National Geographic’s preparing a Q&A on Nazi War Diggers. It can use mine.

Kris Rodgers has been kind enough to give an initial reply to the alarm, horror, disbelief, pessimism, disgust and gifs, the reviews/studies, background checks, ethical suspicions, queries, analyses and questions of many, many archaeologists, osteoarchaeologists, osteologists, anatomists, historic landscape officers, military historians (including those who are relatives of missing persons), television professionals, archaeology and anthropology students and other citizens… (Incidentally, he’s actually got good reason to be away from the keyboard, so we should be patient with him, if not his employers.)

The professional/public archaeology community – including archaeological institutes, research programmes, archaeological societies, anthropological associations, archaeological consultancies, volunteer organisations, (archaeological) community groups and (community) cultural heritage activists – are unanimously against the ‘disgrace’ that conflict archaeologist Tony Pollard and others ‘advised against‘. (Even some metal detectorists are cautious.)

Rodgers accepts that National Geographic, ClearStory and/or the programme team have chosen to advertise their show internationally with a very bad’ clip. But he reassures that they are preparing a Q&A, which will reveal ‘all the archeologists we have to have with us, watching our every move’. ‘Trust me,… it was done properly.’

If it was done properly, why has it been filmed in a way that shows violations of decades-long standard operating procedure? If I had tried to excavate a skeleton like that, I would have been stopped by my supervisor (or my trenchmates). If these excavations are supposed to constitute training, who trains amateurs with the disarticulated remains of bomb victims?

Since they’re still preparing the Q&A, they can save themselves some time and answer my twenty questions.

7 Responses to “National Geographic’s preparing a Q&A on Nazi War Diggers. It can use mine.”

  1. There’s just no reasonable explanation/excuse for any of it. No amount of disclaimers or Q&A’s is going to change the fact that the whole endeavour is seriously questionable.


    • No, but it might change the question – who trained them, who supervised, why did National Geographic release the clip? – from “what the fuck?” to “whose fuck up is it?”


      • Too far gone, I’m afraid. These schematics have infiltrated ‘our world’. Your metal detector friend is given equal status to an academic. Even you speak of him with respect- no?


        • I guess it depends which one you mean. I know one who only detects alongside archaeologists, one who always detects responsibly… I’ve been faced with ones who are ambiguous, ones who are ill-informed, ones who are wholly malicious…

          I can be as damning in polite language as I can in expletives. 😉 Plus, bigoted and violent people set a new standard in expletive-earning repulsiveness, with which arseholes and pricks simply cannot compete.


  2. There are a fair few detectorists who are far more than just ‘cautious’. It might be a ‘bad clip’ but presumably no one forced them to ‘hoik’ the bone out and then try and play ‘guess which body part this is’ with it. And presumably no one kicked Mr Gottleib in the nuts to make him cry like that so he forced out the tear voluntarily. Even if it was just that ‘one clip’ the practice that went into that ‘one clip’ should never have happened.



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