Wednesday, 18 January 2017

"Menneisyyden Metsästäjät" TV series revisited.

Today I decided it was time for another look at the TV-series "Menneisyyden Metsästäjät" and I actually watched all episodes all over again. My general opinion about the TV series didn´t change that  much but I found it unfortunate that the series deteriorated so much towards the end.

I would also have expected much more from the Porvoo episode (episode 7), where the amateur detectorists worked in close co-operation with the professional archaeologist from the National Board of Antiquities.


One of the detectorists taking a nap in episode 7.

In this episode the frustration of the detectorists, not being allowed to search in the areas they wanted to research, was almost embarassing to watch as at the same time archaeologists Satu Koivisto and Ville Rohiola did their best tofollow common archaeological practices during the search.

If there is a sequel to the series I hope the production team will learn from their mistakes. As a professional archaeologist in Finland I have done a lot of co-operation with metal detectorist technicians since the 1990´s and everything  has been running very smoothly. I hope that in the future the series shows more of this very successfull co-operation between professional archaeologists and detectorists.


Friday, 13 January 2017

Cleaning and cataloging the excavation finds from "Deutsches Lager Hanko"

Our workroom at Kaapelitehdas in Helsinki.

Just another day @ the office :) Below are a few pictures from today. The material is both plentiful in a good sta and good state of preservation and very diverse. I will get a better camera in one weeks time and will post better photos after that!

 "Heiliges Creuz von Scheyern" a German  Catholic silver cross 


I´m surrounded by thousands and thousands of finds from the German WW2 transition camp in Hanko Finland 1942-1944.I feel very fortunate to  have this space to work in thanks to the Academy of Fine Arts, Vetenskapsrådet (Sweden) and my colleagues Jan Martti Kaila and Japo Knuutila.

















Wednesday, 11 January 2017

YLE Puhe radio broadcast. The KHME team tells about the making of the TV-series and why they are into metal detecting.

As expected the TV-series has raised some controversy. This interview clarifies atleast a couple of issues. Sadly the interview is in Finnish.

First episode of "Menneisyyden Metsästäjät" reality TV-series fetches over half a million viewers!

According to KHME the first episode of "Menneisyyden Metsästäjät" has been seen by over half a million viewers!! If this is true (I have no reason to doubt this) this is more than any other TV series about archaeology in this country!!

Photo YLE.

Despite my critical review of the series (I´m of course not part of the target group for the series) I congratulate the makers and the archaeologists who have been involved in the project. If this series results in a raised common awareness about archaeological sites in this country I´m very happy indeed.

In these harsh times when the scientific archaeological scene is faced with yearly budget cuts, co operation with amateur history teams such as KHME (and many others like it) is the only way to go. Hopefully in the end the raised interest of history and archaeology among the general public will lead to more money for scientific research in the future.

Just remember to follow the law, ethics and good practice if you decide to  follow the path of "Menneisyyden Metsästäjät" and... why not start studying archaeology if you are interested in history!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

JFA review of the TV series "Menneisyyden metsästäjät" by Jan Fast

My first general impression was that the series is well done. Very nice drone filming and exciting "mysteries" to solve for the detectorists. The filming suffers from the general low budget troubles  (low resolution and lighting problems) between the different episodes  The overall pace of the series is very slow and reflective. It was nice to hear the folklore behind the sites before the team gets to work but much of the stuff the presenter says has to be regarded as just that.. "storytelling". Sadly the last episodes of the series seem to have been done in a hurry.

The series features very nicely drawn animations to show the general areas of detecting, details about the finds and suggests how they might have been buried or used! Each episode is made up of three separate research days like in "Time Team" but almost without any archaeologists on the scene (Mikko Helminen is great in the Åland episode). The story usually goes like this... First day dissapointment, second day hope and on the third day, finally... treasure!

Animation.

The team members are all personalities in themselves but sadly they are all male (during the series we find out more and more about their family backgrounds). One female in the group would in my opinion have added a lot to the series! The senior team member Reijo Hyvönen is charismatic and looks good on TV which is a great plus in the beginning, sadly his grip seems to get lost in the series after episode 4!! The landowners are all magnificient in their comments throughout the series.


Reijo Hyvönen

The sites where the detectorists work are all well known historical areas in Finland and allthough the team does not appear to detect on known protected heritage sites. the search is often done in the vicinity (only a couple of hundred meters ore more) of those protected areas (so no wonder they find lots of interesting old stuff). It´s nice that the series is realistic in the sense that it clearly shows that all the bleeps are not special. The odd finds make the series humorous, and at times, very fun to watch.

But still...  The treasures are found with suspicious ease. If this is due to skill, good luck, the area chosen. advice from the archaeologists or simpy good editing remains unclear. The handling of the unique finds as well as the "excavation techniques" are not by any means scientific which is a shame.

The tempo of the series seems to build up starting with episode 4!  In this episode we witness almost an American style frenzy among the detectorists. The difference between this episode  compared to episode one is astounding.

Sadly the quality of the series detoriates a bit after this... (or then I just started getting tired :) ) with more and more silly small talk during the dramatic search for finds and above all less respect about the ethics involved in the search and in the handling of the relics . The series also gets a bit repetetive and predictable as it nears it´s end.

The team has consulted the following experts/archaeologists Satu Koivisto, Ville Rohiola, Mikko Helminen, Frida Ehrnsten, Hanna-Maria Pellinen, Tiina Miettinen, Ilari Aalto, Sami Raninen, Kalle Luoto, Kim Krappala and Joonas Kinnunen when making the series.

If you only watch one episode out of  eight please  watch episode 3. of the series ("Åland of the Vikings"),


I give the series ***  stars out of five.



All eight episodes can be viewed here!

Monday, 9 January 2017

The first Finnish amateur metal detecting TV-series "Raiders of the Past" will air on Finnish national televison tomorrow!

Promo picture for the series showing the team of amateur detectorists from KHME.

While strolling through the advertisements and info about the upcoming TV series "Menneisyyden metsästäjät" I came upon this update (some 7 hours ago) regarding the laws and practises of metal detecting in Finland. IMO a very good and concise text in all matters!! 

I was especially happy to read about the protection of WW2 sites in Finland. The text was written by archaeologist MA Ilari Aalto. Sadly the text had only been shared 8 times on FB. Hopefully the good scientific and ethical practices will be shown in the series too. Tomorrow we will know, thumbs up!



Friday, 30 December 2016

The JFArchaeology blog crossed the 100.000 visitors mark today!

I would like to thank all viewers of my archaeology blog. Communicating my research to others is in my opinion as important as the digging itself. I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and happy New Year 2017! 

Jokiniemi 2014 "Heikki" with a neolithic potsherd. Photo Jan Fast

Thursday, 29 December 2016

First announcement! The scientific conflict archaeology excavations of "Deutsches Lager Hanko" will continue 26.6 - 14.7.2017.


The 2017 community archaeology excavation is organized by "Hangö Sommaruniversitet". No previous experience of archaeology is necessary and the weekly participation fee is only 20 e for five days!! Below is a link to last years info about the dig (in Swedish).



Hanko is a small town but offers a broad range of accomodation facilities. It is important to book a hotel, B&B or private accomodation early on! Please contact the Hanko Tourist Office for more details!

If you have any questions whatsoever about the dig You can always e-mail me for more information on jfarchaeology@gmail.com I will send you info about the project in English, Finnish or Swedish on demand!




See You soon in sunny Hanko!!


Best,

Jan Fast, archaeologist (Universiy of Helsinki, dpt of archaeology)
Jasmin Jyrä, archaeology student (University of Aberdeen)