Monday, 30 July 2018

Michael Lewis on Metal Detecting



Michael Lewis has been talking about metal-detecting as part of the V&A Culture in Crisis Programme. He has stressed the benefit about searching ploughsoil. But what about the findspot of the Lenborough Hoard?

Lewis moves to discuss why the metal-detecting community has not signed up to the revised Code of Practice.

He touches on the issue of possible "criminal" elements who are out to loot archaeological site, and give the "hobby" a tarnished reputation.

The interviewer, Laura Jones, asked about the loss of context as a result of metal-detecting. Lewis talks about finds from below the ploughsoil, and suggests that there needs to be immediate archaeological help. He mentions the Watlington Hoard and the wait needed before the excavation could take place.

Lewis discusses the Staffordshire Hoard (but see here) as one of his favourite finds.

It would have been interesting to hear Lewis talk about the so-called Crosby Garrett helmet and the accuracy of its reported find-spot.

Lewis and Jones fail to engage with concerns about the damage being sustained to the archaeological record in England and Wales. Jones even suggests that people at home will be "wanting to be part of this", and that the Scheme actively protects the archaeological heritage of England and Wales, an issue directly addressed by the forum piece in the Papers of the Institute of Archaeology.


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Friday, 27 July 2018

Debating the Portable Antiquities Scheme

Back in 2010 I was invited to write a forum piece, "The Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Treasure Act: Protecting the Archaeology of England and Wales?", for Papers from the Institute of Archaeology.

In the light of the discussion around Sam Hardy's analysis of open-source data on metal-detecting for cultural property, I thought that it would be interesting to see how the forum piece has been cited by using data from the publisher's website, Research Gate, and Google Scholar.

Excluding self-citations, articles are as follows:
  • Campbell, Peter B. (2013) The Illicit Antiquities Trade as a Transnational Criminal Network: Characterizing and Anticipating Trafficking of Cultural Heritage, International Journal of Cultural Property 20(02), pp. 113-153 DOI: http://doi.org/10.1017/S0940739113000015 
  • Daubney, A. (2017) Floating culture: the unrecorded antiquities of England and Wales. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 23(9), pp. 785-799.
  • Efrat, A. (2012) Getting Governments to Cooperate against Looting: Insights from the American and British Experience. Journal of Art Crime, 8, p. 31 [reproduced in Noah Charney (ed.), Art Crime: Terrorists, Tomb Raiders, Forgers and Thieves. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
  • Frieman, C.J. and Wilkin, N. (2016) “The Changing of the Guards”?: British Prehistoric Collections and Archaeology in the Museums of the Future. Museum Worlds, 4(1), pp. 33-50.
  • Grove, Louise (2013) Heritocide? Defining and Exploring Heritage Crime, Public Archaeology, 12:4, 242-254, DOI: 10.1179/1465518714Z.00000000046
  • Grove Louise, Thomas S. (2014) What’s the Future for Heritage Crime Research?. In: Grove Louise, Thomas S. (eds) Heritage Crime. Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • Grove, Louise, Adam Daubney, and Alasdair Booth (2018) Identifying sites at risk from illicit metal detecting: from CRAVED to HOPPER, International Journal of Heritage Studies 2018 DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2018.1475408
  • Hardy, S.A. (2017) Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods, Cogent Social Sciences 3(1), 2017 DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/23311886.2017.1298397 
  • Rovet, G., Compagnon, G., Minvielle-Larousse, N., Champeyrol, S. and Rué, M. (2016) Chasse au trésor et pillage du patrimoine archéologique: un enjeu de médiation. In Daniel Jacobi, Fabrice Denis (eds.), Les médiations de l’archéologie. Editions universitaires de Dijon 
  • Stevenson, Alice (2016) Conflict antiquities and conflicted antiquities: addressing commercial sales of legally excavated artefacts, Antiquity 90(349), pp. 229-236 DOI: http://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2015.188 
  • Temiño, I.R. (2016) Rational Grounds for Dialogue Between Archaeologists and Metal Detectorists in Spain. Open Archaeology, 2(1).
  • Thomas, S. (2013) Multiple-role actors in the movement of cultural property: Metal-detector users. In Current Trends in Archaeological Heritage Preservation: National and international Perspectives. Proceedings of the international conference, Iasi, Romania (pp. 117-124).
  • Thomas, S.E. (2014) The Portable Antiquities Scheme in England and Wales. SKAS.
My response to the other forum contributions is cited in a slightly different way (though Daubney, Grove and Hardy were clearly aware of both contributions to the forum piece):
  • Daubney, A. (2017) Floating culture: the unrecorded antiquities of England and Wales. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 23(9), pp. 785-799.
  • Grove, Louise (2013) Heritocide? Defining and Exploring Heritage Crime, Public Archaeology, 12:4, 242-254, DOI: 10.1179/1465518714Z.00000000046
  • Hardy, S.A. (2017) Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods, Cogent Social Sciences 3(1), 2017 DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/23311886.2017.1298397 
  • Rasmussen, Josephine Munch  (2014) Reply to Comments from Suzie Thomas, Martin Mesicek, Raimund Karl, Mads Ravn, Maria Lingström, Norwegian Archaeological Review, 47:2, pp. 212-217, DOI: 10.1080/00293652.2014.957236
  • Wilson, P. and M. Harrison (2013) Three years on from 'The Nighthawking Survey': innovations in heritage protection, Internet Archaeology 33. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.33.7
The responses to the forum paper are cited as follows:

Trevor Austin
  • Hardy, S.A. (2017) Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods, Cogent Social Sciences 3(1), 2017 DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/23311886.2017.1298397
Paul Barford
  • Deckers, Pieterjan, Andres Dobat, Natasha Ferguson, Stijn Heeren, Michael Lewis, and Suzie Thomas (2018) The Complexities of Metal Detecting Policy and Practice: A Response to Samuel Hardy, ‘Quantitative Analysis of Open-Source Data on Metal Detecting for Cultural Property’ (Cogent Social Sciences 3, 2017), Open Archaeology 4, 1.
  • Hardy, S.A. (2017) Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods, Cogent Social Sciences 3(1), 2017 DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/23311886.2017.1298397
Gabe Moshenska
  • Grove, Louise, Adam Daubney, and Alasdair Booth (2018) Identifying sites at risk from illicit metal detecting: from CRAVED to HOPPER, International Journal of Heritage Studies 2018 DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2018.1475408
Colin Renfrew

  • No citations
Sally Worrell
  • Capper, Morn  & Marc Scully (2016) Ancient objects with modern meanings: museums, volunteers, and the Anglo-Saxon ‘Staffordshire Hoard’ as a marker of twenty-first century regional identity, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39:2, pp. 181-203, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2016.1105996
  • Gill, David W. J. Gill (2014) Context matters: The So-called Crosby Garrett Helmet, Journal of Art Crime 11, pp. 53-59  
  • Sim, David N.  & Jaime Kaminski (2017) The Production and Deposition of the Guisborough Helmet, Arms & Armour, 14:1, pp. 1-33, DOI: 10.1080/17416124.2017.1307596



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Thursday, 26 July 2018

Alexander the Great from the Roman Forum

Source: Sotheby's
A marble head of Alexander the Great has been seized in New York (reported in "Judge Orders Return of Ancient Limestone Relief to Iran", New York Times 23 July 2018). It has been reported to have been purchased "in good faith" by the Safani Gallery in Manhattan. The head had passed through Sotheby's in December 2011 (lot 9) when its history was recorded as:

  • Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962), New York, most likely acquired prior to World War II 
  • The Hagop Kevorkian Fund (Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, November 22nd, 1974, no. 317, illus.) 
  •  A.N. Oikonomides, Chicago

The head was recognised from archival photographs from the finds from excavations in the Roman Forum. The head appears to have been found in 1910. It was then placed in the archaeological store of Museo Forense. The head appears to have been removed from the museum by 1959.




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Metal-detecting in context and open-source analysis

In 2017 Sam Hardy wrote 'Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods', Cogent Social Sciences, 3:1 (2017) [DOI: 10.1080/23311886.2017.1298397].

More recently there has been a response: Pieterjan Deckers, Andres Dobat, Natasha Ferguson, Stijn Heeren, Michael Lewis, and Suzie Thomas , 'The Complexities of Metal Detecting Policy and Practice: A Response to Samuel Hardy, ‘Quantitative Analysis of Open-Source Data on Metal Detecting for Cultural Property’ (Cogent Social Sciences 3, 2017)', Open Archaeology 4, 1 [Online]. Their unconvincing paper made an attempt to dismiss Hardy's careful research. 

Sam Hardy has now written an extended response, 'a response to a response on metal-detecting and open-source analysis', Conflict Archaeology (26 July 2018). Deckers et al. will need to revise their confrontational response.

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Friday, 13 July 2018

Operazione Demetra

Operazione Demetra
Source: Carabinieri
Earlier this month the Italian authorities issued a statement about Operazione Demetra with its focus on Sicily [press release, 4 July 2018; Carabinieri]. One of the key elements is that arrest warrants were served on individuals in London, Barcelona and Ehningen. They are listed as:
  • VERES William Thomas 64 anni, residente a Londra;  
  • PALMA Andrea 36 anni, originario di Campobasso, residente a Barcellona; 
  • MONDELLO Rocco, 61 anni, originario di Gela, residente a Ehningen.
Veres appears to be the same individual who handled the Steinhardt gold phiale when it passed through Switzerland ('Caveat emptor', The Economist 16 September 1999). He also appears to have sold ancient coins, largely minted in Turkey, to the British Museum. (A British individual with the initials W.T.V. was arrested in an antiquities related incident near Seville in August 2017.)

It appears that two auction houses in Munich are under investigation (John Phillips and Justin Huggler, 'Italian police smash £30m international ancient artefact smuggling ring', The Daily Telegraph 4 July 2018).

This investigation appears to be shining fresh light on the network of handlers moving archaeological material from Italy.

The British Museum will no doubt be reviewing the material acquired from this source.

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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Potential Kress-funded project on cultural property

Liz Marlowe is looking for professors who teach courses on issues of cultural property/heritage/looting/archaeological ethics/art market, etc., who are based at a U.S. college or university with a campus museum.

She is looking for participants in what she hopes will be a large, important, Kress-funded project.

If you are interested and/or would like more details, please contact her at emarlowe@colgate.edu.



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An inscription from Kos

In 1983 the J. Paul Getty received the anonymous donation of a Greek inscription from Antimachia on Kos (J. Walsh, "Acquisitions/1983...