Wednesday 5 December 2012

Evasive Coiney Answer on American PAS Clone (of course, how could it be otherwise?)

As I said, most archaeologists steer well clear of having anything to do with debating issues with the whole mass of collectors, metal detectorists, dugup coin collectors and their ilk. With good reason. It is so difficult for these folk to stay focussed. I suggested a few hours ago that if US coin dealers want to see a PAS-clone set up in the source countries of the antiquities they want to get their hands on, they should start by lobbying their own government to set up one at homeThat is if they sincerely believe that it is the best solution for everyone. I personally believe that the whole bunch of them are in fact not at all sincere in this (like much else) and this constant call for others to do what they will not raise a finger to do themselves is just a crude tactic. Tompa's answer to my comment gives reason to suggest that the latter is true. Note the deflection: 
Great idea, particularly if voluntary, but funding will need to come from other sources. The ACCG is for ancient coin collectors, and I'm not aware of ancient coins being found in the US in any numbers [...] Kidding aside, this would be a great thing for a University to set up with local metal detecting groups. And it would be far more positve thing to do than just griping about metal detectorists.
Well, anyone with an IQ greater than that of a rabbit can see that what I wrote about was not about the ACCG "funding" anything (what I wrote as anyone can see was "why the collectors' rights organizations of the US do not band together to put the case for it"). So I had in mind the ACCG working with the metal detectorists groups, the arrowhead collectors and other such groups to lobby for the US government to provide funding, like the Scheme in England and Wales they want to see emulated elsewhere. Quite obviously, kidding or not, I was not thinking just about ancient coins (but anyway, coins were used by colonists, coins were minted by them). All sorts of relics are found in the US every year, and I see no reason why collectors' organizations would not want to see a voluntary scheme set up on the English pattern whereby their contribution to "finding the history" of their nation is acknowledged. Like in England and (for the moment) Wales, this has a vast significance for gaining legitimacy for the hobby - so I see no reason why responsible collectors in the US would oppose such a proposal.

So, the ACCG has taken the lead in proposing it, lets see the ACCG finally put its money where its mouth is and get active in getting other collectors' organizations active in lobbying for this - their ultimate goal which is to support and strengthen the position of antiquity/relic collecting in the US in general.

Money-mouth-put, Mr Tompa. What part of that do you not understand? 

And no, the real Portable Antiquities Scheme in England and, for the moment Wales, is not funded by "universities working with local metal detecting groups". It is state funded, the FLOs are embedded in museums and county council planning departments and for the most part are employed in and by the PAS. Universities have a supporting role, but not in direct financing of the Scheme itself. Why then, having said that countries with artefact hunters should all emulate the PAS does Mr Tompa immediately scale it down to a local ad hoc initiative when it is suggested that the USA have one? I imagine nobody over there would want it said "the Brits do it better" than the USA (would they?). In any case, the issue is not just about metal detecting, the English and Welsh PAS (and the Scottish TTU) record finds of flints, pottery, tile and other stuff found by members of the public doing other things (building, pond-digging, dog-walking, rose gardening etc etc).  Any copycat American PAS would surely do the same - especially given that for many pre-Columban millennia of human history in that part of the continent, metals were not much in use.

Money-mouth-put, US coineys. What part of that do you not understand? 

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