David Gill ('Micropasts and issues with PAS data', Friday, November 7, 2014) was at the Society of Museum Archaeology annual conference in Colchester where there was a presentation by Dr Neil Wilkin of the Micropasts project and the use of crowd sourcing.
At one point Wilkin appeared to have to defend the intellectual reliability of the data provided by PAS. I think that he is right to be cautious. How far can we trust the information supplied with the reported objects? Are these largely reported or "said to be" findspots? Is the PAS information triangulated by more secure information from the Micropasts project? And what about all the unreported finds?These are both issues at the centre of my own questioning of what the PAS is actaully achieving, questions which the PAS has consistently avoided addressing. As far as I know there is absolutely zero requirement by the Scheme for finders to present a document signed by the landowner giving them title to the objects they present (and freedom to allow to be photographed and report), even though the use of such documents was recommended by the Nighthawking report as best practice to cut down the presentation of products of illegal artefact hunting as licit finds. How can one defend the intellectual reliability of PAS data in such circumstances? The approach adopted in the PAS own 'Guidelines for researchers' (which I will be properly reviewing when I have time) is excruciatingly simplistic, and with its curious reliance on Schiffer for the token 'theory', so 'seventies'.
See here now:
'PAS Finally Try to Estimate Scale of Non-Reported MD Hoiking (1), but Can't Even Manage to Present that Properly', PACHI 11 November 2014.
PAS Finally Try to Estimate Scale of Non-Reported MD Hoiking (2), Beach Detecting'. PACHI 11 November 2014.