Friday, 22 August 2014

More on "The Question the Conservationists Cannot Answer"

Metal detectorists frequently show the
position they are standing in
The detectorist who-now-claims-he-understands-the-conservationist-viewpoint now claims he has the a social mandate to carry on as before:
If amateur metal detecting was so bad and we were destroying so much archaeological history then surely there would be uproar (I dont just mean a few archaeo-bloggers) from any non detectorist. For a start we wouldn't have been graced with the PAS scheme also metal detecting would be banned unless conducted by archaeology professionals.
I really do not know why these people think that if something is not banned outright, it must be OK. (At the moment), nobody much is talking about banning the hobby. I've been pointing this out for years (PACHI Sunday, 27 July 2008, 'Beware of the Bogeyman Banner') and still you have half-brain semi-literates claiming the opposite. Where is their evidence?

First of all "we" (they) were not "graced by" a PAS. This was set up for ALL members of the public. It-is-not-a-scheme-for-metal-detectorists. It-is-not-a-scheme-for-legitimising-metal-detectorists. It is a Scheme for recording archaeological finds made by non-archaeologists: Andy, Cindy, Baz, Mohammed, Tadeusz, Simon-down-the-pub and my Mum. I really do not know why people with metal detectors cannot see that they are just a part of the British public. Who told them the Scheme was just for them? Who, actually disabused them of that idea when the tekkies were trolling the public forum of the PAS? (Rhetorical, to their eternal shame and damnation, the wimpy PAS dared not say 'boo!' to them, and they still don't ["you done well"]).

Metal detecting is not against the law. What we (all of us) ask, all we ask, is that metal detecting artefact collectors think about what they are doing, and try their hardest to record what is to be recorded and do it properly, and strive at all times for a standard that really can be called 'best practice'. That is the bargain British archaeology has tried to make with these people, this is the bargain the brits have ploughed no end of resources into. That is the bargain that oafs like Mr Baines are consistently failing to acknowledge. Baines reveals here that he sees the existence of a PAS as giving the lot of them a carte blanche to turn their backs totally on the voices of the conservationists ("I am sorry to say I dont agree with them"). The  PAS, Mr Baines, is staffed by nobody else. That's what they are trying to do. Now, either artefact hunters like Mr Baines are going to accept that and behave accordingly, or the British government can quite easily save a few million quid and free up some office space by just pulling the plug, it is not so difficult to see with heritage cuts left right and centre that they could be very close to doing that at a not-too-distant spending review.
"one million objects!" Whoopee - where are the missing eleven million, just under half of them 5,133,985lost since the start of the Portable Antiquities Scheme ?
I guess though, thinking about what they are doing, actually coming up with reasoned arguments about why I dont agree with conservation is not exactly the forte of the guys that take up a metal detector.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

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