Thursday, 5 January 2012

Gary Nurkin on a US PAS-Clone

OK, I admit that I am not exactly fully compos mentis at four in the morning when in dashing off an answer to a comment on another blog I unjustly accused Gary Nurkin (name seemed familiar) of being a black-hat guy. My sincere apologies, how embarrassing. But Professor Nurkin's [nevertheless good-natured] comment in reply seems worth highlighting. As we know, there are thousands (?) of "collectors' rights" advocates (the coiney ones) over in the States demanding other nations set up a PAS-clone system to accommodate them. I challenged them to agitate for one first being set up there in the US for the local collectors [pot-diggers, arrowhead hunters, privy diggers, battlefield hooverers, grave robbers] as I often do - always without any response. This time Dr Nurkin came back with exactly the response I want to hear from the US:
I am hoping that PAS or PAS like approaches will not be adopted in the US because I fear that such schemes may result in wanton destruction of archaeological sites for the benefit of a few metal detectionists rather than the proper excavation of such sites by trained archaeologists.
And that, if US archaeologists have been doing their public outreach at all well, is the response I would hope we'd see from the decent folk among the population of the USA. Artefact hunting is the trashing of sites for the entertainment and profit of a selfish minority,, the PAS does not protect sites, but profits from their erosion and destruction. This is a distinction that however is beyond the comprehension of the average US collector of dugups, and the PAS is doing absolutely nothing (as "outreach") to present any information which would conflict with the view proposed by the ACCG and groups in the no-questions-asked collecting and trading milieu of allied aims. .

I will try and get up here over the weekend a proper response to Raymund Karl's "Highway to Hell" text which is at the root of a lot of confusion.

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