So here we go again, the archaeo-bloggers are having a field day yet again with regards to what they are calling destruction of the archaeological record. I personally call it, sounding like a broken record.
How many times have we heard that context is everything and that unless it is properly studied by trained archaeologists it will be lost and we will never know how/why/when the item was buried/dropped/lost. It seems to be the main argument that archaeologists or should i say the anti-detecting portion of archaeologists use to try and call for restrictions and or regulation of our hobby.
So what is context? what knowledge can be gained by slowly and carefully digging around a urn full of roman coins for example. How can we find out why, when and by who these coins were lost for us to dig up hundreds of years later. What is it that archaeologists are looking for when they spends days digging a hoard out of the ground.
It has always been my thinking that when a hoard of coins was buried it was due to a reason such as the person with the hoard was under some kind of threat or danger and wanted to hide their wealth to stop it being taken. Now, surely anyone who is hiding their life savings would be doing so as quick as possible to reduce the risk of anybody seeing them. I cannot imagine they would have taken time to drop things in the hole to add as evidence for the archaeologists to dig up hundreds of years of later so that we can complete the archaeological record. So what else could context be? is it the soil type or what its made up of. If this is the case why not dig a pit two foot away from where the metal detectorists dug the urn full of coins and go to the same depth surely this will be the same untouched soil and the same information will be there.
I am not a trained archaeologist, in fact i know sod all about archaeology. I am a metal detectorist and as such have never been taught about context, so above are the conclusions i have come to by myself. I will quite happily concede that my own thoughts are rubbish if someone wants to comment on this blog post and correct me, someone who is trained and studies so called "context" on a daily basis. Because as far as I am concerned context is just an argument point that some use to try to drag metal detecting down.
I eagerly wait to be corrected.