I was recently perusing a
fine, er, so-so, archaeological tome by a Tekkie named Stout, who’d written on the fly-leaf, “To John Howland,…the biggest b*********r…”. Not only does he still owe me twenty bucks, but ♦’Barfoodles’ me to boot! Sheesh!
Like it or not, we are all arkies and all arkies are treasure hunters since they earn their livings from the Past; precisely what the dimwitted gobby elements accuse Tekkies and collectors of doing! One man’s treasure hunter is another man’s arkie.
In any case, renowned collections and many museums owe their existence thanks to wealthy collector benefactors. Indeed, collecting is also a great hedge against inflation.
Our amateur pastime too, involves the excavation and study of the physical remains of the past; casually lost coins and small metallic objects.
That we use metal detectors in our researches makes no difference; Joe and Jill Public have every right to investigate their heritage, in the way, and in the manner they want. That right has to be assiduously defended. The aura of mystique that once shrouded orthodox archaeology is slowly being unfolded much to the annoyance of some in that line of work. No longer can that cadre of ill-mannered, loudmouthed self-anointed ‘experts’ count on public ignorance about what they do to protect them from pertinent questions. Excavation reports and the reporting of finds from digs is a contentious issue, one in which our pastime shines.
Whereas detectorists can either report finds with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) or the United Kingdom Detector Finds Database, there are unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of uncatalogued finds from excavation sites are languishing unrecorded in museum warehouses across the country. This catastrophic loss of archaeological data is on an unimaginable scale dwarfing the imaginary loss of knowledge dreamed up by the ‘guesstimators’ on archaeology’s loonier outer limits who lay their fictitious claims at the doors of detectorists and collectors.
With increasing numbers of people coming into our pastime, guidance is needed to put them on the right path. Dick Stout’s book for example, In Search of Treasure, is an informative guide. He is an experienced Tekkie who knows the pastime inside out. Though I doubt the ‘instant success’ demands of the YOOTOOB generation will have much truck with his work. I reckon you’ll discover success quicker by reading and inwardly digesting Dick Stout’s wise words, than you will by watching a video; that is not to say such videos have no place in research or lack value. But it was the chapter on what he terms the BIG FOUR that caught my eye, something that oldies and newbies in our hobby ought to take on board…
The BIG FOUR: What; When; Where; and How Long.
The Big Four are the basic ground-rules from which success springs.
For example, Dick writes, “If your community had a yearly carnival,WHEN did it take place, WHERE did it take place, and HOW MANY YEARS has it been taking place? […] If your town has a picnic grove, WHERE is it, WHEN was it first used and is it STILL being used today? If your community or county once had a one-room school, WHEN was it in use, WHERE was it located, and HOW LONG was it in use?”
He goes on to make the points that whatever the outcome of your researches another facet of the treasure hunting pastime will be revealed; you’ll learn a great deal about your local history. With learning comes power.
When you get permission to explore a piece of land, get the largest scale map available of the area. You’ll find footpaths, springs, and a whole host of other vital information which if interpreted correctly will lead you to success.
Interpreted correctly? There ain’t no shortcut. Remember, a metal detector is only a tool that serves to prove – or otherwise – your interpretations of a large-scale map. Success in this game is 90% research and 10% out in the field with the metal detector. That said there are lots of what the angling fraternity calls ‘tackle queens’ – those who like to be seen using the latest ‘designer gear’ – but have no idea. You get my drift?
When people are crass, loudmouthed, and insulting about our pastime, it’s not because they are smarter than us, but because of fear, insecurity, and a lack of education.
¹archaeologist noun: –
a person who studies human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artefacts and other physical remains.
♦‘To Barfoodle.’ To behave in an insulting, uneducated, or abusive manner. Can also be an indicator of a low IQ or an under-achiever.
A kid from Mississippi is on Harvard campus for the first time, he stops a student and asks, “Excuse me, can you tell me where the library is at?” The Harvard student replies “At Harvard, you don’t end a sentence with a preposition.” The kid replies, “Sorry about that. Can you tell me where the library is at, asshole?”
“You will never get the truth out of a Narcissist. The closest you will ever come is a story that either makes them the victim or the hero, but never the villain.” Shannon L. Adler