Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Metal detecting: is there a role for “barricades”?

Where is your line in the sand?
In a timely post, Heritage Action ask "Metal detecting: is there a role for “barricades”?"
Some archaeologists are a bit confused about what constitutes constructive engagement with artefact hunters and what comprises destructive engagement with them. David Connolly of BAJR probably springs to most peoples minds in this connection and sure enough he has just attacked us for “continued barricade building” regarding artefact hunting. [...] (by which he and we must mean lines in the sand beyond which no archaeologist should go)  [...] televised populist nonsense is no substitute for simply standing up for what’s right. Presenting pig’s ears as silk purses is not the way to protect the archaeological resource.
We may assume from past behaviour that Mr Connolly will not be allowing any substantive discussion of that on his group's Facebook page or BAJR Forum. he is however perfectly welcome to debate it here or Heritage Journal in the comments if he disagrees with what Heritage Action and myself have been said about the constructive way forward when all the evidence suggests that continued, damaging and costly laissez-faire "partnership" and liaison is destined to achieve in the long term little more than desultory collaboration and understanding of best practice among the bulk of UK artefact hunters. I am sure I am not the only person reading this blog who finds it difficult to understand how anyone can look at what is (actually) happening and believe otherwise, maybe Mr Connolly can help us understand. Can he any more than the PAS can?


heritageaction said...

No, he's not welcome on the Journal. For two reasons:

1. He's been, and told us we didn't understand.

2. We have a rule, there's no point in anyone who doesn't agree with legal control of metal detecting coming onto a pro-conservation website to argue for "no control".
(A number of detectorists DO believe there should be control - which makes Mr Connolly, who is an archaeologist, look a tad amazing.)

Paul Barford said...

OK, noted and fixed. As I said, it seems only fair to give him a chance (one he does not extend to others) to explain his point of view. Obviously merely claiming [like so many sad detectorists and coin collectors] that he is a "victim of misunderstanding" is not really what I had in mind. Anyway, the invitation is open.

heritageaction said...

PS, of course, if he acknowledges control IS urgently needed, like various detectorists do, he'll be welcome.

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