Sunday, 1 March 2015

Mission Accomplished?

Andrew: Roger Bland's talk on made me think, isn't the PAS doing well?
I rather think that was probably what the aim of the talk was. But is it? In terms of what the PAS was originally set up to do, did Dr Bland highlight or play down the shortfall in finds made by metal detectorists annually and the number they actually record?  Is "one in four" actually "doing well"? (one hospital bed within a year for every four people that need one, the rest dying untreated outside the system because there are no beds?). I think supporters of the PAS have a warped idea of what doing well should mean when it relates to the mindless erosion of a huge area of the archaeological heritage and what we do about it. Since the PAS was set up and started calling itself a "success" and all artefact hunters "responsible", its own figures reveal that less than one in four hoiked finds are being recorded, and an estimated total of 3 611 880 recordable finds have vanished into artefact hunters pockets and some ended up by now in skips without any kind of proper record. When such information is irreplaceable, can that be seen as a "success" anywhere else than Bonkers Britain?

Can we really not aspire to doing a little bit better than this? Can we not at least discuss it? Can PAS imagine how much damage uncritical acceptance of their spin  is doing outside Britain to the efforts of others to protect the remains of the past from Collection-Driven exploitation?

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