Archive for ‘Research’

March 13, 2017

Preconceived notions detract from the scholarly value of analysis

My quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property does not consider a single example of illicit excavation or other illicit handling of ancient coins. Yet the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) has reacted: “Preconceived notions and value judgments detract from any scholarly value of this article.”

Is it difficult to argue that permissive regulation enables metal detectorists and private collectors to “preserve history”, when an estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods suggests that millions of cultural objects are unscientifically extracted then not reported in Europe and North America every year?

March 13, 2017

How many people are metal-detecting and how many cultural objects are they finding?

On Friday, (open-access) Cogent Social Sciences published my estimation of how many people are metal-detecting, how many hours they’re doing it and how many cultural objects they’re finding, whether they’re supplying their own private collections or whether they’re selling into the antiquities trade, supplying the licit/illicit market. Since it’s 21,084 words, excluding the bibliography, I thought it might help to post some notes and some extracts, with the data on the number of detectorists and the number of finds.

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March 10, 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

With an urgency that is highlighted by UNESCO’s consideration of “treasure hunters” and cultural trafficking –
regulation on metal detectors and underground monitoring systems
and the imprisonment of (no-longer-police constable) David Cockle for illicit metal detecting, (open-access) Cogent Social Sciences have published my 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.

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February 28, 2017

Exploitation of refugees from Syria or exploitation of plausible deniability by antiquities traffickers in Turkey?

On the 22nd of February, police stopped and searched a ‘suspicious’ vehicle on Alparslan Türkeş Avenue in the Çukurova municipality of Adana city (as opposed to the Çukurova district of Adana province), southern Turkey, then found and seized an 18th-century Christian icon, an “embroidery” of one of the Twelve Apostles on a piece of gazelle skin (178 centimetres by 75 centimetres), which had been ‘hidden’ in the boot of the car. (I heard the news through the Museum Security Network.)

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February 27, 2017

more and less information on the murder of excavation workers and kidnapping of archaeologists in Nigeria

More and less information has emerged in relation to the murder of excavation workers Anas Ibrahim and Adamu Abdulrahim and kidnapping of professor Peter Breunig and student Johannes Behringer. According to the Associated Press (AP) report, ‘Nigerian security forces… freed’ Breunig and Behringer.

The unfortunately phrased report observed that Kaduna State Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai ‘commended the security agencies for their efforts in securing the release of the Germans’, though he did ‘not say whether anyone had been arrested for the kidnapping[s]’… or for the murders? (However, it was written by a journalist in Kaduna. Presumably, he used “kidnapping” to refer to the entirety of the event, including the murders.)

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February 26, 2017

kidnapped German archaeologists, professor Peter Breunig and student Johannes Behringer, have been freed in Nigeria

Police have relayed that the two German archaeologists who were kidnapped for ransom, professor Peter Breunig and student Johannes Behringer, have been freed. ‘No ransom was paid when they were freed’, according to the police (paraphrased by Reuters, which I learned via Paul Barford); though, equally, no details were given. Presumably, the police are still in pursuit of the murderers of the attempted rescuers, excavation workers Anas Ibrahim and Adamu Abdulrahim. Events took place around Janjala/Janjela/Jenjela village, Kadarko/Kagargo/Kagarko area (near the road between Kaduna airport and Abuja city), southern Kaduna state, north-western Nigeria.

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February 25, 2017

update and correction: unknown gunmen have killed two excavation workers, kidnapped two [now freed] archaeologists in Nigeria

Unfortunately, there has not been any more news on rescue efforts yet. However, I have found more reports with more details, so I have updated my post. Most importantly, I thought that the killed hunters had been security escorts, but other reports have shown that they were excavation workers. So, it is the case that five still-unknown gunmen (two with machetes, three with ‘heavy guns’) have killed two excavation workers, kidnapped two archaeologists in Nigeria. Most of the new information comes from interviews of Sani Aliyu and Usman Kagarko by Premium Times.

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February 25, 2017

unknown gunmen have killed two excavation workers, kidnapped two [now freed] archaeologists in Nigeria

Around 8.55am on Wednesday morning, abductors with ‘guns and machetes’ kidnapped two archaeologists in Janjala/Janjela/Jenjela village, Kadarko/Kagargo/Kagarko area (near the road between Kaduna airport and Abuja city), southern Kaduna state, north-western Nigeria. Tragically, according to the Archaeological Association of Nigeria, local hunters and excavation workers Anas Ibrahim and Adamu Abdulrahim, ‘who intervened to abort the kidnap’, were shot and killed; the identities of the killed were also given by attempted rescuer Usman Kagarko.

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February 21, 2017

key concepts in public archaeology: the archaeological profession and human rights

Human rights intertwine with archaeology around the work that is done, the material on which the work is done, the material that the work produces, the labourers who do the work and the communities amongst whom the work is done; equally, they intersect over the work that is not done, the material that is neglected, the narratives that are untold and the people who are marginalised.

I’m happy to say that I’ve contributed a chapter on the archaeological profession and human rights to key concepts in public archaeology, which is open access (OA), edited by Gabe Moshenska and published by UCL Press. (And he says that I don’t blog often enough, though he does have a proper job.)

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February 16, 2017

I’m assisting with some assessment and planning in Jordan

This is just a note to say that, happily, I’m assisting with some assessment and planning in Jordan, so I’m going to be in Amman for several months. If anyone wants to discuss trafficking (or anti-trafficking), I’ll be around.

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