Correspondence with Mark Denton
|Most of us all like Mark Denton.... he's
a nice guy. Mark comes across a genuinely interested in his chosen field
and seems to enjoy working with the collecting public. Personally, I believe
Mark likes Steve.
Is this a case of professional survival? I feel it's only fair to present Mark's point-of-view to you for you to evaluate. Weigh all the alternatives, and email us..... we want to create a forum. I include my correspondence as well, to articulate my opinion on the topic.
Bob Wishoff, webmaster
Artifacts found eroding out of the Ashley site, found by Steve Ashley. Steve has always agreed to give the State these artifacts, which include a corner tang knife and a multitude of points most of us would love to find!
|My first letter to Mark:
At 05:13 PM 11/19/2002 -0600, you wrote:
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 09:46:31 -0600
I appreciate your concerns and for the
most part I agree. However, Steve's
Thanks for your response. I do believe Steve's enthusiasm was what came across in the news story---- I believe his story was meant to inspire others to do the same reporting of sites to the State that he did.... I recall the story emphasizing Steve's lack of desire for selling artifacts and his love for Walnut Creek. I saw the news pieces as being a good thing for relations between the public and professionals. As to endangering the site, Steve knew that people were indeed finding the site.... his comments to the city have resulted in locked chains across roads offering easy access. He also complained to the city about trash and such that was being dumped in the area. Why is it that only professionals should show their finds to the public????? Publicity is good for the science! It keeps the topic high in the public's mind and perhaps might get more funding into a grossly underfunded sector!
I don't want to get into too many details, but quite a few artifacts, while not being called personal possessions, are in more-or-less constant possession of certain professionals. I'd say 95 percent of all pros have collections, and most all avocationals possess extensive collections. This whole debacle over possession is set to come to a head---- overall, this means bad things for everyone. Again, if you want sites reported properly to the authorities, and you want help documenting sites on private property that are going under the dozer, then changes to laws must be made. Once data has been collected about an artifact, what good is it to science??? I say that these artifacts draw attention to the science, and draw people into the science.
I'm rescuing hundreds of artifacts from
under a bulldozer right now--- you'd rather that they were destroyed for
a golf course than collected by amateurs????? I think not if you were to
reply from the heart.... I get help in these rescues because I publicize
my efforts... otherwise much would be lost. I know this isn't true science,
but I plan on registering the site after rescue work is done so at least
we'll know what was there and what kind of site was there before construction.
And this development is thorough, blading the ground down to baserock...
so there's none of that "protection under the concrete" argument that I
hear so much from pros when there's nothing else they can say. Hey, I know
you feel real pain when a site is lost... and so do I. I get frustrated
because I can't research sites BEFORE construction begins... by the time
I was told about the site most of it had been bladed away.... but
fears of looting keep honest folks from doing what you pros are not allowed,
There still exists this mentality that
collectors are out to loot the State of its heritage when in fact most
collectors want more people to have an interest in what's below their feet.
I, for one, am proud to know Steve---- he's an example of how the public
should act. He's got the soul of a poet and the eyes of a scientist. We
need more people like him out roaming the creeks of Texas. I don't believe
he's trying to be seen as an equal to pros! I believe he's just following
his interests, and that his interest
I must add that with all of this brouhaha
about his possession of the piece, the condition of the Ashley site has
been forgotten.... Other than Steve's actions taken with the city, I've
been to the site and nothing has been done to protect the banks from eroding
away... the very spot he showed you where the biface fell out is still
falling apart and thus risks more data to be lost. This is very frustrating
and is similar to the story of a mound I found in Grelle Park that was
being used for boat launching----
I think you've made it difficult for folks
to reason out why they should report information to you. Giving folks like
Steve a little positive publicity shouldn't be a problem. The State need
to take more effort to protect the site rather than to try to hide its
existence. No one has tried to dig the mound in Grelle I have shown the
public on many occasions--- in fact, it took my publishing pictures of
the mound before any inquiry was made, and still nothing has changed---
the mound is still unprotected.
We (pros and interested amateurs/collectors/avocationalists) are not and should not be fighting each other!!!! There are true looters out there and we need to stop them! More people may know about the site, but people like Steve are also out there chasing away the looters! Until the State understands this, the push to find and document sites is somewhat doomed.....
Thank you again for your correspondence,
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