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.