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8th February 2005artifacts - illegal dealing
By mark
good morning

i recently was on isandlawana/fugitives drift where i was approched by two young boys selling bits and pieces

amongst the rubbish i found a battered brass tunic button and two martini henry shell cases

i purchased all three and buried them in the cave at the foot of isandlawana

i guess the artifacts could have come from any battlefield, but these deserved to stay right there.

8th February 2005CLIVE DICKENS
You have to accept that those two little boys experierce poverty which you and I thankfully have never had to face,and to them it is a sorce of income they are not concerned with history just where thier next meal is coming from. this unfortunately is true of most of the African Continent.
8th February 2005Geoff
I can visualise a future archeologist retrieving these items and arriving at fresh conclusions about the battle. !
8th February 2005mark

im a south african,so understand the poverty concept, thats why i bought and replaced the artifacts

still,im sure quite a few people would have kept them.

8th February 2005Neil Aspinshaw
This was topic of conversation at the NAM zulu war weekend, with archeologist Tony Pollard.
I suppose if there is no-one to buy the artefacts then it would be hard to sell them.
I look upon cartridge cases in a slightly different light than buttons.
There must be, still 1000's of them, mainly scattered around the outskirts of Isandlwana, but we do know the archoelogist found very few on the main camp area and the firing line. Cartridge cases are a cast off, in essence , refuse. No doubt the local kids know where they are, as they would find them all the time whilst playing, just think of the 1000's that Dyson and the companies on the spur fired off that probably are still lying around. As a collector (magpie?) myself I know the difference between things just "picked up", or as in the case of buttons illegally "dug up".
That is where a line starts to be drawn, the excavation of graves for artefacts is another story. Agian through soil erosion one cannot entirely be sure that graves have been actually desicrated.
Last year I found various peices of pottery at Isandlwana, you know visitors suffer from what David Rattray calls "Isandlwana neck", that is sunburn on the nape of the neck where visitors have wandered around looking down usually in the hope of finding something and thier hats riding up!... any enthusiast who says they didn't do it at isandlwana are probably telling porkies. I am not trying to condone the kids, but I wouldn't be to critical of them. Just look at the UK's hoards of metal detectorist's, early roman sites are plundered in nightly raids for personal gain?. I do not mean all detectorists before I GET SHOT, but the jealous minority.

I gave the pottery I found to David Rattray to put into the drawers full of artefacts that he has which he allows visitors to freely see.
Visit any militaria fair these days, there is a vast array of WW1 artefacts freshly dug up from Ypres and the Somme, it is difficult where to draw a critical line on this as piles of debris is left by the side of the road by farmers ploughing.
Did you do the right thing burying them?, perhaps it would have been wiser to give it to the museum in the small chapel at Isandlwana, for us all to enjoy.
8th February 2005Julian Whybra
I hope the two boys aren't on the internet otherwise they'll know where to find them again!