Wednesday 24 June 2009

Pillage une conséquence du Portable Antiquities Scheme?

Well I guess HAPPAH have ruined their chances of being asked along to the PAS annual conference this year at which various European people will be asked to show how wonderful it is England and Wales have a collectors’ free-for-all. HAPPAH are among the Europeans who don’t think it’s wonderful, and say so.

Happah have just produced the third issue of their newsletter full of stuff that ought to shock the pants off the complacent. It starts with an article about a demonstration of Spanish metal detectorists in Seville, they look such idiots detecting along the tramlines I am sure HAPPAH will not mind me pinching their photograph. They could do with practicing their scanning technique too.

[I wonder if yellow shirts are de rigeur 'tekking togs in Spain, instead of the military fatigues we find spread across Northern Europe from Wales to Belorussia?]

There's a bit about tombaroli and coin collecting in Italy, and the article that’ll get them banned from the PAS love-in: Nouvelle affaire de pillage transfrontalier au Portugal. Une conséquence du Portable Antiquities Scheme anglo-gallois ? (personally I do not see the connection, but it’s a view of the collector’s partner organization worth recording). Then there is a bit on the arrest of four loooters in Bulgaria, the looting of Libyan ruins and the pillaging of archaeological sites in a national park with dynamite. Good stuff, more power to them. At the top of the page is their erosion counter: "L'estimation basse du nombre d'objets prélevés illégalement depuis le décret du 19 août 1991 : 9,269,448" and the slogan...

MOBILISONS-NOUS CONTRE LE PILLAGE DU PATRIMOINE !(Unless you are a British archaeologist that is)

Photo "Les braconniers du patrimoine dans la rue" apparently stealing old tramlines in Seville (HAPPAH).


Marcus Preen said...

I think the speculation that the looting in Portugal might have been connected with PAS may have been because the culprit was English speaking so perhaps he was only familiar with the situation over here.

Obviously you can legally help yourself to your hearts content on non-scheduled sites over here and maybe he thought the same was true over there - which of course couldn't be less true.

It's so bizarre... you and your ten thousand mates can spend years over here doing something that gets you called a hero and "partner" of the authorities and then go on holiday within the EC and do exactly the same thing but this time you're seen as a "looter" and punished.

It's a puzzle. Heroes don't loot do they, and looters aren't heroes..... It needs sorting out as it seems one side or the other is telling huge porkies.

Paul Barford said...

Weird isn't it that "Europe" does not want attitudes towards the archaeological heritage over there contaminmated by the "English Disease", while the PAS plans to hold a conference in that bastion of Brit imperialism, the British Museum to suggest it might be a "good thing for Europe"... (of course with some hand-picked "Europeans" invited to spread the message).

I wish I could put my Tenniel vignette of the Mad Hatter's teaparty in replies to "comments". Imagine it is here:


Marcus Preen said...

Are you suggesting the PAS European conference will be a Mad Hatter’s Teaparty?!? There will be some similarities, granted, but some differences. For instance, the original was famous as I recall for the posing of riddles for which there were no answers, whereas the 21st Century one will do the same AND supply answers, thus –

Riddle: “When is a looter not?”
Answer: “When he’s in Britain”.

I guess this will raise a chuckle or two so long as the delivery is deadpan, though it might need explaining at length to some of the non-English speaking attendees.

Seriously though (and I am) to be fruitful any such conference needs a “definition of terms” in the opening presentation else confusion will ensue. In particular, “metal detectorist” needs defining since it means different things in different places. Perhaps a new pan-European term is needed, at least for the duration of the Conference. Perhaps PAS could suggest delegates use the term Saqueador legalizado - which would enable Johnny Foreigner to readily understand the special British situation and which hopefully wouldn’t cause offence to PAS’s partners on account of not many of them speak Portuguese.

Paul Barford said...

Well, Poland is in the Centre of Europe (the geographical centre of Euriope is some 120 km west of where I write this, I've been there), so perhaps the riddles and definitions should be in Polish. That'll really fox the PAS partners. I don't think there are many minorities in British artefact hunting.

Marcus Preen said...

"I don't think there are many minorities in British artefact hunting."

Better not go there. Best to just direct people to the forums.

Of course, there is one obvious minority in artefact hunting - artefact hunters! 0.016% of the population with millions of pounds spent on coping with them. Why isn't there a Bird Watchers' Partnership Scheme? Answers on a postcard to the PAS Conference.

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