Friday, 22 January 2016

UK Artefact Hunters Want to Establish Hegemony to Threaten European Archaeological Heritage - and British Museum's PAS is Party to it

leading Europe's
detectorists to victory
Trevor Austin
Britain exports its metal detecting artefact pocketers to foreign parts, France Spain, even some come to Poland. In disregard of the actual content of local laws they feel they should be allowed to do abroad what they can do at home (but themselves would be among the last to afford the same rights to Britain's many Muslim guests).  Efforts have long been in train to promote the expansion of the "English disease" through changes in the legislation. Among these are efforts to set up a "European Council for Metal Detecting" (ECMD).  This seems to have its origins in the creation in late 2011 by a number of Spanish artefact hunting associations which came together to create the FEDD Federación Española de Detección Deportiva (strangely echoing the title of a proposed volume discussed here earlier) aiming to change legislation in Spain and other countries of the European Union.  They see the National Council for Metal Detecting as their role model.
una nueva y renovada Federación Española, con el fin de seguir todos por el mismo camino, un camino bien trazado y con un propósito común, conseguir una legislación para España y el resto de los países de la Unión Europea. Después de muchas reuniones hemos conseguido firmar un acuerdo con el National Council for Metal Detecting, para formar una Federación Europea, ya que para nosotros son el ejemplo a seguir y nuestro referente por los acuerdos y beneficios conseguidos por y para su país,
Other meetings were held with Bulgarian metal detectorists (in Lovech) towards the same ends. Here is a letter from the NCMD [Националният Съвет по Метал-детектинг]  to the Bulgarian National Federation for Metal-detecting [Българска Национална Федерация по Металдетектинг] in March 2014

This explicitly envisages the British National Council for Metal Detecting having a leading role in the new organization, and  expresses the hope that European artefact hunting and collecting organizations
can help establish a working relationship with their respective governments, the eventual aim being to to encourage the type of co-operation and recording of finds that has been so successful [sic] here in the UK [...] and with the power to advocate reform and influence existing National [sic] legislation. [...] The promotion of the benefits of the "English Model" will be a key factor in achieving these goals   
Of course the function of antiquities preservation legislation is not merely to ensure things are recorded (we have article 2 and 3 of the Valetta Convention for that - the very ones the UK rejected).  Laughably - bearing in mind the British NCMD's own pathetic record in this respect, and that of British artefact hunters in general - this is followed by:
It is hoped this can be achieved through reasoned debate and promotion of the hobby within each member country [...] following the guidance of the Council [...] change is possible by way of education, constructive criticism and comparison, and the use of existing levers for reform and harmonisation of national laws.
To do that, surely, this "council" will have to understand the specific issues and their specific context in each country. That the NCMD buffoons cannot even achieve back home in England. They have not the foggiest.

In June 2014, a meeting was held at the House of Culture of the City of Quintanar del Rey attended by representatives of the Spanish associations and Trevor Austin (Secretary General of the National Council for Metal Detecting NCMD). The first meeting of the ECMD was set to be held in the first half of 2015. This was to bring together artefact hunters not only from England and Spain, but also France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Germany. In the event this never took place. But the meeting now looks set to be held - where else - but in England, Birmingham to be precise in the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport 16th-17th April 2016 and guess who is sponsoring it? Minelab  as metal detector sellers who are very keen to get artefact huntuing legalised in countries where up to now the archaeological heritage has been protected from exploitation by collectors by laws. The conference wants to create conditions for arguing for a total overthrow of those laws, allowing a heritage free-for-all (with "recording" to make it all OK).

The Irish campaigners (Liam "we do not sell our finds" Nolan among them) attended the PASt Conference at the British Museum in November which produced lots of ideas about "how we could get detecting recognised as a valid method of discovering our past".
The PAS is having to change its ways of doing things as their own budget has shrunk and so they launched the PAS Volunteers, detectorists who either "buddy up" with a Finds Liaison Officer - FLO - as a FL Assistant - FLA - or who work remotely out in the clubs to help members Self Record. This would fit in EXACTLY with what needs to happen in Ireland 
Well, is it? That's apparently what he'll be saying to the foreign delegates at the Birmingham meeting who will have little opportunity to see through the spin. And look who the invited speakers are: Prof. Norman Palmer, Dr Michael Lewis. Interestingly the Irish metal detectorist campaigners learn about the latter from Liam "we do not sell finds" Nolan:  
Michael Lewis of the British Museum and who now heads up the PAS in the UK, has been in regular contact and watching how the Campaign is progressing. he has offered to fly over to address any meetings and explain to archaeologists how such a system could be modified to suit the specific Irish needs but we want there to be a more positive climate before that happens. 
In what capacity is the Head of the Learning Volunteers and Audiences Portable Antiquities Scheme doing this and in what capacity would he be "flying over to Ireland" on behalf of exploitive metal detectorists outside England and Wales? What is Dr Lewis' relationship with Mr Nolan and the other Irish people using metal detectors in the Irish Republic?  

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.