Sunday, 13 January 2013

Not a Whimper from British Archaeologists

Heritage Action ('Judge embarrasses archaeos') have spotted this:
Speaking during the trial of some nighthawks in Northampton, Judge Richard Bray regretted they could only be prosecuted for Theft and said “I think there should be some form of cultural heritage act which could be used to protect sites of archaeological importance”. He has a huge point. If you steal something of cultural importance that happens to be worth only tuppence the only crime you’ve committed is the crime of stealing tuppence, whereas the harm you’ve caused can be immense. So who can argue? There should be a specific offence of cultural theft. Trouble is, ALL metal detecting without reporting what you find would need to be included. [...] What remains to be seen though is whether the Archaeological Establishment gets behind his call or whether it defends the right of metal detectorists to be free to choose whether they steal historical knowledge or not.
That was posted a couple of days ago. So how many British archaeologists have been saying, "yes, yes, that's what we think too"?  Do we take it from the silence that British archaeologists are all, every lady/man-jack of them perfectly happy with the law as it stands, or jobsworths too apathetic or scared to speak out?

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