Wednesday 12 May 2010

The Ethical Genie is out of the bottle, who is going to try and put it back?

Heritage Journal (Metal detecting: a quiet earthquake) is gratified that at last the Institute for Archaeologists has just codified what they and others have been saying for years – archaeologists cannot get involved with treasure hunting or commercial metal detecting rallies. (With a nod in this direction: What makes it an earthquake is that this time it’s not us or Paul Barford that has said it – it’s the archaeological establishment!) There is in what the IFA stipulate what Heritage Action describes as an "elastoplast clause".
Of course, this embarrassment always arises when the searchlight of ethics is directed onto the reality of British conservation practice – which is why “ethics” isn’t much on the menu chez PAS and elsewhere. Pragmatic compromises just can’t be shoehorned into being right or moral or ethical, as IfA has just highlighted.
Read it please. Heritage Action say from the grass roots the things you will rarely find the majority of British archaeologists are prepared to say out loud.

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