Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Cost of Buckingham Ersatz Archaeology to us all

Metal detectorist John Winter apparently wants to help his fellow detectorist hoard-finder Paul Coleman sell the country's cultural heritage back to the public whose heritage it is, perhaps he'll be joined in this by the landowner who profited from selling tickets to a commercial rally so outsiders could loot a known site with earthworks preserved in pasture, at great cost to the country's buried archaeological heritage. He suggests that tekkies "HELP SAVE THE HOARD".
Remember, only after it has been formerly declared ‘Treasure’, will the County Museum have the opportunity to acquire the hoard, but it won’t be free [unless it is decided that in the case of careless destruction of archaeological information in its hasty recovery, the discretionary reward will be witheld, and the public collection can obtain the hoard for free] . The final value hasn’t yet been decided. but it’s likely to be substantial. The Museum will be able to apply for much of he cost as grants, but still need to raise a significant amount locally.[...]  The coroner’s inquest is being held on the 2nd November 2015.
Only in Britain would a "substantial" reward be offered for damaging the archaeological record on a known archaeological site. Here in Poland you'd go to jail for it (the archaeologist too if she'd failed to get the permit paperwork done before she began digging, or at least she'd never work again if that video came out showing the standard of excavation done on that permit). It strikes me that a few more jail sentences in the UK might get artefact hunters thinking a bit more carefully where their responsibilities really lie.

1 comment:

Paul Barford said...

heritageaction ( has left a new comment on your post "Cost-Cutting Ersatz Archaeology in Buckingham":

Mr Winter wants to know what others think. I think there are two lies here, both of which will of course have been entirely lost on his colleagues.

First, the Bucks poster says "You too can help save the hoard". Not true. It's quite secure. That's a marketing ploy that has been used in recent years on the basis that hoards should stay in the area where found. God knows why that should make any sense at all, it never used to be considered essential, but it's a good way of getting people to donate - and ultimately to prop up a scheme that gives more than their just deserts to detectorists and was conceived not to reward them but to encourage them against their previous criminality.

Second, on the video, the Treasure Registrar tells the public (and the taxpayer) that PAS MAKES SURE that ALL finds are recorded. What a dreadful and damaging untruth, he should be very ashamed.

Meanwhile, Mr Winter and his tittering followers make light of it all.

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