Friday 18 May 2012

Detecting Under the Microscope: Archaeoposing by Detectorists and "Outreaching Archaeologists"

Nigel Swift writes on Heritage Journal of a recent post of mine picking up a salient point:
Paul Barford has rightly highlighted The Searcher magazine’s contents which exhibit, beyond reasonable denial, a massive interest in money. Buy a copy he says, “to see what these people get up to, what they think is worth talking about and what they don’t”. He’ll be called alarmist but he’s only asking people to look at the source material and judge for themselves, advice that PAS never gives. He suspects PAS and most archaeologists that accept their line can’t have looked closely at the magazines or forums. Their stance would indeed be incomprehensible if they had. Only lack of looking could enable “Artefact Hunting is a cousin of Archaeology” to become the central tenet of Britain’s portable antiquities policy.
On the other hand, what I said is even worse; in the case of "The Searcher" magazine it's not a matter of "not looking" when the PAS is not only involved in that magazine's "Best DETECTOR find" competition as a judge, but actually as an active part of the nomination process. As Nigel says:
if The Establishment says not a word they’re accessories to a con-trick committed against the landowning public.
A question one might pose to the PAS is why they do not include details of their current collaboration on such a scale with the "Searcher" magazine on their website, and whether they intend being explicit about it in their annual reports to the British government. Of course, you'll get no answer.

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