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.

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