FOI request from the British Museum will discussing the information about the contents of the PAS hidden forum and the type of 'Discussion of Portable Antiquities and Treasure Issues' it reveals.
A bit of background, the PAS once had a forum for interacting with the members of the public and all those interested in the work of the scheme. This was sabotaged by the bad behaviour of metal detectorists (see below) and "closed" - at least that is what the PAS told the audience. I began to have doubts about the veracity of what the PAS had said when two types of unusual activity on my blog suggested that there was indeed a secret PAS forum, not accessible to the public who pay for it and that FLOs were reading posts on my blog, but publicly saying nothing in reply to the issues raised. Then at the end of last year the PAS admitted that they did indeed have a secret forum. So, what there was being said about the issues raised on this blog? Christopher Denvir the BM's Information Manager was informed only about three forum threads in the period 21st May 2012 to the 26th January 2015 (the date the request was received).
Take a look at a PAS job advert for a FLO, there are always a few in the internet. One of the requirements for many of them is "awareness of the issues concerning portable antiquities" (in general). That is one of their job requirements, which makes sense if they are to be interacting with all manner of people on the issues affecting the handling of portable antiquities. One therefore might expect some discussion on their forum on these issues, how to deal with a certain type of question/ situation. One might expect the sharing of information of stuff they've read, a controversial view for example. To be honest I would have thought that if a load of other people not connected at all with archaeology some of them, are reading this blog and taking away some thoughts on portable antiquity collecting (and heritage) issues, the FLOs might have visited from time to time. If they did, it seems from what they write about on their forum, none of them found anything here of any value to them. So what have they discussed? There are three topicsdiscussed in three separate post below:
Topic D: The Planted Fibula (8th November 2013),
Topic E: 'Grand Stirrup Master' is Badly Treated and Gets Revenge,
Topic K 24th -27th December 2014 Comforting Words over the Lenborough Fiasco.