Saturday, 1 October 2016

Some UK 'partners' want to go to War with Heritage Preservation

Meanwhile at the UNESCO meeting this week in Paris the topic of artefact hunting was on the agenda - Provisional agenda item 6: “Treasure hunters” and cultural trafficking –regulation on metal detectors and underground monitoring systems expressing concern and developing some of the themes of earlier conventions and resolutions. I thought it was quite a sensible document.* The reaction of UK  'PAS-partner artefact hunters'? Playing the victim, the Two Wrongs Argument and a Conspiracy Theory all rolled into one:
What else can the metal detecting/treasure hunting communities or indeed all right-thinking citizens expect from UNESCO? It’s running true to form. This international body is itself riven and dogged with corruption and cronyism, and run by former communists not known for their record on Human Rights, or civil liberties. [...] UNESCO, apparently under the persuasive control of politically motivated archaeologists who are themselves part of the lucrative heritage circus, are advocating a cartel in which they regulate the market in antiquities. UNESCO should be disbanded as unfit for purpose.
Sic. I doubt whether the hate-filled writer of those words has the slightest inkling of what purpose the organization fulfils. I think many archaeologists would be perfectly happy if the antiquities market made the effort to effectively regulate itself - but with attitudes like the above running right through it from supply to consumer - there is little real chance of that happening, ever. But there is more, an accusation and a threat:
I note the UNESCO BS stays well away from the thieving by archaeologists. If they want a war, let’s give ’em one.
As the funding for the legitimating PAS dries up, and it increasingly and very publicly fails to deal with the mitigation of the threat to the archaeological heritage which Collection-Driven Exploitation is, it seems to me that the threat to start a 'war' on heritage protection by artefact hunters could end in tears... of regret for missed opportunities on their part.

* But of course, since it really is akin to rocket science, not even UNESCO can actually get the function of the PAS right [p. 5]. I bet this was drafted by an American.

Vignette: Narrow-minded oiks from the UK and USA would do well to take a wider look at UNESCO before deciding to declare war on education, science and culture.

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