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Digging in Kansas

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  • #16
    Kyflintguy wrote:

    I was not passing judgment on anyone. Just trying to explain why flintking may not find the answers he seeks. Another reason for not very many replies may simply just be there aren't any active posters with digging experience in Kansas.  :dunno:
    My papaw was a digger,  and I remember tagging along a few times as a child. When I first got into collecting I attempted to dig a few times with very little success.  Then I realized I could surface hunt with more success and a lot less labor.
    Then my evolution as a collector led me  to try to understand what I was finding, and realized my actions could be counter productive to learning.  And I also learned of laws and regulations regarding digging.  So I decided that I'd rather just stick to surface hunting.  Just personal preference. Everyone can choose how they collect for themselves based on were they hunt and the laws regarding it. That's just been my evolution ....
      I think you are probably right on just not that many people dig in Kansas... Like I said in the previous comment digging has taught me so much more about cultures than surface hunting ever could. I am aware of the laws also aware of surface hunting laws.

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    • #17
      [QUOTE]Flintking wrote:

      Originally posted by JoshinMO post=153986
      Digging has almost become a bad word! At least with regular people!  :angry: 
        but once I was taught to dig the right way (in Texas) I have learned so much more about how they lived.
        Wonderful ...perhaps you will publish what you learned so we can all benefit.

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      • #18
        Hey irregular person here! If its legal to dig I'm digging.Its pretty unrealistic to think that eevery time one digs he is gonna turn up something that could change history.Most artifact types have been found their uses speculated and their geographical ranges recorded.Dig away just appreciate you have the right to do so.A lot of states don't allow you to even pick them up on the surface.Which is not a state I'd live in.If they are going to take away such rights as these what others are they taking...mjm

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        • #19
          I will not be judgmental about it. Just some asides. Back in the day, the Narragansett Archaeological Society oversaw some important digs. But the one thing that went up the archy's butts sideways, once there were actual professionals working in the region, was the fact the members were allowed to keep artifacts from the squares they dug. The Massachusetts society, on the other hand, kept and keeps their site assemblages intact with the site report. Digging a site and then dispersing the finds to the seven winds is one reason the Narragansett Society was shut down in RI. Much more to it then that, but the point is it's always best to excavate using approved methods and keep the artifacts as a site collection with the site plan and site report. And give a copy of such reports to your state archaeological office.
          Here's one reason why the pros here are always concerned with diggers. And believe me, they see all collectors as potential diggers. I know quite a few of the pros here in this region, but I would never expect them to share sensitive info with me. That's fine. My problem is they don't share general info with anybody but themselves. I would love to learn more, but, because I am a collector, I cannot be trusted. The one way for an amateur like me to keep up is to subscribe to every professional periodical focused on my region. But, here's one example why diggers strike fear in the minds of the pros. Years ago, a local university was conducting a dig of a prehistoric site in one of our state parks. When Winter came, they closed the site for the season. When they returned in the Spring, they discovered that somebody(s) had kindly finished the dig for them. One big hole, site stripped bare and destroyed.
          Where digging on private property is legal, it's legal. Period. A person can go at it willy nilly, or with a grid and controlled and recorded. But an amateur will never have the kind of equipment and testing methods available that a professional dig will. Never. Not even close. Amateurs do not have sophisticated equipment or testing opportunities. Amateurs don't have labs. All amateurs can ever do is the basic grid pattern and draw nice maps to scale. That's it. And if the assemblage is kept intact, with properly recorded data, it is information. It can have value as a teaching collection. But an amateur dig, even done by grid, cannot expect to be as revealing of info that a professional dig will be. It isn't possible.
          Don't take these comments wrong. I realize it has nothing to do with digging legally in Kansas. But, since others brought up digging in a general way, just throwing thoughts out there. I think it is true that the more a collector values archaeology, the more reluctant that collector is to dig for artifacts. It just seems to work out that way.  For archaeologists, artifacts are valued for the information they might yield. Although even an archaeologist can admire artifact as object of art, I've seen them do so, most would prefer no market existed for artifacts. But, that is not the real world. Artifacts do have collectable value, and, as a result, the pros are always looking over their shoulders, number coding sites and never pinpointing their location, etc.
          But if it's legal, it's legal, and that's that. But there's no question it's the archaeologist who "enjoys" political correctness, not the collector, be he/she a surface hunter or a digger. The archy's position is the politically correct one, and hence, it's a position that carries weight and influence within states.
          Rhode Island

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          • #20
            I have been hunting in Kansas for several decades. During that time I have run across a bunch of other hunters and have yet to know of a single one digging. I don't believe many of them would have had any qualms about digging if they thought it would produce artifacts, but they just didn't. The only reason I can come up with is it must not have been productive. That is just a guess on my part.

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            • Kansas Creekwalker
              Kansas Creekwalker commented
              Editing a comment
              A reason I don't dig is that early in life I learned that me and those shovels don't get along all that well together!!!!

          • #21
            When I take a look at the square miles of land, millions and millions of square miles in America, nearly a hundred trillion square feet, the idea that archaeologists will ever dig even 1/100,000,000 of that area seems absurd. I mean their is a small number of arches, there will always be a small number of them. The world isnt smaller simply because you can drive 60 miles in an hour and use google earth. That is simply a perception that many people seem to have.

            there is ideology and then there is spatial/temporal reality. That being the case professional ego should take a back seat.

            I mean the idea of deferring to the professionals sounds good on its face, but chances are the professionals will never find most of the truly important unfound stuff out there before the land is developed and the unfound stuff is lost under a parking lot. They should encourage artifact digging. It should be a national pass time lol. When stuff is found they should encourage reporting it, so that they might step in on the site and learn what their is to learn, make casts and give what they find to the land owner.


            I mean at the end of the day it is about discovering the stuff in context.

            I can't help but think that discouraging people from digging is folly. It pushes people away from reporting what they find, and the actual accumulation of new information that could be gained. It is completely unrealistic.


            90,000,000,000,000 sq fet/500,000( according to what I have read, their is about 500 full time archys, so 1,000 years worth or Archys at the current number employed in the U.S.)=180,000,000 sq feet per Archy.


            there is 40,000 square feet in acre. 45,000 acres per archy according to my math.


            hehe IMO they could use all they help they can get even if they arent going to admit it. My advice would be to dig, and if you find something unusual stop digging and report it, while trying to conserve the site.
            Last edited by waterglass; 08-18-2015, 09:43 PM.
            location:Central Ky

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            • #22
              They discourage people from digging because digging destroys context and because there are now many methods of extracting all kinds of information that it was not possible to obtain prior to all the new testing tools. It is very interdisciplinary because of all those new tools. All of that is lost when amateurs dig up sites. In fact, the pace of developing new ways to extract info from a site is such that now the general philosophy is for even the archaeologists to no longer dig, except in salvage situations. Because they feel there will be even more sophisticated methods in the future, so sites should be left undisturbed as even more info will be possible with as yet undeveloped means of developing info. There are archaeologists who go against that consensus. Gramly is excavating Paleo sites in New England that might otherwise be left untouched. Of course, he also goes against the grain by sharing so very much with amateur collectors.

              When information and knowledge is viewed as more important then artifacts as something to simply find and accumulate as a collection, then of course archaeologists will discourage digging by amateurs. That said, most such digs are not destroying important sites at all.
              Rhode Island

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              • #23
                In my opinion artifacts are just as important as the context around them. Atleast initially. Think of what Hoss has found. He seems to be digging up stemmed pre-Clovis points. My point is, it is private interest that leads to scientific discovery. Both are necessary. Think of all the important type sites and habitation areas discovered by point hunters and farmers.

                The info gained by scientific study of context is more important then the artifacts. I agree completely. First things first though, the areas with high concentrations of artifacts must be found and reported. That is a domain for the amateur.
                Last edited by waterglass; 08-18-2015, 07:17 PM.
                location:Central Ky

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                • #24
                  Far more amateurs out there to find sites then professionals. The key is educated amateurs. Amateurs who actually understand the professional's side of the story. Many times, such educated amateurs belong to state archaeological societies, volunteer in digs, and in general are in a position to at least potentially recognize something "important" when they find it. For me, personally, my collection would be far less interesting to me if I did not understand the context of the prehistory of my own region, and the areas I hunt. I want to know as much about the prehistory of New England as possible. That means reading the archaeological literature, etc. And if I am educated in that respect, I am in a much better position to understand my own sites.

                  Do we share what we may learn, or share "important" sites with the professionals? Well, there 's the rub. Because on that note, the subject of relations between the two sides arises. And, as we know by now, it is a complex situation, and distrust may rule more then trust.

                  More then one scientific discipline benefits from amateurs involved as hobbyists, or even amateur scientists in the case of some. Meteorite studies would be much poorer without meteorite collectors. Important fossils discovered by amateurs. And important archaeological sites as well.

                  Because the discipline of archaeology in the states has become a "politically correct" arena, unfortunate situations can and do arise between government and it's citizens. As it does in any arena in which one side of an equation has the extraordinary "power" conveyed, bestowed, by being the politically correct position, and having law on one's side. From government's viewpoint, they defer to the archaeologists recommendations, rendering them politically correct. But "we the people" may feel government has no business intruding on their hobby. When large numbers of "we the people" disagree on bestowing political correctness on laws restricting artifact collecting, then the divisions become more stark and far more contentious. Going to the very heart of what powers "we the people" want government to have.
                  Rhode Island

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