Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Focus on the CCPIA: England's Portable Antiquities Heritage in Action

Another CCPIA public comment, focusing on PAS 'spin' and Dr Karl's recent discussion paper about Austrian legislation, which plays right into the hands of people like this:
"Lastly, it has been demonstrated in both England and in Austria that lessening restrictions increases reporting and decreases looting while increasing restrictions has the opposite effect. Therefore, import restrictions will only increase the risk to cultural property and should not be implemented".
Point of fact in Austria Dr Karl did not write of "increasing looting" as he calls the metal detectorists "amateur archaeologists". Once again the author of this text fails to note that "reporting of finds" has no relation to any export of cultural property, licit or illicit. There is absolutely nothing in the literature that assesses the effects of PAS (for example) outreach and the number of dugup artefacts being illicitly exported (either through the post, or in the pockets of participants of 'metal detecting holidays') from the United Kingdom.

Once again, the silence of the PAS over these issues is having its usual damaging effect, people are getting the wrong end of the stick over what it is, and what it is not. What kind of "archaeological outreach" is it delivering? Is its efforts to appease the looters in order that they come forward with some of what they have taken not doing more damage to public opinion than "good"?

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