Sunday, 12 November 2017

Tantrum Theatre and Marcus Milligan's Mapping

Milligan wants no discussion of this
Marcus Milligan considers himself a 'victim' of an 'attack' by me on Facebook. In a tantrum, he has  just blocked me from replying to his complaint about me raising there an important issue about a piece of current work of his [sorry no link because I cannot now access it]. He considers that by using archaeological documentation to compile an interactive online map of 'every Roman settlement' in Britain, and superimposing their detailed street plans on a map, he is not in any way contributing to the threat that such a resource can be used by those whose sole (main) interest in the archaeological record is to hoik things out for their personal collections. From what he said, he seems to think that by making this information more available in different formats is somehow making it more difficult to use those data for purposes of detecting and pocketing artefacts from potential 'productive' nodes pinpointed for artefact hunters by such resources.

It is a shame that Dr Milligan blocked me before I could ask about the logic of such a position. I am therefore left curious to know where he considers me wrong asserting that in fact making the information more available, he is increasing, not decreasing its accessibility. No? It is difficult not to assume that he blocked me from asking because quite simply he is unwilling to admit that he has no answer to that.

It is a shame that Dr Milligan joins the ranks of the heritage professionals in the UK who simply do not want to discuss the implications  for their own research practices and the future usability for public (rather than private) benefit of the archaeological record of the country as a whole of current policies on collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record.

Before he cut me off, Dr Milligan said that in his opinion I should stop my 'crusading' (his word for attempting to get engagement in online discussion of something) and that I should 'focus my efforts' on getting legislative change and leave researchers like him alone to get on with whatever it is they want to do. Like a true British academic asked to explain his position on collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record by hobbyists, he too has now neatly skipped out of the discussion before his position can be challenged.  In doing so, he has avoided explaining how he thinks any individual could do that in the absence of a concerted effort to discuss the issue widely within archaeology, between archaeology and the lawmakers and without a large scale public awareness-raising campaign run by the archaeological community about the effects of current modes of collection driven exploitation of the archaeological record on its structure.

Perhaps one day British archaeology as a whole might start addressing the responsibilities of all those engaged in it to the sustainable conservation of what is left of the archaeological record with more seriousness than the current incredibly pathetic clownish posturing and issue-dodging we see today. Shame on the lot of you.

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