Friday, 7 December 2012

"Preserved Properly"

In the above text I discuss a blog post by Culture Minister Ed Vaisey, where he describes archaeological artefacts as being "properly preserved". I would like to know what is actually meant by that term. Is there a definition produced by the DCMS (or English heritage) for example which actually lays down standards for "proper preservation" of  archaeological artefacts above-ground whether they be in public collections or archives, or private collections?  What are the minimum standards that British heritage bodies and authorities consider cannot be lowered if one is to talk of "proper prerservation"? How frequently do the ephemeral personal collections of ten thousand metal detector using artefact hunters meet those minimum standards, and how many reach the optimum standards - equivalent to the better public collections and archives? It seems to me that without such definitions and information on how frequently they are actually met, it would be rash to claim that the "vast majority" of these collectors in Britain are ensuring "proper preservation". I find it notable that for all this talk, there is no section on the PAS website for example (run by a big MUSEUM for goodness' sake) which deals with the principles of collection management - with any links or literature. In that case, I really cannot see what grounds the british Culture Minister has for his claim, which remains as baseless as a lot of things ssaid abouyt artefact hunting in the UK by the supporters of the PAS. When are we going to see the British public getting real information for public money

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