Friday, 22 August 2008

A new aim for the Portable Antiquities Scheme?

A while ago the Portable Antiquities Scheme produced a concise and helpful text called Advice for people buying archaeological objects from the UK addressed to collectors in the UK and beyond its borders. It reminds them of the legal and moral issues involved in purchasing archaeological collectables of UK origin. Topics covered include establishing legal title of the seller to sell, determining where and when the object was found and whether all laws had been followed; in particular whether its discovery had been reported or hidden. It also informs foreign buyers of the need to obtain an export licence to allow it to be taken out of the country legally. I am sure many collectors will find it useful in picking their way through the antiquities trade minefield and in sorting out who is offering items for sale which are legitimate, and who is a 'dodgy dealer' best avoided.

What is interesting however is a comparison of this text with the aims of the PAS as set out here. It becomes clear that, while the initiative is extremely laudable, in reality the writing and publication of this text on the PAS website (as well as on eBay) is not actually related to any of them. This suggests that the Portable Antiquities Scheme in reality has (or should have) a sixth aim:
To encourage responsible collecting of portable antiquities

Is it not interesting that in its current form, the PAS depicts itself as dealing with "finders" and "metal detectorists", but not "collectors" of portable antiquities. Is it not time that this apparent anomaly was dealt with?

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.