Wednesday, 24 April 2019

PAS Conference: "The Future has Passed"

"Disc-on-pin buckles..."

Blind to the Problems
The PAS seem each year more and more rudderless after the departure of Roger Bland. Their latest offering is a public 'conference' (another fluffy pep talk, in fact) on The Future is PASt: Celebrating finds recording in the local community
Join us to celebrate the work of the PASt Explorers project with a series of talks looking at what the project has achieved, how this work is being used to inform our knowledge of the past, and the vast potential for future projects. The conference will be followed by a drinks reception with stand-up comedy from Paul Duncan McGarrity, the man behind the brilliant Ask An Archaeologist podcast series. The event is fully catered so please inform us of any special dietary requirements.
So, food and entertainment guaranteed, and archaeological content? This is a 'celebration' of a form of funding of the PAS that is now coming to an end (The PASt Explorers project ends in December 2019), and instead of a series of talks looking at what the project has 'achieved' (for the sort of thing they will present see the programme for the 2018 one, 'the Bigger Picture'), the only bigger picture that matters would be presenting in detail at a national and public forum what happens to the Scheme after that. What will it limp on to next?

Through its consistent failure to actively promote a firm conservation-based message on the spread of Collection-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological record, the PAS has allowed itself to be forced into the position of a pennant-in-the-wind organization with no clear objectives (except to hang on). Instead of seizing a position from which to determine its future, we see it become a sad shadow of what it once could have been. The question now is, what comes after it? What are its longterm 'achievements'? If the Scheme were to collapse in (say) 2022, what will be seen as its legacy? That is a serious question.

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