Monday, 8 September 2014

Adding UK Treasure Finds to PAS Database Extra-Legal?

We have see that PAS is busily adding Treasure items to its database in order to bulk out the figures. The PAS database has however a specific function. The Treasure process is operated under completely different regulations. According to the "Treasure Act 1996" of 4th July 1996, [1996 c. 24] there is only one type of reporting of Treasure finds required by the law  "As soon as reasonably practicable after each anniversary of the coming into force of this section, the Secretary of State shall lay before Parliament a report on the operation of this Act in the preceding year".

This is the only form of reporting of the Treasure process allowed for and required by British law.

The Treasure Act does not at any time mention the Portable Antiquities Scheme or Finds Liaison officers employed by the PAS acting in any way as a deputy or substitute for the official designated by the Act or by separate order by the Secretary of State. As the law stands, the PAS clearly has no legal part in the Treasure process.

The composition and means of compilation, organization and funding of the Portable Antiquities Scheme are not governed by any law. The PAS however was created  because the British government recognized that most archaeological finds remained outside the remit of the Treasure Act. The PAS was therefore set up for the voluntary reporting of all archaeological finds outside the scope of the Act. So why are Treasure items now being "recorded" (I use the term loosely) alongside non-Treasure items.

The resources allocated to the recording on non-Treasure items by the PAS should not be used for the recording of Treasure items which fall under the remit of a totally different organization regulated by separate statutory measures. The Treasure  Process is to be reported in a separate report submitted to Parliament, not a website thrown in among other stuff not deriving from the operation of the Treasure Act. What the PAS are doing is in no way compliant with the existing law, and is an unnecessary drain on the resources being allocated to the PAS.

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