Wednesday, 14 September 2011

"Britain's Secret Treasures" Out This Month? Or Next Year?

The news about this programme broke here with a shocking leaked email from PAS central office about ongoing discussions. The reaction of the archaeological forums to the person reporting it and suggesting it merited serious discussion was to ignore it completely (CBA's Britarch forum) or to dismiss the document as a spoof and ridicule me for mentioning it (BAJRFed forum). Unlike British archaeologists, the French organization Happah took the problem seriously: Quand le British Museum fait la promotion de la chasse au trésor. Eventually, in February RESCUE wrote to Roger Bland about it (apparently without a reply).

In March I was contacted by a journalist who was writing about the programme and supplied him with some of the background information. Jonathan Owen's article "Anger as TV show endorsesmetal-detecting 'plunderers'..." appeared in the Independent at the beginning of April. In April BAJRFed rediscovered the topic, but discussion there did not get very far beyond superficialities again though. It was also discussed over on at least one detecting forum - you can see this bit without registering.

By July (despite the earlier assurances that the PAS had 'binned' the proposal) it was in production, with emails being sent out by researcher Sinaed Fox at ITV to metal detecting clubs (such as the Selsey Searchers and the Solent Metal Detecting Club). It was revealed that the presenters will be "eminent historian Bettany Hughes and journalist and news reader Michael Buerke". In August there was still no reaction from the British archaeological establishment.

Neither does it seem it has been announced by the TV company. It might be on the air soon though. FlyingTV aerial imaging announce on their website: This month you can see our work on ITV's [...] Secret Treasures. but this may be a separate programme under this hackneyed title as a metal detectorist whose finds were filmed tells his mates to look out for his fibulies in the spring of 2012.

The relation of these two videos (here and here) involving Ms Hughes (wearing an Early Slavic style lunula pendant) recently produced by Component Grapics is unclear; metal detecting heritage heroes save Britain from the Nazis?


Pam Braddock said...

How can this be allowed to happen? All archaeologists in this country should be speaking out against this rape of our heritage instead of just rolling over and letting it go on....

Paul Barford said...

Welcome Pam, nice to hear from you.

Rolling over is what they are used to doing. It was not always like that.

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