Thursday, 28 June 2012

New Apointment in the BM

The British Museum advertised recently for "a specialist of academic distinction to provide leadership to and to manage the department of Prehistory and Europe, overseeing the curation of the department’s extensive collections, covering artefacts from the earliest human activity to materials from the present day. The role will involve directing and overseeing the department’s curatorial and academic work, including research and overseas fieldwork and excavations".

Congratulations are due to Dr Roger Bland who it is being reported on metal detecting forums was appointed to this post from 23 July. This apparently means that the Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure will now be merged with the Department of Prehistory and Europe (perhaps "Department of Prehistoric and European Treasures"?). This may well spell the beginning of the end of the PAS as we know it.

While it existed as an independent entity within the Museum, it had the same relationship to the various departments: Department of Prehistory and Europe, Department of Greece and Rome, Department of Coins and Medals, and Medieval and Later (is that still a department?). All sorts of organizational changes will have to be made when it is part of just one of them, especially as it is the one which (due to what artefact hunters hunt for, collect and report) is currently represented by the smallest number of finds in the database.

From my own point of view, I am a bit worried that through new closer association with this department, this also means the "PAS message" (the PAS legend) is going to get more forcefully propagated in Europe, we've already seen the beginnings of that and (despite what PAS supporters think and say) I think it is ultimately damaging. Vignette: Roger Bland, Head of the PAS

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