Saturday, 3 September 2016

Heritage Action on Trepanation and Modern Archaeology

Bosch manages to depict what is going on in British archaeology
Heritage Action have an invisible blog, the words go up, but it seems only the coin elves (and a few mouthy metal detectorists) can see them. Today's post however hits the nail right on the head ('5 years on, and PAS is still cheerleading for “cranial trepanation” !' 03/09/2016). How is it possible for the archaeological world not to see this for themselves, with no need for Mr Heritage to point it out to them on a blog obviously none of them see any need whatsoever to read? 
PAS is staging yet another conference praising metal detecting. (Why, when they were set up to cope with it not promote it? A biscuit to anyone who knows!) It’s titled “Can Detectorists be Archaeologists?” The answer is simple: NO, for the nature of the activity precludes its participants from adhering to the archaeological practices, aims and ethics developed to maximise knowledge and minimise cultural loss which real archaeologists have to! Why would you need to stage a whole expensive conference to explain that, unless you were trying to pretend short changing the community is acceptable? 
The conservation group is perplexed that the British Museum had assured everyone recently that they’d endeavour to ensure “misinterpretation cannot be inferred from our use of language in the future”
Metal detecting can never be archaeology for a multitude of reasons [...] if archaeology [...] isn’t done right, it’s one of many inferior ways of interacting with the past of which metal detecting is merely one. By what right does our national museum, uniquely in the world, imply otherwise? The whole bloody farce reminds us of 2011 when Diana Friendship-Taylor, chair of Rescue, wrote witheringly of a previous similar attempt:“We are, frankly, astonished, that the British Museum is prepared to lend its considerable weight to the furtherance of a method of historical inquiry which belongs in the distant past, and which has as much relevance to the practice of modern archaeology as the use of the cranial trepanation has to modern medicine.
I would put the Heritage Action text alongside another blog post from today, The Pipeline's 'Winter Is Coming: Communicating Archaeology in a Post Truth World' (2nd September 2016) with the teaser in the comments:
private artifact hunting, and artifact theft, is one of the biggest elephants in the senior common room of mainstream UK archaeology, and it is a subject thePipeLine will be returning to later in the Autumn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good. I hope The Pipeline will discuss the whole elephant, not the partial elephant tut tutted about by PAS, academic conferences and Glasgow University.

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