Thursday, 25 September 2014

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Unplumbed Depths of Lack of Understanding

My comments about a news item in the public domain about how artefact hunters had treated an archaeological site over the weekend are still driving detectorists into paroxysms of ignorant denial. Another gem is what a  Yorkshire metal detectorist writes, apparently in all sincerity, resulting from the limitations of PAS outreach in that part of England:
when average Joe public steps into a museum what is it that takes his imagination the urn full of bronze and silver roman coins or the card at the side that says what the archaeologists think may of (sic) happened, bearing in mind the majority of archaeology is guesswork[?]
This is what happens when instead of providing proper information when a loose object is being discussed, the Portable Antiquities Scheme all-too-frequently comes out with a piece of trite narrativisation in a dumb-down attempt to make it seem 'relevant'. "This razor showed people shaved in the past", "this toy soldier shows that Scotland is a natural part of the Union" and so on. Even the thickest metal detectorists - who cannot even formulate a grammatical sentence - can work out that this is just so much pseudo-academic fluff, worth nothing. In this as in other things, the PAS single-handedly is doing the public image of our discipline a very grave disfavour at a time when British archaeology least needs it. What is their strategy for dealing with this problem in the framework of their "outreach"?

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