Message #132:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Coming to a Site Near You!!
Date: Mon, 6 May 1996 16:16:09 -0700 (MST)
Mime-Version: 1.0


Treasure hunters abound at the International Treasure Hunters Exchange.  
Particularly appalling is the article by Howard B. Towner, Jr. titled 
Historical Research: Foundation for Successful Treasure Hunting.  

In this article, Towner basically describes how to be a CON man, especially 
with research librarians, "bookish individuals" and physically challenged 
employees.  The author recommends downplaying discussions of monetary wealth 
to focus on sharing your "pain and suffering."   He also recommends that if 
you are too well known as a "treasure hunter" to federal and state bureaucracies, 
use a friend who is a teacher, a college student or historian to research 
materials stored at these agencies.  Towner states..."There is a Federal 
regulation which prohibits U.S. Government agencies from handing archaeologically 
significant information to "treasure hunters". In conclusion, building 
relationships with "the keepers" of historic material will save you time, 
and perhaps create a small army of archivists willing to work on their time for you. "

Another Towner aticle titled Common Ground: Treasure Hunters and Archaeologists 
psycho-analyses professional archaeologists from the CON man's point of view.  
Towner divides the archaeological world into "realists" and "purists."  Realists 
are people who are willing to work with him, and who "grant compensation to 
those who declare finds of monetary and historical significance," and who 
maintain that "relationships with responsible treasure salvors via well 
written legislation is the best approach for the scientific community."

Speaking of legislation, Towner doesn't refer to well-written federal or
state statutes when he describes the "purists. "..."However, the
archaeological establishment is dominated by the "purists", who not only out
number the realists, but represent "politically correct" thinking of the
profession.  Three words reflect the purist mindset, domination, control and
exclusion. They view themselves as custodians of our past and feel only the
scientific community should be searching or excavating historic
sites/material. They consider "treasure hunters or divers" outlaws and will
do everything in their power to prevent private sector treasure ventures.
Purists believe those who discover historic sites or shipwrecks have no
rights or claims to what they have found, nor should they receive any
compensation. Discoveries belong "to the people". They oppose private
collectors of antiquities, and are against the marketing of cultural
material. Their agenda is complete control and dominatin of all historic
sites, discovered and undiscovered, above and below the water.  Purists
believe all private sector explorations, treasure detecting, etc., should be
banned. When historic sites are accidentially discovered, which is the only
way non-archaeologists could make finds if purists were running things, the
private sector would be excluded once archaeologists were on site. THis
oppresive mindset believes all historic sites,which by defination is any
structure or location over 50 years old associated with a historic person,
event, or technology, should only be excavated when there is a scientific
need for data, or artifacts.  Purists believe in "banking sites", which
means once a shipwreck or land site is located, it shoudl be catalogued, and
if there is no "scientific research" mandating it's excavation, this site
should be "banked" ie, left untouched."