I wish that were as cheerful as it sounds...
|The 'Strata Martyr'|
Most of you will know who Paul Barford (The Strata Martyr) is, and will already know about his opinion of Metal Detecting, and the fact it should be banned. He’s constantly trying to create a us V's them war between archaeologists and metal detectorists, when in actual fact there are good relations between the two, and a lot whom work together to proactively preserve history. Yes, it can get rather zesty here and there, but I believe things have moved forward through positive communication over the years.
It's not only the metal detecting community that has a problem with the man. Those within his own community are quite often on the end of his razor tongue and opinion concerning protocol, techniques, and opinion of bodies such as the PAS.
If you thought his opinion of Metal Detectors was negative, you'd probably do well to avoid his opinion of FLO'S (Finds liaison officers) and their colleagues (People who are over-worked due to constricted funding budgets) Oh and of course, Paul doesn't like museums. Waste of the taxpayers money, apparently:
Everybody agrees that the hoard was recovered by less-than-archaeologically-proper means, buy which its scholarly value is much reduced. The museum can do little more with the hoard than heap it in a case with the remains of the lead 'envelope' a label by the side saying what it is (not too many words) and shine a spotlight on it. People will stop gaze in, see the pile of shiny silver, say "Oooooo", then "Aethel..-who"? and walk on.
The mans actual input (hands in the mud) is little or non-existent, whilst others in the aforementioned communities are out there preserving history in a positive and proactive manner. Pauls time is spent mostly on judging those people on his important blog, from which he posts between one and five posts daily. A very time consuming task, I'd expect. Of course, these people who are actually doing something about preservation need to be hounded by his written word. He's very important like that, is our Paul.
A lot within the archaeological community have flagged Barfords underhand tactics, such as creating multiple blogs, multiple Facebook accounts, and bare faced lying (more of that later) to just get an opinion across as correct. It's interesting reading if you do some thorough research on the man.
Give him his dues, Paul Barford is an absolute master of twisting words and spin. He’s much like a politician in the essence that he can take something, and deviously twist it for his own agenda. His whole blog is testament to this.
A good example would be his consistent attack on the 'underclass.' If you read through his blog, you’ll see that his ultimate message is that all metal detectorists are unintelligent, classless cretins that shouldn’t be allowed to associate themselves with historical preservation of any shape or form. We are all in this to make money, and 'hoik' whatever we can from the ground. Even if intentions are sincere, they matter not as we disrupt anything that needs investigation via archaeology (missing the point that archaeology is massively underfunded, and the items found wouldn't have been found without a metal detector, and in most instances wouldn't be investigated anyway. Maybe Paul should try dowsing to find archaeological spots? He also enjoys ignoring the fact that Metal Detecting has, in many cases been the catalyst for further archaeological study, with positive results-although I do agree that more has to be done concerning the protection of valuable sites)
This is something that only archaeologists should be involved with (although rumour has it that Paul has failed his attempts at a degree on many occasions - I cannot verify this)
The way he maintains that message throughout is to consistently hammer home the fact that all detectorists are uneducated thieves, that can’t speak nor write properly. We see it time and time again. It's clever psychological manipulation, which enforces his ideal.
There are plenty of examples of this throughout his blog, but just to simplify things, I'll use myself as an example. Paul is obsessed with the fact I have a hooded top on in some of my videos (I do apologise. It's the cold sometimes, you see. I thought that quite obvious. In addition, I sometimes have to shield Sol from burning my Celtic noggin. In the instance of below, I came straight in from the cold, and was so excited about Gregs items - I started filming) It's a very clever tactic that appeals to those that believe that anyone with a hoody within this country is part of the 'chav' culture. I.E hooded top = chav = metal detectorist = sub-par human He’s subconsciously trying to get the message over that I am just some lout who shouldn’t be involved in preserving history. Here is an example:
'Addicted to bleeps' is the somewhat gormless individual depicted in his hoodie in Greg's bedroom involved in the A20 Near Maidstone Anglo-Saxon grave trashing scandal ('Hoiked Finds Seen in Greg's Bedroom').
He then enforces this point by ridiculing language. Something he does over and over on his blog when regarding metal detectorists.
The "Sweetman Hoard" (sic) two archaeologist wannabes, one in a hoodie indoors, discuss brooches "wiv emralds or roobiz, look at th' culah" wot Greg dug up ("wot waz the signal like mate?"). Note after he's hefted it and turns the disc brooch over, a bit drops off. At 1:12 you can see what looks like a fresh break, which looks as if it results from being levered out of the ground (by scrabbling about blind at the bottom of a "five inch wide hole" 7:49, "half came out"?). The other one is broken in the self-same way. The commentary can only be classified as a total display of crass ignorance by the sort of people to whom British law entrusts the who were responsible for the recovery of associated archaeological items (they don't even know who Coroners are and what they do, clue, it's not "cleyn Treasure finds wiv speshal chemicalz").
In the above, you can also see the cunning way he implements ideas, and sells them as truth. I.E the break happened due to the item being leveraged from the ground. There is no proof to back this claim up, as many items can be damaged or destroyed by other factors, including ploughing. The 'bit that dropped off' was a small piece of mud, stuck to the back. Either way, anything dropped was safely caught on the paper placed beneath. Put there...incase anything was dropped. Also note the 'Archaeologist wannabes' comment. It's interesting to note the negative outcome of that comment. We got plenty of venom telling us WE WERE NOT archaeologists from that comment, even though WE never said we were. I can look at my A levels in Media studies, Sociology, and English to know I'm not an archaeologist, thanks.
Recently Paul put up a post where he accused myself and Greg of throwing away a 'lead artefact of importance' in one of my videos. The piece of lead, was just that - a piece of lead, with no historical significance other than it being a piece of lead. He has since pulled this post down (Hmm...I wonder why)
Once the idea has been implemented that these people are unintelligent cretins, who shouldn't be allowed near his bit of mud, he'll enforce the opinion with his inevitable boorish conclusion in blue. A conclusion he only comes to via his own opinion, and little facts, or facts that are made up on the spot. The propagandist cherry on the cake:
TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".
Paul consistently asks Metal Detectorists to engage in conversation, but as soon as they do, he (like Nigel Swift (who hides in bushes, apparently) & other Blogging heroes - plenty of evidence of this to come later this year) enjoy spinning the conversation to fit their own agenda. Serious questions are often ignored, and ridiculed time and time again.
Metal detectorists Greg, Baz and Liam may not like that, they may not wish to take part, they may even wish to avoid even thinking about it (even to the extent of avoiding mentioning the names of people debating the issues) and they may be "disappointed" that others want to discuss it - with or without them - but yes, the rest of us will continue to expect a healthy debate to come to a positive resolution. That is not a question.
Another of his tactics is to annoy people, using different media, and different accounts and push them until they inevitably bite. When they do bite, he’s got them hooked and will always quote their response as a universal reflection of metal detecting, thus enforcing his opinion concerning the class of a metal detector.
I'd throughly recommend you don't take my word for all this, and do some research on the man, and especially take note of how his blogs are constructed and written. Very clever from a legal point of view, and written so that it looks as though something is truth, but protected in the instance of libel.
Unfortunately, there is a dark conclusion to my blog post. I cannot speak about details here, so please don't bring them up (they'll just be deleted) but Paul involved himself deeply in a situation, where I was bullied online by people demanding certain information from me. When I explained politely that I wasn't able to share that information, I started to get threats on my life. These have since been investigated, and the conclusion is quite interesting. Especially if you consider that certain people like to create multiple alias's online. Allegedly.
In addition, the mis-information also regarding the subject was sold to a number of news outlets for money. 'Someone' has made a nice amount from this mis-information and presumption. Not Allegedly.
In many instances, the conclusions that had manifest did so through 'credible sources' and were believed. However, this couldn't be further from the truth, but the damage to my life has been done, and this damage has been extensive.
In conclusion, readers I ask you one question. Just one question that I want you to ponder, as you move off to other locations within the world wide web. And that question is:
'When pursuing legal action. What do you think the chances are of my legal team actually finding a 'Paul Barford' who lives in Poland?
All the best.
An added note:
I invite Paul to a discussion concerning the above topics via Skype. I'd like to engage in positive conversation about the topics he feels so passionately about, and how they relate to Metal Detecting. I don't think a reasonable discussion could hurt, do you?