Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Buffy gets a Badger Blessing

Somebody points the readers of an archaeology forum to a blog which he claims to be „bitingly funny” quirky deconstructionism. Sadly the link turns out only to be his metal detecting mate (“Steve Welton’s”) Buffy blog which despite its title ["paul-barford-blog-response"] dismally fails to be a “response” to the portable antiquity issues I raise on my other blog.

The archaeology forum owner who thus tries to boost his metal detecting mate’s falling viewer figures claims that like me he is in some way concerned about what he calls “looting”, but like his pal Buffy does not agree with my “method of delivery and finger pointing” because that is “rather less agreeable in many posts”. Mr Connolly is a “pat-em-on-ther-head “,“hail-good-fellow-show-us-what-you’ve-got” advocate, and then he wonders why I say that he is pro-collecting.

Connolly writes, apparently about me:

As I said about Water Newton... some folk do, others write about what people should do without ever doing anything constructive. (that I can see)
I think that is what he must have said to the IFA when he (at the time a member of their Council) was called to explain himself over his participation in a commercial artefact hunting rally which – several people tried unsuccessfully to warn him – was (in the manner he did it) against the IFA Code of Practice. Now he is no longer in the IFA and trying to set up a parallel “Federation”. It seems to me that when dealing with artefact collecting, especially carried out as a commercial enterprise, there are some very slippery ethical issues involved for the serious archaeologist in "doing" anything in "partnership" with them.

Well, Mr Connolly can carry on patting artefact hunters on the head and cajoling them into showing him some of what they’ve found and taken from the archaeological record. What I have “done” in another area however is more than he, and that is to write with Nigel Swift a fairly detailed and closely referenced book placing in the public eye the other side of the argument and setting UK metal detecting and the associated ethical and practical issues in a wider archaeological and conservation setting.

Mr Connolly may count that as “not constructive”, he may call it “deconstructive”, but personally I think taken as a whole it is rather “instructive” about how shallow and provincial the arguments used by insular pro-artefact-collecting archaeologists like Connolly actually are. I think it says a lot more about the ideological and methodological crisis of British archaeology as anything.

It seems to me that what people sharing Connolly’s credo on artefact hunting and collecting will have to “do” after it comes out is to find some good and coherent arguments against ours, and frankly the kind of derivative ad hominem “response” that an anonymous half-wit metal detecting mouse fetishist is capable of coming up with is not going to help them.

[Connolly warns himself (!) "expect a stiff reply", well here it is, but only on my metal detecting matters ghetto blog which is where mentions of such metalista-trivia belong].

1 comment:

Paul Barford said...

David Connolly says on his BAJR Forum (which will soon be closd archive so you cannot see it) http://www.bajr.org/BAJRforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2400

"I do like the thought that I was writing (apparently) about him in relation to Water Newton... :) HArdly",

Well, it is lucky for him isn't it where the forums where (in connection with metal detectin rallies at Avebury, Thornborough and Water Newton) he was making those comments about myself and my colleague Nigel Swift (PAS Forum and the Time Team forum) have both closed down.

Certainly his comments about "hedge peeping" observers {as opposed to going among the artefact hunters and helping them help themselves to another goodly chunk of the archaeological heritage which the codes of ethics enjoin him to help preserve) were addressed to me. I have no intention of ever aiding and abetting a commercial artefact hunting rally in the UK, it is against my principles.