24 November 2013

Metal Detecting Post #107 - The Over-Educated & Grave Robbers Working Together

UPDATE: Within hours after posting this, I received an email from Matt Reeves with a link to the latest news on this topic. Very interesting! Read here
(End of update.)

On two recent occasions, I've had the opportunity to participate in artifact recoveries at James Madison's Montpelier. Unfortunately for me, circumstances would not allow me to do so. Maybe next year. These are supervised relic hunts where metal detectorists work alongside archeologists to locate, recover and preserve artifacts which otherwise might not ever be recovered. I came across this news article about recent recovery efforts. Here's a few excerpts from the article:
“There’s always been kind of a disparity. They think we’re grave robbers, we think they’re overeducated,” said 52-year-old Ron Guinazzo, a firefighter from Chicago who has been metal-detecting for 30 years. “But to learn we have the same love of history and to find a common ground where we can work to try and retrieve the artifacts from the ground and put them where they belong, that’s the big thing.”
Here's the money quote:
The use of metal detectors has assisted in uncovering several historic sites at the plantation, including elusive slave quarters, Civil War camps, a blacksmith’s workshop and old tobacco barns, often found faster than traditional archaeological methods. For example, identifying the area used to cure tobacco would’ve normally taken three years. It took three months using metal detectors.
Now I don't want to disparage anyone here, but I find it intriguing that the "over-educated" take more than 3 times as long to accomplish one of their primary tasks than do the "under-educated." There's a lesson there to educate us all. Working together is just part of that lesson.

Dr. Matt Reeves, who runs the program at Montpelier, is using his expertise and training, along with common sense, to preserve our nation's history and he's doing a fantastic job. 

Full story here.

I may have posted this video before, but if the subject matter interests you, it's worth watching. It's a great example how professionals involved in preserving our nation's history can work together with "amateurs" toward that same goal.

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