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Author Topic: Melting down artifacts in Sweden?  (Read 1879 times)
freakazoid
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« on: August 28, 2017, 04:10:23 AM »

http://neveryetmelted.com/2017/08/24/in-sweden-officials-are-simply-recycling-bronze-and-iron-age-artifacts/

Apparently in Sweden it is common to not save and preserve every artifact in order to save costs and instead simply melt them down.
Have you heard anything about this Viking?
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"so I ended up getting the above because I didn't want to make a whole production of sticking something between my knees and cranking. To me, the cranking on mine is pretty effortless, at least on the coarse setting. Maybe if someone has arthritis or something, it would be more difficult for them." - Ben

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HankB
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2017, 04:36:58 AM »

From the article:

Quote
Archaeologists do not give away or sell finds because they do not want to create a market for antiquities and encourage robbers with metal detectors, says Runer. Thus: the bin.

So better they DESTROY the artifacts rather than risk having them enter the market and end up in the hands of people other than professional archaeologists.

Barbarians.  angry
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 08:10:32 AM »

"So better they DESTROY the artifacts rather than risk having them enter the market and end up in the hands of people other than professional archaeologists."

No, I understand the concern.

If you monetize the artifacts and create a market for them, you get people whose only concern is to find as much stuff as possible, as quickly as possible, to get as much money as possible, and it becomes a competition of archaeologist vs profit hunter. The potential for having irreplaceable historic context and knowledge destroyed by people who don't give a crap about that becomes immense.

This kind of black market profit driven "archaeology" is a huge problem in the American Southwest, Central America, and Egypt.
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MillCreek
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 08:46:51 AM »

^^^I have heard of the same thing happening with fossils and meteorites.
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2017, 09:26:55 AM »

^^^I have heard of the same thing happening with fossils and meteorites.

Yes, the best example is Sue the T-Rex from some years ago.

But, in those cases, the potential for loss of knowledge associated with the item isn't nearly as great as it is with man-made objects.

A good example happened a few years ago in an excavation in Virginia in my neck of the woods.

The find was a storage cellar associated with a small plantation. It had been abandoned, and there was a lot of local, slave-made pottery called Colono-ware in it, including some extremely rare large pieces. It helped establish that the plantation had a resident slave population, which hadn't been known before. Some of the pottery still had food in it, which gave some insight into what the slaves had been growing for their own use. And finally, the clay used to make the pottery was traced to deposits on the plantation itself.

Had a for-profit excavator found that cellar, it's likely that all of that information would have been lost in the rush to bring those items to the collector market.
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BTR
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2017, 11:46:45 AM »

It is my understanding that archaeologists throwing away artifacts after studying them is nothing new, unfortunately.
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Mike Irwin
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Re:
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2017, 01:27:30 PM »

The simple truth is not all old things are valuable.

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Hawkmoon
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Re:
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2017, 01:44:19 PM »

The simple truth is not all old things are valuable.

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NOW you tell me.




[Slinks off to empty garage]
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freakazoid
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2017, 03:34:16 PM »

"So better they DESTROY the artifacts rather than risk having them enter the market and end up in the hands of people other than professional archaeologists."

No, I understand the concern.

If you monetize the artifacts and create a market for them, you get people whose only concern is to find as much stuff as possible, as quickly as possible, to get as much money as possible, and it becomes a competition of archaeologist vs profit hunter. The potential for having irreplaceable historic context and knowledge destroyed by people who don't give a crap about that becomes immense.

This kind of black market profit driven "archaeology" is a huge problem in the American Southwest, Central America, and Egypt.

Except now it sounds like the profit hunter would be the only one actually saving them.
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"so I ended up getting the above because I didn't want to make a whole production of sticking something between my knees and cranking. To me, the cranking on mine is pretty effortless, at least on the coarse setting. Maybe if someone has arthritis or something, it would be more difficult for them." - Ben

"I see a rager at least once a week." - brimic
mtnbkr
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Re:
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2017, 04:05:16 PM »

The simple truth is not all old things are valuable.

Been trying to get that point across to you for years.  Grumpy Old Man

Chris
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2017, 03:37:00 AM »

Except now it sounds like the profit hunter would be the only one actually saving them.

"Saving" them at the expense of creating a market that encourages wanton looting and outright destruction of archaeological sites.

That's not a winning scenario.

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Mike Irwin
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Re:
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2017, 03:37:57 AM »

Been trying to get that point across to you for years.  Grumpy Old Man

Chris

I'm going to have a VERY long talk with Abby and Emmy about the things they need to look for when they choose your nursing home.
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makattak
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2017, 07:46:36 AM »

"Saving" them at the expense of creating a market that encourages wanton looting and outright destruction of archaeological sites.

That's not a winning scenario.

That market already exists. I'm somewhat confused as to how destroying artifacts prevents people from paying illegal treasure hunters.

IF legitimate archaeologists/institutions/museums sold their "useless"* artifacts, how does that encourage illicit trade that already exists? I would think it would lessen the demand for illicit artifacts.

A good example happened a few years ago in an excavation in Virginia in my neck of the woods.

The find was a storage cellar associated with a small plantation. It had been abandoned, and there was a lot of local, slave-made pottery called Colono-ware in it, including some extremely rare large pieces. It helped establish that the plantation had a resident slave population, which hadn't been known before. Some of the pottery still had food in it, which gave some insight into what the slaves had been growing for their own use. And finally, the clay used to make the pottery was traced to deposits on the plantation itself.

Had a for-profit excavator found that cellar, it's likely that all of that information would have been lost in the rush to bring those items to the collector market.

Also, how does a "for profit" excavator destroy all the value? The whole POINT of these artifacts is their historical significance. Someone is going to pay big $$ for a clay pot some guy claims he found in the ground in Virginia? Really?


*because that's what they've claimed by destroying them
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BTR
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2017, 08:06:47 AM »

Destroying artifacts drives up the value of the remaining ones, making it more profitable to loot new sites...
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2017, 08:08:41 AM »

Yes, the market exists. But it's an illegal market, and the penalties can be, depending on where you are, quite severe.

Adopting that stance, though, is not unlike saying well, murder already exists, why not make it legal and make some money off it?

"IF legitimate archaeologists/institutions/museums sold their "useless"* artifacts, how does that encourage illicit trade that already exists? I would think it would lessen the demand for illicit artifacts."

It undercuts the laws that exists to prevent such illegal trade.


"Also, how does a "for profit" excavator destroy all the value? The whole POINT of these artifacts is their historical significance."

Read what I wrote again. The value of these artifacts is FAR greater than just their monetary value, as I pointed out. For profit excavators, interested in ONLY the monetary value of an object, destroy their contextual value.


"Someone is going to pay big $$ for a clay pot some guy claims he found in the ground in Virginia? Really?"

I don't know what the market value is for Colono-ware pottery in Virginia, but I do know that the illegal market value for pre-Columbian Navajo, Hopi, and Anasazi pottery can be... and it can be staggeringly high.
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makattak
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« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2017, 08:11:08 AM »

Yes, the market exists. But it's an illegal market, and the penalties can be, depending on where you are, quite severe.

Adopting that stance, though, is not unlike saying well, murder already exists, why not make it legal and make some money off it?

"IF legitimate archaeologists/institutions/museums sold their "useless"* artifacts, how does that encourage illicit trade that already exists? I would think it would lessen the demand for illicit artifacts."

It undercuts the laws that exists to prevent such illegal trade.


"Also, how does a "for profit" excavator destroy all the value? The whole POINT of these artifacts is their historical significance."

Read what I wrote again. The value of these artifacts is FAR greater than just their monetary value, as I pointed out. For profit excavators, interested in ONLY the monetary value of an object, destroy their contextual value.


"Someone is going to pay big $$ for a clay pot some guy claims he found in the ground in Virginia? Really?"

I don't know what the market value is for Colono-ware pottery in Virginia, but I do know that the illegal market value for pre-Columbian Navajo, Hopi, and Anasazi pottery can be... and it can be staggeringly high.

You're not answering the objection, though.

If legitimate sources of the artifacts were available, how does that benefit the illicit sources?

Is legitimate hunting in Africa a boon to the poachers?
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2017, 08:17:20 AM »

"Destroying artifacts drives up the value of the remaining ones, making it more profitable to loot new sites..."

Actually, no, not necessarily.

Excavations in Colonial Williamsburg over the years have recovered something like 30,000 hand forged nails.

Similar numbers have been recovered from other large sites around the nation.

Excavations of Civil War sites have recovered hundreds of thousands of spent .58 caliber Minie balls.

In both cases, they're old, they're "historic," and they are so common that they are essentially of minimal value (despite what the trinket shops in Gettysburg try to charge).


In both cases, however, the value of those objects, the nails and the bullets, isn't necessarily registered in dollars and cents, but in what it can tell us about what was happening at that site when those objects were in use. Just as with the Colono-ware found in Virginia. As I noted, had those items been found by for profit artifact hunters, the information about what was stored in some of those vessels would have been lost, the fact that they gave definitive proof of slave habitation of that plantation (really an outlying farm to a larger plantation) would have been lost, and the origin of the material used to make them would have been lost.
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2017, 08:24:51 AM »

"If legitimate sources of the artifacts were available, how does that benefit the illicit sources?"

You really think that opening up a "legitimate" source of artifacts would completely quash illegal harvesting and trade?

How does that work out with cigarettes and alcohol in the United States? Perfect legal, available from legitimate sources, and still a very potent vector for illegal activity. Obviously the illegal sources should not benefit, but they do.

Additionally, we're talking about destruction of what are basically trinket artifacts. Commonly found items. Those are the items that are being destroyed, not the rare incised ewer or the seed pot.


"Is legitimate hunting in Africa a boon to the poachers?"

If legitimate hunting were supplying the speciality items that pochers were looking for -- rhino horn, leopard pelts, ivory -- maybe. But legitimate hunting isn't.

The trade in illegal, poached ivory is in some ways analogous to the trade in rare pottery.
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Re:
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2017, 08:42:56 AM »

I'm going to have a VERY long talk with Abby and Emmy about the things they need to look for when they choose your nursing home.

Is that the nursing home that has a long walk off of a short pier?
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Mike Irwin
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Re:
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2017, 08:44:24 AM »

Is that the nursing home that has a long walk off of a short pier?

No, not at all.

They want to look into the one staffed entirely by people with elder abuse convictions.

Quite reasonable rates.
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freakazoid
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Re:
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2017, 03:21:23 PM »

No, not at all.

They want to look into the one staffed entirely by people with elder abuse convictions.

Quite reasonable rates.

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"so I ended up getting the above because I didn't want to make a whole production of sticking something between my knees and cranking. To me, the cranking on mine is pretty effortless, at least on the coarse setting. Maybe if someone has arthritis or something, it would be more difficult for them." - Ben

"I see a rager at least once a week." - brimic
Warren
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« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2017, 06:27:50 PM »

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« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2017, 11:33:21 PM »

How does that work out with cigarettes and alcohol in the United States? Perfect legal, available from legitimate sources, and still a very potent vector for illegal activity.

How much alcohol bootlegging is going on now, compared with 1930?

I guarantee you that if I set out to get some of each, weed would be far easier to get than a shot of true home-distilled illicit moonshine.

But even more to the point, how do they know they've fully studied the artifacts?  How much information have we gained by reexamining long-since-found-looked-at-and-filed-away artifacts with advanced imaging, x-rays, carbon dating, etc.?  Imagine if Ramesses II had been simply sent off for cremation after an 1880s-technology exam, how much less we would know.
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2017, 03:26:40 AM »

"But even more to the point, how do they know they've fully studied the artifacts?  How much information have we gained by reexamining long-since-found-looked-at-and-filed-away artifacts with advanced imaging, x-rays, carbon dating, etc.?  Imagine if Ramesses II had been simply sent off for cremation after an 1880s-technology exam, how much less we would know."

Let's see... 30+ thousand of these... with hundreds, if not thousands, more found on virtually every American archaeological site.




vs...





Which should be kept?

You figure it out.
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2017, 03:29:38 AM »

"How much alcohol bootlegging is going on now, compared with 1930?"

Non sequitor.

In 1930 virtually ALL alcohol -- production, sale, and in many cases, possession -- was strictly illegal. That created a completely different kind of market.

There are no such laws against trade in legally obtained artifacts, and don't kid yourself, there are MANY legally obtained artifacts, but also illegally obtained artifacts.
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