Wednesday 29 December 2010

Why no Light? Who is Keeping the PAS Under a Bushel?

"Gill obviously drove the agenda: some faint praise for the system combined with much rehashing of various (mostly old) complaints about it"
opines a Washington lawyer about the Papers from the Institute of Archaeology forum I discussed earlier. If the PAS was doing its job (and doing what the Hawkshead Review specifically told it to do - which was to engage with the archaeological milieu over issues like these) then there would long ago have been discussion of these "old" queries about its precise role in the protection and preservation of the archaeological heritage of England and Wales.

In fact some of these "old" points were specifically noted in the 2004 "Hawkshead Review" of the Scheme (pp 33, 45, 48, 54-5, 60-1) and the PAS urged to address some of the concerns even then being expressed by those in the archaeological and heritage management communities (pp 34, 45-6, 56, 60-1). The report urges the PAS to make "protecting the public interest in safeguarding the historic environment" a key aim (p. 61). Gill's discussion six years on raises the question of to what degree the PAS heeded the specific recommendations of the report in these regards.

As it is, what happened was that some texts were published in an archaeological peer-reviewed academic publication in which the voice of the PAS is missing. This is not because anyone "organized" it this way, my understanding is that the PAS refused to engage in this discussion. One may speculate as to the reasons why that is.

The lawyer seeks shock-horror scandal even in an academic publication, but seems to be unaware of even the basic features of how formal round table debates of this type are organized by the editors of academic publications. Brian Hole should be given the credit for all his work to make this happen.

CPO: Gill Inspired Papers Provide More Heat than Light on Benefits of PAS

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