken and as such does not contravene any privacy laws.I posted the image onto Mr Rear's forum ( and in doing so assigned licence by inference. Had you contacted me prior to your own use of the image and explained to me your reason for wanting to use it, I no doubt would have granted permission for its use. Instead, you took without asking, much in the same way that according to you metal detectorists take from the archaelogical record without thought toward the "stakeholders".Should you wish to use the image in your forthcoming book in order to illustrate the true face of the P.A.S. then please apply via email (you have my address). I will assign a fee-free licence and provide you with the high resolution original; Ms Plouviez has no legal right to stop its use
So what was all the fuss about? Now we learn that in fact, he dislikes the PAS and only belatedly sees an opportunity to 'knock' it was missed because he did not read the text accompanying the photo?
No, I am not going to use "Sheddy"'s snapshots in my book, obviously collaboration with such a person would be a stressful experience. He is not the only person in the world with a camera. I think though if he does want to make commercial use of his photos, and is aware that the person shown in them objects, it would be only courteous to sort that out with them before trying to sell it or assign a "fee-free licence".

Mr Lincoln shares his thought (I)

Richard Lincoln, Canvey Island shed retailer tried to post the following comments to my "Portable Antiquities and Heritage Issues" blog as if nothing had happened. I rejected it because I really do not think discussion with him would lead anywhere. For the record this is what he sent.
Sheddy has left a new comment on your post "Excluding the stakeholders": The strange thing is that I think you and I share a common point of view with regard to the P.A.S., we both regard it with an amount of contempt. I am not fully au fait with the reasons you may have for your animosity toward them, but allow me to tell you mine. The database they have is flawed on a basic level. They only record finds which date from pre 1725. The reasoning they give is that after that date the historic environmental record is substantial enough that finds after that date are superfluous. this is something that I disagree with vehemently. Todays incidental finds are tommorrows archaeological record. If it is not recorded now, then it is lost. A partial record is as useless as no record at all.The database they have is unsearchable by those who you call "stakeholders". it is searchable by academics, that is those who have had formal archaeological training. To myself and the vast majority of other metal detectorists the search feature is of no use. As such it renders the whole of the database useless to the "stakeholders" for research purposes. So if the P.A.S. is assembling a database that is inaccurate and therefore, and what information that is there is not accessable, then what is the point of its existence?
Although I feel uninclined to discuss this in any detail (and it raises a number of points I fundamentally disagree with), I must point out that it would be incorrect to say that I feel "contempt" for the PAS. I think it is necessary, I'd like to see it prosper, but I'd like to see it developing in a different way than it has - that is my right as an archaeologist looking at Britain's biggest public archaeological outreach programme.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Threats now?

From a metal detecting forum:
"what kind of person would give false details like that and put another family in danger because of the way he is and the things he says ! He is nothing but a weak little man in my eyes".
What kind of milieu is it that threatens a man and his family "because of the way he is and the things he says"? This really is beginning to get out of hand. What "danger" is the family in who lives at the address Mr Richard Lincoln deliberately and with premeditation posted on a metal detectorists forum - without first checking that it was in fact mine?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Canvey can use Google

In the comments to my other blog, Canvey Island shed maker and culture hero Richard Lincoln now writes:
Dear Mr Barford,You see fit to copy and paste from other websites onto your own so in accordance with your mode of operation, I have done likewise. Your contact details are on the internet on various websites for all to see.What's good for the Goose is godd (sic) for the Gander and all that.
Just to clarify the pseudonym situation, the vast majority of the pseudonyms used are just nicknames given by friends, nothing more, nothing less. You do not strike me as the sort of person that has friends so I would not expect you to understand.Toodle pip!Richard Lincoln

Canvey Island does not give up

More of the same from Canvey Island. I think the public should know.

From: Riohard Lincoln To: Paul Barford
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 4:35 PM
Subject: Re: copyright infringement

Dear Mr Barford, I gather that you ghave been in contact with Jude Plouviez regarding my request for confirmation of your address so that I might be enabled to invoice you for your unauthorised use of my photograph. This matter does not concern Ms Plouviez as she has no rights to the image nor its
useage. The image was taken in a place to which the public had access at that time and Ms Plouviez was well aware that the image was being captured.

I see no reason why you feel it neccessary to contact Ms Plouviez regarding this matter and ask you again to confirm your address (below) so that I might send you the invoice for the use of my photograph that you enjoyed.

I took the precaution of printing out both the page of your blog and the source code of the same to enable me to prove the
unauthorised useage of the image if neccessary.

Would you prefer that I telephone you to confirm the details?

Regards Richard Lincoln

Mr Lincoln, given the policies of Suffolk County Council (in whose emplyment Ms Plouviez was at the time you took your snapshot), I am prefectly at liberty to contact her to ask whether you have their a SCC permission for the commercial use of that image. It was taken on private property, not in a public place. It turns out that you do not have such permission.

I do not doubt that your attitude is that "Ms Plouviez has no rights to the use of that image or its use", the fact remains that she has objections. I am sure that as a "semi-professionsl photographer" you will have your own views on the ethicality of taking and using photographs of people in various situations and against their wishes making commercial use of them. I believe these people are called paparazzi in England and work for the less salubrious of newspapers and magazines.

I think your behaviour is doing a lot here to "strengthen links between archaeologists and detectorists" in Suffolk, but of course that does not concern you, because Canvey Island is the swampy bit the other side of Essex isn't it?

Now you admit to having downloaded a copy of my text onto your computer - are you sure (because last time I looked my copyright small print is in Polish) you are not in breach of my copyright? And what do you think this "code" tells you and anyone you intend to disseminate it to?

And no, I do not wish that you make any phone call to my home or place of work, or any other place. Neither am I going to pay you anything for the use of a snapshot taken of a SCC employee in a field that is not being used on my forum.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shed retailer cum semi-professional photographer in error

Richard Lincoln, self styled "semi-professional photographer" and garden shed retailer from Canvey Island in darkest Essex wrote to me two times this evening:

In case you missed it the first two times -
Dear Mr Barford,

Could you confirm your address so that I may invoice
you for the use of my photograph on your blog.

Paul Barford
Wloscianska 8/10, 01-710 Warszawa; Poland

Kind regards

Richard Lincoln
Well, in case you missed it, I asked you to provide a link to this photograph you claim is yours on my blog. I think you are mistaken.

Secondly I assume you are referring to a photograph of Judith Plouviez of Suffolk County Council at work. Have you an official release form for the use of this image from SCC to allow you to make commercial use of this image of their personnel in their place of work? Have you the permission of the person involved to make commercial use of this image? I ask, because she informs me that you have neither, and the latter she will not grant you. Even if you decide to ignore her wishes, what basis do you have for trying to make commercial use of this image?

Neither have you stated what terms you are proposing, so even if I was interested in buying your snapshots, maybe you would inform readers of this blog what kind of rights you intend invoicing me for. Would they give full publication rights for the UK and the USA as well as foreign markets?
If I put a photo of one of your sheds on my blog and that it "can be bought from Sheddy Shed company Stray Dog Lane Canvey (or wherever it is you sell them from)" would you want to charge me for the use of that photo too?

I presume that the shed selling business is not going too well in these times of financial crisis, and can only assume from the number of times you have been trying to pressure me into buying something or other from you, that you are desperate for money. I really do not feel charitable enough to help you out, however, as it's possible that you would only spend it on batteries for your metal detector rather than on your hungry family.

I do not know where you got what you think is my "home address", or what right you think you have to this information. That is not my home address, I live in a gated community in entirely different part of Warsaw. Only old people live on that estate built in the Communist era. You've also spelt the street name wrongly. Your repeated attempts to obtain the address of my family's home strike me as a sinister invasion of my privacy, an invoice can equally be sent by a reputable firm by email or fax.

Actually Mr Lincoln, I do not need either any rights to any of your snapshots of metal detectorists and related topics, I have a better source of my own and think I now have enough for my book. (how many photos of stooping, bloated, balding British guys in army surplus clothes using metal detectors in muddy fields do you think I need?) Neither do I currently have any need for a garden shed (already got one, is very nice), so I think you'd better try and find someone else to harass with your spam mails. Thank you.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


This blog discuses a specific range of topics from a specific point of view, and is based on sources accessible to the writer. It is made accessible 'as is' for general information only. Nothing in this blog should be treated as legal advice - the author is an archaeologist not a lawyer. While accuracy is of course strived for, the information presented here is not guaranteed to be complete, current, correct or necessarily true. The reader is to use their own judgement, not take my word for anything. The blog is offered as a whole and the author reserves the right not to repeat information from earlier texts in later ones or to supply links to other posts containing related information. Opinions expressed are those of the writer at the time of writing, and should not be construed as representing the opinion of any organization or individual with whom this blog's author is currently working or associated. The writer reserves the right to edit these texts at any time, the latest current version on this blog is to be treated as the definitive at any one time, the writer is not responsible for information extracted from this blog and, whether authorised or not, republished without updating on web resources owned by other people or institutions. Whatever the writer's personal and subjective opinion on the ethics and morals of the trade in and collecting of archaeological artefacts, they are not illegal in certain circumstances in many countries. All individuals mentioned in respect to alleged criminal offences discussed here on the basis of the quoted sources are always to be presumed innocent of any deeds or intentions alleged by sources referred to in this blog, unless convicted by a recognized court of law in the relevant country. The use of links to outside sources here should not be construed as an endorsement of these sites, their information, or their opinions. Opinions on the authenticity of any artefacts discussed are expressions of personal subjective opinions based on the information available and are offered as such, not commercial advice.

A "Flogger" speaks his mind

An unidentified person calling themselves "Flogger" asked a question apparently intended as a comment to my posting on my heritage issues blog, to which I gave an answer to the best of my ability.

Little did I know at the time, but Mr "Flogger" had about the same time made another contribution to the discussion of the treatment of Britain's archaeological heritage by so-called "metal detectorists". The title of the blog he has created is unneccessarily personal. I would have chosen "Metal Detecting and the Ongoing Discussion of Heritage Issues" - but then I guess its a matter of taste.

At the moment, this new heritage blog has two brief posts only. The first is merely a link to one of the posts on my own blog. The second is more substantial.

It is called "Metal detectorists are OK".

This text contains some useful advice:
"Don't listen to Paul Barford without an open mind."

Some generalizations:
"He HATES metal detectorists, he derides the PAS"
Now there's a word you do not see often on metal detecting forums.

Also some observations:
"he [...] is happy to 'plunder' the internet for evidence of MD's wrong doing."
I think the Internet gives unparallelled opportunities for non-collectors to see what "metal detecting;' in Britain is actually about. Before you had to go along to a MD club, or muddy field, now they are there talking to you through the monitor (or talking to each other and we can eavesdrop). If there was no "wrongdoing" there would be no evidence of it to find, would there?

And finally some allegations:
"He publishes pictures without copyright",
If they are without copyright, then there is no problem with publishing them. I assume you mean something else. You might like to make your allegation more specific.

"he publishes text without permission."
Good grief, I had not realised that I am required to ask somebody's permission to write what I think about the treatment of Britain's archaeological heritage. It must be getting bad in Britain now.

I suspect that "Flogger" maybe does not read many other heritage blogs or academic writing, where properly sourced quotations of fragments of what others write is fairly normal. Asking a cited author's permission to do so in the case of a text which is widely and accessibly disseminated in my experience (34 years of academic writing), is not the norm.

Mr "Flogger", if you would like to discuss the points raised by critics of metal detecting in a coherent and closely-argued manner, please go ahead. Informed debate on this topic is sorely needed. If however the best you can do is come out with personal attacks then you'd probably do the image of British "metal detecting" more of a service by keeping your thoughts and olfactory sensations to yourself.

Steve Taylor versus Google video

In reply to British metal detectorist Steve Taylor.

With reference to your letter "Copyright" of 11th October rec'd 20:13.

Mr Taylor, there is nothing "illegal" in me posting a link on my blog to a video which is hosted on "Googlevideo". Neither in the circumstances in which I posted that link is it a breach of "copyright". This was 'fair use' (please look it up) and under no circumstances can it be possibly conceived as any form of "theft". I did not identify it as my own work and gave the name of the author as it was cited on the Google Video webpage where I found it (where I had been pointed by a fellow "metal detectorist"). I hardly think my sending viewers to the Google Video site via a link on my blog entitles you to any form of financial "compensation". Though please do seek that legal advice on the matter. Any eventual legal decision in that regard will be of great importance to the future of the Internet, both the "Inter" part as well as the "Net" part. If you dislike the possibility that Google Video allows other people to create links to your work, then please take it up with them, not me.

Personally I think this is simply a malicious attempt to waste other people's time, but perhaps your legal advisor will benefit financially from it.

Best of luck to you. I presume you will keep us all informed of the progress of your deliberations.

In any case, the video seems to have gone.

Bizarre claims of a "Bazza"

Mr "Bazza". I assume you too are a (British?) "metal detectorist". I have no intention of discussing your claims with you unless you reveal who you are. It is obvious that in the matters of which you speak, I cannot be held legally accountable by fictional characters. I think you and your fellows are just trying to waste my time.

Shane Rear - copyright definition (names)

With reference to your letter "Copyright infringement notice - removal request" to me of 10th October received at 23:11 (number 7 in my file)

Please explain how mentioning somebody's name in a discussion of a series in events constitutes in your opinion a breach of COPYRIGHT? You seem to be condused what the word 'copyright' actually means. Please explain here your reasoning with reference to the relevant legislation.

Until you do so, I must regretfully inform you I see no reason to disrupt the narrative structure of my text to comply with your demands to alter it.

Thank you
Paul Barford

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Metal detectorists "hoovering up" their own personal pieces of the past (aka fragments of Britain's archaeological record) at the "Avebury" rally April 2005. Nobody except these 'finders' knows what was really removed from these fields in this artefact collecting grabfest. Photos, courtesy Heritage Action.

Detectorist Co Uk

What a nice welcoming portal this forum has. It says that they are "setting the standards", and it bids you a warm welcome to an active and thriving community. Lovely. Where's the Accepted Use Policy? What does it say about those "standards" applicable to its members? The list is administered by Shane Rear.

Oy M8, that's copyrite!

The immediate reason for setting this second blog up was that a number of metal detector using artefact hunters and collectors apparently associated with the "" forum have been harassing me over the past few days with a barrage of email communications concerning what they allege are 'copyright violations' committed by me in my referring to material on their forum and other resources disseminated by the Internet.

It seems to me that these metal detectorists would like to shield their exploitive and erosive hobby from criticism, and are casting about for a means to do it. They typically append footers to the emails in which they make their baseless allegations (copied one from another) denying the recipient the right to share their contents with third parties, and of course have so far denied permission to post their words here so that people can see what they are actually asserting. This is typical, British metal detectorists are typically all mouth and no trousers when it comes to actually backing up their claims with proper and articulate arguments. Members of this milieu are however also making such allegations publicly elsewhere:

From the messages I have received so far, it appears to me that their senders have not the foggiest idea of what copyright law actually says, neither in their own country (the United Kingdom) nor that in the milieu where the blog arose (Poland) and is hosted (the United States). Their messages suggest to me that they actually have no knowledge of what can be copyrighted and what not and are too lazy to try to find out. They appear to have no knowledge of what constitutes fair use in criticism and review. They seem to think that the laws of copyright have in some way been formulated to prevent free speech and to protect THEIR hobby from any form of scrutiny or criticism, rather than its true purpose to protect the physical products of creativity.

So I invite these individuals to an open and civil discussion of their grievances here on this blog. Only one rule, no pseudonyms, real names only guys. What is the problem in signing your own name beneath your own words?

Purpose of this blog

This blog was originally created (as a supplement to my Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues [PACHI] blog created just three months earlier) to discuss side issues arising from discussion of so-called "metal detecting" in Britain. Metal detectorists in the UK have very little of substance to say of the wider issues raised in public debate on artefact hunting and collecting. They therefore can apparently think of nothing better than to adopt a strategy of disruption - attempting to divert discussion away from the main topic into side issues. This tactic is intended to frustrate open debate and stifle free speech concerning the exploitation of archaeological sites for entertainment and profit and its effects on everybody's archaeological heritage.

This blog therefore has been set up to deal with the proliferation of such side issues. Some of thee people are deliberately setting out to be provocative and annoying, and I feel there should be some comeback. In others, some of the things they say to provoke may mislead the outside reader - coming across a statement on the internet without knowing its context- and so requires some kind of an answer somewhere. Answering these people however gives them the oxygen they require and to do so from my  Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues (PACHI) blog would do precisely that. This blog is therefore intended as an overflow to my other blog. It is a sort of blog-ghetto for posts dealing with the less pleasant side of the so-called "heritage debate" with this sector of the public. I leave readers of both blogs to determine for themselves to what extent one can actually debate real and weighty issues with artefact collectors, dealers and their paid lobbyists.

I make no apologies for the somewhat sarcastic tone of some of the posts that may follow. After over a decade of this, harassment, puerile personal attacks and petulant insults instead of real arguments from the entire milieu and their supporters, I personally find it increasingly difficult to treat much of this with any seriousness, this is a blog, not an academic journal.

Due to its nature, it is not anticipated that the general reader will find much of interest here, this is an overflow necessitated by the behaviour of artefact hunters from my other blog "Portable Antiquities and Heritage Issues" to which interested readers are cordially invited.