Friday, 19 September 2014

Knell on the PAS

David Knell has a few interesting comments (Friday, 19 September 2014, 'A few thoughts on the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS)') including the following, with which I am in total agreement:
I would urge the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), as a government organisation in the front line of the situation, to do a better job at getting the conservation message across [...] There seems to be a common misconception that the mission of the PAS is to encourage and foster metal detecting for its own sake. It is not. [...] I think the word 'partnership' is an unfortunate choice of vocabulary. I suspect the PAS meant the word to convey merely taking part in something but a large number of detectorists apparently interpret it as meaning far more: that they are equal to the trained professionals. Sadly, what those professionals actually do seems to be utterly lost on the more braindead members of the hobby, many of whom are under the impression that 'archaeology' is just about digging up objects [...] Thus, we witness the abysmal stupidity of claims such as that made by James Warr. There are undoubtedly perceptive detectorists out there but it is clear that a large proportion of them are anything but. [...] the PAS faces an uphill struggle - and I would like to see them spend more time on explaining the pitfalls of the hobby and less time on condoning its sensationalisation.
I would add to that, let the PAS start at last telling it like it is, with a bit more transparency and detail in presenting the results of "outreach" to artefact hunters compared with other groups of the public and an openness in their presentation which seems to me to be rather difficult to find at the moment.

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