Wednesday, 27 October 2010

What the PAS is up Against

The individual calling himself "whigsvolt" is criticising me for what I wrote about deep detecting. In the process though he shows what the PAS is up against trying to get over even the simplest ideas about responsibility and conservation to UK metal detectorists. Fortunately this particular guy concerned lives up in Abersdeenshire, so well out of the zone PAS is responsible for. This what he has to say for himself (Posted: 27th October 2010 at 13:30, capitalisation, commas and apostrophes as in original):
I see there is a removable objects Counter for objects removed by detectorists.I find this quite amusing, because if they were never removed from the ground,in the first place then we would never glean information and important data that recorded find,s have and will continue to give us for the future. Its also sad that Paul uses this counter in a very negative Manner towards Detecting.
Well, he's heard of something like that but can't actually be bothered to find it a mouse click away and look at it himself out of curiosity or a desire to be well-informed. Mr "Whigsvolt" should know that it is not a "removable objects" counter, but a RECORDABLE objects counter and it can be found here. But before he laughs himself silly about it, he should have a look at it and try to discover what it is about. I do not think it too difficult.

Whigsvolt continues witlessly:
If Detectorists Dont remove and record these finds then who will.There will never be enough financial resources for goverment body,d to recover these finds,never in a million years,So i think its perfectly logical to get these artifact,s removed by responsable detectorists before they are lost for ever and totaly forgotten about. All responsable detectorists care about our heritage too, but its our Hobby of detecting that is daily, giving us important data about our heritage by digging it out of the ground.
Well, who told the detectorist that archaeological conservation and sustainable management of the archaeological resource was about removing loose finds from the archaeological record as quickly as possible? Indeed if the removal was being done by really responsible artefact hunters, that is those who report finds to the proper authorities (so in England and Wales the Portable Antiquities Scheme, in Scotland the Treasure Trove Unit) then that would not be wholly bad.

But of course if he'd taken the trouble to look at the Heritage Action erosion counter before poo-poohing it, he would have discovered for himself that what it is talking about is the number of recordable items removed from the archaeological contexts and NOT BEING RECORDED. The PAS' several hundred thousand (and Minelab's pirate website UKDFD's 25 000) are a drop in the ocean compared with what the counter estimates has been removed by artefact hunters. Yes, I think those figures present "Responsible detecting" in a wholly bad light. So much so that you'll not find a detectorist in the land who will agree that they show a real picture. But I always ask them (so far without an answer) by how much those figures would have to be WRONG to make the picture acceptable? 25%, 30%, 50%, 70% less objects being recovered and not reported?

Back in 2007 a Minister of Culture referred to the people PAS was trying to reach as "challenged by formal education". The sort of thing I have highlighted above occurs time after time in artefact collecting circles (and among metal detector users in particular). Bodies involved in 'liaison' and 'partnership' with artefact hunters are attempting to educate these people in best practice (ie that which allows sustainable management of the archaeological record), but how can you actually educate those that find learning a "challenge"? People who cannot put information in a wider context, think out for themselves what things mean? I think it quite symptomatic of the state of the PAS that despite having education and outreach as a primary core value, the first person to lose their job when the finances became wobbly was the education officer.

[I deliberately waited several hours before drawing attention to this post - enough time for at least one "responsible detectorist" to put its author right. Obviously the statistics seem to be against the notion that there are too many people over on that forum who have the slightest idea what the preservationist case is].

PS a few posts further on in the same thread, the same guy confuses Heritage Action with English Heritage - really on the ball this one...


Paul Barford said...

Sadly "Whigsvolta" is not alone in failing to comprehend the Heritage action Counterr. Gossip-mongering secretary Candice Jarman also has problems doing joined up thinking about it:

"the 'Heritage Action counter'/'Artefact Erosion Counter', a web-based instrument designed to loosely highlight the possible number of odd bits of metal unearthed by metal detectorists in order to demonstrate how tedious and time consuming metal detecting can be. "Duh....

"By the 25 October 2010, it claims nearly 11 million objects have been removed from the soil since 1975 by metal detectorists - a search of ebay will show that these are mainly old nails, indeterminate coins, buttons, screwed-up pieces of silver paper, ring-pulls, and unidentifiable scraps of broken metal. How these finds deprive us of knowledge of our past, I don't know!" What is more of a mystery is why UK metal detectorists would be putting on eBay "old nails, screwed-up pieces of silver paper and ring-pulls", and who buys them?Weird, so what happens to all the real recordable artefacts they find if they are not shown to the PAS and the only things that appear on eBay are "old nails, screwed-up pieces of silver paper and ring-pulls"?

[By the way the discussion of everything from my "qualifications" to my "personal life" which Jarman substitutes for discussing the issues is highly fragmentary, speculation and untrue. Not that it matters, she quite obviously has not got the ability to engage with the issues - as her dissection of the HA counter shows.]

Mo said...

To be honest I find this "Candy person" quite offensive.

There are times when we will all come across people with different views from our own. That is part of life. Sometimes a persons view will be a at an opposing end of the spectrum. It does not mean that we have to try to smear their character.

I doubt really whether she has a view and I would suggest that someone else could be writing the posts.

As a female member of a professional body I find it embarrasing that a woman who is part of the legal profession should behave like this. I would have thought also that being employed in the legal profession she would have been much more considered in her comments. That is partly why I don't think that she is the driving force behind the blog.

Does she not realise that its is bad form to personally attack a person just because you do not agree with their views. If she feels that strongly then she should put forward a counter argument.

Last time I felt like writing something on her blog I resisted and I spent my time lobbying Ed Vaiszy with regard to changing the Treasure Act.

I am sure that my time was better spent.

Paul Barford said...

Mo, You of course are quite right. Lobby about the Treasure Act and the (so-called) policies which allow what I discuss here to take place.

As for "Candice Jarman", you are assuming it is a "she" who is doing this and the person "she" says she is. Macrinus and Nigel Swift figured it out straight away - that the allegedly gay secretary "Candice Jarman" is a fictional identity (like a host of other detectorists who will not reveal themselves and come out in open discussion of the issues).

It is in fact a bloke and so any comments about "her" really do not affect him as the identity he writes under is fictional.

The comic 'cheerleader' commentator "Legs" is also a sock puppet.

It's all a bit pathetic isn't it?

This by the way really IS the best UK detecting can do to engage in the discussion about "responsible detecting". Draw your own conclusions. Tell Ed Vaisey to look at her blog and draw whatever conclusions he can about the level of the "debate" of the"partners" of PAS.

In the rendering of "Candice Jarman", PAS turns out to be partnering the:

Antisocial/antiarchaeological and

Mo said...

Regarding "Candy and Legs" (it does sound a bit cartoon like). Perhaps "Legs" is one of the dogs. I agree it is pathetic.

I think that a real legal secretary would have had the nouse not to make quasi libelous comments.

Anyway joking apart the answer that came back from Ed Vaizey gave quite a lot of information that I was aready aware of and I have posted below the last part of the email.

"As you may know, the existing definition of Treasure was drawn up after consultation and approved by Parliament during the passage of the Treasure Act 1996 (the Act) and the Treasure (Designation) Order 2002, which amended the Act. The Government would only seek to introduce further amendments if there was agreement of the need for this amongst those with the relevant expertise, following a public consultation. Any amending legislation would need to be approved by Parliament. At the time of the previous consultation, extending the definition of treasure to cover all items of archaeological significance was considered but not recommended as it would have been unmanageable with the staffing levels at relevant national and local museums at the time.

However, in the next year or so, we will be revising The Treasure Act Code of Practice and looking at the definition of Treasure contained in the Act. We will be conducting a public consultation on this, which will be posted on the DCMS website. You are welcome to feed in your comments into the review when this takes place."

So we will have the opportunity to make comments on this site when the review takes place.

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