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Can the dismantling of Third Reich artifacts for research purposes be justified?

Article about: by HPL2008 Basically, I am opposed to destructive examination of period items, but under certain conditions, exceptions are acceptable. Period items (be they medals, badges, insignia, items

  1. #21

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    Honestly if there are more than 50 of an item then I say go for it, but not to the point of disrepair. However if an artifact would yield more information or would provide a major leap in the research of a somewhat unknown topic based on how its made, what's locked inside of it, ect. then I would say yes dismantle it, with care and not to the point of disrepair.

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  3. #22

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    I find it somewhat strange that when other militaria, such as the South African WW2 Service Medal for example, are bought by jewelers and the like to be melted down purely for their silver content. No outcry arises from the masses for these "lowly" medals' demise. Is the history connected to them of a lesser value than that of a similar German item?
    Where are the people defending these items of history?
    What Jo has done it not to fulfill a twisted pleasure for destroying history, but rather to get to the truth. What he is trying to do is strip down the layers of fakes that have been passed off for too long as good, original items. I applaud his tenacity and willingness to bear the brunt of criticism that is continuously thrust upon him for doing something he is passionate about.....getting to the bare facts. Once again, only my opinion.

    Tom

  4. #23

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    Looking at it from the perspective of an archaeologist, I would say that there isn't anything wrong with it as long as it is done by a professional who knows what he or she is doing. Excavation is essentially the dismantlement and destruction of a site. To learn about an object, you have to be able to take it apart.

    Also, it would obviously be a better idea to take apart a less valuable example than something more expensive. But an object is an object and if somebody owns it, we can't exactly tell that person what to do with it. We can object all we want, but people have the option to do what they please with the items they own.

  5. #24

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    Quote by StuG III View Post
    I find it somewhat strange that when other militaria, such as the South African WW2 Service Medal for example, are bought by jewelers and the like to be melted down purely for their silver content. No outcry arises from the masses for these "lowly" medals' demise. Is the history connected to them of a lesser value than that of a similar German item?
    Where are the people defending these items of history?
    What Jo has done it not to fulfill a twisted pleasure for destroying history, but rather to get to the truth. What he is trying to do is strip down the layers of fakes that have been passed off for too long as good, original items. I applaud his tenacity and willingness to bear the brunt of criticism that is continuously thrust upon him for doing something he is passionate about.....getting to the bare facts. Once again, only my opinion.

    Tom
    Melting down any historical item for scrap p*sses me off!...
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  6. #25

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    Quote by Gunny Hartmann View Post
    Melting down any historical item for scrap p*sses me off!...
    Cast your mind back to 1500 a.D when we were still kids and not into Militaria. (Swiss humor) Think back to the good old days in South America before the Spanish came.... Now try and imagine, how many artifacts the Spanish melted down and shipped back home from South America 500 years ago.. Cultures lost, wiped out, irreplaceable. All because of the same bug that bites us today, Human Greed!

  7. #26

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    Quote by Metallwarenfabrik View Post
    Cast your mind back to 1500 a.D when we were still kids and not into Militaria. (Swiss humor) Think back to the good old days in South America before the Spanish came.... Now try and imagine, how many artifacts the Spanish melted down and shipped back home from South America 500 years ago.. Cultures lost, wiped out, irreplaceable. All because of the same bug that bites us today, Human Greed!
    Yes indeed human greed causes a hell of a lot of problems!....
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  8. #27

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    Quote by ObKrieger View Post
    Looking at it from the perspective of an archaeologist, I would say that there isn't anything wrong with it as long as it is done by a professional who knows what he or she is doing. Excavation is essentially the dismantlement and destruction of a site. To learn about an object, you have to be able to take it apart.

    Also, it would obviously be a better idea to take apart a less valuable example than something more expensive. But an object is an object and if somebody owns it, we can't exactly tell that person what to do with it. We can object all we want, but people have the option to do what they please with the items they own.
    As another archaeologist I largely echo the views Mo expressed. This thread and the other related thread are both very fascinating and as a former toolmaker along with my present career and as a collector this debate is of great interest and the differing viewpoints expressed are all of value IMHO.

    As Mo stated archaeology is very often by its nature a destructive process and only last week I was involved in the excavation of a lost section of Roman road in Wales and as part of the dig a slot was cut through part of the road to examine the construction techniques used to build it nearly 2000 years ago. That part of the road will never be the same again, but as the road runs from south Wales to North Wales, this destruction only affects a small % of it and the knowledge gained far outweighs this.

    The archaeological testing of objects is commonly done and the best way to examine pottery for example is to snap a sherd of it to enable a fresh section of it to be examined and testing of other objects routinely involves some destruction of the artifacts, though obviously the amount destroyed is kept to a minimum and it is done often in conjunction with experimental archaeology as an aid in understanding how artifacts were created.


    My only concern with the damaging of artifacts as an aid to establishing their originality is that most owners of these items will not undertake this process, and I wonder if they will rather look at the artifact as it is and base their determinations of said artifacts on what they can see without taking them apart and because of this, does this dismantling of artifacts actually aid collectors in their determinations?

    If the only way to judge if an artifact is original or fake is by dismantling it or partly destroying it, then I cannot see this process being used by many collectors.

    An interesting debate and certainly worthy of discussion.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  9. #28

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    Quote by Jerry B View Post
    The archaeological testing of objects is commonly done and the best way to examine pottery for example is to snap a sherd of it to enable a fresh section of it to be examined and testing of other objects routinely involves some destruction of the artifacts, though obviously the amount destroyed is kept to a minimum and it is done often in conjunction with experimental archaeology as an aid in understanding how artifacts were created.


    My only concern with the damaging of artifacts as an aid to establishing their originality is that most owners of these items will not undertake this process, ....


    If the only way to judge if an artifact is original or fake is by dismantling it or partly destroying it, then I cannot see this process being used by many collectors.
    Owners do not need to, that is where i come into it, and for the moment, one mad individual breaking badges/awards is more than enough. I write articles about my findings for various collectors magazines, i help others write books with the gained info, and i have just published a book on this subject myself
    Yes, point 2 of yours i addressed on the other thread (below). There is no need to break anything in order to find out "If it was genuine" Was being the operative word. That is not what my research is about. I know that these 2 threads have become very long over the past 48 hours, with people not bothering to read much and just jumping to wild conclusions. But, if you take the time, you will see that i have posted quite clearly throughout, and showed my intentions with doing what i do, from the very first post.

    Sounds like you have a very interesting job, please tell me you are a part of Time Team , even Phil Harding himself? i have always wanted to meet him, we are very "similar" . And to end on that note, R.I.P Mick Aston.
    Quote by Metallwarenfabrik View Post
    has nothing to do with a pointer towards fake/genuine though, and even if it did, would be pretty brainless, as it would mean having to destroy your items to see whether they were real...

  10. #29

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    Quote by Metallwarenfabrik View Post
    Yes, point 2 of yours i addressed on the other thread (below). There is no need to break anything in order to find out "If it was genuine" Was being the operative word. That is not what my research is about. I know that these 2 threads have become very long over the past 48 hours, with people not bothering to read much and just jumping to wild conclusions. But, if you take the time, you will see that i have posted quite clearly throughout, and showed my intentions with doing what i do, from the very first post.

    Sounds like you have a very interesting job, please tell me you are a part of Time Team , even Phil Harding himself? i have always wanted to meet him, we are very "similar" . And to end on that note, R.I.P Mick Aston.
    I did read the other thread and if I did not fully digest all the points discussed then I apologise.

    My point was that possibly the information you have gathered will only be of use if the artifacts are "destroyed" and then this methodology is counter productive, but if your results can be used without the need for collectors to follow your lead and instead a hands on approach can be used based on your work then that is good. If your activities are more of an academic research based agenda, then as others have pointed out, I see no major issues other than the points I raised above and those raised by others and as I posted, it is all very fascinating for me as an archaeologist, an ex metal worker and a collector.

    As regards to time team, I have not been on it, rather when chance arose I had other work which mean't I would stay in employment for longer and I took the latter option. My wife has been on it a few times and she turned down the opportunity to replace Carenza Lewis as the female face of time team, which on occasions she does regret.

    I have however worked with Phil a few times as I used to work for the same archaeological company as him and his knowledge of flint tools would be hard to beat as is his ability to copy those ancient techniques of our forebears.

    As you post RIP Mick Aston, he was a good bloke and will be missed.

    The Roman road dig I mentioned is part of a new Welsh language version of Time Team to be screened in the new year.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  11. #30

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    Great debate. I think we're missing one thing, though. Most of this was stemmed from the saying it was "battled damaged" which didn't seem to be a joke at the time, and earlier in the thread he'd stated he himself did it. The statement seemed strange to me. However, I guess it could be I did not, and do not understand Swiss humor. I think Jerry puts it best, and although I will never agree with destroying someone's award for Any reason, I can surely respect the other stance. As for any other artifact being destroyed out side the tr regime, I do not stand for that, either, but, IMO, a award and medal is different than a artifact, such as a road that had no special meaning to someone.
    Also, for me, I would think the pros must out weigh the cons. And considering the MC can be authenticated and studied in great detail without destroying it, I don't find the removal of the roundel justifiable, but that's just my opinion, and I hope it does not anger anyone further. This is all very, very grey, and no one answer is going to be correct.

    Another thing to consider is we are talking about metal. Cloth is much different and can be authenticated with test and knowledge rather than destruction.

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