Friday, September 13, 2013

Anti-Americanism and the Archaeological Blogosphere
by Peter Tompa

It's become increasingly apparent that the anti-collector rhetoric of the archaeological blogosphere goes hand in hand with anti-Americanism.  Archaeo-blogger Paul Barford may have deleted the latest evidence from his blog called "A Word from President Putin to American Collectors", but the point stands.

And it's not just Mr. Barford.  Another archaeo-blogger, Professor David Gill of University Campus Suffolk, is no less anti-American.  It's just that he's far more subtle about it-- while Gill even fixates on pottery shards being repatriated from American museums, he's been largely silent about the provenance of artifacts in other museums, particularly ones in places like Greece, Italy and Turkey.

Is "American Exceptionalism" really the driving force behind damage to world cultural heritage or has "Archaeological Anti-Americanism" diverted attention away from real solutions to the problem?


The archaeological blogosphere -- that Wolkenkukkuksheim in cyberspace -- reeks of verbo-flatus from archaeoblogger Paul Barford.

Earlier in his career, his talents were manifested in "The Early Slavs," an outstanding account of the origins and development of eastern European Slavic peoples. More recently he publishes in a far less desirable way, e.g. nearly everything said in his blog.

Mr. Barford's disagreeable, disruptive personality perfectly matches the UK detectorist community's characterization of him as an "amazing talking arsehole." This abrasive archaeo-fanatic is cordially disliked by nearly everyone who has ever had the misfortune to encounter him, personally or online in one of his cyberpersonae.

Barford revels in being as offensive to his betters (nearly everyone else in the world) as possible. His combative countenance positively cries out for a shattering collision with one's fists.

This observer has had more experience than anyone else in dealing with "That troll Barford" from his days as a member of Unidroit-L, an online discussion list focusing on cultural property law. Barford was "seen off" after less than a year as a member -- by a coalition of members outraged by his anti-collecting posts. The same fate awaited him on the Moneta-L and AncientArtifacts discussion lists, where the listmembers and listowners refused to tolerate his disruptive presence.

Mr. Barford is (as Tompa observes) rabidly anti-American as well as anti-collecting. Barford opposes many beneficial, honorable recreational activities Americans treasure as part of their personal freedom. His choice of residence explains his visceral opposition to personal freedom.

Poland (formerly a Stalinist communist state) was partitioned before the First World War between Russia, Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After WWI Poland was governed by a regime centered around the Obóz Zjednoczenia Narodowego political movement, little better in its brutal ways than the Nazis.

Poland was overwhelmed by a Nazi blitzkrieg in September 1939, when the brief defensive campaign was strategically unsound and became a dreadful fiasco, culminating in an attack on German Panzers by the Polish Lancers. 

In this Slavic Fascist tradition, it is fitting that Mr. Barford, who failed to matriculate from the Institute of Archaeology in London, practiced archaeolgical fieldwork for a few years and then moved to Poland, now resides in Warsaw, where he occasionally translates documents.



Blogger John H said...

I am certain we are all familiar with Paul Barford's bizarre take on coin collecting and much else besides.

His 1986 migration from the Free West to the Communist Bloc, explains a great deal about his apparent anti-American views along with his opposition to coin collecting, and collecting generally.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Dave Welsh said...

Barford appears to have extremist authoritarian views regarding individual liberty and the right to personal freedom.

If that perception is correct, he is the enemy of everyone who cares about personal liberty and the right to pursue happiness in one's own way.

Perhaps this explains why Mr. Barford appears to be cordially disliked by nearly everyone who has encountered him.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Dick Stout said...

I found his latest post rather funny...

He and his friend from Heritage Action even irritate the local town folk. What a pair of losers.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The defence forces have always held a special appeal for everyone and one of the ways in which people adulate the forces is by collecting military challenge coins.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Hidden History said...

Hi Dave far from being a yob, I am a little more educated than that. I run my fake Barford blog as a minor irritation, to get under Paul's skin. It clearly irritates him, so I keep it running. It has also forced him to make several errors over the years, as he has tried to hit back, which almost saw his blog closed.

I found it was impossible to have a proper debate with him, as he just edits away anything constructive we have to say, then writes a sensational story around what is left. You cannot win against someone like that.

Many people have said just ignore him and he'll fade away, which I personally don't think will ever happen as Barford is indeed a strange beast, and must spend 24 hours a day searching for something to write about.

The only reason I haven't hit him on copyright infringement on my images was my external hard drive failed where all the evidence was saved, and is now lost.

Trying to make him look a prat is the least I can do, until I can think of another way to down his blog.

Regards Steve Taylor

3:18 AM  

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