Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Book Chapter: Halte au Pillage

Some time ago I was invited to contribute to Halte au Pillage! - a collaborative book by authors based throughout Europe, which addresses the issues connected with the preservation of the archaeological heritage from the depravations caused by mining archaeological sites as a source of commercially attractive collectables. It is a call for policies to oppose this resource-damaging practice. The book (edited by Gregory Compagnon) was recently launched in Paris and apparently has been well received.

I was tempted to write about my usual hobby horse topic, the UK's approach to so-called "metal detecting" but I knew Heritage Action's Nigel Swift was also planning on covering that topic and I knew he would write a competent account - which he did, It is titled “Fantaisies, fictions et faussetés : quelques tristes réalités derrière la coopération entre « metal detectorists » et archéologues en Grande Bretagne” (it is in a section called “Le scandale des détecteurs de métaux”). I hope he publishes the English version of this text somewhere, not more than a few UK "metal detectorists" can barely read and write their own language, so any hopes they can cope with getting to grips with his arguments in a French one are a bit unlikely. Not of course that these people are at all interested in why there are criticisms of current British policies on artefact hunting anyway.

Looking at the conspectus it struck me that I should attempt to fill in a gap in its coverage and attempt to summarise what's happening in Eastern Europe. It struck me that as far as I was aware, there was not such a summary in print anywhere, so I set out to write one. The effects are the text "commerce de vestiges archeologiques dans l'est de l'Europe" pp 137-146 which was useful in getting my thoughts in order. I might try to get a longer version out later on in Polish.

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