National Geographic use metal detectors, find new low

In what may be the most grotesque Third Reich-themed “edutainment”/”infotainment” show yet, National Geographic Channels International and ClearStory have filmed Nazi War Diggers. It is not about sappers. In this programme, you can watch metal-detecting antiquities dealers perform ‘human bone removal’ – ‘hunt for relics and bodies’, the ‘remains of soldiers from both sides’. Everyone involved has urgent ethical and legal questions to answer.

Ethical?

According to Executive Producer Russell Barnes, the series ‘explores ethical ways to preserve our history and the dignity of the people who made it’. Apparently, they are working ‘in close collaboration with local archaeologists and licensed preservation organisations‘. I do hope the “local archaeologist” is not the officially unlisted ‘Polish metal detectorist Adrian Kostromski’…

Rescue?

They claim that they are ‘racing against time to save this history from being looted or lost’ from the Nazi-Soviet battlefield on the Courland Peninsula in Latvia and elsewhere on the Eastern Front. But the seemingly unironically described ‘[p]harmacist by day, chairman of the WW2 Relic Retrieval & Preservation Group (RRPG) by night and weekends’ Stephen Taylor, ‘metal detectorist’ Kris Rodgers and ‘militaria dealer’ (retired U.S. Marine Major) Craig Gottlieb do not inspire confidence.

Selling Nazi antiquities for loadsamoney

If you think Paul Barford is unduly worried, History Hunter Military Antiques dealer Gottlieb has declared on National Geographic that, ‘by selling things that are Nazi related and for lots of money, I’m preserving a part of history that museums don’t want to bother with’. Fuck you Gottlieb.

Evidence of legal and ethical conduct?

What is the difference between looters and National Geographic’s relic… rescuers? As Barford says (though he shouldn’t need to say it, because NatGeoTV is supposed to be an educational channel), National Geographic (and/or its team) urgently need to provide ‘a copy of the search[/excavation] permits‘, and to explain what is being done with the human remains (and historic artefacts) that their ‘talent’ are pulling out of their resting places.

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging…

And they are literally pulling stuff out of the ground. The seemingly unsupervised non-professionals, who don’t know the difference between an arm and a leg, dig big holes (without control, sampling or recording), then wiggle and yank bones out one-by-one with their gloved hands (rather than scientifically exposing and documenting the skeletons in position). Fuck you all, each and every one.

They must answer these questions.

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23 Responses to “National Geographic use metal detectors, find new low”

  1. Appalling, but not surprising. More and more the history/science channels have been trying to adapt the reality show model to their programming. Sensationalist (and ridiculous) titles: Did Aliens Build the Pyramids?
    Totally misleading programs too. A while back there was one that was obscene called Human Lampshade: A Holocaust Mystery: http://tvblogs.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/27/human-lampshade-a-holocaust-mystery/
    And you know what, it turns out the whole thing was a mistake and it was cow-hide. They aired it anyway.

  2. Horrific isn’t it? Not sure if you saw this on the bbc but worth a read… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25589709

  3. Reblogged this on Where in the hell am I? and commented:
    Wow, and I thought the American versions of these shows were awful…

  4. I lost respect for Nat Geo and the History Channel years ago due to their very warped ideas of archaeological ethics and archaeology in general. Too many “digger” and “auction” shows in their current lineup (don’t even get me started on that “Ancient Aliens” garbage). While I can see why archaeologists single out the Indiana Jones films and the Tomb Raider games for glamourizing treasure hunting and tomb looting, these are simply works of fiction. Nat Geo really should know better…

  5. Horrifying …. makes a grown man want to eat his own children

  6. One of the diggers used to show up on “reality” show Pawn Stars as a Las Vegas baseball card shop owner.

  7. For all the good stuff Nat Geo puts on, they do put on some absolute dribble…. this show falls into the latter category. I don’t know how this sort of show gets into production……

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