Thursday 4 August 2011

Spain Arrests People for Looting Archaeological Sites

Ten thousand people who have been stripping collectable archaeological artefacts from archaeological sites all over Great Britain with metal detectors have been widely praised by the British archaeological establishment and media. As a result of this process, in thousands of homes all over the region, there are hundreds of thousands of unreported plundered artefacts dating from several epochs and cultures stored in shoe boxes and ice cream cartons under beds and in sheds. These people go out at all times of the day and search productive archaeological sites for buried artefacts. After digging them out of the sites, they take them home, give them a good scrubbing and add them to their showcase or sell them to the international antiquities trade. In additions to the artefacts to be found in the metal detectorists' homes, there will be found found equipment for plundering artefacts (metal detectors and digging tools), maps showing where archaeological sites can be found in addition to items and products to clean the plundered artefacts.

The ineffectual laws which do very little to protect the archaeological heritage of the country are very rarely enforced anyway, and the England's capital is one of the world centres of the global trade in illicitly obtained artefacts and British authorities do next to nothing to stop it, and archaeologists just shrug their shoulders and say there is nothing they can do except encourage the activity in the hope that some of the artefacts might perhaps get reported to the authorities by some of the finders...

Compare: EFE News Services, 'Spain arrests 12 for looting archaeological sites', 03/08/2011

and of course the British archaeological establishment say it's the Spanish that have got things wrong.

Vignette: the Mad Hatter had nothing on British "policies" on portable antiquities. Archaeologists making "partners" of resource-eroding artefact hunters and collectors is like stuffing the dormouse in a teapot, a very uncomfortable fit indeed, and quite, quite mad.

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