Assuming that you have recorded the surface of the bar kept samples that include all the smelter, tax, and other such identifying marks and do a thorough chemical analysis there is very little history left to learn from the bar and ingots don't have artistic merit so they should be earmarked for physics.
I totally agree. The INFN couldn't have been more sympathetic with preserving the archaeologically important parts of the find, and they would probably still be on the seabed without their help. It benefits mankind in all ways. Salute!
Keith Lamb
It seems quite sensible to use the lead in this way in this situation, but it also seems to open up the possibility of exploitation if one were to take the slippery slope argument.
Captain Danger
It's Ancient History, Literally. don't worry about it. I hate to say it but I agree with Slowburn. They have taken plenty of precautions for preservation so use the rest any way you want. To me is seems like they did not drive a hard enough deal. they should have taken all of the lead except for the small amounts required for tracability. On another note , if gold does not have a natural radiation it would be a good way to put national reserves of it to use. It would be safe buried underground and would be performing a useful service at the same time.
I understand the importance of preserving evidence of past culture, but this is bars of lead, not precious artwork.
It's simply ridiculous for anyone to argue that all 2,000 bars should be preserved. They were examined, recorded and the markings removed and preserved, and they intentionally took only the most damaged 300 pieces. The remaining 1,700 pieces were all superior to the few taken. The argument is simply ridiculous.
I recognized Brian's handiwork by the second paragraph. Lucid, accessible accounts of often very complex issues, seems to be his 'tell'. I too agree with using a part of the lead for physics research, but some should be carefully stored because, while there may be little more to learn from these bars now, who knows what technological developments are on the horizon.
Tristan Harrenstein
Who would have thought 50 years ago that we could perform protein, starch, or pollen analysis on ancient tools? The concern archaeologists have is that we do not know what we will be able to learn from such objects in the future, but once destroyed, they are gone forever.
That being said, Dr. Dodson did a very nice job representing the ethical dilemma archaeologists often face. It is not that these decisions should never be made, scientific and economic development needs to happen, but the decision should not be easy, and requires careful thought.
I don't think the study of Physics is a fly-by-night operation do you? They'll probably still be monkeying around with Physics even in the future. I think somebody should scare up some money and bury their own cache of lead in the sea and let it "salt" for a few centuries. Then they can dig it up for future experiments. People should learn to think ahead and plan for the future... (just being facetious ha ha. But seriously they should do it.)
@ Captain Danger Good point about the gold.
They got the balance right I think. 1) 90% of the archaeological information is lost as soon as the object is removed from context. This is why looting is so bad, not because of the dollar value of the items but because where and how the item was found gives the most clues to past time there are. A proper dig does just the same but documents the data at the same time as destroying it. 2) more than 90% of items recovered from a dig will spend most of the rest of history in a drawer in the basement of an institution OR after documentation they may be legally sold either to a member of the public or to another institution. 3) the reason there are curious holes in old columns all over Europe and why so many of these columns are toppled is that the lead strips that formerly held them together were robbed out long ago to make shot for the (amongst others) Hundred Years War. 4) is there such a thing as igneous lead nuggets and how do these compare for radioactivity?