Sunday, 29 January 2012

STOP Restarts: About Time Too!

A British Heritage organization is taking up the call which shirking British archaeologists shrank away from nearly two decades ago. They have started up "A NEW “Stop Taking Our Past” campaign – this time with universal support!". The “Stop Taking Our Past” (STOP) heritage Campaign of the 1970s failed to align British laws with those in the rest of the world which curb unstructured artefact hunting.
Hence anyone in England and Wales can still legally dig up and keep almost anything and tell no-one – and thousands do. It’s hard to see the status quo changing soon as it’s supported on three massive pillars: inertia, reluctance to admit Britain’s mistake and defence of vested interests. The first two have weakened in recent years but the third grows ever more blatant.

Despite the pat-on-the-head PAS approach, "the damage that prompted the original STOP campaign continues unabated. Most finds still go unreported and our past is still being taken". Nobody can therefore deny that for as long as Britain chooses not to regulate the activity a NEW “Stop Taking Our Past” campaign is needed. HA argues that no archaeologist could fail to support it if this time it calls not for an end to detecting but an end to non-reporting.

We will see if their optimism is justified. I'd suggest they email a link to the campaign announcement to the fifty or so PAS employees and the Bloomsbury head office and ask the Scheme whether or not it will promote the campaign.

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