BAJR Federation Archaeology
Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - Printable Version

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Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - Dinosaur - 28th September 2010

Where can we 'donate' our archives? Usually costs an arm and a leg to get rid of all the boxes of tat onto a museum, who judging by the prices they charge make a load of money from the transaction....am sitting a few yards from hundreds of boxes of stuff we can't palm off onto anyone :face-crying:


Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - Jack - 30th September 2010

I would argue that someone who has had good (on-site) training in archaeological excavation, spent several years as a digger on a range of different archaeological excavations on different geology around the country. Who has also ran then published even one small excavation is MUCH better qualified to record the specific context in which an artefact was found than some bloke with a spade and a metal detector looking for some bit of treasure to sell at auction.

Whats even worse is when the bloke has enough experience and knowledge to know what to lie about where the object was found or what with in order to facilitate it not being classed as treasure so he can flog it easier.....

You wouldn't let an ameteur engineer carry out a building survey of your house, or an ameteur teacher educate your children so why should we let amateurs dig up the limited archaeological resource?


Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - Sith - 30th September 2010

Jack Wrote:I You wouldn't let an ameteur engineer carry out a building survey of your house, or an ameteur teacher educate your children so why should we let amateurs dig up the limited archaeological resource?

I wouldn't be sure about either of those examples. There are lots of home educators and home educated children out there who would disagree with the latter, and don't get me started on domestic building surveys: I could have made a better job of the last homebuyers survey I read with my eyes closed and one arm tied behind my back than the MRICS who I had to pay to do it for me.

As for archaeologists, there's a big difference between amateur and amateurish.


Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - Mike.T. - 30th September 2010

Jack Wrote:I would argue that someone who has had good (on-site) training in archaeological excavation, spent several years as a digger on a range of different archaeological excavations on different geology around the country. Who has also ran then published even one small excavation is MUCH better qualified to record the specific context in which an artefact was found than some bloke with a spade and a metal detector looking for some bit of treasure to sell at auction.

Whats even worse is when the bloke has enough experience and knowledge to know what to lie about where the object was found or what with in order to facilitate it not being classed as treasure so he can flog it easier.....

You wouldn't let an ameteur engineer carry out a building survey of your house, or an ameteur teacher educate your children so why should we let amateurs dig up the limited archaeological resource?

You clearly don't know anything about metal detecting. For a start off it was a chance discovery. Unless this person had a crystal ball he couldn't have known that he was about to find ''a piece of treasure to sell at auction''. People who do metal detecting spend 99.9 % of their time digging up valueless items. Secondly this wasn't in any context. He did the right thing and reported it and the findspot to the PAS. Who are you to say he was lying ?

Presumably you'd rather this ''limited archaeological resource'' rot away in the ground than be found the way it was ?


Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - Kel - 30th September 2010

Quote:Secondly this wasn't in any context.

To clarify, in archaeological terms the "context" is basically the bit of earth it was found in and the area immediately around it. Unless it was found hovering in mid-air, the helmet was definitely found in a context of some sort*.

Finds can occur "out of context" i.e. not where they were originally deposited, but this is a different thing. Even in this situation, the exact place where something was found can still yield valuable information.

*EDITED: Sorry, realised helmet was officially found "out of context", in which case definitely better found and recovered than ploughed to bggry, but second para still applies. Both paras could be applied to other finds.


Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - Madweasels - 30th September 2010

Mike T.! So, from what I understand, and please correct me if I am wrong (I am sure you will - facts are difficult to come by in this case), a detectorist had been working the fields where the helmet was found for seven years and never found anything (no PAS finds, anyway) and then the helmet turns up. Seven years, found nothing and then finds the helmet. Hmmmm...that is one incredible 'chance discovery'. Oh, and I gather that the detectorist would have had to travel a considerable distance (50+ mile) to the fields to find nothing for seven years and then find this incredible 'chance discovery'. Hmmmm


Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - pdurdin - 30th September 2010

Quote:Mike T.! So, from what I understand, and please correct me if I am wrong (I am sure you will - facts are difficult to come by in this case), a detectorist had been working the fields where the helmet was found for seven years and never found anything (no PAS finds, anyway) and then the helmet turns up. Seven years, found nothing and then finds the helmet. Hmmmm...that is one incredible 'chance discovery'. Oh, and I gather that the detectorist would have had to travel a considerable distance (50+ mile) to the fields to find nothing for seven years and then find this incredible 'chance discovery'. Hmmmm
None of that is in the least bit conclusive.

What size were the fields? Had the helmet, in previous years, been covered by anything else that had since been removed (either naturally or by farm working)? How many times had he visited the fields in the seven years? As to travel, it could be something as simple as knowing the owner of the fields (or someone nearby!), or perhaps it's closer to known Roman major settlements than where he came from.

The amount of anti-nonprofessional-archaeologist sentiment (the whole curator thing as well) I've seen so far on these forums (in <2 months of using them) is really leaving a bad impression. It really makes me question the value of spending any time on here, which is a pity because apart from that fact it is one of the more open and welcoming sites I've come across.


Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - Madweasels - 30th September 2010

Well, exactly pdurdin. What were the sizes of the fields? What was the intensity of the survey over the seven years/ I too would liek answers to these questions. Do you have them? And I would like to know how the fragments all came from a single hole if it had indeed been covered by anything that had since been removed either naturally (explain please?) or by farm working.

Sorry about the need some of us have for a proper 'autopsy' of this find, including its findspot, but that is the way serious and proper archaeology, which many detectorists who make use of the PAS acknowledge, works.

All of which makes your post confuse this issue even more - as too is your questioning how much time you spend on an open and welcoming forum - oh, I see. You were telling us off for daring to ask questions. Sorry! Didn't get that first time I read your post.


Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - pdurdin - 30th September 2010

You missed the point. What's objectionable are the assumptions and accusations people have made about the finder of the helmet, when they have no real evidence either way. Without the PAS or finder providing more information, there is no way to answer the questions which everyone -- including myself -- is asking.

As to the helmet being covered and then uncovered: erosion, vegetation being removed (whether a tree falling naturally or artificial removal of vegetation), or removal of other objects on the surface could easily have made accessible a location that wasn't covered before, without disturbing the helmet itself. This is of course pure speculation, but it's not implausible.


Metal detectorist to auction Roman helmet - Wax - 30th September 2010

We can all argue ourselves around the block and back again and deviate off topic bashing metal detectorists, archaeologists and curators. The bottom line is there is so little information to go with this find that it’s practically useless except as a pretty shiny thing.

Which is a real shame

But then again who doesn’t like shiny things? Hats off to the craftsperson who made it and the one who reconstructed it