Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The New PAS - Function and Functionality?

Both David Gill and Peter Tompa refer, one more uncritically than the other, to the announcement of PAS funding, secured for the moment in the BM, but reduced another 15%. The PAS has always presented its work as "bangs for buck" as Tompa puts it in terms of (information about) lots of goodies saved for the nation, but this obscures its intended real function as a means of instilling "good practice among finders" (sic). While I am sure the introduction of UKDFD-style 'self-recording' will keep "finds numbers" high, it is clear that gradually the ability of the PAS to do active outreach about ethical and preservation issues is even further reduced. What actually is the FUNCTION of such a PAS in the British archaeological heritage protection (I use the term loosely) system (I use that term loosely too)?

Some fairly uncritical reporting here: British Museum takeover safeguards buried treasure agencies as quango goes, Guardian 23 November 2010, but raises the question of what now happens in Wales. One might also add what happens to the various FLOs based in museums by various kinds of arrangement with the MLA, how will this be transformed into collaboration with the BM?

And over on a metal detecting forum near you, the artefact hunters of Britain are discussing whether the PAS getting a 15% cut is "good" or "bad". UK Artefact hunters, partners or predators of the PAS?

To function properly, the PAS urgently needs to have its position permanently established in British cultural heritage legislation, but first it has to find itself a function aside from merely legitimising collectors and collecting. Perhaps, as I argue elsewhere, the promised review of the Treasure Act would provide the means to do this.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.