Tuesday 25 January 2011

Blaydon Boyz and an Archaeological "Partner" Filmed in Action

Have a look at this video, pay special attention too to the soundtrack (Holst, Zimmer/Da Vinci Code, Greensleeves remix). Never mind the seal, pay attention to the deposit of three paterae at the beginning. Dug out from below plough level, hoiked out of obvious stratigraphic context. It was found whole, could have been properly excavated and lifted, but has instead been fragmented and roughly cleaned by the time it gets to a pub-meeting with the FLO. Note how the latter gives the finder a good talking to about "best practice" (not). Is this the way to preserve the archaeological heritage? What on earth are PAS doing here? Where is the promotion of the Code of Responsible practice in this? Who gives a damn that the FLO has got a drawing and measurements of a patera when it is produced at the expense of trashing the archaeological context in which it had lain for nigh-on two thousand years? And no, Mr Collins the handle was not "welded aan" to the body of the "pot".


The Treasure Act urgently needs revision so that things like this and the Crosby Garrett helmet do not slip through and people thoughtlessly damaging the archaeological record like this are penalised.

As the person, member of the PAS' great British public (and not even a member of Heritage Action) who sent this to me remarked,"I actually feel like I’ve been mugged [...] can you imagine the loss of information from around and within that delicate pan? [...] for me, some of these clubs are run by the lowest dregs of society, especially as they can’t really plead ignorance as the FLO obviously attends their club meetings. It looks more like a meeting of Fagan’s thieves waiting to divvy up all the proceeds of a heritage crime". That's a view of a member of the public of PAS "partnership" in action. Mr Collins, what are you doing? What are you achieving here? Why is Britain paying archaeologists to lend support to activities like this when all the codes of ethics say archaeologists should be doing their best to stop it?

Also, are we really expected to believe the seal came from the hole shown at 7:16? Certainly that seems a boast about the "depth advantage" which suggests the extent of the destruction these people are capable of doing.

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