Wednesday, 15 July 2009

British humour: CBA's "Britarch Debates on Portable Antiquities"

Trying (unsuccessfully) to get a link to the CBA page on HMS Sussex in an old post here to work, I came across a little page tucked away in "Conservation/ Current Issues/ Debates/ Portable Antiquities" called "Britarch Debates on Portable Antiquities" (let's see if this link works). Apparently the CBA thinks "This section provides an archive of the latest debates on portable antiquities in the United Kindom". Well, there has not been much in the way of "latest debates" on the topic since Andy Holland the CBA Education Officer over there told us to shut up because he'd rather talk about "Iron Age fish". I was therefore interested to see this "archive".

It did not take long to look through it. In fact it consists of ten random posts (presumably the head of topics), one from no less than Californian coin dealer Dave Welsh proclaiming that “the black market in [Iraqi] antiquities seems to have stopped”, and a snide comment from a Norwegian "metal detectorist" about the latest Treasure report. There's one from me about something or other (also Iraq), though not particlarly representative of anything I said there in 2007 or 2008 on portable antiquities. There is something about the "Nighthawking" report being set up, nothing of any discussion after its publication. One wonders what the basis for the selection of this rather haphazard collection of unrelated items actually was and who is responsible (though I can guess). Really if that is the best that the Council for British Archaeology can do to highlight and show the public the scope of the debate that HAS been going on about artefact hunting, then its a pretty poor show.

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