Saturday, 2 April 2016

PAS-Claquer Questioned about Those Numbers

A Saturday Feelgood warble by a PAS-claqueur. The PAS and their supporters produce bucket-loads of feelgood warbles to draw attention away from the real problems of "best practice' in artefact hunting in England and (for the moment) Wales:
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To date over 1 million objects have been recorded by PAS
Matthew Fittock is a PhD student at Reading studying pipeclay figurines in Roman Britain and editor of the Roman Finds Group newsletter. I'd comment that (a), the number of objects is not the same as the number of records (which is currently still much less than a million - 733,432 records) (b) it really is irrelevant "how many we have" when artefact hunters are destroying archaeological evidence in selectively taking this stuff for their ephemeral personal collections, the question of relevance is to what extent this information loss is mitigated both in quantitative and qualitative terms by the PAS records (the writer of this blog is of the firm belief that the answer is "not a lot" in both areas), and (c) the PAS was set up for a particular purpose and that is to work alongside the Treasure system which operates according to the 1996 Treasure Act. One part of the Treasure ACT is the compulsory reporting bit (art. 12). So it seems a pretty valid question to ask the archaeological warbler:
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and how many have been fully reported by the Treasure Unit as per Treasure Act? Can you say?
Mr Fittock? How many "objects" have been recorded under the Treasure Act, and how does that relate to the numbers of objects in the Portable Antiquities Scheme database? Why do I think you'll not have an answer?*

Another feelgood picture, what does it really show? One thing
it quite clearly shows is the scale of the backlog in
getting these all properly reported and published

Oh, and Mr Fittock, why do you think the Beau Street Hoard is in the PAS database at all, and does that not duplicate the data in the Treasure Reports? How much overlap is there, Mr Fittock?

And if you want to know about that "millionth find" (so we are talking about September 2014 here), it is not the PAS you need to turn to for the details on that, it's only in this blog you will find the true state of affairs discussed about that shameless bit of spin which you are applauding. The question is whether you do so knowingly, or in ignorance of the issues with that "number"?

* There are 10,167 records for "Treasure find" in the PAS database - total (it says) 196,648 [Mean quantity: 19.342, Maximum: 52,504]. But if you compare the PAS database figures for (say) 2003 with the figures in a recent Roger Bland publication, we see that only two thirds of the treasure cases shown by the graph seem to be in the database. There are other discrepancies.

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