Sunday 3 April 2011

Archaeologists, they are not all "Angry"

I discussed an article ('Anger as TV show endorses metal-detecting 'plunderers'; Archaeologists criticise British Museum for opening archive to new series') in the Independent above. Well, not all archaeologists see any problem in this. David ("Badger") Connolly up north of the border thinks its all a conspiracy.
People may remember the earlier thread... here. Well.. the wonder is... who is doing what to whom... why and how.
That thread begins:
Sounds like a spoof to me.. They are always trying to wind up Paul Barford.
So Mr Connolly really still thinks the document I saw was a spoof set up by the PAS to entrap me? That seems a rather odd thing to believe of the Portable Antiquities Scheme... As far as I know (though I suggested he should), Connolly made no attempt to see the document to which I referred in my post in order to see if he still thought it a "spoof". Those who have seen it do not believe it was a spoof.

Then in the comments page under the original article somebody else shyly signing themselves as "An_archaeologist" comments: "Responsible metal detecting, with properly recorded find locations [...] and with the permission of the landowner, is fine".


Is it? What about responsible tell-digging in Iraq if you locate where the hole you are digging is with GPS and ask the local sheikh? Responsible Buddha statue decapitation in Cambodia? Responsible shabti-retrieval in the fields of Abusir, Egypt? Responsible pot-digging in Blanding USA? Is NOT GPS ing where the stuff comes from and NOT asking the landowner really the only problem with the treatment of archaeological sites as "mines" for collectables an_archaeologist can see? Where is the difference between looting sites for collectables in Britain and anywhere else? Is the British archaeological record in any way which the rest of us cannot see more impervious to damage by artefact hunting and collecting than that elsewhere? Surely the difference is only in name, call it looting and its bad and foreign, call it "metal detecting" and its British and "fine"?

Presumably then an_archaeologist who thinks artefact hunting is fine will agree that we could solve the looting problem in Egypt tomorrow, liberalise the laws about artefact hunting to match those in the UK and set up a voluntary reporting scheme a la PAS and call the activity something else and problem solved ! No need to petition the Egyptian government to protect the sites, let them just ask the Brits how to deal with the problem.

Ridiculous. No wonder "an_archaeologist" did not want to use their real name.

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