Monday’s entry about the Djurhamn sword rocketed up the lists at the social bookmarking sites, and so Wednesday became the best day for traffic ever here at Aard. On an average day in the third quarter of this year, the blog saw about 650 unique visitors. For Wednesday, the number was 52,200. Someone to whom I owe thanks submitted the entry to Digg — under the heading “Offbeat News”, the section for entertainingly shaped carrots and blurry phonecam clips of poor dear Britney Spears’ genitalia.
Looking at sites that linked to the entry, I soon found with some amusement that the whole thing was being received in quite another way than the one in which I saw it myself. To my mind, it’s “Archaeologist Makes Rare and Illuminating Find”. But the archaeologist bit got lost almost immediately. The reported date of the find started to vary alarmingly, and a number of commentators appeared to believe that the mention of Djurhamn referred to the sword’s type instead of the find locality, that is, what had been found was “a Djurhamn sword”. In many readers’ perception, what had happened was that some dude with a metal detector had stumbled upon a cool sword and would probably make a fortune off it on eBay.
People apparently don’t think of the metal detector as an instrument used by scientists. Statistically, they are of course right: most detectorists are amateurs. And the entry is linked to by scads of web forums for detectorists and reenactors.
- Unknown Highway (“… a strange journey into the offbeat, fringe areas of the Internet!”): “Metal Detector Dude Finds 16th Century Sword. Photos of an early-16th century sword unearthed from the depths.”
- Clicked: “Using a metal detector this guy found a buried sword from the early 1600s. Following the headline, I was relieved to find that it’s not one of those ‘news of the weird’ stories about a retiree zig-zagging the beach at sunset. It’s an archaeology blog and the sword was found in a forest that used to be an active harbor.”
- American Relic Hunters: “I’d have loved to see this guys chicken dance.”
- SwordArts: “A Little Luck And A Metal Detector, yields 500 year old sword”
- “give it a month or so and im sure itll be on ebay”
- “damn thats cool. i wanna find a kickass old sword. and then make a replica of it and put them side by side so you can see a before and after type thingy”
- “This is why Europe is awesome: you can find f*cking swords in your f*ucking backyard.That is all.”
- “someone is gunna be rich!. Good on him.”
- “Oh dude Blizzard already put this sword into WoW, I think it’s the best one yet.”
- “sick. did it say how much it was worth in there?”
- “See OldPeople Still have a important things to do other then going 40mph on the freeway when the limit is 75mph”
- Treasure Hunting: “A 16th Century Djurhamn sword was found by a man and his metal detector on August 30th, and now they’ve gathered a team and have managed to excavate it.”
- Le Douche: “Some guy found this sword by using a metal detector around Harbour of the Sheaf Kings in Sweden.”
- Viva la Revolution: “This dude geeking out with his metal dector and ends up finding a sword. Not just any sword. Its a sword that is over 300 years old.”
- DrugMonkey: “Now this is one reason why science blogging is cool. Check that, this is why being a scientist is cool. I don’t care what your discipline, if you don’t get a little excited just reading about this discovery there is something wrong with you…”