Friday, 10 June 2016

UK "PAS Partner" Wants to See End to Archaeology

Over on a metal detecting blog near you there is a response to my earlier post asking that people take the time to add their name to a petition requesting a closer look at the new Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill (PACHI Saturday, 21 May 2016, 'Sign this Petition to Stop Destruction Of British Archaeology')> Readers of this blog will know that some twenty years ago, at not inconsiderable cost to the public purse, an organization was created in England and then Wales to try to get finders of archaeological objects abide by best practice and to record what they found. Those readers will also know that the destiny of that information was intended to be the HERs in order that the data could be used in the planning process, in archaeological heritage management. It was assumed that if this was explained to metal detectorists, they'd understand all that. It's not difficult, is it? Too difficult though for artefact hunters of a certain ilk, it seems. In the blog mentioned, it becomes quite clear that knowledge of the relationship between the PAS and the planning process and the advance of archaeological knowledge is not really understood at all.

In the text of Treasure hunter John Howland ('Bubba talks dinosaurs') we read that he considers the proposed changes "an eminently sensible piece of planned UK legislation":
the proposed Bill will seriously clip archaeology’s wings, this is indeed, excellent and exciting news. At last, here’s a potential victory on the horizon for those in the collecting/detecting/treasure hunting fraternities who have for years maintained that archaeologists have had their size twelves wedged in legislators’ and developer’s doors forcing them to subsidise archaeological surveys, excavations, and jobs. [...]  If this proposed Bill passes into law it will be the long-awaited good news signalling the end of what amounts to years of legalised mugging. After all, if archaeology ceased as of midnight tonight, what effect would it have on everyday life? NONE! Would that really matter? NO! 
After all, we still have the metal detectorists to "find old things", haven't we? And as they say, they find a lot of old things.

I presume it would be a little too much to expect of the PAS to actually do some archaeological outreach among their partners about just what it is archaeology is all about. The archaeology that they are supposed to be "partners" of. That is, actually, what the organization was set up to jolly well do. As we see daily, by looking at what metal detectorists say and do, the PAS has failed, totally failed to make any headway with educating that milieu.

UPDATE 16th June 2016
Bubble-brain "Bubbas" of the UK metal detecting world might (or might not) be able to understand this text on the relationship between archaeological conservation and planning: 'Archaeologists saved Shakespeare's Rose theatre – but planning reform could threaten future discoveries'. Or again, they might not. Too many words.

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