Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Dean Crawford — Living among the Dobunni: conclusion

Edward the Confessor silver penny of Snel at Chester
photo: Dean Crawford
First of all, I must thank Dean for agreeing to contribute so much about his metal-detecting career and his research over the years to this blog series. It is his contributions, not my own, that have made this series so popular and it continues to rise in the ratings. Expect more of his posts besides "fragmentation" to appear in the left column as Google catalogues them and people search for useful information and rich content. I also thank Thelma for her comment to yesterday's post as she expresses exactly what I had hoped, but did not expect, the series to achieve. I appreciate, too, the comments in previous posts by Wayne Sayles and John Howland that mention more collaborations between detectorists and archaeologists. Both groups are often reluctant to speak out for fear of being bullied in the blogosphere, the worst of the medium being heir to the flame wars of the Usenet in "olden tymes". I give the link for the benefit of my younger readers, many of whom were not even born when it was at its height. I see it actually still exists.

In this final post I am showcasing Dean's favourite coin find with his data:
"Edward the Confessor (1042-1066) silver penny.
The moneyer is Snel and the mint is Chester.
This is the first PACX coin of Snel to be recorded, filling in a gap in his career, which extends from Quatrefoil to Radiate Small Cross types.
EMC number 1997.0040."

This is the sort thing that makes Dean's work so valuable as so many important coins are found as stray finds and not in hoards or at archaeological digs.

My own hope for the future is that similar blog  entries and articles will appear and start to give a more accurate view of the current, and potential relationships between detectorists and archaeologists. Such a balanced view is desperately needed. The web needs less sensationalism and more of the useful data such as what Dean has supplied here. Nothing can compare to the local knowledge gained over many years by detectorists and local amateur historians who are both driven by passion and not career opportunities.

I will be back tomorrow with something new (I have no idea, yet, on what that will be!)

John's Coydog Community page


  1. Hi John:

    This is just to say how much I have enjoyed yours and Dean's excellent and informative series. I wish him well for the future. He is, if some in archaeology realised it, an expert from whom they can learn much.

    More of the same, please!


    John Howland

    1. Thank you, John.

      It was not an easy task for either of us, and I think we both learned things, ourselves. That was a very good thing: when you study something properly, it studies you back. The latter statement would be unintelligible to those who have only ever known indoctrination.

      For me, the most difficult part of the project was in what I allowed in the comments and what I did not. It was necessary to allow the general reader a glimpse into the skirmishes that have played out without perpetuating them; an idea of their "flavour", as bitter as that might be. Of course, part of their plan was to divert attention from Dean's words and turn everything into yet another skirmish, and sometimes against me. I gave more leeway to those who signed their responses, of course. I have no respect for cowardice.

      I did want to give bullies a taste of their own medicine, and I succeeded in that — seeing the responses from them (both published and unpublished).

      Most of all, though, I wanted Dean's own words and experiences to shine through and I was gratified to see him finding his own voice, again, being freed from the yapping of small dogs. I tried to keep my line editing to a minimum: mainly just correcting typos (and I made a number of those, myself, as is usual for me!) and adding the full title to acronyms used in the standard journalistic manner. Toward the end, I had little editing to do at all of Dean's words and I think that all he needs to do to become a very good writer is simply to write more!

      I will certainly look for other stories about the collaborations between the better archaeologists and detectorists. They will all be different from this and each other, no two people are alike. I hope that this will encourage more publication of new stories of such.

      More of the same? No, what is done is done. There will be more about detecting, collecting, archaeology and independent research, though. The following quotes from The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam sums up my thoughts about that:

      But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
      Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
      Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
      And one by one back in the Closet lays. (LXIX)

      The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
      Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
      Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
      Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it. (LXXI)