Friday, 2 November 2012

BM's Treasure Statistics 2010 and 2011.

The British Museum Treasure Unit has recently published the statistics on the progress of mandatory reporting in England, Wales and Northern Ireland of items falling under the Treasure Act in  2010 (and the headline number for 2011).

The report sets out the latest figures for reported treasure finds for the 12 months to December 2010.

Key messages

  • In 2011 970 finds of Treasure were reported. The equivalent number for 2010 was 860.
  • In 2010 86 parties waived their right to a reward in 70 cases of Treasure, allowing them to be acquired by museums at no (or reduced) public cost.
 So, more and more of Britain's buried heritage is being hoiked out and put on sale. The number of reward waivers is still as regrettably low as in previous years. The numbers of hoards dug up have been rising steadily for the past couple of years, no sign yet of this expansion of Treasure Hunting reaching a plateau value.

Personally I think the PAS are avoiding at least THREE "key messages" here. The first is "how much is this Treasure Hunting all costing"? The second is "how many of these items are being pulled from undisturbed archaeological contexts below plough level?" and the third is "when will this all STOP?". Frankly, I do not think the PAS is ready to answer any of those questions and a few more one could think of.

Note also that the press release is followed by a little box "Be the first to comment on this news story", and has anybody? Do people really care any more about what the PAS is up to? Have they not lost touch really with the public with whom they were supposed to be interacting? They may try to exclude so-called archaeological "trolls" from posting comments, but then where are the rest? This really is eginning to look just a bit pathetic.

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