Monday, 18 January 2016

PAS Hurrah !!!... Er....

Hurrah for PAS, Yay!
Portable Antiquities Backslapping:
17 godz.17 godzin temu Bury Saint Edmunds, England Wow, our team just recorded the 30,000th from Suffolk!!!
Oh good. But that is . That means that coins make up half or the "archaeological record" produced by a collecting activity. Coins do not make up half the finds assemblages on any archaeological site anybody I know has ever dug. Where is the pottery in the Suffolk PAS database, and why only one item specifically connected with "food preparation"? (not to mention complete absence of other types of archaeological evidence one would normally expect from a range of East Anglian sites.)  This is surely a hugely biased "sample". The truth is artefact hunters are no more "amateur archaeologists" than collectors of costume Barbie dolls ethnographers. I doubt there will be any archaeologists coming on here to debate that point with me and present a different point of view to my readers. Come on all you PAS supporters. Support them. Stand up for your beliefs - if you do believe in PAS and are not treating it as a mere convenience.

UPDATE 19th Jan 2016
Well, nobody has yet ventured over here to defend the PAS records as "data", but Jude Plouviez answered my "is that rather not rather a biased picture of the region's "archaeology"?" with a timid tweet:
1 godz.1 godzinę temu
. PAS is a sample, Suffolk's archaeology is better seen in the HER
Whoah.... a sample is a subset of information from a larger population that is collected and analyzed in order to make inferences. Obviously in order for that sample to reflect the population well, it has to fulfil certain criteria. Basically if the sample is rthe result of the selection process concentrating on a certain kind of information, then the saqmple is not a representative one. The only thing it can be used to infer is therefore about the selection process. The PAS "sample" can tell us about collectors ("they like coins because with pictures and writing on them, they are really simple to understand") but - apart from the pretty basic information that "some of them contained some coins" - not much about the archaeological populations of the sites from which these isolated objects were hoiked. If the Portable Antiquities Scheme was set up to inform us about collecting habits, then let us see them do that. If however it was set up to provide archaeological information about the sites trashed by artefact hunters as a form of mitigation, this form of "sampling:" is obviously the wrong way to go about it. Innit?

Oh, but before we go, do let us search the Suffolk HER for "coins" - oddly we get just 384 records, including single findspots. Eh? Where are the other 29500?   So in what way is this a "better view" of what we know of the archaeological record of Suffolk and the place of coin finds within it? That is just plain ridiculous.

Update Update 23rd Jan 2016
Pretty quiet here, innit? NO archaeologists coming over here to defend the notion that their "partners" are creating useful data? None at all?


James said...

"NO archaeologists coming over here to defend the notion that their "partners" are creating useful data? None at all?"

Perhaps that's because no archaeologists read this tripe? Just a thought!

James said...

"NO archaeologists coming over here to defend the notion that their "partners" are creating useful data? None at all?"

Perhaps this is because no serious academics read this tripe or want to comment on it? Just a thought!

Paul Barford said...

See what it says up there at the top? On a big orange banner: "Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues". What you mean is that no "serious academics" or heritage professionals, museum staff, fieldworkers, consultants or anyone else engaged in working with the archaeological heritage thinks it is at all worth looking at what is being said in the English language social media about Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues? They all have their heads buried in the sand and look the other way you mean? My point precisely.

So, show me where THEY discuss these issues in the public forum.

Can you? Can you show us the alternative forum of debate?

The point is though that not a single archaeologist has come over here to tell my readers (quite a few of them weekly) that what I write here is "tripe", have they? Is that not rather neglectful of them? Where is their "outreach"?

Come on archies, why is what Paul Barford writes here "tripe"?

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