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."