Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fellowship of the Antiquitists

I mentioned earlier how artefact hunters and collectors attempt to control the heritage debate by their aggressive behaviour and personal attacks directed towards those who criticise current policies. Nigel Swift of Heritage action has also been the victim of these people's nasty nasty ways:
Update 8 November 2015 by Nigel Swift
Mr Howland has now published an address and phone number for Paul Barford – twice – on the website of Canadian numismatist John Hooker. This is the seventh and eighth time he has revealed our addresses, phone numbers or personal descriptions or offered our photograph to anyone who asks for them (“I’m anxious to let anybody who wants them, have them“). He has added a denial that he is engaged in a campaign to encourage “violent attacks” on Paul or me (Paul’s “loathsome pal” as he terms me) or our families but the number of instances, stretching now over three years, strongly suggest exactly that. You judge. I have written to Mr Hooker requesting he takes action but have received no reply.
And nor will you, one of the newest Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries is anxious to earn his collectors' street cred as being just as much a classless oik as the metal detectorists who are (the main) avid readers of and contributors to his blog. Mr Hooker cannot answer the questions that are raised about what he writes, so instead has decided to replace debate by provocation and then block replies to his nastiness. That is, ladies and gentlemen, the way "independent scholars" like him work. He describes himself as "speechless" to find that a stalker digging around for "dirt" found out that a distant archaeologist should be commissioned to do a two-term series of evening classes on Celtic mythology in 2002/3. Maybe we could ask him how many he has done in the same period.

Meanwhile John Hooker also gullibly publishes on his guffawing blog the claim of the metal detectorist that as a result of Mr Swift's reporting his activities:
"in the end I was obliged to make an official complaint to the West Mercia police. Barford sadly, was safely beyond judicial reach".
Is not the truth of the matter is that when he was interviewed by the police about his stalking and harassment, he brushed it aside by complaining to the interviewing officer about Heritage Action? I rather think there are few grounds here to attempt to use the collectors' traditional "Two Wrongs" arguments - even if such arguments had any validity at all to excuse this sort of thing.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Soc. Ant. Miscreant

The Society [of Antiquaries of London] retains a highly selective election procedure, in comparison with many other learned societies. Nominations for Fellowship can only come from existing Fellows of the Society, and must be signed by at least five and up to twelve existing Fellows, certifying that, from their personal knowledge, the candidate would make a worthy Fellow
Then they must be profoundly disappointed by at least one of their member who has decided to sully the reputation of the brand FSA by the way he carries himself in the debate on artefact hunting. The Society has no ethics committee, but I will be raising the issue of what to do about this when I am at the Society next month.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Antiquities' Fellow and the Dregs of Debate

John Hooker FSA says his blog "Past Times and Present Tensions" welcomes "content-rich comments with information about the subject matter". But it seems to me that the material he publishes seems more intent on fanning the flames, rather than discussing those 'tensions' in any mature and useful way. A post on the effects of metal fragments accidentally incorporated into compost on geophysical techniques is accompanied by a comment of pre-teen drollness:
"Green Waste, eh? In Poland I'm told, it is referred to as 'Barford'
An attempt to draw attention to the hypocrisy of the use of such remarks in the context of the wider discussion only met with some Hookerian mumbo-jumbo about Eugenics and the UN, tekkie taunts and exhortations to "keep the Red Flag flying high. Ha ha ha ha hah!". Hooker adds this gem:
Sooner or later, archaeological wrongdoing and lack of ethics will be exposed by some journalist with a lot of clout and will make governments really wake up and take a look at what has been happening in the world for a long time. Until that day, we can only chip away at it, bit by bit, until it gets the attention it warrants.
The question is, if this chip-on-the-shoulder ad-hominem junk is the calibre of the 'arguments' that these buffoons have to offer, why anyone at all should pay any attention whatsoever to anything they have to say. I guess they will be left dreaming in cliquey isolation of their own self-righteousness for a long time yet.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Metal Detectorist Insults my Mother

The UK metal detectorist caught saying on a metal detecting forum near you that he was going searching on  field without the permission of the landowner and who was advised if he found something to report it from a different findspot, now has an explanation why he is being criticised here (Re: Unusual situation - What do you think.....):
But here's a thought - and I've done more research than he did before publishing........ Looking at this...... [picture  pbarford_887.jpg (81.19 KiB) Viewed 41 times].... And reading this...... ... rnal-bond/ Looks like a classic case to me [Obraz usunięty przez nadawcę. / UP1111Obraz usunięty przez nadawcę. 8--p] But with some darker interludes perhaps.....
The metal detectorist follows the regrettably constant trend in the milieu in trying to drag any discussion of any aspect of artefact hunting and collecting down to a personal level and frame it in terms of abuser/victim. In line with this, bodkins surmises I had an "abusive mother" which is his explanation of why I discussed his case. Like all the others, he simply cannot accept that he is in the wrong, and like the majority of his fellows attempts to fix the blame on another. This is why PAS outreach is doomed to fail"as a technique for curbing malpractice.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Reap What You Sow

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Californian Dealer Attempts to Interpret the 1944 Warsaw Uprising

Dealer Dave in distant California fancies himself as an expert on the modern history of central Europe - just as long as it discredits the past and modern inhabitants of the region. He attacks Poland in particular because it is the country where one critic of the antiquities trade lives (Here for example). How small-minded can one get?

On my PACHI blog, I wrote a post yesterday ('There is a City') about an annual commemoration which takes place in my city at five o'clock on 1st August, every year to celebrate the outbreak of the 63-day Warsaw Uprising.. This means a lot to my family and I, as it does many Poles living here whose family members - like mine - were involved in the War and the Uprising. Mr Welsh dishonourably dares to attempt to subvert the deep meaning of this to turn it against me.

Welsh (pinching my title) says: "the Warsaw Rising is one of the lesser-known conflicts of the war [...] The struggle has been largely forgotten outside Poland", ... which is precisely the reason we in Warsaw commemorate it today (and why I frequently mention  that commemoration on my blog as a piece of living heritage). There is a spanking new and imaginatively - organized museum in the city centre that every visitor to Warsaw  should go if they want to understand it. 

The Uprising today is many things to many people, still the subject of controversy and conflicting claims and interpretations (Mr Welsh by the way in his account follows that of the local Extreme Right). I am castigated for not having presented to my readers several features of that complex background which Welsh thinks I should have written about. His argument is a strained one. I, not he, decide what I write on my blog and how long and detailed any particular post is to make the point I want to make.
The topic of this particular post was remembrance concerning the Uprising. In an afterthought, I linked that to my thoughts on another feature of the history of Warsaw under Nazi occupation, the deliberate destruction of cultural property by the German occupier which relates to the running theme of my blog.

Basically, it is not the purpose of my blog (any more, I imagine, than it is within the normal remit of a hate-blog called "Ancient Coins") to give lectures on the entire modern history of any particular country. This is why I was not particularly concerned to give the historical background to when and why an event in August and September 1944 broke out, known after all, to the majority of people who are even a bit familiar with the history of this region. There is much literature (and, as Mr Welsh shows, a wikipedia page in English) on the topic. Providing a full historical bibliography or analysis was not my purpose in showing a moving video of people standing in silence in the very city centre, written and posted before I myself headed there this year. There is in what I wrote no "distortion of the record by suppression". I presented a video about what happens in "a city", and not a post giving the whole history of the Second World War and associated diplomacy in Poland and surrounding countries. To suggest I am suppressing the significance of the 'Katyn' massacres and their political fallout and some US airdrop (which missed its target anyway) because I did not mention them under the video is just nastiness. There is no other word for the smear campaign this coin dealer is engaged in.

Far from being a symptom of any (alleged and totally illusionary) "far-left-wing mentality", my post was and is a brief text on people standing in the streets commemorating war heroes. The same war heroes which Dave Welsh denigrates by trying to discredit them and the country they fought for. Shame on Classical Coins. Shame.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dealer Dave: "Attack on Credentials, moi?"

A Californian coinshop keeper who questions my ability to assess what is going on in the shady world of antiquities trading responds to David Knell's questioning of his recent actions ('Blogwarts: the fantasy world of blogging in California', Ancient Heritage):
how could such a call be regarded as an attack on those credentials, unless there is some reason why they will not stand the light of day? I did not really imagine that such could be the case, although John Howland indicated such a suspicion in his comment on this post.
We see here the usual tactic of these immature people, placing the blame on others. He says that it is a metal detectorist (reportedly a former bus driver) who "indicated a suspicion" about me. Mr Welsh has consistently and libellously suggested that I have been employed as an archaeologist under false pretences, alleging that I am barely qualified, for example remarks published on his own blog:
"Warsaw document translator and sometime archaeologist Barford (with a rather brief UK fieldwork career and one book to his credit)" September 19, 2013

In this Slavic Fascist tradition, it is fitting that Mr. Barford, who failed to matriculate [sic] from the Institute of Archaeology in London, practiced archaeolgical fieldwork for a few years and then moved to Poland, now resides in Warsaw, where he occasionally translates documents". September 13, 2013

"Mr. Barford, who failed to matriculate from the Institute of Archaeology in London, a very well regarded institution. Mr. Barford practiced archaeological fieldwork for several years in Britain,  however his abrasive personality perhaps might be the reason he was not reappointed". August 28, 2013
etc. etc. Asked to provide the basis for his false claim I did not finish my first degree, Mr Welsh falls silent. I am also unclear why he pronounces me a "Slavic Fascist", or how I can be both a "document translator" as well as an "occasional translator". These kind of remarks make very clear what use self-important, vindictive and small-minded fantasists like Welsh would make of any personal information they can get about the people they oppose.  They are like trollbots, trying to obfuscate discussion and deflect it away from the important issues (which is the current business model of the exploitive trade he in involved in) by dragging everything down to a personal level. This basically shows that for all their bluster, these people have not a single decent argument in their defence of what they do, beyond "this is what we've always done".

Blogwarts: the fantasy world of blogging in California'

David Knell ('Blogwarts: the fantasy world of blogging in California', Ancient heritage Thursday, 2 July 2015) takes a welcome cold hard look at the recent pomposity of the Classical Coins blog, run by Dave Welsh, "an engineer who lives in California and deals in coins - the same ACCG member who in all seriousness refuses to accept that the looting of antiquities is primarily driven by those who pay for them". 
He, backed by a coin-collecting lawyer and a metal detectorist, insists that anyone who presumes to oppose his views about ancient artefacts must be able to prove they are nothing less than a qualified archaeologist with a plethora of diplomas before they are even allowed to speak. [...] Welsh regards his blog not as a mere digital platform for his opinions but as some kind of august institution where he reigns as provost [...]After a personal attack on the credentials of Paul Barford (déjà vu?), he graciously granted him permission to enter the institution briefly and reply as a "guest". Welsh posted a special notice - grandly entitled "Comments Policy Exception" - in what to mere mortals like you or me would be just a blog comment. Under the title, in characteristically sententious and laboured prose reminiscent of a 19th-century schoolmarm, he solemnly announced to the gathered assembly: "I have decided to permit Mr. Barford's comments to be published here even though I consider them to contravene the policy of this blog that comments must shed more light, not more heat, upon the subject of the discussion [...] This is a one-time exception and it is not likely that I will extend it to other subjects Mr. Barford may be interested in commenting upon".
Knell goes on to say: "Ah, and there was innocent 21st-century me, naively thinking a blog was just a blog. I feel truly humbled". He stresses:
I am avidly in favour of an intelligent and thoughtful approach to collecting antiquities and thus protect its future. Do these people really think that posing as some pompous institution and fatuously inviting ridicule is the best way to promote its image?
I imagine my readers can guess pretty easily my own answer to that. People like Welsh, Tompa and Sayles are irresponsibly destroying collecting by their activities, and Mr Knell is right to criticise them for it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Privacy and Blogging

Coinshop owner Dave Welsh on his blog has a post which is a spinoff from one of his comments on the IAPN lobbyist's blog ('Privacy, Qualifications and Blogging Ethics', Ancient Coins Sunday, June 28, 2015) in which he suggests that because someone writes their thoughts on cultural heritage issues, they should expect to have my private life prodded and poked and invaded by "paparazzi".

I do not know whether anyone has noted the sinister implications of the American's insistence that anyone of the 158 million people (at last count) who have a blog are per se "public figures". You see, in US law "Public figures" do not have the same legal protection from slanderous remarks as others. The Disneybreds Over There need their celebrity gossip. Without it their celebrity culture [I use the term loosely] would be stifled. So it stands to reason that in Topsy-Turveyland celebrities should have less protection from any Tom Dick or Hamid that wants to make up scurrilous and damaging stories about them. Over here in the Heart of Civilised Europe, it is more often than not the public figures that bring the libel cases to court.

In my own case, I am not a "public figure" in the American (or any other) sense of the word. In support I argue that I am not recognized as such by that bastion of popular culture - Wikipedia. When a British metal detectorist (we know who you are) attempted to start a wikipedia page for me containing made up and false information, it was deleted on the grounds that I am NOT a public figure. QED.

Welsh considers that "some aspects" of the personal life of a blogger on portable antiquity collecting issues "are indeed relevant, as to how those who read his blog react to it":
These aspects include his qualifications as an archaeologist, and as an observer of (and commentator upon) events relating to antiquities collecting and metal detecting. This archaeologist has not published a resume or curriculum vitae, nor has he disclosed relevant information that would enable readers to make an informed, thoughtful judgement regarding his education, professional experience, political philosophy and motives. All these are essential background necessary to decide how much weight to give to his remarks and opinions. 
 Mr Welsh then goes on to publish several versions of what he considers his own "qualifications" for discussing archaeological methdology, heritage policy, museology, metal detecting, the economic strategy of the Greek government and a whole host of other topics he discusses on his blog and elsewhere.

 I must say when I set about reading a text by Mr Welsh which I discussed on PACHI on Friday, 16th January 2009, ('Roman coin hoards, some US numismophilic erudition'), its author's curriculum vitae was not a document I consulted. That he's an engineer and coinshop owner really had no bearing whatsoever on my decision on how much weight to give to his remarks and opinions.
It was the content of his text ('Preserving Numismatic Context from Destruction by Archaeologists" Dec 15 2007) which I examined. Even if this text had been written by the Duke of Cumberland, or Lord Renfrew of Some Distant Part of Scotland, it would not have made it a better text. The text is (for the reasons I point out in my discussion of it) rubbish, and I do not care who wrote it and what "education, professional experience, political philosophy and motives" or lifetime achievements they may claim in their CV. Rubbish is rubbish. Dodgy arguments are dodgy arguments.  You can see them a mile off.

I think that is a big difference between us (normal people) and coineys. If Peter Tompa says on behalf of the IAPN,  you have to faxbomb the CPAC now, because "if you do not you'll never see another Roman Imperial coin in your life", hundreds of coineys unthinkingly leap into unquestioning action. Because Peter Tompa from Washington DC says so. Nobody questions the statement and whether it even makes sense. Peter Tompa has "authority" in the coiney world, and if he say jump, morons jump.

Mr Welsh is making the same case, for the value of authority. He ignores the fact that a lot of scholarship today is about challenging authority, challenging the traditional views. That conceprt of scholarship seems to be missing from coineyism, where advances are made by comparing new finds against old catalogues, not challengiung the concept of a catalogue.

If however "Blogs which are open to the public (such as this one) are in reality a form of publication", then my main blog has published over 7800 articles allowing the thoughtful reader to decide  for themselveswhat they say about my "education, professional experience, political philosophy and motives".

In fact, the truth of the matter is shown by past behaviour of the antiquity collecting black hat guys. All they want these CVs for is to provide ammunition for personal attack. That is really the only way of responding to decent arguments these people can conceive of. And having a good CV is no protection. So being the heir to the Throne of Great Britain does not protect anyone from vitriolic remarks from the metal detectorists. Lord Colin Renfrew has been attacked by antiquities collectors on innumerable occasions. Mike Heyworth MBE likewise.

The top ten blogs in the Internet are all anonymous. Now you see why.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Insulted" by Serious Questions on Artefact Hunting

Detectorist Dick Stout tells all. He explains on Peter Tompa's blog the origin of his prolonged hate campaign against two individuals in the blogosphere:
stoutstandards said... [...] for the record I wish I had never heard the name Paul Barford. You see it was he that found my website, and for whatever reason, decided he needed to insult me (and a close friend, who happened to part of the post he took issue with). That was my introduction to PB. [...]  June 27, 2015 at 5:40 AM
For the record, the earliest post about Mr Stout's blog on my own is this one: "Detectorists: "a Stake Through the Heart of this Rotten and Putrid Heritage System"  Sunday, 1 May 2011. I cannot work out which "friend" of his it insults or indeed why he considers it insulting using his text as a source of information. The promised appearance of these "minutemen" never materialised - a figment of somebody's imagination, but a useful pointer to the Luddite  attitudes responsible artefact hunters in the UK are up against. 

But I suspect the post to which he refers may be a later one, about the looting of the bodies of Civil War fallen in the US and Mr Stout's expressed resistance to the idea that certain historic sites should be preserved and not abandoned to an artefact hunting free for all:  'Fitting the Stereotype' Monday, 16 January 2012. Again, if it is considered "insulting" to say we should not loot known and sensitive sites like this, then it shows again what kind of attitudes any attempt to introduce responsible artefact hunting and collecting are up against.

Or perhaps his "first post" which he found so "insulting" is actually the third, "Focus on Metal Detecting: Where are these Artefacts Now?" Monday, 16 January 2012 about a photo I found on his blog when looking up the background to the battlefield story - perhaps Mr Stout would like to explain why "where are these artefacts now?" is "insulting". It is a perfectly valid question about artefact hunting in general, what happens when a personal collection of dugup artefacts is dismantled. In the UK, hundreds of thousands of artefacts have been dug out of the ground and recorded, a much larger number have been dug up and not recorded. This is what the heaps of artefacts seen on Mr Stout's friend's living room floor put us in mind of. Perhaps, instead of feeling "insulted" that somebody raises this important issue, Mr Stout would do better to address the question raised. After all, when an artefact hunter passes away, these unrecorded artefacts either end up in the trash (or get melted as 'scrap'), or they surface on the market as undocumented material.  These are all three matters for concern.

Instead of sharing this concern, Mr Stout subsequently engaged on his blog and elsewhere, together with Mr Howland, on what can only be properly called a nasty vendetta.

This is on a blog called Stout "Standards" which had a section called "who we are"  trying to highlight "positive" news stories to make out what nice guys metal detectorist are, tellingly it does not appear on the new version of his blog where he and John Howland engage in a concerted campaign of the nastiest of mud-slinging against archaeologists, the CBA, and individuals such as "Warsaw Wally/Willy" (sic) and "Heritage Harry" (sic). It said: 
"I think it could help many of you when facing local or state restrictions. It's a collection of letters, articles and personal entries that tell the world what our pastime is about, and just who we really are".
No, Mr Stout, it is another type of behaviour which stands out more in the public eye as showing exactly who detectorists are.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Peter Tompa's blog and the Truth

We are all familiar with the joke:
"how do you know when a lawyer is lying?"
"his lips are moving!"
The IAPN lobbyist Peter Tompa has this evening once again published some lies about me and the country where I live and work. This time, I have challenged him to back up the defamatory statements he has published as "observations on Cultural Property". Let his response be the litmus of his credibility as an "observer" of anything at all. Note that, although the ACCG claim they represent the interests of 50000 collectors of ancient coins, to judge from the comments, the only people that comment regularly are metal detectorists and his sock puppet.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Addressing the Issues

Over on the Cultural Property Obfuscator blog, they are having their traditional hate-in. Daddy's Money Houghton (III) shows his lack of upbringing and calls me a "bloviating buffoon" because I read an article by Nathan Elkins and he stoops to tell the hoi polloi how to pronounce the word. Metal detecting Howland adds "Was it ever thus?" Sadly, the Sun newspaper from which he is probably quoting gets it wrong, the phrase is 'twas ever thus and is not a question.

Howland goes further to suggest that there is some mighty conspiracy going on and that I am being utilised by some behind-the-scenes manipulators, and that: 
When the inevitable going gets rougher and tougher, and it will, Barford will find [...] he's the sacrificial lamb to be offered up by his superiors.  I relish the prospect!
I suppose such fantasies help some to get through the day. Meanwhile the International Association of Professional Numismatists has paid nearly $300 000 to lobbyists to create a good image for the industry. Creating a good image is the last thing these participants in the IAPN lobbyists blog want to do.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Stop me if yerve 'eard this one be4"

In metal detecting circles, a joke always bears repeating it seems that John Howland believes, regurgitating his traditional fare of anti-preservationist and anti-CBA motifs laced with his usual crass vulgarity. "Ha-ha-LOL" go the vacant slack-jaws and everybody in vacant tekkie-land is happy. Except one. One lone voice among the thousands of LOL-ing ambassadors of the metal detecting hobby:

Tascio April 13, 2015 at 2:29 am This is tedious stuff even by Mr Howland’s standards. The usual moaning about Barford and co [...] nothing but ad hominem abuse. If you want to help your hobby, Mr Howland, how about posting something positive?
I do not expect the concept of doing anything for anyone but themselves is one which is particularly familiar to artefact collectors. Most certainly though, the writings of people like Mr Howland are a prime example of the intellectual bankruptness of the artefact hunting community as a whole.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Detectorists on the Council for British Archaeology

Some metal detectorists state what they think of the Council for British Archaeology:
The CBA’s key weakness; ravenous for any kind of BS that shows the hobby in a poor light. In my opinion, the CBA is no friend of ours, never was, and never will be. Indeed, why would detectorists would want to buddy-up with such a pack of ingrates is beyond me, particularly with their desire to inflict of what they think passes for a detectorists Code of Conduct? Cheeky arrogant sods! Look inwards, plebs, and see the thieving that’s rife within your own ranks.
The Code of Practice [sic] for Responsible Detecting in England and Wales was fronted by the pro-detecting organization (supported by the CBA) the Portable Antiquities Scheme. It is ironic that these same critics say they are confirmed "supporters" of teh PAS and all it stands for. My guess is that this declaration is not actually backed up with a molecule of knowledge about what the PAS actually does stand for, just the superfiucial awareness that the presence of the PAS gives hobbyist artefact hunting and collecting a good image. It is a shame that the unchallenged all-too-visible online activities of the Scheme's partners creates quite the opposite impression.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Childlike Search for Approval

Like insecure children, it seems metal detectorists are constantly seeking attention and approval. Some of them attempt to attract attention to themselves by posting provocative texts in the public domain and then sit back and watch for a reaction. Detectorist John Winter and his pals first of all (in the comments section) reveal their anticipation that claiming artefact collectors as "national treasures" will get a reaction from the archaeological community, then disappointment that they were ignored. This is followed by a joyful announcement by the neglected old man when the notion was commented upon:

 No wonder the PAS so often treats the milieu as a whole as cantankerous and backward children.

The Truth of the Matter About UK Metal Detectorists

Randy Dee 15 March 2015 at 10:15 am writes as Ambassador of the Hobby:
"The truth of the matter is if [Paul Barford] dwelled in the British Isles he wouldn’t dare open his great thoughtless gob [....]"
The implication seems to be that if he did, the PAS-partners would smash it in for him. Nice folk the men with metal detectors. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ad Hominems

John Winter, metal detectorist: 26 March 2015 at 6:34 pm
“… hypocrisy and deceit …’ are traits in which Mr Barford excels.
Thanks for your contribution.
Quite what is hypocritical or deceitful in pointing out problems with current policies on artefact hunting and their effects on the archaeological record, challenging the glib rhetoric of supporters of the current status quo, or broader discussions of the issues surrounding artefact collecting and the market and repatriation of stolen artefacts is nowhere revealed by Mr Winter. I guess he believes that if enough people parrot the same foundationless epithets time and time again, that somehow magically makes it true. Pathetic and childish.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Washington Lobbyist Approves Buying Syrian Antiquities?

On his Cultural property Observer blog, IAPN and PNG representaive Peter Tompa has published a text opposing the repatriation of artefacts looted by ISIL to Syria and approves a comment apparently advocating buying these antiquities: “Is it not a better option to welcome those artifacts onto the market where they will be preserved and cosseted in private collections and possibly museums?”. This  is simply irresponsible and inappropriate. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

ACCG Executive Director Plays the Victim, Deletes 45 Blog Posts

Veteran dealer Wayne Sayles has a blog called "Ancient Coin Collecting" but, as has been observed here a number of times, seems mostly to use it for attacking tenets of archaeology and preservation. In accordance with this, he published there a few days ago a text likening the AIA to the militant group ISIL.

I wrote about the text here ('Wayne Rides out to Confront the Enemies of the Loony Fringe', PACHI Tuesday, 3 February 2015). "Punk Archaeologist" Andrew Reinhard from Princeton however turned it into a song, and Sayles was initially delighted that he'd attracted some attention (commented on his blog saying he was speechless, apparently proud that his use of 'whatever' in the first line had elicited approval). What he later found out however rather spoilt his enjoyment of the soundcloud punk.

First was his realisation that Andrew Reinhard was a numismatist (American Numismatic Society, Publications, Faculty Member) and the second was that a day earlier Reinhard had posted on Twitter three Facebook profile photos of Sayles with bold captioned "quotes":
1. "The AIA uses drones to pursue its agenda of world domination"
2. "The AIA taps your phones to find out where your archaeology is hid"
3. "The 'I' in AIA is for 'Illuminati'"
Sayles felt constrained to explain in a subsequent post ("Truth is still important" Ancient coin collecting Monday, February 09, 2015) that he never really actually said these things whatever his texts may suggest his worldview is. Reinhard replied: Question: Is it Punk when the target of satire fails to get the joke?
The satire from one of his own however seems to have given Sayles pause for thought
In the blogosphere, it's "fair enough" to say what you think. But truth is still important and there comes a dividing line between opinion and fact. The fact is that the words pasted over top of my photo in the citation above are not mine and do not reflect the concerns that I have about Archaeology today. Having said that, I finally have had enough of the rancor and literal hatred that permeates the cultural property war online. I have tried every possible approach from entreaty to debate and cooperation to litigation. In the process, I've gotten older and more cynical but obviously not wiser. Long ago I should have ignored the archaeobloggers and trolls. Instead, I fell victim to them—wasting valuable time over pointless tit-for-tat, time than cannot be replaced. If I were the emperor, I would banish them all to Pandateria. But, I am not and this is not an internet war game. This is the last post that I will make with any mention of cultural property issues. I am removing all previous posts and starting a new day. The only posts on this blog henceforth will be about ancient coins themselves. My advocacy for private ownership and collecting of ancient coins has not abated, but my willingness to argue the case in this climate has. Everyone knows how I feel and that will not change—this blog will.
Two comments, note how he presents himself as the victim, when it is clear that he and the ACCG and its lobbying have been the aggressor (just look at any CPAC public submissions farago). He says he has tried "every possible approach .... entreaty, debate and cooperation". No, that is not what he has been doing. There is no "debate" when coin dealers block commentators from commenting on their blog, and no "debate" if you fail to engage in any meaningful form with those of an opposing view. How many comments by Sayles are there on this blog, David Gill's, SAFE, Nathan Elkins - and what do they say? Mr Sayles "says" he and his ACCG want to debate and cooperate, he has "said" it many times. The trouble is he never gets anywhere beyond saying it and then in the next breath adding that nobody wants to take him seriously.

Now, why is that? Again, read the material they produce. Read the latest post of the IAPN and PNG's paid lobbyist and ACCG board member on "what archaeology should do" (Monopoly vs. Better, Faster, Cheaper). Read the approved comments under it and note who they are from and what they say. I do not think you will find any archaeologist debating anything with these self-alienating people. Even Roger Bland distances himself from these collectors. The series of anti-archaeological posts on Sayles own blog immediately dispelled any doubt about how far any attempt at serious discussion would get with Mr Sayles and the coineys he represents. Just a few of my past posts on the contents of Sayles' blog illustrate the sort of thing he has been up to:
'An Example of US Numismophilic Erudition' PACHI Sunday, 20 July 2008
'Avian Perambulation Around the Real Issue', PACHI Saturday, 1 November 2008
'Sayles' Second Thought' PACHI Sunday, 2 November 2008
'Pages gone' PACHI Friday, 19 March 2010
'Labelling Preservationists' PACHI Thursday, 25 March 2010
'The Questions they DO ask' Thursday, 20 May 2010
'Preservationists with "Personality Disorders"', PACHI Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Then some more Sayles provocation: 
'Wayne Sayles: "Archaeologist Barford endorses WGS Store". Ummm, is that what I say?', PACHI Sunday, 25 November 2012
'ACCG Returns to its "Brownshirts"..' PACHI Friday, 21 November 2014

 and so on. This is not tit-for-tat. If the ONLY arguments the coineys and the coin trade are going offer are of this nature, then that is the type of text with which anyone discussing the issue with them has to engage with. If Mr Sayles represents archaeologists as goose-stepping brownshirts and the AIA as the equivalent of ISIL, then there is no reason not to address such arguments which the lobbyists place there simply to block any collaboration and debate.

 Note this is the second time (see above) that Sayles has announced he will remove all content connected with what he considers his contribution to the cultural property debate. He has now cut his blog this time from this:

Blog Archive2015 (4)
February (1)
January (3) 
2014 (17) 
►  2013 (10)  
2012 (10)   

2011 (3) 

2010 (2)  

2009 (4) 
►  2007 (1)   

to this

Blog Archive2015 (1)
February (1)►  2012 (1)   
2011 (3) 

2010 (1)  

ACCG's Dave Welsh also did the same thing but is back to his old insulting tricks again.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Standards" Return to Decency?

Metal detectorist Dick Stout claims he is going to stop the ad hominem attacks with which he has filled the emptiness of his "Stout Standards" blog for the past three years (Nov 2012):
And the word “Barford” is going to take a backseat here on Stout Standards. I am sick of hearing it and I am sick of him.
One might wonder why it was ever front seat on a Texan metal detecting blog. The doxing and Auschwitz jokes were quite uncalled for.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

UK Metal Detecting: Tekkies and their Culture 24 comments

My comment to the Culture24 article by Ben Miller ('A tantalising mystery: The story behind the huge Anglo-Saxon coin hoard found in Buckinghamshire') was a pretty tame one. I wrote:

So, basically what the FLO is saying is that it was "impossible" to secure the site and organize a proper investigation. Yet that is what the Treasure Act Code of Practice says ALL finders should be doing, so why not this one specifically, with the FLO actually on the site ? FLOs are paid to get best practice, why was it not practised here? Other hoards ARE secured and excavated slowly, and we get far more information out of them than a Sainsbury's bag of loose coins. 
I see nothing at all wrong with that. It is short, factual, to the point and indicating the discrepancies in current policy and practice. And the reaction of so-called 'responsible metal detectorists"? Did they too express concern about the free-for-all we see on the Lenborough videos? No, actually they did not. One can quite clearly pick out the detectorists in that thread of 15 comments following mine, they are the ones that cannot use capitals and axillary verbs. They come over as a group of people intent only on denial and acting aggressively when an issue is raised. They seem also oblivious to place and context and the fact that readers of cultural media such as Culture 24 will not all see the world through the same yobbish eyes as themselves.
andrew fudge, salisbury 12 January 2015 06:42  Barford go get a life . You should take up another hobby you sad sad man
Shane Buchanan, Nottingham 12 January 2015 06:53 also has some 'helpful' observations which put detectorists in as good a light as they deserve:
Barford it clearly states they couldn't make it secure and was a risk of night hawkers [sic]. If they a [sic] FLO on site he [sic] knows what's best for that situation. They [sic] could be any reason y [sic] it couldn't of [sic] been left in the ground and secured. Just stop being so negative you bell end [sic]
" paul coleman, southampton" 12 January 2015 08:52 agrees:
An FLO made the only decision she could make given the situation! She made the comments at the time that she really would have liked another option, but there wasn't one. She's an FLO, NOT A DINNER LADY.
"daniel bamsey, dorset" 12 January 2015 09:00
You can't please all the people all the time, they done [sic] the best they could. Would you have travelled there on a sunday a few days before Christmas to do a 'proper' excavation? Even if you would [sic] have the chances of it going missing before you got to it would have been vast. Too much hate towards detectorist's [sic] because after all this would never have been found, like so many treasures that sit in museums all over the country, had it not been for good, honest detectorist's [sic].
First of all, some brainy individual organized and took money for an event to search for archaeological and historical artefacts on a known archaeological site in the few days before Christmas and then decided that when an archaeological deposit was found by one of his paying diggers, that the timing was inconvenient to do it properly, that is hire a team to excavate and record the deposit carefully. The site of course could have been secured, where there is a will there is a way. It may cost the participants a bit more effort and resources, but there is a million pound hoard of national significance involved and they are "all responsible detectorists", so why cut corners? Whose responsibility is the finding of this under these circumstances? What is "responsibility"? Those people should take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.  Mr Bamsey, neither the organizers, the finder, the landowner nor FLO did "the best they could", because they could obviously have done a good deal more than they did. And two of them are going to be holding their hands out in the next few months for their million pound "reward" for what they did and did not do.

Of course to do the best, you'd have to know what that is, and it is the FLO's job to jolly well make sure they do. Here she failed to do that, but obviously is going to be the last person to admit it.  I am perfectly at rights to criticise her for that - and she is perfectly at rights to show where I am wrong here or via the PAS website, but instead she elected to do a garbled interview for a Culture24 journalist.

Peter Atkinson, lincs 12 January 2015 09:02 reckons:
Barford, if it had been secured and excavated over a period of 3 days instead of one you still would have found fault with something. Your life is spent attacking UK metal detectorists and PAS from Poland
He then gives a link to a text by John Howland (see below) on a US detectorist's blog and asks "any reader of you [sic] comment to read this about you". Why, is not explained; there is no discussion in the place indicated about the policies that led to this fiasco - just personal attacks and false insinuations directed at me as usual. So, in fact, nothing related to my comment above.

Yes, Mr Atkinson is right, due to the idiotic timing of the event, securing the site just "three days" would have meant a team of excavators turning up on December 25th, Christmas Day. That is obviously unsatisfactory and I would not be the only one criticising them for organizing it in such a manner unbefitting the gravity of the situation.

It is the organizers of this commercial event and landowner who created this problem (including by their choosing such a time for it), and it is their responsibility, and theirs alone, to sort it out, by organizing a proper team and securing the site until they can deal with the problem in a more satisfactory manner. If not, then in my opinion, the Treasure ransom should be cut.

"Steve", Cambridgeshire 12 January 2015 10:02 however has got the right idea. He agrees with me that the site could have been secured ("A hoard such as this needed to be lifted in one block when the area around the findspot was opened up and excavated properly"). Yep. 100% agreement. He's the only one though.

The so-called "Heritage Trust of Great Britain" (12 January 2015 10:31) want to express "a big ‘well done’ to Ms Tyrrell, and all present on the day" and tip a nod to "the dedication of the British Museum" too. Alistair Mackay, Rothwell, Northamptonshire (Coinmac the coin dealer) 12 January 2015 11:00 also wants to congratulate Ms Tyrrell and the detectorists involved. He suggests that the FLO, as "the person on site (not sat at a desk in Warsaw)" would have used "her best judgement, keeping in mind the location, weather, time of year, and the fact that, under the circumstances, the find would rapidly become public knowledge". But if the site is secured and a proper team put in place, the fact it is public knowledge is neither here nor there. The archaeological heritage belongs to everybody, so why would we be in favour of keeping information from them? It is the public that pay for the PAS.

No metal detectorist gathering would be complete without the ubiquitous John Howland from Poole and his usual foul mouth and ad hominem remarks. Here he is in full flow (remember the content of the comment I posted to which he pretends to be replying):
The problem [sic] with Paul Barford is that one cannot believe anything he writes or utters about detectorists, or the PAS, owing to his ingrained hatred of both. His widely derided and discredited 'Artifact Erosion Counter' has caused derision to be heaped on archaeology in spades. Compared to Ms Tyrell, he is an undistinguished heritologist; 'archaeologist' being too grander [sic] word to describe this incessant yapper. 
Basically I think readers of Culture24 can probably read and think for themselves, so do not really need to be 'told' what to believe about artefact hunting or the estimate of Heritage Action on the scale of non-recording. What I actually wrote in my comment can be checked out from other sources.

There was an opportunity here for "responsible metal detectorists" to show their concern for doing things correctly and by the book and not causing damage as a result of their hobby. There was an opportunity to show that there are grounds for believing the constant optimistic reassurances and assertions of the PAS about their 'partners'. But...

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy". 

UK Metal Detecting: ASB and Death Threats

In the UK, metal detectorist Andy Baines says he's been receiving death threats for writing about "responsible metal detecting". That reminds me of a number of other similar situations chronicled in my blogging where UK metal detectorists have been reported as threatening each other, or have threatened those writing about the issues surrounding the collecting of dugup antiquities, and in one case a detectorist even reports being threatened by archaeologists:
Thursday, 27 March 2014, '"Death Wishes from Archaeologists"?',

Sunday, 10 August 2014, 'Focus on UK Metal Detecting: "PAS Partners" in Action - Personal Threats Again a UK Tekkie Tactic',

Monday, 12 January 2015, 'Focus on UK Metal detecting: "Responsibility" in Artefact Hunting'.

Do collectors of other types of objects (postage stamps, phone cards, beermats, My Little Pony) carry on like this?

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy". 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Lobbyist promotes Illegal Artefact Hunting

Over on Peter Tompas blog, in a comment approved during office hours, a UK metal detectorist is interested in the notion of "being paid to loot" and asks to be told:
how we UK citizens can claim this allowance to loot? Is it taxable? Can we claim for backdated nighthawking excursions?
and the IAPN is apparently paying for this.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Candice the doll collector

Readers may remember Bournemouth metal detectorist Clive (aka "Candice") Jarman who was particularly interested in the PAS, Bronze Age artefacts and making ad hominem comments about archaeobloggers like myself. He/she has now become very interested in Barbie dolls and is filling the "Paul Barford, Heritage the Truth" blog with pictures of them.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Reply to Dave Welsh

The "drowning in his own arguments" tort
Coin dealer Dave Welsh - a declared firm believer in free speech - doubted that lobbyist Peter Tompa had at the very end of April 2014, first threatened me and then blocked me from commenting on his "Cultural Property Observer" blog. On receiving confirmation from Tompa that this was indeed the case, Welsh wrote to me to apologise for not believing what I had said. Here is my reply:
Thank you.
Tompa refused to post my corrections to his deliberate and needlessly provocative distortions of what others (myself included) had said. Afraid of contradiction, he prefers his arrant nonsense to go unchallenged.
As for "light" rather than "heat", a quick glance at the comments he has been consistently posting since then (and only since then) from metal detectorists Howland  and Stout and the 'Houghton sock-puppet' will - in their blatantly provocative, non-substantive and ad hominem nature - show the fallacy of that argument for not allowing others to comment on his blog.
Tompa, proudly presenting filth and doubletalk as the milieu's "cultural property observations"  is a discredit to the coin collecting community. The IAPN have chosen a  highly counter-productive spokesman for the hobby.