Wednesday 24 March 2010

England's Treasure Act seen from Across the (Irish) Sea

Gordon Kingston("Staffordshire Hoard: Parting the Piggy Bank", The Heritage Journal) came across a part of the Staffordshire Hoard in the British Museum with a collecting box beside it. He asks how this could happen? he contrasts the English Treasure Act with the law in his own country (the Republic of Ireland) and notes the differences, but then he says of the law of his home country "In fact, the whole thrust of the 1994 Act is towards the preservation of our historical record for those who will come after us". Not so the Treasure Act which promotes the digging up of gold, silver and metal hoards for the entertainment of the masses now. But at what cost?

One British Minister of Culture (in)famously said in a Parliamentary debate that it was illogical of preservationists to raise the alarm about the erosion of the archaeological record by metal detecting because each year more and more Treasure hoards were being found, obviously she said there is no end in sight. I wonder whether Margaret Hodge ran her Departmental budget on the same lines, the more you take out the more there is...

Anyhow, Mr Kingston understands what Hodge and the metal detectorists do not, he draws a parallel with overfishing, and points out that thoughtless people have problems getting their head round the problem while their shops are so full of different kinds of fish.

Interestingly, the Assemblage has an article ("paying for what?") on the same topic.

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