No sooner do I get a post up here about the "Hunters Events" business venture than loopy Californian antiquities dealer Dave Welsh puts up on his own antiquitist micro-forum (A mistaken perspective) his own reaction to the comments of "Paul Barford, self-styled expatriate British archaeologist" on this commercial organization:
Mr. Barford's perspective appears to be solely based upon what he conceives to be the interests of archaeology. That which he seems to support his view of these interests is good, and that which contravenes his view of these interests is bad. Not only is this perspective essentially parochial, it also apparently makes little or no sense to many distinguished archaeologists with well documented and impressive credentials, for example the archaeologist who heads the British PAS.two things really, like it or not, the perspective of this blog is the conservation of the archaeological record in the face of its erosive commercial exploitation to serve the predominantly no-questions-asked antiquities market. Whether or not that is a "mistaken perspective" (as the dealer representing a voice in that same no-questions-asked market would have it) I leave up to readers to decide. Personally I think (as the topic of the blog indicates) that it is a perfectly valid perspective and one I feel an important one.
Secondly I firmly believe that, distinguished or not, if he believes this perspective is a mistaken one, the "archaeologist with well documented and impressive credentials who heads the British PAS" (British archaeology's largest public outreach organization) is wrong. Wholly wrong. I and others are prepared to debate that with him, but it should be noted that there was recently an excellent occasion to do this in the pages of the UCL Institute of Archaeology's forum on David Gill's (another distinguished archaeologist with well documented and impressive credentials) thoughts on the matter. Roger Bland (who is primarily a numismatist rather than an archaeologist), however, declined to take part in this debate.
In Welsh's place though I would be wary of putting words in Bland's mouth, that particular question is one that, distinguished or not, Roger Bland seems unwilling to address in any detail himself. Putting the question of priority of site conservation over the exploitive activities of the PAS' "partners" the UK artefact hunters has until now elicited a response no louder than the cooing of the Bloomsbury Square pigeons.