Tuesday 16 March 2010

Start Your Own Collection, the PAS will Help You

Next week it is the "create your own oil spillage, make your mark on the local environment" event organized by the Northern Devon Coast & Countryside Service, but this week it is:
TRY your hand at metal detecting on Thursday (March 18th) with the History Hunters at Pilton in Barnstaple. The free Metal Detecting Training Day is being organised by Barnstaple Museum and offers an introduction to this fascinating hobby under the guidance of the Taw and Torridge Metal Detector's Club and the Devon Portable Antiquities Liaison Officer. It is part of the North Devon ALF project and is open to anyone aged 16 and over, but in particular those who would not normally get the chance to take part in such activities.The first session will meet at Pilton Park at 10am. Participants can find out about different machines, archaeology and how to be a responsible detectorist. There will be plenty of metal detectors to use, or bring your own. A second session will run from 2-4pm. To attend, call the museum on (01271) 346747.
I've left the number in for those who might fancy giving them a ring and asking them just what on earth they think they are doing. Here are the contact details of the Adult Learning (sic) Forum (ask them about their environmental policy).

Now it is one thing to set up a publicly funded Scheme to mitigate the damage caused by people running off with bits of the archaeological record (after hand-wringing and limp-wristed whinging that "we cannot really STOP them doing it"). It is another thing TOTALLY to use the same scheme to encourage more people to take it up. What on earth do these people think they are playing at? Whatever happened to Article 10(b) of UNESCO 1970?
Is that not what the PAS should be doing instead of fooling around teaching people that archaeological sites are great places to have fun digging up collectables? Is that archaeological "outreach" (no, collecting loose archaeological artefacts is not "archaeology") or just a cynical way to get the PAS "recorded finds" statistics boosted by getting more people involved in this erosive hobby? Outrageous.

1 comment:

Paul Barford said...

A colleague has just written to me after reading this post (and said I could quote him):

"You'll be glad to know I've just rung Barnstaple Museum and given the bloke hell. He had as many answers as some of the guys on the detecting forums. I asked him how many responsible detectorists he thought would be best for Britain - "one million, two million or more?". He said he wasn't prepared to answer as the question was unhelpful!"

This of course is a typical reaction of the pro-collecting professionals in Britain, they rarely have thought throgh the consequences of what they are proposing and questions like this just catch them off-guard as they've never really considerd this. The question is, now a member of the public has phoned up to give him that question, whether he now will, or will he just dismiss it as a "crank phone call" from "one of those dinosaurs"?

My bet is the latter.

Since when are the Brits not allowed to ask public employees difficult questions about their actions - for public money?

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