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Old 11-12-2019, 10:53 AM
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14 years ago, a 9-year-old found a 700-year-old coin...


...and didn't tell anyone. Until recently.
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Kate Harding probably thought it was nothing more than an old, quirky-looking coin when she found it in her backyard. Kate and her mother had been gardening when she discovered the coin in the dirt. She picked up the coin and put it away, not thinking too much about it.

Kate’s mother passed away and she was forced to think about other, more pressing matters. Life went on and she didn’t think much about the coin for a while. Kate grew up, and 14 years later, she had gained a renewed interest in the coin. She started to look into the history of the coin.

:snip:

Kate was told by experts that the “coin” she had in her possession was something else entirely. Furthermore, they told her that it was an incredibly rare find and worth a lot of money. They had only found four of them in the entirety of the United Kingdom.

:snip:

The history experts she talked to told her that it wasn’t a coin in the same sense as it is known today. It was actually a piedfort, which is a type of coin that wasn’t necessarily used as a common currency. Officials and higher-ranking officers used these for several different things.

:snip:

The piedfort turned out to be French and was tied to Charles IV of France. The object was thought to have marked Charles IV’s rise to the throne way back in 1322.
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:04 AM
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Today I learned: Coroner has a vastly different meaning when discussing finding an old coin.
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:07 AM
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Ditto. I was wondering how different coroners in the UK are than in the US.
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She would soon find out that she should have sold the coin right away. What happened next could have been avoided if Kate had simply gone to the coroner and eventually gotten the coin sold off. But she didn’t mind; Kate simply thought she’d go about her life just the same.
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:16 AM
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Jesus Christ, that article reads like it was written by a 9 year old.
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:37 AM
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Jesus Christ, that article reads like it was written by a 9 year old.
It was awful!
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:38 AM
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Jesus Christ, that article reads like it was written by a 9 year old.
No shit. Is it really necessary to break up a 2-minute read into a dozen "chapters?"
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:53 AM
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No shit. Is it really necessary to break up a 2-minute read into a dozen "chapters?"
It's probably the long form of some clickbait. Yes, there is a clickbait version where one has to repeatedly click "next" to get the whole story.
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:40 PM
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Not to mention that the article writer has flat out decided that she's entitled to keep the coin, without providing any discussion of its potential historical/archaeological value. Maybe it doesn't have much and the museum would just have tossed it in a drawer and forgotten it, but the article makes it clear that the museum really wanted it and doesn't bother to address the issue at all.
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:44 PM
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No shit. Is it really necessary to break up a 2-minute read into a dozen "chapters?"
You don't read much James Patterson, do you?
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:59 PM
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fascinating story, I googled it, she was sued but ultimately won the day and the treasure.
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Old 11-12-2019, 06:05 PM
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Not to mention that the article writer has flat out decided that she's entitled to keep the coin, without providing any discussion of its potential historical/archaeological value. Maybe it doesn't have much and the museum would just have tossed it in a drawer and forgotten it, but the article makes it clear that the museum really wanted it and doesn't bother to address the issue at all.
With the technology available today, I don't understand why the museum couldn't work out an agreement with her to work up a full 3d model of the coin, as well as do a study of the composition of the coin. What archaeological value is gained from having it exclusively in their possession?
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Old 11-12-2019, 06:20 PM
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I'm not getting it. Is a specific law in the UK that old shit has to be turned in? Why? A country that old must be full of old shit going back thousands of years.

I'm on the side she should be able to keep it. Why is that wrong? it's not some old king's bones or anything.
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Old 11-12-2019, 06:31 PM
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The old shit doesn't have to be turned in, but the finder must report it, and if the old shit is deemed to be INTERESTING old shit, the finder must give a museum a chance to buy it at a fair price, set by an independent board.

This is the specific law:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_Act_1996

Last edited by markn+; 11-12-2019 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 11-12-2019, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
I'm not getting it. Is a specific law in the UK that old shit has to be turned in? Why? A country that old must be full of old shit going back thousands of years.

I'm on the side she should be able to keep it. Why is that wrong? it's not some old king's bones or anything.
Yup.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_Act_1996

Although that looks like it would need two coins to apply, at first read.

[Too late}

Last edited by Yllaria; 11-12-2019 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 11-12-2019, 06:33 PM
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I'm not getting it. Is a specific law in the UK that old shit has to be turned in?
Yes.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
Jesus Christ, that article reads like it was written by a 9 year old.
I think it's just written to keep us scrolling until we've loaded our browser with as many ads as there are stars in the Crab Nebula.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:25 PM
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A more readable article was posted by the BBC in 2010. Their initial story is here.

Not sure why it's in the news this year. The timeline is basically:

She took it to a museum for authentication January 2009, and was told to take it to the Coroner within 14 days. She did not do that.

In February 2010 she was convicted under the 1996 Treasure Act, fined 25 pounds and told to turn in the coin.

In July 2010 she appealed and convinced the court that the find had been made before 1996, so that the law did not apply. But she handed the coin in to the Coroner after that.

In June 2011 she was told that it had to go to a museum.

Did they finally let go of that this year?
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:30 PM
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Everything I know about this I learned from the series "The Detectorists". If y'all haven't seen it, it's a gentle, funny series about the oddities of some folks who look for buried treasure for a hobby.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by F. U. Shakespeare View Post
I think it's just written to keep us scrolling until we've loaded our browser with as many ads as there are stars in the Crab Nebula.
So, one?
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:02 PM
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OK, the size of the crab nebula.
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:11 PM
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Everything I know about this I learned from the series "The Detectorists". If y'all haven't seen it, it's a gentle, funny series about the oddities of some folks who look for buried treasure for a hobby.
My knowledge of the regulations continued with The Detectorists but began with The Mildenhall Treasure by Roald Dahl. (Here is a PDF of the full article.)
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:15 PM
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So, one?
The Crab Nebula is 11 light-years across, so gotta be a handful of stars in there.
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:04 PM
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With the technology available today, I don't understand why the museum couldn't work out an agreement with her to work up a full 3d model of the coin, as well as do a study of the composition of the coin. What archaeological value is gained from having it exclusively in their possession?
Quite possibly they could do that. Again, what I was grumbling about was that the story originally posted didn't discuss the issue at all. If they'd discussed it, working out a loan to the museum might well have been something to discuss; but they ignored the whole issue entirely.

(Presuming the BBC article is accurate, the article originally posted also lied about what happened; the OP article says she claimed to have lost the coin and eventually the museum and the state just quit bothering her about it, but the BBC says she turned the coin over to the coroner and then won it back in court.)
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:27 AM
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I think it's just written to keep us scrolling until we've loaded our browser with as many ads as there are stars in the Crab Nebula.
Not just that though - the limited vocabulary, the incredibly simple sentence structure, constantly repeating the same information, etc, it's literally like it was written by someone in middle school trying to pad out their 500 word essay assignment.

"The older she got, the more information she could get ahold of and process."

"Things were about to get heated as she found herself in some hot water."

"Kate was living her life, minding her own business, when she received a knock at her door."

Though the stock images of things like a pile of envelopes under the mail slot were pretty funny.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:53 AM
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I'm not getting it. Is a specific law in the UK that old shit has to be turned in? Why? A country that old must be full of old shit going back thousands of years.

I'm on the side she should be able to keep it. Why is that wrong? it's not some old king's bones or anything.
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Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
The old shit doesn't have to be turned in, but the finder must report it, and if the old shit is deemed to be INTERESTING old shit, the finder must give a museum a chance to buy it at a fair price, set by an independent board.

This is the specific law:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_Act_1996
It's designed to try to preserve the discovery of potentially important archaeology (and not just the artifacts themselves) - if you find a single coin, it could be just a dropped coin - if you find a cluster of coins, it's likely someone put them in that place on purpose - and that starts to imply that the site itself might have some other things about it to be discovered.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:01 AM
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Not just that though - the limited vocabulary, the incredibly simple sentence structure, constantly repeating the same information, etc, it's literally like it was written by someone in middle school trying to pad out their 500 word essay assignment.
Clickbait is not trying to aim particularly high, doing so would be cross-purposes.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:09 AM
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Though the stock images of things like a pile of envelopes under the mail slot were pretty funny.
That's what she gets for going to the Hogwarts Museum of Numismology.
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Old 11-14-2019, 06:45 AM
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I'm not getting it. Is a specific law in the UK that old shit has to be turned in? Why? A country that old must be full of old shit going back thousands of years.

I'm on the side she should be able to keep it. Why is that wrong? it's not some old king's bones or anything.
Look, I realise America is all about 'me me me, finders keepers, go away or I'll shoot', but the UK regards archaeology as part of the national heritage, and we'd rather it ended up cared for and researched in a museum for future generations than lost in the crack between the floorboards underneath some 12 year old's bed.

If what you find isn't of much historic interest, then you can keep it. If not, then you're entitled to the market value (shared with the landowner where you found the item). So it's not as if you're getting stiffed by the Government.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:28 AM
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Look, I realise America is all about 'me me me, finders keepers, go away or I'll shoot'
A lot of Americans aren't even aware there's a second verse to "The Star-Spangled Banner" let alone know the words. Impressive deep dive from across the pond here, SanVito!
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:58 AM
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^^^This is why we need a "Like" button.


Not really.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:27 AM
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It's designed to try to preserve the discovery of potentially important archaeology (and not just the artifacts themselves) - if you find a single coin, it could be just a dropped coin - if you find a cluster of coins, it's likely someone put them in that place on purpose - and that starts to imply that the site itself might have some other things about it to be discovered.
Finding even a single coin may be important, if it was previously thought that no such coin would be in that location.

Most finds aren't going to be that sort of thing, of course -- but a requirement to report allows people who understand the issues to check whether a particular find is of importance or not.

In addition, even for common items, a surprising amount of information can now sometimes be gotten from the precise location in which something's found, and/or from its relationship to other finds. In this case of course the in situ situation no longer existed; but the finder presumably still remembered at least the general location and depth.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:02 AM
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Quit the dickering! How much "current currency" did she get for the old coin?


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Old 11-14-2019, 11:58 AM
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I'm not getting it. Is a specific law in the UK that old shit has to be turned in? Why? A country that old must be full of old shit going back thousands of years.
Are you from the USA? You do realise that the modern human archaeology in your country is even older than the the vast majority of the archaeology in the UK, yeah? And the ancient archaeology in the USA means a great deal to some of the people that live there now.

Last edited by The Stafford Cripps; 11-14-2019 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:21 PM
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Are you from the USA? You do realise that the modern human archaeology in your country is even older than the the vast majority of the archaeology in the UK, yeah? And the ancient archaeology in the USA means a great deal to some of the people that live there now.
Do you realize I don't live in the UK, and was not familiar with the law? That's kind of why I asked the question! You know, "fighting ignorance" and all that?

Sheesh. Did I make a judgement on the law?

My brother found actual Indian arrowheads on our property, and no cops came and arrested him, and it didn't make international news. All I asked was why the UK was different.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:33 PM
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If not, then you're entitled to the market value (shared with the landowner where you found the item)
Unfortunately the valuation that is frequently given is by assessors from preservation institutions such as museums and archives, and it often over two/thirds less than actual market value.

One reason posited is that those institutions do not want to raise the value of the item or of similar items and will often use low valuations as justification for low valuations on further discoveries, and its not as if they are ever intending to make use of the real value since they will never be put on the market anyway.

Result is that such items are found and sold in other markets and the context of the find is then lost, and the context is almost always more important to academia than the object itself.

There have been finders who have gone completely down the legal route and cooperated with the authorities only to be denied treasure trove or feel they have been ripped off in the valuation - along with the grindingly slow pace of assessment which can and does take years, and in some cases decades. Result is that low value items might be turned in, but higher value ones don't get notified - and again its not the actual item that is important, its where it was located and in relation to other archeology. Stuff shows up from time to time on the markets that could have revealed important information but if you are the finder and potentially losing out on ££££ or don't get an outcome for years then why would you bother - the chances of being caught are minimal.

The law on treasure trove is fine, its the arrogant practices of academe that causes the issues.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:37 PM
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Do you realize I don't live in the UK, and was not familiar with the law? That's kind of why I asked the question! You know, "fighting ignorance" and all that?

Sheesh. Did I make a judgement on the law?

My brother found actual Indian arrowheads on our property, and no cops came and arrested him, and it didn't make international news. All I asked was why the UK was different.
You kind of did make a judgement on the law with the questions I quoted.

One of the answers to the question 'why' is that there is still so much we don't know about life in Britain in the past, why things changed and when etc., especially before the Romans came, or for example during the early medieval period. Any archaeological find has the potential to provide a breakthrough in understanding.

I think Indian arrowheads are probably common and relatively uncontroversial (though I'd be interested to find out if there is any debate about that). But if you were to dig up decorative Indian artefacts that were as old as the coin in question here (ie pre-conquest), what you did with them would definitely raise moral questions, if not legal ones.

Last edited by The Stafford Cripps; 11-14-2019 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:36 PM
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A country that old must be full of old shit going back thousands of years. [ . . . ] it's not some old king's bones or anything.
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Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
My brother found actual Indian arrowheads on our property, and no cops came and arrested him, and it didn't make international news.
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One of the answers to the question 'why' is that there is still so much we don't know about life in Britain in the past, why things changed and when etc., especially before the Romans came, or for example during the early medieval period. Any archaeological find has the potential to provide a breakthrough in understanding.

I think Indian arrowheads are probably common and relatively uncontroversial (though I'd be interested to find out if there is any debate about that). But if you were to dig up decorative Indian artefacts that were as old as the coin in question here (ie pre-conquest), what you did with them would definitely raise moral questions, if not legal ones.
It's illegal in the USA to disturb artifacts on State or Federal land. It's usually legal to do so on private land with the permission of the property owner, but not if human remains would be disturbed.

https://www.saa.org/about-archaeolog...ogy-law-ethics

https://www.nps.gov/Archeology/PUBLIC/publicLaw.htm

The lack of protection on private lands probably has a whole lot more to do with the attitude towards private property in the USA, and with the historic development of USA property law, than it does with whether either sites or particular artifacts are in need of protection.

Part of the issue is that the untrained person isn't likely to know which "old shit" matters and which doesn't. People who think they've found a relatively recent and common arrowhead may have picked up and removed from all site context something which is a great deal older and/or rarer. Here's an example:

https://www.statesboroherald.com/loc...han-you-think/

Quote:
Two central marks he hit Monday with the Historical Society audience are that many of the points found in Georgia are not arrowheads, and most are much older than many people think.

“A lot of people, when I ask them who do they think made the arrowheads and pottery and so forth, their top two answers are always the Creek Indians and the Cherokees, and they couldn’t be more wrong,” Sumner said.

The Creek tribes and Cherokee are native peoples of the historic period, he noted, meaning the time of remembered and recorded history, overlapping the arrival of Europeans.

“But the people responsible for artifacts like this are early prehistoric Georgians, by somewhere over 10,000 years,” he said, indicating some of the older items.
The particular finds being discussed there aren't all that rare either -- but given that (not surprisingly) most people can't tell a 10,000+ year old spear point from a 300 year old arrow head, most people can't tell an important artifact from an unimportant one, either.

And a lot of the rest of the issue is that a great deal of information can be discovered from things most people don't think of as mattering at all; in particular if these things can be found in their original relation to each other. Here's an article discussing some of the issues:

https://www.oldpueblo.org/artifact-collecting/

and here's one about the importance of a particular more recent site,

https://www.sfchronicle.com/environm...n-14423617.php

including that part of the analysis involved

Quote:
analysis of seeds, charred plant remains, obsidian projectile points, grinding stones, nails, shells, fish, pig bones

Now if you're picking up points out of a tilled farm field: yes, a whole lot of that context has been destroyed already. And it's possible that those points are all common, that their prevalence in the area is already well known, and that they've got no connection with a ceremonial or grave site that still matters to anybody. But the point I'm trying to make here is that most people picking up what they think is a pretty arrowhead have no idea whether any of that is true, because they don't know enough about the subject to tell. And it seems to me that that's what the UK law is trying to accomplish: making sure that somebody who does know enough about the subject gets to take a look.

In the USA, at least, there's also the issue that often descendents of the original owners are still around. They're likely to have varying opinions on the subject (at least, if we're just talking about stone points; I think there's a pretty good consensus about grave sites and human remains.)
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:16 PM
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Look, I realise America is all about 'me me me, finders keepers, go away or I'll shoot', ....
Of course, we learned it from the Great Masters of "Finders Keepers" and the originators of "Go Away Or I'll Shoot." Those, of course, would be the folks that brought you the British Empire.

"Look, some land! We'll declare it ours! Ignore those pesky people who say it's theirs. Shoot them if necessary. Mine mine mine!"

How soon we forget History...
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:16 AM
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Of course, we learned it from the Great Masters of "Finders Keepers" and the originators of "Go Away Or I'll Shoot." Those, of course, would be the folks that brought you the British Empire.

"Look, some land! We'll declare it ours! Ignore those pesky people who say it's theirs. Shoot them if necessary. Mine mine mine!"

How soon we forget History...
Oh dear, touched a nerve it seems.
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Old 11-15-2019, 05:16 AM
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With the technology available today, I don't understand why the museum couldn't work out an agreement with her to work up a full 3d model of the coin, as well as do a study of the composition of the coin. What archaeological value is gained from having it exclusively in their possession?
One reason, which archaeologists are very aware of, is that what we can learn from it today may well not be all that the artefact can tell using currently unknown technologies.
A good example are the carbonized papiriy from Herculaneum, recently some amazing work has been done to be able to read them that were completely unfathomable when they were first discovered, or 20 years ago for that matter.
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Old 11-16-2019, 12:53 PM
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Not just that though - the limited vocabulary, the incredibly simple sentence structure, constantly repeating the same information, etc, it's literally like it was written by someone in middle school trying to pad out their 500 word essay assignment. . . .
Though the stock images of things like a pile of envelopes under the mail slot were pretty funny.
In fact, it's like it was written for children. Or that it's from an English as a second language book, where they dumb down the rhetorical mechanisms of a text thinking that's necessary for comprehension.
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