Friday, 15 April 2016

A prolegomenon to Jungian archaeology: conclusion

Academic archaeology's condescending attitude to the public places the latter in the role of an audience, but its inability to properly communicate any personal experience of archaeology, believing that objectivity is not only paramount but exclusive, places more distance between it and its audience. Accordingly, what in nature would result in extinction because of an organisms inability to adapt to changing conditions is averted by other groups using archaeology to their own, and very different ends. We can find no end of analogies to this situation in the natural world: the "ranching" of aphids by ants for their honeydew not only feeds the ants but protects the aphids. Archaeology crowd-based funding and data sourcing is one hive method that is advantageous to archaeology.

But archaeology also takes on the role of the aphid for other groups such as those with political motives who use nationalism in order to obtain a subservient population and to provide troops whenever needed; and through political/economic shenanigans such  with the structure of the US memoranda of understanding on "heritage" issues whereby protection is granted through the offering of secret "perks" to the applying country. These perks are kept secret because they often consist of deals that would not be supported by the majority of the public were they to know all of the details. An illusion of public support is created through panels and public input, but not only are any recommendations ignored by the government whenever is to their advantage, but as both sides of any deal are not revealed, the public has no opportunity to make an informed choice. Governmental transparency runs as a parallel PR motive to provide a defence against any criticisms in the same way that large corporations use the promotion of ethics or public support to act as a cover for the opposite behaviour. The use of various minority groups are especially sought out as these never have enough power to overcome any injustices while at the same time provide good PR for the government that uses them to reach its own ends that have nothing at all to do with the advertised motives.

Universities also use archaeology as a way of generating income, often based on current trends in public indoctrination, such as with creating courses on art crime where, if such courses were genuine, would probably require previous accreditations in international law, criminology and at least a strong working familiarity with the international art market. Such courses act a bit like a Ponzi scheme where the subterfuge is only realized when the graduates find it impossible to get jobs and the word gets out.
Because academia cannot support itself very well within a closed system, and the number of people in its classes far outweigh any foreseeable employment, associate professorships are created along with greatly reduced salaries and hours so that the  surplus will eventually wander off to become taxi-drivers or office workers and thus gain a living income. As this is a voluntary reaction, no responsibility need be assumed

Some of the above are scavenger activities as impending extinction from the lack of adaptability creates the weakened food source for the scavenger, and when one food source vanishes they will adapt by finding another.

Prior to the last decades of the nineteenth century, archaeology was predominately an amateur occupation taken up by the public at various levels of society. The most innovative applications came from people who had sources of income from business or family wealth. John Evans, for example, had a thriving paper business and he was greatly influenced by Darwin  (who was well-off) and the methods of geology. He came about his interest, originally through being a coin collector and numismatic methods, too, were incorporated into his vision of archaeology. Archaeology did not need to provide a source of income, and there was enough leisure time available to create the innovation fired by genuine personal interest.

The academic/nationalist ghettoizing of archaeology also created a new environment with its own evolutionary adaptations which became more and more idiosyncratic as it gradually parted with real public involvement in the discovery of the past: the public wanted to discover for themselves and not be taught. These idiosyncrasies evolved into unreadable academic papers mostly now seen in academic postmodern writing; extremely high prices for archaeological literature which would be needed by students but not attractive to the public; and the correspondingly high prices charged for necessary photographic data publication rights which are often waived for higher-status members of the academy.  The ability to discover for oneself is essential for evolutionary adaptation and the real result is an increase in intelligence coupled with the evolutionary reward of pleasure. The earlier decades of the nineteenth century had been a Renaissance of discovery in all areas of study and endeavour. Ghettozing could only survive if the independence that preceded it was suppressed.

The reasons for the decline in the rate of discovery and innovation, and some suggestions for ways to lessen this within academia are discussed in Aaron Lynch, in his last version of Units, events, and dynamics in the evolutionary epidemiology of ideas, 2001.Another direction to counter the lack of evolutionary adaptability is taken by transdisciplinarity.

Jungian archaeology would encompass all that I have introduced in this series and perhaps more. It would expand archaeology from just what is studied, to the psychology behind methods; the psychology of archaeologists and how the subject can be widened to provide real and useful public involvement beyond education and volunteerism. Various series about aspects of this subject could appear on this blog in the future.

On Monday, I will start with a serial presentation of my forthcoming ebook novel War in an Age of Innocence which is a Jungian/mythological coming of age story set at the transition of the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The time I will save with this serial presentation will allow me to focus on the last part of the research for a series about T. E. Lawrence staring with the publication, here, of a newly discovered document written by one of his friends. Have an adaptable weekend!

John's Coydog Community page


  1. Back home from Edmonton. What a rushed trip! The antique show was on and I only purchased one item a book by Kipling called The Second Jungle Book. Not a first edition, that is alright with me. The trees in Edminton are just starting to show a hint of green, we are definitely ahead of them. Traffic was well behaved. I slept from Edmonton to Lacombe. I hope everything went well for you today.

  2. I hope you were not driving between Edmonton and Lacombe!

    I thought you were going for the weekend. The antiques business here has been in quite a slump for a few years. Never was that great in Calgary apart from Bashford's on 17th but Chris has been closed down for years now.

    I had a great Saturday: I did my budget and found that besides the groceries I needed, I could afford to get some lightweight khaki pants for the summer (my last pair seems to have shrunk in the waist during the winter)so I got them when I went grocery shopping.

    I bought another ebook: Basarab Nicolescu, From Modernity to Cosmodernity: Science, Culture, and Spirituality (SUNY series in Western Esoteric Traditions). The hard cover edition is $105, the paperback $33+ and the ebook $18+. Fantastic content including an essay on Pauli. Nicolesci is the founder of the Physics/intellectual side of transdisciplinarity. I have his manifesto. The book covers a wide range of topics.

    Took the dog to the park as it was such a lovely day and finally got to have my liver, Schneider's thick cut bacon and onions caramelized in butter with a bit of salt and brown sugar and with boiled potatoes tossed in butter and dried parsley. Finished up with Haagan Daz. Tristan had some liver, bacon and potato (I cook the onions separately as they are bad for dogs).

    Didn't do the housework I had planned (maybe tomorrow) but filed with the US IRS for taxes on the ebook sales (which was far easier than I thought it would be) and even picked a cover photo and thought up the rest of the design.

    Even with shopping and everything else, I was able to watch a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey on Netflix, and I'm about to watch some more.

  3. You had a far more productive Saturday than I did. I thought about telling you that I was driving while I was sleeping but I figure you get the joke. I have never cooked liver the way you described it. Sounds yummy. Who wants to do housework when it is so lovely outside. It seems we have both been shopping while me friend was at her eye appointment. I went to SAS shoes and bought two pairs. I know they were expensive but I only purchase shoes once in a while.
    Smart idea to budget money and know where one stands much better than some who have thousands and thousands of dollars of debt. I know some people like that and I wonder how they sleep at night.
    I was lucky to purchase the Kipling book for ten dollars and it was in excellent condition. I love looking in used book shops and at antique shows for interesting titles. I have bought other interesting books from this individual. I am going to have him check his stock for other Kipling books and see what arrangement we can make in purchasing them.
    When I was in Bill's class I wrote a paper about the Kipling book called Stalky Co., it would wonderful to find a copy of that particular book.
    Where are you in watching Downton Abby? I finished the series when it was on PBS. The reason I enjoyed it so much was because this is the time period that my grandmother (English one ) was growing up in. The series gives me a better understanding of the social changes that were occurring in Britain. Have a great evening watching Downton Abby! Also, wonderful to see you are making head way on the ebook.

    1. Reminds me of the old joke: "Do you like Kipling?". "I don't know, I've never Kippled"

      I remember having a Master Card Gold card and a $50,000 line of credit the bank manger gave us secured only against our law suit because he thought it was so open and shut a case...

      I have a couple of pairs of SAS shoes, On pair has been resoled and I will probably get the other pair resoled next month. Calgary shoe hospital is quite reasonable for that sort of thing.

      I'm currently watching Season Four, Episode Seven.

      The cover photo I picked is of passages at Skara Brae. It's perfect (other than needing slight cropping)as I based one village on the site. I'm thinking of putting the letters on beige tablets, perhaps in burgundy with a matching thin line inset from the edges; all in Golden proportion.

      Going to make some more coffee (perhaps Irish), and get back to the show.

  4. Enjoy the show and your coffee! I'll talk to you tomorrow morning, Which of us will be awake first?
    The cover design sounds interesting. Can' t wait to see it.
    Good night and sleep well.

    1. Just checked the messages before going back to the show. I'll see how the cover looks when I paste it up. The author name might be in a different proportion, or I might put with the title, I'm not sure yet. Good night and ditto.

  5. I slept in this morning . I can hear the birds outside singing, I guess it is time to rise and shine. A cup of tea will start me off on the right foot. I am not sure what my plans are for today as of yet. My one friend is moving into an adult only complex and she is recovering from knee surgery so maybe I will help her unpack her kitchen.
    Enjoyed the joke about Kipling. Your humor is so witty it just jumps off the page for me. Thank you for that because I like a good laugh.
    When you complete Downton Abby let me know your opinion on the final season. The fact I

    1. I am missing the last part of your message, please continue.

      I've had a fairly productive morning. I found a desk! It was buried under a pile of books, papers, computer game discs and mail that really should have just been thrown away after reading but which must have seemed important at the time.

      I also sent a birthday (82nd) email off to Vincent Megaw as I realized that the day was virtually over in Australia. I was not entirely sure he was there, either, as the migratory pattern for the Megaw is to fly north at the approach of winter in Australia (which really cannot be that bad compared to here). I gave as the email subject heading "Happy Birthdayish" because I was not 100% certain I had the date exactly right.

      I also said "How's the book?" (He is working on the supplement to Jacobsthal's monumental _Early Celtic Art_ (1944). It was Ruth's idea and she was working on it with him up to her death, and now he continues alone. Jacobsthal was working with Jope on _Early Celtic Art in the British Isles_ when he died in 1957. Jope continued alone with that and died in 1996. Ian Stead continued and it as published in 2000. Ruth and Vincent Megaw were keenly aware of the "Jope effect", and sadly, it was realized for Ruth.

      Vincent replied, telling me that I did have the date right and that he was annoyed not have worked on the book today. He also said that he hoped to be able to stick by his motto: "I haven't got time to be dead". I'll reply after this.

      "“The time has come," the Walrus said,
      “To talk of many things:
      Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
      Of cabbages--and kings--..."

      You had mentioned formulating some detailed questions on what I have been writing about. I am rely looking forward to the first of these...

      And don't worry, the oyster's fate will not be yours: I have been wanting good discussion on these things and will certainly appreciate what may come. Even the most innocuous of questions can act like a springboard (and not into boiling water, either).

    2. That should of been "really", not "rely". Damn typos, the mind moves faster than the fingers.

      I just checked Downton Abbey: Netflix has just put up Series 5, so the last series will probably be there in another year from now. So you will have to be patient. I've replied to Vincent.

  6. The part that was just not erased. Because of Vincent's passion, as Campbell mentions passion makes one feel a live, this why he lives on.
    Yes, the questions. I think I will being by modeling after Moyer's and where it goes from there. I pleased you are willing to be patient with me.
    Did you find any hidden treasures in your desk cleaning? My desk at work looked like a bomb went off but as I took people I knew where all the important bits were. The rest of the classroom was tidy.

    1. Moyers is about as good a model as could be found.

      Passion is quite rare -- hence the popularity of Facebook etc., where "like" buttons can simulate it for the less fortunate. I think that passion has always been rare but that it is constantly being blamed on the time. Gerald of Wales was complaining about his times in that way in the late twelfth century. History is the interplay between the passionate and the bovine, and you can quote me on that.

      I did find one treasure, a tiny book that is easy to lose:

      Harry G. Frankfurt, _On Bullshit_, Princeton University Press, 2005. It is a first edition, but because of its popularity I was only able to obtain the 6th printing even though I ordered it very quickly. The twentieth printing in Fine is available on Abebooks for $18.95 and it looks like the 1st printing is worth about $1,200 in new condition. Mine is virtually Fine just one very tiny mark on the first blank page. it might even have been on the paper in the printing.

      A friend who has a job has many messy desks. Whenever he loses something he recently put down, he looks at his security cameras records to see what he did with it.

    2. Typo or Freudian slip? "job" should read "shop"!

  7. Talking about bullshit. My father's name was Bernard Scheuerman and of course the initials were bs and he loved to bullshit, You never knew what was the truth or the other. It took me until grade two to learn to spell my blasted last name correctly. You should writing comedy because of your wide base of information and funny stories.
    While reading the first chapter of Kipling's book , he wrote about the law of the jungle. Also he wrote a poem about. It is called "The Law of the Jungle". There is a line it that I thought fit well with I believe part nine about the wolves and the caribou. It goes as such " For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack." I hope you can find the full poem on line. I am eating a quick lunch and off to help my friend.

    1. The Kipling poem is here:

      As was typical for him, he uses themes to advise for human virtue.

      Yes, it does fit well as an addition the Inuit saying. The behaviour of wolves is quite different from coyotes in some ways because the latter have a family group rather than a pack. I'm always having to explain to people not to approach Tristan with a submissive behaviour as you would for a purely domestic dog. Such behaviour will lead to a warning as submission is equated with fear (showing fear gets the same response). If the warning is unheeded a coyote, unlike a wolf, will attack.

      Tristan is learning a lot from purely domestic dogs, though, and in his efforts to make friends, he is able to win over even naturally hostile dogs to a great degree. Their owners are always amazed at his patience because purely domestic dogs most often respond with like hostility or with fear. He knows he is different and tries to make other dogs, and people, a part of his family group. The "wolf man" a few blocks from (the name given him in the neighbourhood as he has a wolf hybrid -- perhaps I'm called the "coyote man") differs from me in his approach. He believes in trying to eliminate the natural behaviour while I try to adapt it.

      Having reclaimed my side-desk, I'm going to do the dishes and then take a break from housework from the rest of the day. I have had maids in the past -- I really miss that, but commercial maid services are now too expensive for me, although I could probably afford a very part-time independent one at a decent rate. Some things are especially hard on my back -- like cleaning the oven. It always lays me up for the rest of the day and I don't like the fumes from those harsh oven cleaners, so I never use them. Tristan's sensitive nose would likely get permanently damaged I imagine.

  8. Back home, my knees are saying too much walking and sitting in the car for the last two days.They will recover by tomorrow. The unpacking went well. You have such a wonderful way with dogs, Tristan is lucky to have you as a human companion.
    Kipling tells readers how fear came to the jungle in the first chapter of "The Second Jungle Book". It gets a little churchy at times as the poem does.
    You inspired me to move books from my bedroom to the spare room now that I have shelf space after giving away so many of my children's books. I found three treasures one by Emily Carr titled "This and That". The next by Walter Hilberbrant and Brian Hubnre called "The Cypress Hills". This is a title you might be interested in reading. The final one was by J. G. MacGregor called "Peter Fidler: Canada's Forgotten Surveyor". I mention this one because I have had the pleasure of meeting a living descent of Fidler's at the antique show. The cover page describes Peter as being a man of bravery, stamina and loyalty to the HBC. Some historians have asked to buy this book but it is too precious to me, so it is staying put.
    When I was working I had housekeeping service but gave it up after I retired. As you I miss it. But I am coping with doing things myself. I have to get help to high cleaning things like the top of the cupboard but my sister's daughter is willing to do at for me. I was five feet sixes inches tall once but now I am five feet four inches. One does shrink as they age.
    Enjoy Nexflix!

    1. I have similar problems with my back, especially on long plane trips and overly soft chairs (which are harder on me that the long plane trips, even for a few minutes)

      I've always had a way with dogs, even ones that start out vicious and want to attack me! I had to have a special interview with a dog expert when I adopted Tristan from the City of Calgary as he had "issues". If they could see him now!

      When I read "The Cypress Hills" I was interested even before i read your next sentence. I can order a copy, full title:
      "The Cypress Hills: an island by itself" from (coming from the U.S.) for only the price of postage plus 1 cent. The Canadian publisher's price is $25 plus postage. I'll order it in about a week.

      "Peter Fidler: Canada's Forgotten Surveyor" is not cheap on Amazon. 2 used copies $65 and $85, but there are a few on Abebooks starting at $38.23 in Canadian funds at today's exchange rate and that includes postage. So you can tell whoever might be interested.

      One maid, Seanna, was from the maritimes and not only did a good job, but always rearranged something in my room in a way I always liked. She also had an uncanny ability to read people and know what they were thinking. When we had a party we invited her and her fiancée as she seemed more like family. Tashi was at that party, too. It was the last one before things got bad.

      I'v also lost about 2 inches now I'm just a small fraction of an inch shorter than 6 ft. Part of that was due to the remains of a herniated disc being surgically removed. I was lucky. I had the best neurosurgeon in the country and he used microsurgery. He's now at least one of the best in the U.S.-- Dr Bruce Tranmer. I heard he later operated on Michael Schumacher's brother Ralf after a very bad Formula 1 crash. There's a lot to be said for Canadian health care!

      In the place where my TV used to sit on a chest of drawers, I have a line of books (for whatever research I happen to be doing at any time). That will help keep my books better organized although I did a bit more of such organizing today. I just have one more small pile on the floor to make room for. It looks like no more will have to go.

      I've just been making the chapter title plates fro the blog novel preview. That starts tomorrow and pretty well gives me two weeks off! It will only take a few minutes each day to copy the chapters to the blog and lay out the page.

      An important book for the T.E. Lawrence series is due by Tuesday, and I still have to do some good photos of, and write a transcript of the document by Lawrence's friend B. V. Jones, who knew him in India and has an unpublished quote by Lawrence about him returning to England. I also have to read a few chapters of the Oxford text of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, now restored to its original state by J. and N. Wilson. The first edition of that text existed in only eight copies and I think I remember one of them was sold for a bout a million many years ago. Amazon sells an "Oxford text", but it really isn't, it's just the later public first edition. The first edition of the 1926 abridgement of the Oxford Text sells at $135,000 The only true one currently in print is the two volume set I bought:

      Incidentally, Nicole Wilson tells me she has never heard of that T. E. Lawrence bookplate in the first edition of T. E. Lawrence by his friends (which I bought for Jones' entry to check against his document), so the mystery continues. If it was known by anyone it would be by her and her husband.

  9. I had to go through an interview for my cat Lily. She had been through a very tough life as a kitten. The poor thing is so nervous and easlily scared. I am the only one who can pick her up and give her a special loving.
    Tristan has bonded with you that takes a lot of effort and loving attention to accomplish. Question how exactly should one approach Tristan ?
    You certainly enjoy the thrill of the chase when finding hard to locate reading and research materials. Glad to read you will order the Cyoress Hills book, as always let me what you think of it.
    Did you have your surgery in Calgary at the Foothills hospital?
    I am in bed early again ! I just have taken on too much again this weekend. I have to remember that I am not 25 years old any more.

    1. Lily is also my granddaughter's name. Cats like that are very hard to adopt out. I remember when we had cats that some kittens seem to be born scared, it's odd.

      With Tristan, walking right up to him with confidence after saying hello to him, and just making a fuss of him is the best way. He would get nervous if someone walked up to him without greeting him first, though.

      I'll let you know what I think about the Cypress Hills book. It is very unusual place.

      Yes, Dr, Tranmer had an office up there. When he saw me come in (we went up by cab) he said "You should have called for an ambulance!" I told him that I had seen that sort of operation on TV on a show called "The Operation" and had decided it was what I needed. He said, "Yes,I trained that doctor". I knew I had the right surgeon! Mt GP had told me there was 50% chance of me being paralysed from the waist down, but I could barely walk and was in great pain and on a prescription synthetic heroin which I quit "cold turkey" (that was three days of pure hell. After the surery I refused all opiates but Carrie had them give me some before I was fully conscious as she could see I was in pain). Everyone, nurses and patients kept rying to get me take something stronger than regular Tylenol, but I held out. Fora few days after the operation,my cak would give out and I would crumple to the floor like a marionette whose strings had been cut. I always found it funny and laughed but it alarmed a couple of my visitors. Afterwards, it was about a year's exercising before I could actually run again and my spine became straight again instead of S shaped.

      You are lucky, I can barely remember being 25 ;-)

      I'm heading to bed to watch a few more episodes of Downton Abbey. I'll post the first chapter of the novel tomorrow morning. I'm actually a bit nervous about it being that is my first fiction since I was quite young.

      Have a good sleep!

  10. Have courage and faith in oneself. Things will be fine.
    Good night and sleep well.

    1. I suppose the problem with writing fiction is that one can't hide behind reality!Perhaps it's just the "stagefright" that goes away when you step out there.

  11. Hello John:

    Maybe those with a vested interest in promoting archaeology are trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear?

    Note too, how every pottery shard is praised to the Heavens while anything of gold or silver is played down. Indeed, every new discovery, usually made by a member of the public which led the archaeologists to the site, is always, without exception heralded "of major ceremonial importance," or "nothing like it anywhere," et al, ad nauseum.

    Seems to me that by 'bigging up' finds of no particular importance has more to do with continued employment for the academic archaeologists who spend the majority of their working life polishing the seat of their trousers, or skirts.


    John Howland

    1. Hi John,

      There are a few different motives for the "PR archaeology" that we see, but as they all try to cater more to sensationalism whether through trying to get more funding or getting more control and exclusivity, more of the public start to laugh at it. In times of economic downturn, however, the laughing stops and the purse strings tighten. This can cause even more extreme statements. If I were gaining a living from something that had little economic benefit, I would be very, very, quiet at such times!



  12. Hello John:

    Some of the guys and gals I've met in archaeology, mainly those who do the real work in the trenches are a decent bunch of lads lasses and mostly have no axe to grind with the detecting community. BUT, and it's a big BUT, they ain't gonna put thier arses on the line when the official line from the CBA in 'no-no.'

    The CBA in my estimation at least is still populated by dinosaurs. Can you imagine in this day and age that its top man, Mike Heyworth supported Barford's now widely derided and thoroughly discredited Antiquities Erosion Counter.

    I mean, whats' all that about. It makes you wonder what the hell the CBA does support and stand for, because by judging from Heyworth's actions, it ain't accuracy, that same accuracy the CBA accuses detectorists of not having.

    We live in weird times.


    John Howland

  13. Hi John,

    What you say corresponds to what I noticed, last year, with regard to their Britarch discussion list. I attributed it to the general demise of discussion lists in favour of more recent social media which does not encourage real discussion and collaboration anyway.

    I found that there was a core of people, more or less with unchanged views from the mid nineties and that there was not really anyone around with originality. It was all "same old" in discussions and anything different offered was either trashed en masse or ignored. The attitudes were also rather bad.

    Mike was more forward-looking years ago. He even sent a very nice letter of condolence when Carrie died recognizing her contribution to the Celtic Coin Index. But from the mid-nineties 'til then there were people posting with different ideas and there was good discussion. I think that this rubbed off on many, Mike included. When the discussion took a nose dive and detectorists etc. were being just trashed by Barford and Swift and they started fighting back in kind, the whole list started to go downhill; posts with particular keywords were censored and thus delayed and people started leaving.

    So I think, from what you now say, that the entire CBA has become ossified; gets no new thoughts to shake it up, and is more like some exclusive club of people with opinion but no ideas. All the idea people have left, but they have had nowhere productive to go.

    I left last year, too, although I had mostly decided to use my blog to get different ideas across, stress the value of different viewpoints; collaboration with MD'ing and so forth. No one can deny that since the death of Tony Gregory, things have dramatically declined and have become more "cult-like" and anti-intellectual.

    But that's what happens with no change, no adaptation, no new blood and just derision and fixed viewpoints. Things just die out after a while.

    I share information with a couple of detectorists in my area of interest and it is leading to all manner of new ideas. Beneficial to me as I get to see and sometimes get samples for testing of what is being found, and beneficial to them as I can tell them what they should be looking out for geographically and from what is being found. I know it works. The old school is oblivious to this, though, and keeps making the same sort of mistakes over and over again because no one is around to shake them out of their rut, and they do not look anywhere but to each other. The rut is getting deeper!

    Is there a solution? I can't think of how there can be. I suppose that eventually they will lose funding, public support and just die off, but there's no guarantee that there will be anything better coming along. The whole system's broken.



  14. Hi John:

    I wonder whether the blistering success of the UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme currently with over one million detector-found artefacts on its register, has left the ideas-free, dull faction of what passes for British archaeology feeling seriously threatened; even left behind.

    The upsurge of public involvement in archaeology, brought forth thousands of people who chose 'do it their way' rejecting in the main, the Left-ish politics and dogma of archaeo-managers and policy makers.

    In a last ditch throw of the dice, anti-collectors and anti-detectorists try to smear hobbyists as reward taking treasure hunters. Indeed, there's absolutely nothing wrong either morally, or criminally, in being a reward seeking treasure hunter. The legislature allows for this and provided treasure hunters share their data - though they have no legal reason to do so - then so much the better for the common record.

    The PAS is perhaps taking over from the likes of the CBA and filling the vacuum it created created. Perhaps archaeology as represented by the CBA et al, is now in the minority?


    John Howland

    1. (part 1)

      Good morning, John,

      That would certainly explain the "artefact erosion counter" considering that it does not take a lot of genius to realize that that a plough blade can erode an artefact rather quickly. It is less obvious that agriculture, when changing the depth of an artefact and thus exposing it to a different chemical/moisture environment will certainly compromise its patina. I saw a number of small Roman coins when I was kid that were little more than an unidentifiable scrap of corrosion in a ploughed field.

      You will also note that the same people who go on about "artefact erosion" from metal detecting say nothing at all about riverine or coastal erosion, so erosion is not really their theme at all. Coastal erosion can be prevented (with a number of difficulties in doing so) or archaeological sites in danger from such can be given excavation priority. Riverine erosion is very simple to avert with rip-rap.

      As the PAS is also part of the same archaeological organizational structure, it does suffer a bit because the emphasis is placed on its being rather than its function. Thus we do not see the archaeology establishment using it to the degree that would justify its cost. I have used it to discover distribution patterns and lines of communication ("trade routes" is most often a misnomer). It also serves well for typology and I have used it for that and have seen many detectorists do the same, so public archaeology has definitely not only come into its own, but has redefined the very term in an evolutionary manner, and that is actually keeping the interest in archaeology alive.

      However, the archaeological establishment, in being more concerned with the idea of the PAS and from their own viewpoint is less concerned about its actual function for the public. You see, the establishment does not evolve, or at least does not evolve as fast.

      Let's take the Celtic Coin Index from its 1961 conception to my current online version and then compare that with the same records now in the PAS and the establishment's viewpoint of the PAS.

      Derek Allen was very much concerned with typology, and his collaboration with the archaeological establishment of his time in the person of Sheppard Frere was a very fruitful one. Together, they realized that recording find spots was but one aspect of a much greater whole. Accordingly, they also recorded Celtic coins that were already in public collections even though they had no recorded find spot. This naturally evolved into the recording of coins in private collections and within the trade.

      With typology and careful classification, chronologies can be properly built that are most often impossible to construct by using only excavated examples. Once such chronologies exist, then any excavated coin can be placed within it with no trouble at all -- even coins of a completely new variety. I have proven that with Coriosolite coins of varieties that were unknown when I classified them. If the classification is done very carefully, and uses many features in its construction, the arrival of a newly discovered variety will never break it, but just add to it.

    2. (Part 2)

      The PAS is essentially a database, but it has become an icon. Icons are fixed, psychologically, and cannot evolve. It has been focused only on finds and that has fixed its hierarchy. Thus it does not include objects from public and private collections and objects from the trade, and yet has absorbed all of the Celtic Coin Index records, de-emphasising the source data when it is not a recorded find. If the PAS had only recorded coins with a find spot, the numbers would have been about halved and the value of the PAS as a viable tool would have been seen to have been far less valuable. It would have tarnished the icon.

      It is quite natural for metal detectorists to use exactly the same source materials as did Allen and Frere and their successors starting in 1961, but the fetishization or archaeology in recent years has removed the chance of natural evolution toward more holistic approaches. The two icons are find spots and archaeological context. I dealt with the former above, but a good example of the latter is how the Archaeological Institute of America is loathe to publish anything that has not been archaeologically excavated, thus divorcing itself from any efficient classification processes which can only advance archaeological knowledge. So the archaeological establishment is experiencing Jungian enantiodromia where things become their opposites. By "protecting" the icons of archaeology, they are actually trying to destroy archaeology as a subject. The public knows better.