The Coil Swinger et al

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet!

The term Treasure Hunter and even Metal Detectorist has taken on a derogatory connotation with archaeologists as well as some engaged in the hobby, and I’m not sure why. :-)  There is undoubtedly staunch opposition in some quarters to the use of such a phrase that describes exactly what we do.

Let’s face it – we hunt, we search and we hope ( eventually ) to detect ‘treasure’. But, the term doesn’t just mean precious metals or gems; it also includes that which is valued for its associations, rarity or workmanship. Monetarily, it could be worth very little. For example, I treasured the first crappy hammered coin I ever found and Mrs John ‘treasured’ buttons, the bane of many a detectorist.
On a couple of occasions I have seen discussed on forums the fact that we really need another name to describe what we do. I have heard the evocative phrase Dirt Fisherman and the trendy Coil Swinger amongst others, but there is one word that admirably fits the bill.
That word is derived from ‘serendipity’, which is defined as ‘making happy, chance finds’ or, in other words, an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. The noun Serendipitist thus describes us fairly – all detectorists depend on good fortune and luck every time they embark on a dig. At least I did! On second thoughts it’ll never catch on. Too pretentious. Is there anybody out there who can suggest a suitable name – or do we just stick with Metal Detectorist?

I make no excuse for repeating the following

Picture by JW
Picture by JW
A word must include was coined by Allyson Cohen, a successful American Detecting Diva with a wicked sense of humour – or ‘humor’ if you are from the Bill Gates School of Spelling and Grammar. Or should that be Donald Trump? He’s bound to produce his own version of English as spoken in the newly created NSUS (Not So United States). Awesome! The word Detectorista refers to a cheerful girl detectorist with dirty nails and mud on their shoes! Take a look at Allyson’s blog if you get the chance.
Through the years -ology and -logy have come to mean, ‘study of’ or ‘science of’ and either of these suffixes often utilise the form of -ologist. Like in archaeologist – ‘a person who studies human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artefacts and other physical remains.’ So, how about Detectologist?
The press, here and abroad, invariably use the term Amateur Archaeologists which gives the hobby a certain legitimacy and validity. Personally I hate the term. Like I do ‘Looter’ and all the insulting terms coined by the alien blogger with the insecure site, Paul Barford. Maeve Kennedy of the UK Gruniard (sic) newspaper uses and explains her use of the equally derogatory term Grot-Pots . . .
“They are known in the trade as ‘grot pots’ – buckets and Tupperware boxes that amateur archaeologists and metal detectorists fill with battered, corroded, base-metal coins and other finds. And in these murky vessels our history is being rewritten.”  MB Guardian

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‘Childlike Search for Approval-My Moaning Blog’  Barford

Great. A phrase in this blog has caught the attention of Paul Barford ( Warsaw Willy ). He posted the ‘approved’ notice below on one of his blogs in 2015. These are my words.
My “Joyful Announcement” repeated on Barford’s Blog 2015
He’s objecting in the same style four years later and insults me even further by calling me ‘childlike’ and a ‘neglected old man always wanting approval.’

“So is the person ( Barford ) who so criticises artefact hunters not simply giving as good as he gets from the detectorists who, unable on the whole to engage with articulate argument, only resort to crude tribal attitudes, insults and ad personams. A good example is the post here, where senior detectorist John Winter is looking forward to thousands of hits when I link to his moaning blog.” Barford

Thousands? Don’t make me laugh. I’ve had THREE people visit via your site … and I was both of the three ( sic ). I reckon YOU are the neglected one. When a comment is made on one of your blogs, it is invariably the sycophant Swifty.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ is a popular reference to William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet seems to argue that it does not matter that Romeo is from her family’s rival house of Montague, that is, that he is named Montague.

12 thoughts on “The Coil Swinger et al”

  1. For me; well I use the term ‘dust collectors’ when it comes to describing my finds..

    And I have not yet come to terms with any catchy name for a person in our hobby.. I just use the term ‘lunatic with a metal detector!!’

    thank you John

    Micheal

  2. Well John, that was a surprise—I wasn’t expecting to click on your link and see myself mentioned. Wish I was still as young as in the pic though… anyway, I like detectologist, makes us sound important Amateur Archaeologist is okay too, although amateur seems to reduce the legitimacy a bit. But whatever they call us, we are awesome nonetheless.

  3. Like Liquorice Allsorts and Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Biscuits, you just can’t improve on a name like Metal Detectorist, it simply says whats on the tin.

    Although I’m sure Allyson is a lovely person, I take exception to the term “Detctorista”. In an age where we are inundated with political correctness and stripping all names that associate a job with just men (Firemen, Policmen, Mail Man) and having to now call them (Firefighters, Police Officers and Letter Carriers), Detectorista just seems like a slap in the face and a step backwards for all of Mankind………..errrrr………….Humankind!

    If I were pressed and had to come up with a name…………ummmmm, Grounds Keeper? After all aren’t we keeping what’s in the ground…………be it garbage or good stuff?

    Or Grounds Cleaner…………ya that one sounds less thief like. LOL……

    Okay my windup job here is done, I think I need to go for a nap now!

  4. Contemporary Antiquarian is my choice 🙂
    a contradiction in terms but it puts us one up from Warsaw Willy (love that name) who appears to be a technophobe.

    Fake News
    I have to release tremendous amounts of information.
    Barf ord went to school. “I’m highly educated. I know words. I have the best words, I have the best, but there is no better word than stupid. Right?”
    “Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser — having a healthy ego, or high opinion of yourself, is a real positive in life!”
    “I was a great student at the best college in the country. You know? I want to let people know. I’m a smart guy.”
    oops! quotes from Trump not Barf ord

    we could also become the ‘X-Men’ but that would give too much publicity to Barf-Ord (Ord is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics) but I do hate a sick villain

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