View Full Version : Antiquities for sale on eBay
09-12-2004, 03:51 PM
And people wonder why archaeologists don't like metal detectorists...
In just two days, our investigators bought a silver brooch, thought to be more than 1,500 years old, and a silver bead dating from the 17th century, both of which the British Museum suspects have been illegally dug up. We were also offered a silver cufflink made to commemorate the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza in 1662.
All three pieces were sold at a fraction of their true value by sellers using eBay identity codes that concealed their names. It is thought that the items were so cheap because the sellers were digging without permission and wanted to be rid of less significant finds.
09-12-2004, 03:55 PM
That belongs in a museum!
09-15-2004, 04:30 AM
Glad you've picked up on that topic. We're closely monitoring the sale of antiquities on ebay and other sites like http://www.historyforsale.co.uk. (well mostly it's just me!)
There is a huge export trade of UK artefacts (and indeed other countries) to the USA, without the proper paperwork; i.e. an export license.
I have to stress that the metal detectorists, are only plagued by a small minority. There are thousands who are actively contributing to the Portable Antiquities Scheme database, which records items found by these hobbyists and amateur archaeologists. Rather than damn them outright, proper liaison with these people leads to the discovery of really important sites and the advancement of their knowledge.
For example the announcement of the Cumwhitton burials -
09-15-2004, 09:24 AM
Hey Danie! Nice to 'see' you again.
I just think its sad that some people don't see anything wrong in selling off our heritage. I have a lot more repect for the detectorists who keep what they find and record or remember where things came from - that way if a site is discovered nearby or an excavation takes place, they can come forward and say "here's what I found last year".
It would be nice to think that people would come forward with anything they find right away, but I doubt if most people would know who to go to.
09-15-2004, 09:31 AM
Don't always get time to look in on here.
There's a shift towards more people coming forward to record objects. We had contact with 2000 finders of archaeological objects this past financial year, and saw 49000 objects.
We can't stop people selling archaeological artefacts in Britain, but there are laws in place to stop them leaving the country.
There's also the Treasure Act, that can reward finders of items deemed as treasure. For example the finder of the Ringlemere Gold Cup was awarded £270,000 to share equally with the landowner.
The scheme I work for is an innovation, no other country in the world has a similar idea. It may just be starting to work.....
10-08-2004, 02:53 PM
Not all archaeologists’ think Metal Detectors are a bad thing; they just have to be used in the right circumstances. Being an Anthropology & History major (Emphasis on archaeology of Course) I worked on a site in Wisconsin over the summer, and we used a metal detector frequently to find and mark metallic objects we would excavate later on, so the use of metal detectors in archaeology is not all bad, BUT the sale of artifacts is, as “Indy” and “Chattar Lal” both said That belongs in a museum!
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