Sunday, 21 August 2016

Critical Thinking about the Ethics of Artefact Hunting

Sam Hardy passed this on to me, it had completely escaped my notice. Apparently in the UK in 2013 the OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA, a leading UK awarding body) has noticed the heritage debate around artefact collecting. In the GCE 'critical thinking' paper (A level), they used the example of so-called 'metal-detecting' as the exam topic. The paper consisted on a resource booklet with five texts which were to be read in fifteen minutes, and an answer paper with four compulsory questions. The second concerns the HA artefact Erosion counter ("how useful is it as evidence ?") . It strikes me that the archive of answers to those questions would have been be excellent material for a PAS study of attitudes of a sector of the public which they probably do not always reach, young people who are not artefact collectors.

It is very encouraging to learn that out there somewhere in the UK is a (probably small) group of people who think that artefact hunting and associated activities are a topic for 'critical thinking' rather than the kneejerk repetition of mantras which is all its practitioners and supporters are capable of.  Possibly because most of the C2s and Ds among them never made it to A-levels.

One wonders if the PAS was involved in creating this exam paper.
Hat tip to Sam Hardy

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