Saturday, 6 September 2014

PAS to give correct advice to Farmers - but not about Establishing Title

Heritage Action are pleased to announce that notice is at last being taken of a problem they first pointed out several years ago: 'PAS to give correct advice to farmers at last!'
PAS is to revise its Guidance for Landowners, substituting its weak comment “landowners may wish to see the objects” with a strong warning: “ask to see all archaeological finds”
They'd do even better if they were to advise them also to sign off each object, so that the new owner's title to sell is documented - something nighthawks cannot do. This would be in line with the recommendations of the April 2009 Oxford Nighthawking Report (page 110):
 Illegal Sales: Implement changes recently introduced in Europe which increases the obligation on sellers of antiquities to provide provenances and establish legal title, and urge eBay to introduce more stringent monitoring of antiquities with a UK origin offered for sale on their website, as they have done with Germany, Switzerland and Austria. 11.1.11 Nighthawking is carried out primarily for monetary gain and eliminating the market for illegal antiquities is essential in tackling the problem. [...] The PAS will promote these issues
Well, actually, are they? Who has seen any evidence of them doing this in the five years (6.6 million pounds) since that report with its recommendations was published? Anyone? Go on, pull the other one. The ONLY thing the PAS took notice of at the time of publication was that the report's authors suggested that "nighthawking was down" (it probably isn't) and that they said this was due to the PAS (since its probably not in decline such a simplistic interpreteation is falsified). Let us see some proper archaeological outreach from the PAS about finder-collectors establishing legal title to things found.

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