Thursday, December 30, 2010

Publishers Beware! Candy has the Dirt, and is Happy to Sling it

[category: metal detectorist lobby nonsense]

Metal-detectorist-not-metal-detectorist Candice Jarman seems to have a fixation on my personalia. Again he returns to the subject of my qualifications and CV (here (as an aim), here, here and now here)
Academics are usually proud of their qualifications and achievements - but Mr Barford can't seem to provide any credentials for himself. Is he an archaeologist or just a wannabee? Several correspondents tell me that he actually supports himself as a translator! My stats show that several visitors come to my blog searching for 'Paul Barford CV'. Let's hope their number include a few potential book publishers - they clearly need better informing!
That would be nice for the detectorists, publishers refusing to handle anything written by "the Barford guy" because of something they read on Candice Jarman's spite-blog. Dream on Candice. I doubt that we will be seeing Candice Jarman's full CV on the Candice Jarman blog or any other proof this person really is who the blog's author claims.

As for who we both are and what we stand for, let the reader judge from the words we write. Let them in particular note the way "Candice" claims to speak now for metal detectorists
Well, Mr Barford's response shows just how little this self-proclaimed 'expert' (but in reality total ignoramus) knows about metal detecting
This is despite him originally claiming to be merely a collector of Bronze Age antiquities (that has now disappeared from his profile) who merely has "many metal detecting friends - all of whom report their finds to the PAS and only search with the landowners['] permission". Candice claims to be a rather attractive blonde secretary (who, the profile originally reported happens to be a lesbian, but that too has now been modified). The tone and style of the posts on the Candice Jarman blog however are identical (except for one characteristic which is interesting) with a series of posts on another blog a while back, called "Barfordisation" (although the blog has been 'deleted' traces of it can be found in Google cache). This was exactly the same mixture of spite, snipe, snideness, gossip, dirt-digging and sly innuendo. The author was clearly aiming to discredit the author who was questioning the practices of UK metal detectorists and the PAS. He also claimed to be "in the legal profession", and depicted himself as a man.

Then there was a "Steve Welton" who about the same time decided to create a Wikipedia page on "Paul Barford" containing the same mixture of spite, snipe, gossip, dirt-digging and sly innuendo masquerading as fact and obviously intended to discredit me. Lawyer Peter Tompa accepted it as fact. Interestingly, although that page appears not to be available in the Internet any more (?), Candice's attempts to reconstruct my "biography" contain the same errors. If Candice is basing his conclusions on an old downloaded copy of the discredited and deleted Wikipedia text, he should say so, for fear that we might connect him with the (fictitious) Steve Welton.

Candice is, I think we may be sure, a man. It seems to me a foregone conclusion that he is one of the ten thousand UK metal detectorists who do not like people writing about them. He aims to discredit me as well (?) as what I write. He is not however being honest with his readers, writing under an assumed identity, and making claims about artefact hunting and collecting ("we all ask four standard questions", "we do not seek productive sites" etc) which he knows are misleading bare-faced lies. Then there are the ACCG-clone arguments that it does not matter anyway. I write under my own name, present things as I see them and indicate why - with all the consequences that this entails. It is a shame that Candice cannot bring himself to do the same and engage in a proper discussion.

Gentle Reader, it does not take a university degree to be able to log on to a UK metal detecting forum and read what these people write behind the bland facade that their closed access forums maintain. Then you can easily make up your own mind how much there exposed on those forums is glib declaration of "responsibility" for show, and how much pure naked self-interest, greed and - yes - ignorance lies just below the surface. Just what is it that people like Candice are trying to defend by their aggression and glib denials? What are the parallels with the attitudes (and indeed methods) of the US coiney lobbyist? It does not take a degree either to look at this evidence and make up your own mind what actually has (and has not) been achieved by millions of pounds worth of "archaeological outreach" to these people. Make up your own mind how much has yet to be achieved, and whether voices like Candice's in denial show how likely it is that it ever will. Neither does it need any degree or qualifications/credentials to raise the question, identify issues, and suggest we should be discussing them openly.

That after all is the declared aim of Candice Jarman's "People's Archaeology Blog". Has she got a degree which provides the "credentials" to provide: "a forum for examining how archaeology is done in the world today"?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

WATCH OUT, Candice is Out to Get Ya!

.[category: metal detectorist lobby nonsense]

As Candice Jarman announces on his hate-blog:
Damien Huffer, aka Mr Barford Jnr, who also has an anti-collecting blog, which has run for three times as long as this one, has just 3 followers! Oh dear Damien - but maybe more on this gentleman later!
We see here the usual tekkie/collector technique of dealing with criticism, label it "anti-collecting" and attack the person of the author to the general applause of other oafish collectors who apparently see no alternative to such behaviour.

The Questions They Ask!

Some metal detecting bloke called P.A. Hewitt sent some comments to Candice Jarman's blog which the blog owner regards as "pertinent" (to what?) and "important", so Candice repeats them, in a post called: 'How about answering some questions Mr Barford!' (for somebody who claims to be a secretary in a legal firm, Mr Jarman's lack of a firm grasp on the punctuation of written English is puzzling). The fourth question is a renewed call for personal details, and querying the right of an observer to question or comment on what he sees happening. The other three questions are as follows:
1. Most finds by detectorists (and fieldwalkers) are made in soil disturbed by ploughing and are therefore NOT in archaeological context other than in very broad area. Indeed, many items found are probably isolated losses, dropped long ago, with no archaeological context anyway. So how are the finds 'decontextualised'?
Many finds made by artefact hunters are coming from them searching 'productive sites', the location of which they guard jealously (there would be no reason NOT to release findspot details of genuine isolated chance finds, searching the spot would find no others, yet detectorists guard ALL findspot information of all of their finds). The precise distribution of finds in ploughsoil is often the subject of archaeological study the bibliography of the works in English on the 'archaeology of the ploughsoil' which discusses this and which I put on the PAS Forum a while back seems not to have made much of an impact in the world of metal detecting. I hereby give the PAS permission to put this up as a standalone page or incorporated into a broader resource on the topic on their website. The finds are decontextualised by being taken from these complex patterns without the information on the distribution of other components of the pattern not fully documented because the finds are not "collectables" in the commercial sense. This is what makes the difference between what an artefact hunter does and the work of a true amateur archaeologist (some of the works in the above-cited bibliography were written for the latter).

2. How would Mr Barford propose to prevent the items within the ploughsoil from being further damaged by modern machinery and chemicals? I am told that coins found long ago were generally in much better condition than those found now, due to widespread use of fertiliser.
First of all, mere anecdote is not enough to "prove" that this effect is either general or significant. I question whether the evidence has been properly marshalled to achieve this - in the forthcoming book there is a whole chapter discussing the evidence for and against this based on published studies. It is concluded that this is a myth, but the reader will have to await the full presentation in the book. What I would "propose" doing in cases where a threat is recognised and there is no means (for example through the conservation-bases Stewardship Schemes) to prevent it, is to conduct the work in accordance with the procedure laid down in the English Heritage document "Our Portable Past". It is notable with regard these conservation schemes that there is discussion on metal detecting forums (for example the thread "No-Till farming methods") where these schemes themselves are presented as a threat to metal detecting. No ploughing means no artefacts brought to the surface from the erosion of buried archaeological sites! (let us recall too the recent discussions about the "depth advantage"). So it seems the "concerns" expressed about plough damage by metal detectorists is really just a front to allow them to continue hoiking stuff out of sites as they want.

3. When does Mr Barford propose that the archaeological fraternity will be able to bring into the national heritage the equivalent number of finds currently being recorded with the PAS (and the subsequent information it provides for research)?
Mr Barford proposes that getting decontextualised finds out of the ground is not the aim of (my part of) "the archaeological fraternity". It is not clear what Hewitt and Jarman understand by "research". Despite being 'recorded' in the PAS database, there are huge gaps for example in the documentation of the Crosby Garrett helmet which do not allow much detailed "research" to take place on it. The majority of the 800 or so "Treasure" finds dug up annually by Treasure hunters and now "brought into the national heritage", where are the full publications of the results of that "research", all the coin hoards with full inventories and die link details? The truth is that such research is NOT going on, except perhaps for individual select cases. Neither is there anywhere for it to be published in any detail. "Numbers" of course is not really the most important quality where data are concerned, reliability is a more important characteristic. How "reliable" are the data reported to the PAS by artefact hunters when we know that this can considerably increase their saleability?
It's hard to escape the opinion that Mr Barford would prefer artefacts to lie in the ground and never to be found! Further, where would the funding come from for archaeologists to excavate all these objects, write them up and conserve them etc?
Where is the money coming from NOW to get the finds found in uncontrolled digging by artefact hunters to be written up and conserved (how many metal detected finds from Britain in private hands are ever submitted to a trained conservator to stabilise, and under what conditions are they curated?). The whole point of conservation of a finite and fragile resource is exactly that, refrain from exploiting it away for short-term gain in favour of sustainable management and preventive conservation. According to the principle “Primum non nocere” yes, we would like the archaeological heritage left where it is when it is otherwise unthreatened, for future generations to deal with as they see fit, and not leave them an archaeological full of holes and wheelbarrow-loads of by-then totally decontextualised artefacts in the antiquities market.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Candice's First Conquest...

One "Dusty" on the Rally.UK forum has noticed there is a blog by Candice Jarman about Paul Barford and decides to draw other artefact hunters' attention to it with all the high-school eloquence he can muster:
this Candy person really don't like this Barford and after reading some of barford papers I can see why hes a compulsive weirdo and liar he makes thing up as he gos along - good luck Candy you need it with that pratt.
"Dusty" can apparently read, while "Swarfy" is quite taken with the photograph:
Candy certainly dont like im does she! mind you I would report everything to her if she was Essex based wouldnt you !!
Mr Swarfy is so excited that Candice might be an FLO that he forgot his punctuation. "Rod1" (who "does it for the buzzzz") agrees in a thoughtful contribution exhibiting equal command of the English language:
get her out every day if pos that what i call happy hunting makes detecting and finds a lot beter to show her what you have? good find dusty didnt see that paul barford will have a look again when candys not on there he he ha ha!
Now, really folks I am by no means "making up these quotes as I go along"; there really are such people out there and they have metal detectors and artefact collections and current British policies mean that the fate of a large part of the archaeological heritage is in their hands.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Candy Just Does not Get It, Does He?

It seems that the person posing as "Candice Jarman" is not terribly clued up on who he is attempting to gather information on for his next attack. In reply to my last post about his attempts to get Yahoo discussion list members to provide information in order to attack blog-owner Damien Huffer, he writes:
to reiterate: it is perfectly legal to metal detect with permission on private land in the UK, it is perfectly legal to collect provenanced and unprovenanced antiquities that legally left their countries of origin before 1970. Period! It is illegal to metal detect on private land without permission and on scheduled ancient monuments and to loot archaeological sites. For those that do there are legal penalties. Period!
Golly, and Damien Huffer's blog is about metal detecting in the UK is it? Is that why He (Candy) is apparently intending to go after him now? Shurely Shome Confushion here?

Well, we all know what is "perfectly legal" ("no US law was broken" eh?), what the questions which collectors should be addressing concern are the limits of ethical collecting in the international antiquities market. "It's legal innit?" is the stock in trade of the detectorist and bent dealer alike. Oddly enough, as anybody except Mr Candice can see, in my main blog UK "metal detecting" are seen in the wider context of artefact hunting and collecting as a whole. I really do not see any reason why the phenomenon cannot be examined in that wider context.

Mr Candice has a pretty inventive imagination, he does not believe there is any such thing as a no-questions asked market in antiquities, reckoning that collectors of, for example, Bronze Age dugups always ask questions concerning legal title and provenance. Obviously this Candice does not buy antiquities through the big well-respected London auction houses where the answers to such questions are simply not proffered, not to mention other dealers - Timelines for example. Candy obviously has never come across US coin collectors who - to judge by the way these items are routinely ("traditionally") offered for sale without any such information - could not care a hoot where stuff comes from, including buying apparently unreported finds from UK metal detectorists and collectors. Oh, it's legal all right - so Candy sees no problem no doubt.

However, the fact that British artefact hunters and collectors do not perceive the existence of a problem does not mean it does not exist, merely reflects their refusal to see the wider context of what they do. Candice Jarman's blog illustrates the degree to which they resent it when others point this out. Instead of however arguing the case in a reasoned manner we see the same tendency for personal attacks as is exhibited in other parts of the no-questions-asked antiquity collecting world.

Vignette: Bronze Age antiquities.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Important Things Responsible Collectors Talk About

From an Ancient Artifacts Collecting forum near you, Candice Jarman is on his witch hunt again:
Hi Folks, Anyone have any info on Damien Huffer? You know the sort of stuff I am after - you can contact me offlist for discretion and privacy. Thank you! Take care, Candy
Damien Huffer has a fine blog devoted to questions about the ethics of collecting of antiquities from Southeast Asia, not exactly the sort of thing you'd expect a British metal detectorist to consider a threat, but it seems Candice Jarman's after all the dirt on him all the same. And Mr Haines is apparently perfectly willing to let his "responsible" forum be used to gather dirt to fuel personal attacks.

So when are collectors going to stop all these personal attacks on their critics and get on with engaging with their arguments? Or is making up stories about the "Other" about the limit of their abilities? "Metal detectorists", what more can one say?

Photo: Damian Huffer at the 2009 TAG Conference.

Mayhem and Disruption Among Yahoo's "Responsible Collectors"

Tim Haines, who runs Yahoo's AncientArtifacts forum for them says he appreciates my contributions, but is scared what would happen if they (he) allowed me back...
Altogether I'm not too worried about a bit of low level Barford. I would not wish to censor the group so that his views do not appear in it at all: as members well know I am a strong believer in free speech. Paul Barford did in fact provide a very valuable contribution to this group and raised awareness of the ethics of antiquities collecting enormously here.
Having said that, the huge disruption which was caused by his presence here outweighed the value of his contribution to such an extent that his continued membership of the group was simply not a viable option, and he will certainly not be reinstated.
Well, it is not wholly clear from this, is it, whether he is saying that I disrupted his group by criticising no-questions-asked collecting, or whether he was unable to control his "responsible collector" members and prevent THEM from disrupting the forum when I did. Anyone who cares to log on and look through the archives will, I trust easily discover that it is actually the latter. As he admitted to me, he had had enough of "the bickering and bitching of others caused by your posts and your presence". The root of a lot of the problems with the Ancient Artifacts discussion list is poor list leadership on Haines' part. Anyone who cares to log on and look through the archives will find this a frequently expressed opinion among members whenever one of the frequent unpleasant arguments breaks out on various topics (often with nationalist overtones in this international group) - and yet Haines hangs on.

Obviously for Mr Haines, it is easier to get rid of the topic of how precisely to practice the glibly-claimed "responsible collecting" than to manage a frank and open discussion about the topic when in fact the vast bulk of his members have little or no interest in how responsible is responsible. However and whatever they collect, they all nevertheless consider themselves as "responsible" because they belong to a "responsible collectors' discussion list". That is despite the fact that responsible collecting is not really discussed there in any detail, but they "have" got a Code of Ethics (compare it with this). Big deal if it means nothing.

There is a clear parallel with UK metal detectorists who were all "responsible" until PAS produced a Code agreed with a number of other organizations defining that term. Then they found it necessary to write an alternative code so they could all fit in the alternative definition... Yahoo's artefact collectors evidently prefer just to shut their ears to any kind of questioning what exactly is meant by "responsible collecting" and cannot cope with their glib assertions being questioned. They start "bickering and bitching" amongst themselves.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Note to Comment Posters

Due to the nature of this particular blog, I reserve the right to reject comments which do not adhere to the guidelines outlined below:
Main reasons for rejections are, but not restricted to:
1) you seem to be a spambot advertising something, or
2) you are offering your own artefacts for sale (100% rejection rate), or
3) your comment is totally unrelated to the post it is supposedly commenting on and deflects discussion away from the topic;
4) While robust debate is acceptable, use of an overly aggressive tone and foul language intended to offend is not;
5) You are simply writing how much you hate me and my blog, and that I am an arrogant, evil extremist - and what you'd do if you met me in the street. This adds nothing to any discussion;
6) You are clearly a sock puppet (anonymous profile, hidden details for example) or impersonating somebody else, simply out to make trouble and waste time;
7) You are using the blog as a means to contact me with information or with questions, or asking me to remove something, and specifically ask me NOT to publish the comment (which I always honour);
8) Your comment deliberately or unintentionally gives away information which I suspect, or know from other sources, is sensitive (e.g., relates to something under investigation for potential criminal activity).

I prefer to know who I am talking to, if you have something to say that you think fit and proper to air in public, I do not see why you cannot do it under your own name. I write under my real name and frankly I do not see any reason, if they don't fall in the categories above, why others cannot do myself and my readers the same courtesy. If its worth saying, and you have nothing to hide, you can sign it with your real name.

Although my own posts here and replies to comments may on occasion be somewhat brusque or rough, I'd like to ask other commentators not to use the comments section of my blog to attack another guest here. I will not post what I see as personal attacks by third parties on other commentators. I have developed quite firm views on that due to my own experiences as a commentator on other people's blogs. Disagree with what was said by a commentator by all means, but ad hominem remarks addressed to a third party (or me) will most likely get your post rejected, take them elsewhere.

When comments come to me the return address is "no reply", so I cannot contact posters to tell them that I'd post their remarks if they'd consider changing the bit where (for example) they remove an email address or some other detail from an otherwise acceptable contribution to the discussion. All I can do in situations like this is reject the whole comment. I am prevented by the Blogger software from myself editing even a single word in a comment sent here, neither by somebody else, nor - annoyingly when there's a spelling mistake right in the middle - myself. The order in which comments appear under the post is the order when they are initially sent and not the order in which they were approved by the blog owner.

There is a word-limit to the comments section on these blogs. If you want to send a long reply (explaining something for example), it is best written in a separate document (Word for example) and copied and pasted into the comments box. That way if the system rejects it, you have a copy of the hard work writing a polite coherent argument and can try to repost it, split into several smaller chunks. But try posting it all in one go first.

If I am home, comments usually go up within an hour or so of sending. If however I feel the urge to write an answer (and, be warned, I often do), the comment does not get posted ('accepted') until the answer is ready. This is because if another reader comments on your comment while I am still writing, because of the way Blogger organizes them, their reply would then separate the original from my response to it and it gets complicated.

Finally I should say that this blog is all about freedom of expression, I have my opinions on a number of things dealt with here and since I live in a country where free speech is allowed, I therefore say what I think. Sometimes I make generalisations, sometimes I use specific cases to illustrate a point. In the latter situation it is only fair that the person or group mentioned ALWAYS have the right to answer and contest what I said - though I'd prefer them to do it in accordance with the 'house rules' set out above.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Tale of Brave Sir Dave


It seems to me that there is basically something rather cowardly in Dave Welsh's actions posting his attack on the Ancient Artefacts discussion list with 2500 members and moneta-l with another few thousand from which I am excluded from answering. It seems to me that there is something very cowardly in Tim Haines' moderation of what he fondly imagines to be a forum about "responsible collecting", allowing such attacks on a non-member without allowing the victim the right of reply. Moneta-L long ago gave up the pretence of being interested in any open discussion of the issues.

Brave, Brave Sir Dave. Hiding behind his mates and discussion group exclusive moderation. You would not like to say the same to my face here or on my other blog would you? Thought not.

You Tube Clip from Monty Python's "Ye Pretencie of Responsible Coin Collecting for ye Weake of Response".

Anti-Barford Again

I feel discriminated against. At least when the Americans wanted to do a smear campaign against the elusive figurehead of Wikileaks, it appears he got a couple of free screws with two ugly slutty sex-on-first-date girls (one a "Christian") out of it. All I get is a decidedly unsexy balding obese coin dealing Jesuit-trained engineer from California attempting to misrepresent my professional biography in a post called " [Unidroit-L] Anti-Barford Blog [was RE: [Moneta-L] Arrests of 40 Spanish Coin & Antiquity dealers]" which has been cross-posted to an interesting selection of people: Tim Haines' Yahoo Ancientartifacts group, 'Moneta-L' (of course), Yahoo's CoinForgeryDiscussionList (eh?), dug-up scrap metal coin collector Scott Uhrick, and antiquity dealer 'Edgar Owen' . The text is extraordinary:
From what is reported in this blog, it seems that Mr. Barford left university with a “bac” after being enrolled in a graduate program that would normally lead to a doctorate. He has never publicly explained how that happened, nor has he published a CV detailing his education and subsequent contributions to archaeology.

Mr. Barford next was employed (rather briefly) in junior positions in archaeology in the UK before relocating to Poland in 1987, where he apparently has lived ever since. He was employed there in a junior academic position (assistant lecturer) and as an inspector of monuments. So far as I know, the above is all that is publicly recorded regarding his work as an archaeologist. If anyone can add to this, or correct any errors, I would be grateful for the information. Mr. Barford has a number of professional publications to his credit, including one book [The Early Slavs] with another in the process of publication.

To the best of my knowledge he is not presently employed in any sort of archaeological work, nor has he been so employed for a long time, although he did make a trip to Egypt not long ago where he had a chance to do some field work (it wasn’t clear whether this was as a volunteer). I have heard that he presently supports himself as a translator.

If the above is a fair appraisal of Mr. Barford’s actual professional credentials, one might question whether such a foundation is really in proportion to the critical edifice he has built upon it. Mr. Barford has been very free with criticism directed at those whom he sneeringly terms “coineys,” especially “coineys” who are also dealers.

In none of his remarks has he said anything about the professional qualifications of those whom he so freely criticizes. I think it’s fair to observe that many of his “targets” have resumes far more impressive than his own, and that Mr. Barford appears to know (or care) very little about numismatics
Not a sex scandal in sight. Damn! I am not sure what a "bac" is, but I don't think I've got one - but if somebody explains maybe I have without knowing it...

Is it my imagination or has Mr Welsh 'accidentally' forgotten a couple of degrees that Candy mentioned, and it seems he's got the sequence of "events" wrong. Supposedly I was "employed (rather briefly) in junior positions in archaeology in the UK". He also does not know when I "relocated". Neither is the position of "Inspector of monuments" in the Ministry of Culture a particularly "junior" position. Mr. Welsh claims to know my current archaeological employment history. Sadly he obviously knows less about all this than he thinks.

It seems to me that the internet-scholars of the Candy-Tompa-Welsh ilk are not particularly adept at using the resources available, Google Scholar gives more than just a handful of items published by me and from what I can see, that's about one third of what it says on my CV (which does not list translations).

Frankly I do not think explaining how whatever-it-is "happened" or publishing a full CV is one of the qualifications for being a blogger (even an "archaeoblogger").
So far as I know, the above is all that is publicly recorded regarding his work as an archaeologist. If anyone can add to this, or correct any errors,
I would be grateful for the information.
You know, archaeology is a pretty small world, I think various people all over the place have come across me, worked with me, quarrelled with me about methodology in a conference beer bar, or got really angered off by things I write and say - not just about metal detectorists etc. (Got a long screed out of the blue this morning about a chapter in a multi-authored publication, which is odd because its still in press). Whether or not these people really want to make contact with dirt-digging coiney people like Mr Welsh of course is a different matter. What's in it for them?
If the above is a fair appraisal of Mr. Barford’s actual professional
credentials, one might question whether such a foundation is really in
proportion to the critical edifice he has built upon it.
One might I suppose. If it were a FAIR appraisal and one was interested in personal issues.

Frankly I think the words of the coin dealers speak for themselves about what lies behind them, and I imagine mine do too. Mr Welsh's various writings about how ancient coins are found have as much weight whether or not we have ever seen a recent full length photo of him cuddling his rabbits on the internet, or a date-marked photo of him as a young man getting his engineering degree certificate from the Jesuit University of wherever-it-was. What he says about sites and hoards and all the rest is just as much nonsense for the reasons I have set out on my main blog, points he has never actually answered. No amount of look-at-me self advertising will change that.

I do not think I build any "edifice" on any imagined "personal authority" (neither does Wikileaks, whether or not Julian Assange is in jail or not does not change the contents of the leaked documents themselves one iota). I base my comments on the antiquities market on observing and interpreting what is going on, and invite every one of my readers to do the same. You do not need an archaeology degree to see that what is happening out there is highly questionable.

I'd say lets start asking the questions of the no-questions-asked collectors and dealers and ignore the slings and arrows and false arguments they spew out to stop those questions being asked. Let us see them actually address the issues raised instead of saying that this or that member of Joe Public is not qualified to be asking these questions. These are clearly questions that ALL the stakeholders in the past should be asking.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Numbers.... Black is White and Mine is Bigger than Yours

This seems the sort of silly yes-it-is-no-it-isn't argument which belongs on my metal detecting nonsense ghetto blog.

I like to keep an eye on who is reading what on my main blog and have noted that over the past few months it seems to have generated an expanding readership, which I find interesting and encouraging to compare with the blogs that give out the damaging propaganda for no-questions-asked collecting of dug up antiquities.

Peter Tompa started his blog before me, and not long ago was boasting he'd had 50 000 hits, which prompted me to look at my own counter and was interested to note that a few days after that, the number of hits to my own rants, comments and observations passed 150 000. Not long ago it passed 200 000 while Tompa's has still not reached 70 000. So the word is getting around, despite my own blog being a rather niche interest thing.

Dorothy King (Blogs and Cultural Property Propaganda ) disputes these figures:
What's that quote ...? "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" Just out of curiosity I looked at Paul Barford's blog figures, since he made such a point of gloating over his blog being more read than those of "coiney" types, and promoted Gill's table as proof to support his theory. Gill gives him 75 to 80 readers, Google Reader 1.
Aha, one reader? So on the days recently when there have been as many as 700 people looking at the blog, Ms King would have us believe that it is the same person, and the ninety or so "returning visitors" a day shown by the tracking software is the same bloke running for some reason from one computer to the next on at least two separate continents? Day after day.

King gloats that a blog she calls "Barford's nemesis, the butt of so many of his posts, Peter Tompa's Cultural Property Observer" has 58 subscribers.
Tompa has 58 times the subscribers of Barford, which does not tally with Gill's table ...
that is assuming that the PACHI blog does indeed have one subscriber. She notes Candice Jarman's recent efforts to contribute to the discussion:
I think starting a blog devoted to Paul Barford was wrong, but ... it has four times the subscribers of Barford's main blog [...]. And I admit that I do find that rather amusing.
So do I, since the actual identity of the author's followers on the home page is shown as six. Ms King claims about herself: "I can be a bit OCD - my footnotes are always accurate, and I like to be thorough with my research. So, I thought I'd check. And the results were surprising". Indeed, a bit of checking would be in order before she calls somebody a liar, because of course this lays one open to having claims like this checked too.

I do not know what figures Dorothy King is using for the readership of my PACHI blog, she says they are from Google Reader. When I looked just now, instead of "1" it says on my screen quite clearly "Liczba subskrybentów: 78". (Number of Subscribers 78). [But in fact what I was talking about was not subscribers but the number of people that have found or revisited my blog and looked at some of what I'd written.] I suspect that, in her efforts to come to the rescue of the honour of writers like Peter Tompa, the poor lady has in her haste mistaken the PACHI blog with this one (which last time I looked did indeed have - for reasons which are unfathomable since it deals exclusively with nonsense like this - one subscriber). *

But this cannot be the whole explanation. Something else is clearly going on here. She says:
Gill's (sic) Blogging Pompeii has well over a hundred subscribers. According to Google Reader it has 22.
On my screen, "Blogging Pompeii" has Liczba subskrybentów: 117 so more or less what Gill stated and not the reduced number PhDiva gives.

Looting matters, Ms King suggests has 68 while on my screen it says: Liczba subskrybentów: 290 so again the number Gill gives rather than the 'revised' figures Ms King would prefer her readers to believe.

So from where does Ms King get the 'revised' figures on the basis of which she makes her claims that the Swansea academic's comments (and my own) on online readership on cultural property matters are false? All very odd.

*UPDATE: For reasons which are even more unfathomable, it seems now to have four. I'll have to be more careful of what I say here now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Get on with it...

"Here’s a pic of Mr Barford enjoying a well-earned beer" saith Candice, but no, wait ("This is Mr Barford - Part 1")...
"a correspondent tells me that the man in the picture to the left with his back to us is Mr Barford. Well, it looks possible and, of course, we know Mr Barford is the master of misinformation".
And Candice is obviously master of nowt. It beats me how he can see that the person shown in a photo with his back to the camera behind another person is "enjoying a well-earned beer" like the good-looking guy relaxing in the centre of the shot. Or that anyone can recognise the back of somebody's head (or is it the butt which was recognised?). What does he mean by "it looks possible"?

Perhaps the person being portrayed by the photographer is the other one facing the camera, but on the right of the guy in the centre of the photo? Stocky come-and-fight me stance and archie sweater, is that not the blogger in question? He looks like the sort of person who'd be rude about collectors doesn't he? Though why would Candice say that this person is "enjoying a well-earned beer" when he is not?Pathetic. Maybe we could cut the crap and instead of simply suggesting "of course, we know Mr Barford is the master of misinformation", Candice could get on with discussing the alleged distortions in what I say about portable antiquity collecting. Can he do that? I think we are all beginning to have our doubts about that.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do arms traders maim and kill?

Do antiquities maim and kill? asks "Candice". Probably reads the Daily Mail. In any case as any gun-carrying American will tell him, "guns don't kill people, people do". Somehow I think he misses the point about US attitudes to international crime and the antiquities trade. In what I presume the "secretary" intends as a question Candice writes:
Do antiquities maim or kill! Most reasonable people would regarding smuggling a few artifacts as a relatively minor offence compared to arms smuggling. But not the radical archaeologists it seems - it appears they regard the preservation of a few antiquities of greater importance than the preservation of people! I detect a rather anti-American tone in Mr Barford's posting - perhaps his does n't agree with the freedoms enjoyed by those in the Land of the Free.
Why would a UK resident who consistently writes "artifacts" be worried about an allegedly "anti-American tone" I wonder? Presumably Candice has sufficient sympathies with the hawks across the sea that he does not see the irony in the comment about the "freedoms" desired by those in the Land of the Free to arrest and deport non-US citizens in countries outside the USA's sphere of direct influence on allegations of crimes not committed in the USA. Perhaps he'll be equally happy to see this individual carted him off to some CIA establishment in Poland or somewhere for "questioning" involving lots of nakedness, water and electric drills. I think US collectors' and dealers' attitudes to antiquities smuggling appalling, I find US attitudes to a whole lot of other things appalling. What is wrong with that?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Support for the Anti-Preservationists from UK Museums?

The hate-blogging metal detectorist calling himself for some reason Candice Jarman claims he has the support of members of staff of UK museums:
I have also received an email from someone who works in a UK public museum (quite a big one) who tells me that they are so short staffed that they just don't have time to chase up all the loans of objects made to researchers - and some items are never returned by the academics who borrow them! What happens to these I wonder?
"Loans" of objects for researchers? I thought the whole point of the argument for having private collections was that those who want to research objects like coins cannot spend all day in the students' rooms of museums doing so, they must have the objects on their kitchen table. But here we learn that there is a policy of lending objects out for that very purpose. I wonder how many of the missing objects are COINS? What a shame Candice does not - in the public interest - reveal the name of this under-resourced museum.

He does however have a go a Peter Tompa's compatriots, dragging out a 2005 article propagating the shocking findings of "Heritage Preservation", a Washington-based conservation group. According to this article, their 2005 (so before the current financial crisis) report asserts that in the United States many public collections are threatened by poor environmental controls, improper storage, inadequate staffing and financing and poor planning for emergencies like floods.

"Fighting the Curtailing of Freedoms"

Candice Jarman says:
There are others who say that Mr Barford is entitled to his opinions. Indeed he is! But what he is not entitled to do is to try to manipulate policy-maker opinion, through a campaign of deliberate misinformation and distortion, to the detriment of the law-abiding majority and curtail established freedoms!
Well, he'd better jolly well get on and throw some light on that "deliberate misinformation" hadn't he? And policy makers "never" try to manipulate OUR opinions, is he sure about that? And of course UK metal detectorists, coin dealers' lobbyists, ancient coin collectors, no-questions-asked antiquity dealers, and the PAS never try to bring policy makers round to their point of view do they? Anyway, if he would just get on with defending those "freedoms" by his policy of name-calling and sniping at one man and his blog, and we'll see where that gets UK metal detectorists with Whitehall policy makers in the long run.

Crosby Garrett or name-calling?

"My next post" promised the metal detectorist calling himself Candice Jarman "will move away from discussing this silly little blogger (for a bit) and look at some of the issues surrounding the finding and sale of the Crosby Garrett helmet".

That was 6th November. The collecting world who follow this blogger's nonsense waited with slack-jawed anticipation. They'll have to wait a little longer it seems. What they got was more name-calling: Militant, evangelical, fundamentalist and intolerant. So nothing new then.

Once again, running away from producing any real arguments. I wonder how many seeking answers to the issues from Candice will be any more "tolerant" of this sort of "debate" than I am?

What kind of "tolerance" does this person think they deserve?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

UK metal detectorist joins Unidroit-L

Now Californian coin dealer Dave Welsh is encouraging "Candice's" vendetta:
Everything you wanted to know about Mr Barford and his blogs. Please support my blog if you like it, and if you have any information on the 'radical archaeologists' and their friends that might be good to publicise in future posts then please let me know.
"Good" in what way? What kind of "information" does this person think Unidroiters can supply? We will see.

Readers might recall that it was the Unidroit-L list that was a while ago disingenuously calling for a moderated discussion with moderates on cultural property issues, but I pointed out that the atmosphere on that forum was hardly conducive for such a debate, but its owner assured us that he would be keeping an eye on what people were posting. Here is a prime example of the direction he thinks the US-against-the-rest-of-the-world cultural property debate could most "usefully" go. What is there to "discuss" with such people?

Detecting Around Scheduled Sites

There is a nice bit of unwitting irony here about a metal detectorist in the UK telephoning the police about alleged so-called "nighthawking" occurring in a field next to Woodhenge. While this is praiseworthy in itself, the contributors got diverted into moaning about the location by these gentlemen (Nice one! but as has been said, Detecting a henge!"), forgetting that "next to a scheduled site" is "detecting eye candy" for them all. This is an almost obligatory element of the adverts of an upcoming commercial artefact hunting rally. Two thousand detectorists attended King Alfred's Rally next to a hillfort and the Water Newton Rally was next to the scheduled Roman town site (and even closer to fields emergency scheduled to keep them away from it). I wonder if these alleged "nighthawks" were detecting as close to Woodhenge as the detectorists in the rally attended by a metal detectorist supporting archaeological colleague at Thornborough Henges?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tim3rexes supports UK metal Detectorist "Candice"

Over on the "Candice-Jarman" blog there is a new supporter, a guy calling himself "tim3rexes". I discussed him in a post on my main blog.

UK artefact hunters claim they (most of them/the majority/ some) have a responsible approach to collecting and "are not nighthawks' which they consider is enough to dispel any criticism of portable artefact collecting. I do not agree and in my blog treat UK "metal detecting" as part of the wider phenomenon. This obviously is not to the taste of all UK "metal detectorists" who want the public to see what they do as something separate from all the other types of collecting. So they want to criticise anyone who says otherwise - hence the "Jarman" blog.

But look what happens, within hours of it opening who should come along and take an interest? Why Wayne Sayles (Executive Director of the Ancient Coin Collectors' Guild) and his sidekick Peter Tompa, lawyer to the trade in ancient dugups, both of them are discussed on my main blog. Frankly if the Jarman blog wants to promote a picture of being a responsible collector in Britain, having these two Americans declaring themselves on the same side in opposing archaeological preservation really is rather a hindrance. Then along comes dealer tim3rexes, probably via Tim Haines' "Yahoo" discussion group. Who else recognises the affinities between this blog's purpose and the furthering of their own aims, who else is on Candy's side?

vignette: no-questions-asked

Candy on my "Tekkie Nonsense Ghetto Blog"

Any attempt to engage UK metal detectorists in serious discussion about anything remotely connected with ethical collecting will inevitably lead to them trying to deflect the discussion onto all sorts of inflammatory side issues. They cannot focus on the topic in question for more than eight minutes. This is the case on archaeological forums whenever the topic strays beyond patting detectorists on the head and calling them "partner", and forum members are heartily sick of it and tend to avoid talking to or about artefact hunters over there. That was one of the reasons I decided to start up a separate blog of my own devoted to artefact hunting and collecting. But then as was only inevitable, the tekkie nonsense started there too, so I decided to open a parallel one to deal with it in a separate venue to avoid the main blog getting clogged up with minutiae.

Candice Jarman does not like this, she calls this "Metal Detecting" side issues blog one "specifically dedicated to rubbishing metal detector users". She fails to note that this is by and large merely the place where I answer those who are themselves trying to use diversionary tactics to "rubbish" my main blog, the one people read. So yes, here her own nonsense is discussed, very little of it has merited discussion on the main blog since she does not deal with any substantive "portable antiquity collecting and heritage issues", merely snipes from the sidelines.

She observes:
If you take a look at his earlier posts on this blog, you will see how he rants and raves to the pitch of total silliness.
Quite, the detectorist nonsense to which I am replying there is totally silly (Buffy, Sheddy and all the rest), which is why it is discussed over here in the same terms and with the ridicule it deserves and not on the main blog.

One point to note is that this blog has adverts
and then goes on the speculate by the huge income I must be getting from them on a blog nobody reads. Hmm. "Mr Barford’s income" is zero, because the adverts come with a widget (National Geographic, Treasures and Artifacts) which I installed for fun which flashes pictures of "antiquities" which seemed in theme with the blog. I think Mr Google gets the revenue for the adverts, I get pretty pictures to liven up a boring blog about tekkie buffoonery. Seems a fair deal to me.

Illustrating the words

Candice 'Gotcha' Jarman (who is probably a bloke) is disturbed by the fact that I try to make the pages of my texts about portable antiquites issues more palatable by putting pictures on them. Candice reckons there is something wrong with that:
Mr Barford regards the picking up of a Roman coin from a field as theft ...
wait, stop right there, I bet she cannot show anyone where I said that this is what I think:
...and yet he is happy to freely appropriate other people's artwork to illustrate his blog. If he see's an image on the internet, then he regards it as free for his taking - never mind the rights of struggling artists and designers. Does Mr Barford pay royalties to the owners of the images he is so happy to steal? Perhaps he would like to tell us.
No I do not. In the same way as she herself does not for those which she has posted up on her own blog, those for example that purport to show me (the copyright of which belongs to three different people) or the one she took from my Facebook profile. The artwork she uses with the mice has been stolen from the now-defunct "Barfordisation" (sic) blog by somebody calling himself "Bufet the Phantom Pie Slayer" who I presume drew them himself. In none of these cases does Candice indicate the source from which she took these pictures. I am assuming the reason why "she" does not feel the need to do this with Buffy's artwork is that she's really giving out the message that "Buffy is Back!".

If she would check the captions of each of the illustrations I use (unless I have forgotten which can of course happen) the source is given on the first use. I do not always give the source on the second use of the same vignette. In a number of cases where it seemed important to do so, I have contacted the owners of an image and obtained their permission to use them. In none was permission refused and I have had some nice correspondence with people about the issues raised by the posts in which I have used their illustrations. In many cases it seems the illustrations come from blogs where the blogger does no indicate where they got them from, so I link to them.

Also at the very beginning of my blog is a statement about the use of photos which I believe comes under 'Fair use'. I do however explicitly state that if anyone has an issue with my use of material to which they have the copyright to contact me and I will take it down.

In fact I have only been asked to do this twice. Once was when "Sheddy" Lincoln a Canvey Island garden shed retailer (with a penchant for sending Polish policemen dog excreta in a box through the post) made a fuss about a photo I reproduced showing the PAS table at a rally. He initially wanted me to pay him royalties for using it, but then did not. At the same time however the PAS lady which it showed (whom he'd photographed without her permission) also requested me to take it down. Her reasoning was that it did not show the PAS in the best light and the public clearly has not the right to know what a PAS lady in the middle of a field doing her liaison looks like. I took it down and started this blog (look what its really called) and put a white fluffy bunny picture on my blog.

Obviously UK metal detectorists are more concerned about the pictures I put on my blog than the words that surround them, here's another one.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

False Identities

Portable Antiquity collectors love secrets. They love searching for hidden things. They love creating secrets and hiding things. They often hide on their forums and websites behind ridiculous pseudonyms (see for the example the member list of UKDFD). They do not want people finding out who they really are - as though they have something to hide. The PAS goes along with this 'don't ask don't tell' approach.

An effect of this is that one never knows to whom one is really talking in tekkiedom. "Candice Jarman" is a prime example. It turns out that the people commenting on "her" blog are not quite what they seem either. I have suggested earlier that the manner in which the comments of this individual echo the blog author's words could suggest that the latter may even be writing the "Legs" comments himself. It is also notable that the profile of another of this blog's commentators, "lmpoar" is actually the same address as that of "Legs". So "Legs" is pretending to be Candy's imaginary friend Impoar to make it look as if more people are supporting the anti-Barford blog. In one of the early posts this "Impoar" says:
"This looks like an excellent blog you've started here, Candice. Speaking as a metal detectorist in the Gwent Detecting Club, Paul Barford is well known to us along with his radical views and questionable credentials. I sincerely hope this blog will help serve to reveal the truth about this person and his agenda. I look forward to reading the next installments. (Leighton) "
Leighton (aka "Sexy Legs" - for a possible origin of the pseudonym see here and here) is well known on Welsh detecting forums. It is an interesting coincidence that when the guy hiding under the name "Buffy the Ham Pie Slayer" started a few years back the "Barfordisation" hate-blog which has very similar composition and content to that of "Candice", that author's profile originally said that he ("Bufet") lived in Monmouth (Gwent), which was then changed, and its author started dropping geographical "clues" which placed him further east (in fact pretty near where "Candy" now claims to be based) to mislead the reader.

But this phenomenon is more widespread in tekkiedom. Over on Heritage Journal there is a thread on the "depth advantage" which some new detectors provide. At the time of writing it has received 21 comments, but it turns out that:
on this thread alone, we have “Harrismatrix man” implying he’s an archaeologist but giving three different versions of his name and having the same email address as both “Jennifer Grey” and “Geoff”, and the same IP address as both “Bozwaldo” and “Maximus”.
So one metal detectorist impersonating five different people contributing to the same thread. What is the matter with these people?

My name is Paul Barford and I write what I think. I don't need to impersonate another four people to say "I agree with him" to make myself feel more secure - why would anyone? Why actually do people want to express their views but not as themselves? What are they hiding from whom?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Legs" says Barford is Elusive

Well, about two people are reading "Candy Jarman's" coprolitic-coloured "Paul Barford-Heritage-the Ruth" blog. The first is an archaeologist Macrinus, offended by the methodology of debate which this pseudonymous (I am sure of it) person has engaged, the second is somebody calling herself "Legs" who seems to have an insatiable desire to know more and more about one guy in a far off country. Have a look at the timing and content of the latter's posts and decide for yourself if the blog's author is not writing the latter himself too. Note how often the blog's author makes reference to the number of people who are helping "her" in achieving the blog's aim. I suggest the frequency of such references in fact belies the complete opposite.

With regard to the blog's "aim", this "Legs" says:
We just want to get the facts straight regarding Paul. You can't deny, he is a bit elusive. If you really are his friend, then perhaps you could ask him to respond in person to all this. It would really be very helpful.
Helpful to what in particular? It seems to me that "Candy" has already found that there is information on that topic on the internet, that I exist, am a real person, that I have a couple of degrees (though she seems not to be able to work out just what I have written where and with whom and when and in what capacity on the basis of Google Scholar even). I really cannot see that this makes me in any way "elusive". That is more than we can say about "Candice Jarman" let alone "Legs". What actually is "Candice Jarman" trying to achieve? Macrinus calls it a "smear campaign", it seems to me that it does not even deserve that label, since apart from snide innuendo, misquoting and (deliberate?) errors of omission, it does not seem to me that she has been able to find anything more compromising than... well, what?

As Macrinus quite rightly admonishes the blog's author:
you are not attempting to dispel any of the things he has said about MDs/collecting etc. I still can't get a balanced picture because you are not attempting to debate here (in his absence so no need to have to debate with him directly), the issues. You haven't even tried to answer the question I posed in an earlier comment, so it is evident that you have no solid case to make.
[I've added the brackets to emphasize the point made, "Candy" is sniping, "Candy" is happy-slapping, "Candy" is biting at the ankles and running away from a proper debate]. Let's cut the crap about how many degrees I have, how much money I get from what sources, or where I reputedly live - just one ordinary bloke with another. "Candy", what is it you wanted to say about my views on portable antiquity collecting?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Candy, oh Candy what is the TRUTH?


"Candice Jarman" is still refusing to discuss the issues of where what I write about artefact collecting is misinformation. Instead she continues her vendetta against the author (This is Mr Barford - Part 2 ) with "what do we know about Mr Barford?" - well actually rather less than she thinks, and report as "fact". But then, she is not exactly being honest with her own readers is she?

I am not going to comment on the sketchy reconstruction she offers - I really have nothing to defend, nor be ashamed of, she is rather the person who should be ashamed.

1) "Mr Barford had his own entry on Wikipedia". This page was a spiteful hatchet-job made by a person who also had an anonymous blog on so-called "Barfordisation" surprisingly close in tone and style - and graphic content to Candy's. The abysmal lack of real content padded out by personal attacks and cheap jibes was not worthy even of Wikipedia, and that is why it was removed.

2) "worked as a field archaeologist on a number of excavations, mainly in south Wales" No. I worked on the finds from these, it's why I am a co-author of the reports she cites. Regretfully I have never worked or lived in Wales. "Candy" seems totally unable to work the Google Scholar Search engine, this is why the blog's author simply misses a whole mass of references to article published by me (including some on the themes of collecting). According to my CV, the total should be somewhere around 176 (I've not updated it recently and really have no intention of doing so just because "Candy wants to know", if she wants to do "archaeology for all" let her join an academic library). The alleged review of my book is misquoted, quite tellingly so and should be compared with the seventeen published properly in academic journals and not by some pseudonymous individual on Amazon.

3) "why was the cross taken and for what reason!" [I think the solicitor's secretary intended that to be a question] Simply because it had the name of the person inscribed on it, given the nature of the project, it was important to document the identity of the source of the DNA. After the cross had been photographed, it was replaced back in the same place on what was left of the body in the vault when it was sealed and is still there. By that time the person who wrote the text you were reading had got bored and gone. Cheap shot based on incomplete information.

4) "In June 2009, Mr Barford reportedly cynically compared the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 [...] with his own struggle [...] ". Cheap shot. That is not exactly what I said.

5) "Candy" is another one who does not want to understand the Heritage Action Erosion counter. So be it. It is of course not "Mr Barford[']s Heritage/Artefact Erosion Counter". So that is another cheap shot - but hey, here we are actually getting on to some discussion of the merits of the matter - but it does not last long.

6) "Mr Barford's personal life". Hmmm. "what a remarkable woman Mrs Barford must be" - Yes indeed "Candy", she is, more than you suspect. She has a few choice words about you too, and some professional connections you'd probably feel safer not knowing about. Since she neither sells antiquities nor collects them, nor writes on the topic, I do not see what my wife has to do with my views on portable antiquity collecting. "Candy" even has posted on her blog a picture called "Barford_home.jpg". Instead of showing Mrs Barford's home, it is in fact a technical school, draw your own conclusions. I really do not see how anyone can call the Zoliborz district of Warsaw "dreary".

7) "Candy" writes: "Below is a short biographical entry on Mr Barford picked up on the internet by a correspondent (my emphasis):" Perhaps somebody might like to challenge her on where her correspondent's "source" can be found. I doubt very much that there was ever a text with that precise wording anywhere on the Internet, certainly not one produced in consultation with me. More to the point, as far as I can see there is currently no such text on the internet, not even cached, so the question arises when and where "Candy" claims to have accessed this text. After all, we recall that she claims she only started collecting this material after "she" became annoyed with what I wrote about the Crosby Garrett helmet. I suspect this has come from the same "source" as the fabrications of the spite-ridden Wikipedia page.

For similar stuff (in fact probably the "source" of some of "Candy's" ideas): .

NOW "Candy" has got that off her chest, can we get onto the discussion of artefact hunting and where what I say about it is allegedly wrong? No more beating about the bush, take the bull by the horns, let us see the thrust of your argument. Just one ordinary bloke with another. No need to be shy.

Vignette: British metal detectorists try to put their case the only way they know how.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pond Drying UP?

Metal Detector man Gary Brun continues the discussion of the Minelab Awesome-hole-puncher metal detector for "responcible" (sic) metal detecting in depth. Now he's decided to start on me:
Paul cares about the Heritage but goes about banging his drum the wrong way. In fact he does himself and his writing partner Nigel Swift from Heritage Action no favours at all (there long awaited book still hasn't been released after all the who-ha... watch out.. we'll expose etc.) and his campaign against the PAS is falling on deaf ears.
The reasons why the book is not out yet need not concern Mr Brun, but he can be assured that the arguments offered in it are all the stronger for the delay and the rewriting. Nothing I have ever written has been subjected to such rigorous editing and legal advice. It is not a book the British artefact hunters and their supporters or indeed collectors in general should be in a hurry to see in the bookshops. Unless of course they are impatient to engage in dialogue with the issues it raises.

As for deaf ears about the PAS let him look out for a forthcoming forum piece by David Gill in the papers of the Institute of Archaeology and the ensuing discussion.

The issues which have been raised about the PAS - not just by me - cannot go on being ignored forever and we keep unquestioningly throwing money at an ineffective solution to protecting the archaeological record. My great regret is that the Crosby Garrett fiasco came too late for the book, never mind, perhaps if lots of Minelab owners buy the book I'll get a chance to do a second edition.

Mr Brun continues:
Mr Barford trawls the Internet to find whenever he can information about metal detectorists to add to his poison darts to our hobby and to the PAS system. He is an expert at dissecting information and using it towards his own aims. I myself have stopped responding to the guy for a long time now and just sit back and watch his pond dry up. In fact so do many in the archaeological profession too.
Yes there are many jobsworths in the British archaeological profession who pick and choose what they like to read about the PAS too, and turn their backs to the uncomfortable issues, many who actually believe in a "partnership" with the metal detectorists who go around with the kind of tools I was discussing. I think they are wrong, and am willing to say why (justified from the point of view of the preservation of the archaeological record and public perceptions of archaeology)... sadly very few of them have the guts or gumption to say to my face what (apparently) they will say to their gor-blimey metal detectorist fans. If that is the archaeological "pond", then let it dry up, there are no depths there to gaze into.
We at promote responsible detecting, recording of finds and abiding by the laws of the land. Mr Barford can make as many assumptions as he wishes... but we know what we are doing and what we stand for. In fact our UKDFD site hit another milestone yesterday with over 25,000 validated items on our database,add to that the number of academics around the world who are using our data in their thesis and reports is fantastic. [...] Keep recording your finds guys and dont worry about a few middle aged cronies with personal axes to grind.
Wait a second "OUR" UKDFD site? Ours as in Minelab's? What an odd thing to say. Anyone who has followed the debate about the beginning of this private initiative (started off with twelve, down to five volunteers staffing it) will find this laughable. OK, so question, does Minelab endorse the "Code of Practice for responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales" or do they not? The important thing is that this sees reporting finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a fundamental indicator of responsible artefact hunting. It does not consider the UKDFD a proper record fulfilling the same conditions as the PAS. So Minelab, you are represented by a guy who promotes an "alternative responsibility", do you endorse that, or do you endorse the official code of practice agreed with eleven bodies in the UK? Which side is metal detector producer Minelab on?

Also of course the problem is not JUST whether something is merely law abiding or not, waht we want is law-abiding and ethical. There is more to ethics than showing and telling your latest goodies on the UKDFD web- showcase. Like the issue of extracting archaeological artefacts from archaeological sites on permanent pasture. I do not see the Minelab owners forum "promoting" responsible detecting by telling that bloke who wrote about it that he should be keeping off such sites. Just what Gary Brun is promoting on that forum and his many appearances on others is all too clear. Check him out.

As for the final personal remark, most metal detectorists combating the preservationists seem to be "middle aged cronies". Gary Brun is 46. Gordon Heritage is looking a bit rough too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Metal Detctorists in Action

I found this last night when looking for something else and thought it was worth sharing. It's called "UK metal Detecting Lincolnshire, Market Rasen Rally" (the Northern England Weekend Searchers and the Lindum Rotary Club). The sound levels are a bit uneven (very loud at the beginning).

The first value it has are the depiction of the people here and musical accompaniment, draw your own conclusions. I was interested in the message being conveyed by the artefacts being handled singly and in piles shown in the introductory sequence (the first minute and 20 seconds), particularly that 'silver penny' at 55 seconds. I have one just like it, purchased as a museum replica in the Jorvik centre (I think) back in the early eighties. Then there is a sequence of a very deep hole being dug at the Market Rasen rally. Who says metal detecting is always carried out "at shallow depths"? This is irrespective of the attempted humour at three minutes (saw that one coming).

"Please view my other videos it says". Yes, that is a good idea - let us see what artefact hunting looks like in the flesh from the viewpoint of a metal detectorist.

This one seems to be related (foreign viewers might like to know that the object at 0:50 is a so-called scotch egg - in a moment this man with the strange headgear is going to eat it!).

And you though the English were quiet reserved people...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

We are still waiting... and waiting...

"Candy" writes:
I know what is right and wrong, I can recognise lies and distortions, I can see when a man with extreme minority views is trying to manipulate official opinion to the detriment to us all.
And I am sure you are dying to point out where these untruths and distortions are. I too would be interested to have some proper debate - so, when is "Candy" going to start?? So far we have pictures of me drinking beer, pictures of a map showing where people who read my blog live, vague hints that she has been collecting 'anecdotes' and knows something or other personal about me... but no real meat. Let's cut the crap and get onto discussing the matter at hand, portable antiquity collecting and heritage issues. Let us see what "Candy" actually has to say about THEM. If anything.

Who took "Candy's" Photo?

It seems to me that the last bloke who did a "blog about Barford" of the same style as "Candy's" made the mistake of remaining anonymous, which rather reduced his credibility as a critic (well apart from the fact he actually had nothing to say and contented himself with sniping). In this second attempt the author (I think the same one) obviously learnt a lesson and has adopted an identity. One I think which he calculates the reader will sympathise with. He adopted a gay identity hoping (I assume) I'd make some homophobic/ sexist remarks which he could then play on. He dropped that when it was pointed out that gay people do not use the sort of phrasing he'd adopted, but the original profile is cached.

So having decided he's going to portray himself as a secretary, he needed a face. He could have used photos of his sister or girlfriend, but that might put her in the position of being recognised in the street as a metal detectorist, which might be embarrassing.

But there is a photo on "Candy's" profile, isn't there? But isn't it oddly grainy, like a blownup scan from a magazine or other source? Now where would one find photos of attractive young ladies that you can download and use for free and probably not have anyone after you for pinching their photos?

Have a look at this photo of "Candy", long blonde air, makeup, simpering. And her left shoulder. Now of course maybe there are people out there that pose naked or topless in an office for a photo they use on the profile of their website, maybe Candy is one of them.

But it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that the photo used on this profile is a photoshopped chunk of a photo of a young lady (secretary?) reclining a la Rokeby Venus from a porn mag or a website.

"Candy" has shown you full length photos of me "drinking beer" and others which she claims are me in different places and situations. So perhaps it is only fair that she shows us another photo or two of herself. I'm sure we'd all like to see a photo of her on Bournemouth seafront holding one of her PAS-recorded Bronze Age axes (or an identifiable book on "collecting the Bronze Age"). We've seen "Candy the simpering office girl", now let us just see what "Candy" the collector looks like. Prove you are not a sock puppet.

Oh, by the way, since Candy is so fond of jumping on other people who do not say where all the illustrations on their blog come from, why does she not lead the way by providing the appropriate credits for her own illustrations, like where the photos used on her blog which purportedly show me come from, and who took the photo used in the Candice Jarman profile?

Friday, October 15, 2010

There's Fieldwork and there's Fieldwork: What does Candy Know about it?

"Candice Jarman" says 'she' is a secretary who has "metal detectorist" friends and is aided by the members of the Yahoo so-called "responsible collecting" forum run by Tim Haines. Both are apparently aiding and encouraging her to write a "Paul Barford - Heritage - The Truth" blog. The author calls me “the Embarrassment of antiquities conservation” and adds: "don’t his supporters realise that he convinces no-one and just damages their cause by his strident, crass, dismissive posts rubbishing all those who dare to voice an alternative view". So she has set out to try and "rubbish" what she says are "misrepresentations of the truth", "distortions of the facts" to further an "anti-detecting, anti-collecting, anti-PAS agenda". She has not got very far however with that task, dithering about trying to find photographs of "what Paul Barford looks like" - as if it mattered to my ability to write about no-questions-asked collecting.

One might wonder about a secretary's ability to be able to address any of the archaeological issues I raise, given her all-too-apparent total lack of any knowledge about the discipline. This is clearly revealed by 'her' comment to one of the photos that she has obviously been told shows me [I suspect I know by whom, and that person has never met me either]:
Here is another picture of Mr Barford doing archaeology it seems. The public kept at a respectful distance.....
Regardless of who is visible in the photo, what is actually shown is an exhumation to obtain a DNA sample carried out in 1998 in central Poland by an experienced forensic anthropological team from the United States. It was carried out under and in full compliance with a licence issued by the Polish Church and all relevant local legislation, the archaeologists are there as support to the anthropologists. The aim was not the full archaeological excavation of a grave of 1864, and neither was I in charge of this project. If I had been, there would have been more than a police-tape barrier, but screens as is usual in such exhumations, out of respect for the deceased. In this case however the public could only see the outside of the vault not what was hidden deep in its dark interior. Forensic exhumations of human remains - and especially not those in the state these were - are not places for gawkers. I think if she knew anything about it at all, Ms Jarman would be aware that a nineteenth century burial ground clearance or murder scene investigation in even in Great Britain is not a ghoulish spectacle they sell tickets for gawkers and bystanders to go and watch.

So yes, in any exhumation of this nature, the public would be kept at a truly respectful distance.*

Not like the metal detecting page I was reading on Thursday written by somebody 'Candice' may even know (as it was from near where 'she' says she lives), where the writer is laughing about the fragments of a human skull shown - that his detecting mate had dug roughly through a human skeleton "thinking it was a dog". Now that is what I call really "disturbing the dead" and grave robbing - they even took the skull home. What "fun", eh Candy? What a wonderful advertisement for "responsible" artefact hunting in the UK.

[*] Note: the photo she uses was taken with a long focal length lens and (among other things) in order to give the team room to work, the distance between the barrier and open vault was in fact greater than it appears.

SO? Barford Drinks Beer, is that a Sin Candice? Don't metal Detectorists Drink Beer then?

Well Candice Jarman really takes the biscuit. In her latest effort to avoid addressing the various cultural property issues raised in my blog ("This is Mr Barford - Part 1" ), the solicitor's secretary now shows some 1998 photos of me, probably with the intention of making it easier for the criminal element to identify me next time I am involved in an antiquities 'sting'. As for the snide comment:
"Here’s a pic of Mr Barford enjoying a well-earned beer (it must be thirsty work disturbing the dead) [...] we suspect he is plumper and greyer (even baldier) now.
There are of course no "dead" to disturb in a flying school which is where her photo was taken.

What is it with you people? When are we going to see you discussing issues of merit instead of the superficial peripheral ones?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hooray for Candy: Free the illegal imports!

Candice Jarman informs her readers why she "bothers". It's all about freedom you see. Artefact hunting is legal where it is legal, and illegal where it is illegal, but Barford allegedly has "bedfellows" who want to ban the lot. I asked Candice if she is on the same side as the no-questions-collecting crowd. Of course 'she' will not answer that directly, but has done so indirectly. Among the erosions of "rights' that people like Barford and his "bedfellows" are responsible for was "the repatriation of antiquities from the Getty Museum to Italy" (umm, maybe Candice would like to do a bit of reading about why they went back - if you don't trust my Blog, what about Looting matters or the Los Angeles Times?) and "the attractive, but actually unimportant, mummy case [...] seized by US Customs and repatriated to Egypt". Unimportant I would say is a relative notion. Again the Bournemouth secretary might try and do some reading to discover why it went back (Looting matters or those two Florida lawyer blokes). So these are the "freedoms" the UK metal detectorists' friend wants to support? Trade and import of looted and illegally exported ancient artefacts? We remember the whole Jarman blooging urge was roused by discussion of the sale of the Crosby garrett helment by its metal detectorist finder to a secretive private collector. No wonder the ACCG crowd are gravitating to her blog.

Many UK detectorists are savvy enough to realise that my drawing parallels between the UK and US markets for antiquities, the rhetoric of collecting in the UK and that in the US does artefact hunting in Britain no favours whatsoever. They deny that there are any such parallels. Not so, Candice. Carry on Ms Jarman - drop your "friends" right in it. I am sure they will thank you for it... :>)

She writes:

Why bother? Because we are going to make sure these guys DON’T get their way…

well, JUST like the ACCG.

This is the fourth post on her blog, we have yet to see any demonstration of any misrepresentations or falsehoods on my blog about artefact hunting. Instead through inexperience and naivity it seems to me that the authorette has given a perfect vindication of what I myself see as one of the more damaging (for UK artefact hunting) arguments my blog advances about its wider context. This is not very indicative of joined up thinking on her part.

Wayne Weighs In and Sides with Candice

Candice Jarman knows how to gain friends and make enemies. US coiney Lobbyist Wayne Sayles has come across her blog and has sent a message of encouragement. He admits that when it comes to my discussions of no-questions-asked collecting: "I simply consider the source and ignore his rants". You see, he explains Paul Barford, critic of the ACCG which he heads "has no standing in archaeology". But he fails to note that Candice criticises other archaeologists too, Barford, Gill and Renfrew. So how would Sayles dismiss them, for surely it would not be by denying that any of them have any "standing" in archaeology? How odd that Sayles however, who has no "standing" in the State department freely criticises it in the same terms as I use to address the no-questions-asked trading and collecting activities of his members. How odd to see the amateur student of history suddenly refer to "authority" (or lack of it) as the key argument whether or not words are worth heeding - surely the underlying idea of an avocational (independent) student of the past is the rejection of all such institutionalised authority.

Thus, neither Sayles nor Candice Jarman have any "standing" in archaeology either but feel wholly and uniquely qualified to dismiss it as governed by fear and controlled by the "radicals" and to cast aspersions on the motivation of all and any professional archaeologists concerned about looting. Despite her general lack of qualifications for such a task, Sayles throws her to the lions and encourages the secretary Candy:
If you focus on combating his disgusting rhetoric with truths, you will have done the world a great service.
So he himself is unable to do it, or get one of his coiney-Guild minions to do it, but wants to see a young inexperienced girl do the job for him. So, Candice, never mind researching how many degrees I have and from where, since I have no "standing", let us see my "disgusting rhetoric" contrasted with "the truths" about no-questions-asked collecting. Please, the Executive Director of the Ancient Coin Collectors' Guild does not want to put me straight, you do it. Saves him the work, he can get on with just selling the coins he does.

Candy, since you tell us the artefacts you collect are all recorded by the PAS, would YOU buy artefacts from this man Wayne Sayles? He obviously thinks you are on the same side. Are you? The same side as Wayne Sayles and Peter Tompa, John Hooker,? Are you, Candice?