Saturday, September 28, 2013

Arguing Round in Circles

ACCG - Arguing Round in Circles Group
by Paul Barford

The ACCG might as well be renaned the ARCG (Arguing Round in Circles Group). Now their current mouthpiece in his daily onslaught suggests that I am "Missing the Point" (Ancient coins blog Friday, September 27, 2013) when I stress that since (a) the ACCG has now joined ranks with metal detectorists to fight for "collectors rights", and (b) PAS responsible collecting is about preserving archaeological context, it follows that responsible collecting as a whole should logically be defined as doing the same. The ACCG are having none of that.

Collectors acquire these things for their intrinsic value, not because they have an interest in the archaeological context in which they are found.
To a collector or dealer, provenance is NOT the recording of a findspot. It is instead the collecting history of a coin or other antiquity.
Yes, we can see every dealer's website, every online showcased collection full of that [irony script /off]. And the process of taking it out of the ground, where when and how and under what legal situation, is someow NOT part of that collecting history? It is surely the fundamental first part of the collecting history which determines the licitness of all subsquent transfers of ownership. Meanwhile one has to congratulate Mr Welsh on his astuteness and grasp of the subject in hand. He gets it in one when he suddenly (it seems) discovers:
 Meanwhile Mr. Barford clearly is only able to think about artifacts being illicitly excavated today and later being sold to collectors.

Yes indeedy, that is, in a nutshell, what the whole blog here is about. And one of the problems here is the way that dealers and collectors pretend the problem does not exist, because "coins have been collected since the days of Petrarch don't ya know"? ("consider the immense numbers of unprovenanced coins and other artifacts that were excavated long [ago]") and when the collectors and dealers alike have busily been throwing away of carelessly losing all the documentation of previous ownership, then who is to say what is what? I have addressed this question so many times I really cannot be bothered to repeat myself. ACCG's Welsh is wasting everybody's time and trying to deflect us from getting to the core of the matter by arguing around in circles. It is not me that is "missing the point".


It is Mr. Barford and his rabid PACHI blog that have over the years, brought all attempts by myself and other pro-collecting advocates desiring a rational discussion leading to constructive solutions, to "arguing around in circles."

 It is Mr. Barford who has been driven out of every Usenet list and discussion group on the subject of collecting antiquities (including ancient coins), by impromptu coalitions of list members who desired to "get their list" back and to be able to discuss something other than Mr. Barford's anticollecting, antidetecting agenda.

It is Mr. Barford whose unrelenting, obsessive campaign against UK metal detectorists during his brief appointment as an archaeological field work investigator during the 1980s prevented reappointment, and brought about "Barford's Hegira" -- his pilgrimage to Warsaw in then-Communist Poland, where the political climate was more to his liking.


A perceptive British observer who knew Barford in those days recently remarked:

"Critically one has to consider Barford's 1986 flight to the Iron Curtain where the Comrades bankrolled his turgid tome, and gave him a job.

All at a time when the Poles themselves were striving to throw off the terrible yoke of Communism.

It also demonstrates his loyalty to the Free West who taught him how to write his name.

More importantly, in my opinion, his 1986 migration seriously undermines anything he says or writes, for one must always bear in mind that here is the man who forsook the Free West to advance his position.

Perhaps we should all simply leave him to wallow in 'what might have been'?

He cannot change, or alter anything. So let's leave him in post as the Ambassador of Archaeological Absurdity at the Court of Common Sense."


It is Mr. Barford who then found himself politically undermined by the ungrateful Polish people, who soon overthrew their Communist government, ending his brief appointment as Inspector of Monuments under the former Communist regime. He then confronted poverty, and evidently had to scramble hard to make a living for several years, judging from numerous unverified (possibly inaccurate) reports about his activities in that difficult period -- ranging from driving a taxi to washing cars.

There's certainly nothing disgraceful about any of that, and it's admirable in a way that he managed to sustain himself and eventually develop his own private business, translating documents and advising those who need expert professional help with Slavic languages. Mr. Barford is not a lightweight, and he evidently can be a tough, determined fellow when a struggle for survival is necessary.

But none of this was (nor is) archaeology, which Mr. Barford has not professionally practiced since 1986.

It is Barford who now dwells in obscurity in Warschau-Wolkenkukkuksheim where as Vicar of Irrational Archaocentrism, he presides over the Holy Church of Archaelogical Fanaticism -- from time to time issuing lengthy and convoluted encyclicals to guide the faithful, illuminating and defining key tenets of the Gospel and the Revelation of St. Paul. 

There are not very many faithful at the moment -- Nigel Swift, some members of SAFE and perhaps a few other notorious archeoextremists such as Michael Mueller-Karpe. But then, Christianity began with only twelve Disciples.



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