Saturday, 26 November 2016

A Review of the PAS Conference 2016

A Review of the PAS Conference 2016 - Alan Simkins It all looks to have been a bit pointless - a waste of time and public money, especially as there is no 'hard' product.
John Maloney from the NCMD [...] came over as an unpleasantly smug Trump-like bully – someone who is used to getting his own way and seeing no possible reason for that status quo to change. He started his talk by disparaging the efforts of the likes of David Gill and Paul Barford to debate some of the issues behind artefact collecting, and implied that figures used by critics of the hobby (such as those used by the Artefact Erosion Counter) have no substance in fact (as we know, the counter is based upon figures supplied by the NCMD, CBA et al). I suspect he came away from the conference very pleased with the cap-doffing shown to the metal detecting fraternity during the talks throughout the day. Very much a ‘you couldn’t do it without us’ attitude which was not pleasant to see.
I wonder though what a talk in such a tone has to do with 'can detectorists be archaeologists?' Certainly, when spokesmen for the milieu go on the stage at a national conference and persist in their denial of the very real issues that surround artefact collecting in the UK and elsewhere, you will not find much uptake for the idea that they can be archaeologists in any real sense of the word. He may not take the HA figures, the PAS recently has released their own (actually very similar) which indicate that while on average they record 80 000 objects in a year, around 190000 never get shown to the PAS in that same year, nearly three times as many. So about a third of the finders perhaps 'could' become archaeologists, two thirds are simply knowledge thieves and never will. According to this account, Mr Balony came along to the PAS conference apparently to defend the latter against their critics.

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