Sunday 31 March 2013

YouTube's ready to select a winner

"YouTube's ready to select a winner"  but please, let it not be a metal-detecting video...  

(The tekkies no doubt will be busy now trying to figure out a way to affect the voting....).

Renewed Focus onUK Metal Detecting: A Generous Offer from Heritage Action

Since they seem to be having difficulty getting any message through using their own media, Heritage Action have extended a helping hand to other British heritage organizations:
PAS (and indeed EH and CBA) are very welcome to use our Comments section to indicate if they support artefact hunting on this basis and whether it is possible that outreach to farmers is a neglected element of outreach.
The "basis" of artefact hunting to which they refer are the sort of rules metal detectorists are setting themselves, and conning compliant landowners into agreeing with, up and down the country. They ask "is this right?" and the answer is ... a deafening silence from the entire UK archaeological and heritage community, falling in alongside the history grubbers and grabbers.

I wish that latter remark could be simply discounted as an April Fool... Sadly it is the bald and unvarnished truth.

The Chemically Stripped and Non-Pre-Tang Coins Supplied by a London Dealer


The China MOU is coming up for renewal and the stubborn dealers of the ACCG announce that they are now going to court (on behalf of "collectors" you understand) to reclaim the coins confiscated as a result of the Baltimore Illegal Coin Import Stunt. Well let us take another look at those coins ("Some of ACCG's Coins", Tuesday, 9 August 2011). What a sorry load of junk Spink's sent to the ACCG dealers in preparation for this stunt. They should be ashamed of themselves having such things in their stock in the first place, the stripped coins have been totally destroyed. Are the ACCG really interested in importing such items to the US coin market? Also what was Spink's asked to send? Pre-Tang coins, as on the MOU? What have we in the photo? Northern Song, Qing and several turned over so you cannot see the obverse inscriptions (why?). Who'd want to patronise an ACCG dealer that cannot even obtain a few decent coins fitting the bill, whether their intention was to do so legally or illegally?

Thames Discovery Programme

Mention of Mike Webber the other day seems a good opportunity to give a link to the Thames Discovery Programme website. Mike used to work in the 'Thames Archaeological Survey', which gave the beginnings to the present programme:
When the tide is out, the Thames is the longest open – air archaeological site in London, and much of the foreshore is freely accessible to the public. However, many of the exposed archaeological sites are often unrecognised and unprotected, and almost all are vulnerable to the twice-daily scouring of the tidal river, and thus require close monitoring.[...] Building on initiatives pioneered by the Museum of London’s Thames Archaeological Survey that took place from 1993 – 1999, and the Thames Explorer Trust’s innovative education projects, the Thames Discovery Programme aims to communicate an understanding and informed enjoyment of the historic Thames to the widest possible audience. This ambitious project is hosted by Museum of London Archaeology. Other partners include the Museum of London, English Heritage and the UCL Institute of Archaeology. [and NOT the Portable Antiquities Scheme? PMB, How come?]  [...]  Find out more about the Thames Discovery Programme activities and other Thames-related events in the Events section. Learn about where we are working and more about our key sites in the Riverpedia and FROGBlog sections.
Those intrigued by the mention of FROGs might like to follow up the references on the page concerning this volunteer group and maybe decide to become involved in some real archaeology:
The FROG is the Foreshore Recording and Observation Group. It is is made up of 300+ volunteers who have been fully trained in foreshore recording techniques and health and safety and have been certificated by the TDP. The FROG members work with the TDP archaeologists to record the archaeology of the foreshore during the summer season fieldwork, assist with training sessions for new members, participate in outreach events, and monitor the archaeology of the key sites of archaeological interest, found on the Thames foreshore. We hope that the FROG community continue to take responsibility for monitoring these key sites and other areas with archaeological remains on the foreshore for many years to come!
It is interesting to note that the website's "links" section only includes one link to artefact hunting, and that is to a very interesting mudlark's blog (current top post on some interesting sherd jewellery). [I must say I found the blog really good reading too, worth a stop-by if you like that kind of thing].

Saturday 30 March 2013

NY Antiquity Sales not "A matter of Great Concern" After All?

We were told that a group of "concerned collectors" (read "concerned dealers and some collectors they persuaded to go along with them") published a petition announcing to the world that what was being sold by a certain New York antiquities dealer of Iranian origin was for them "A matter of Great Concern" and they were hoping that the US authorities would consider it to be the same. They were aiming to get 1000 signatures (the collecting community of dugup coins alone in the USA is said by their lobbyists to contain fifty times that number). So far they have 93 supporters (just 33 more than on the second day). Can we therefore interpret that to mean that forty-nine thousand collectors of dugup antiquities instead consider some other problem in the dugup antiquities market instead to be a Matter of Great Concern? Or that the entire community is suffused with an enormous burden of apathy and inertia?

Protect Egyptian Cultural Heritage

'Urgent Call to Stop the Pillaging of Egypt's Heritage'
The Egyptian Society of South Africa, out of our concern for the fate of Egypt's magnificent heritage, ask you to join us in our protest against the pillaging and damage being done to ancient sites taking place in Egypt RIGHT NOW! Reports from world renowned Egyptologists, archaeologists and specialists in other disciplines all mention many instances of wanton damage, theft and plain 'treasure seeking' taking place at sites ranging from the Great Pyramid itself to other important sites throughout Egypt. The sad fact is that it appears that little or nothing is being done to control the damage and ongoing theft of Egypt's heritage.
They are ambitiously trying to get 10000 signatures, so they need all the help they can get. the question is of course whether the problem is caused by a lack of will alone, or whether you think Egypt has other, more pressing, problems to which priority must also be given.

US import restrictions of antiquities from China up for renewal

US import restrictions of antiquities from China are up for renewal. There will be a public hearing May 14. No doubt the ACCG will be there... What stunt will they pull?
"If you do not wish to make oral comment, but still wish to make your views known, you may send written comments for the Committee to consider. Again, your comments must relate specifically to the determinations under 19 U.S.C. 2602 of the Act. Submit all written materials electronically through the eRulemaking Portal (see below), ensuring that they are received no later than April 23, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT)".
To submit comments electronically, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal (, "enter the Docket No. DOS-2013-0008, and follow the prompts to submit a comment", except there is no such docket yet. Give them a few days.

Renewed Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Geography of "Partnering"?

I was not going to put these up for a while, but they really got me thinking, so thought I'd share them now. This is what happens if you apply the Heritage Action model to PAS data. I'm not going to put the numbers on, I want to check them, and that's several more hours work and they've taken up rather too much of Easter Saturday - so they are offered "as is" for the moment. The colours are a bit naff too.

This is a county-by-county breakdown of PAS-recording frequency among metal detectorists. What I did was take the data which is at the basis of the HA Erosion Counter model and apply them to the minimum number of detectorists in each county which I took from the PAS tables of detecting club membership rather than reporting detectorists.* These are minimum numbers, clubs sometimes limit membership (to ease pressure on 'club land') and not all detectorists belong to clubs (especially in the north of England). I then multiplied that by the average number of finds derived from the research behind the HA Artefact Erosion Counter model (see below). This gives for each county an idea of what number of finds are potentially being dug out of the archaeological record by that (minimum, remember) number of artefact hunters with metal detectors. Then I compared that with the real figures for reporting in the two periods noted in the posts earlier on this morning (here and the other one here). The first period studied was from 2003 when the Scheme went nationwide to the day before the download of a massive amount of extraneous data in March 2010. That gives a nice solid block of just over six years - arguably the heyday of the PAS - when reporting and recording were steadily progressing. One might expect therefore these figures to represent the great success of the Scheme in its outreach. Far from it, it reveals something totally different. Although the Scheme is the same right across the country, the application and response to it differ greatly. As I said, I'm not going to put numbers on this today. Suffice to say that dark red represents a level of recording which would perhaps satisfy the "better than nothing" brigade. These are regions which the figures we have suggest just a little more than half is being recorded, IF the actual number of active detectorists is not much higher than the figures used (and I think they are).** The light red areas have worryingly low recording. Anything below that (puce, dark green, dark brown) are deeply unsatisfactory - we are talking here about perhaps 70-80% of dugup finds NOT being recorded. The counties coloured black are - the figures suggest - being looted of artefacts on a tragically unmitigated scale. I'm talking here about it looking very much like 95% of dugup finds not getting reported or recorded.  If that is true, it is nothing short of a scandal.

What is worrying is that every indication is that the real figures are worse in two regards, the first is that there are probably many more artefact hunters in each region than those who have joined clubs (and for the most part their finds are probably not getting to the FLOs) - secondly if you start dividing the number of finds reported for some regions (Norfolk for example) by the number of reporters, we find that the average number of objects ascribable to each is somewhat higher than the average taken as a basis for the HA counter algorithm.  The latter is intended to be a conservative estimate, and it may well be that it is in fact too low.

In reply to those who suggest that the HA finds estimate is "wrong" (though on what basis?), I'd ask them to indicate how they wish to 'adjust' figures which are suggesting just 5% of dugup artefacts are getting reported in some regions. Postulating that each artefact hunter finds (for example) just three recordable items a year may well bring the results up to "50% reporting" in those regions, but then applying such a figure outside these regions would mean that artefact hunters in other regions are reporting many items that they are not finding! Obviously once again, the answer is that we need more reliable figures from the PAS in a form conducive to multivariate analysis. Until then, the HA figures are the best we have (though mainly because they are the only ones we have).

Here is the graphic representation of the situation these figures suggest in 2003-March 2010.

 Unfortunately it gets worse. The period at the end of March 2010 (thus excluding the download of extraneous data which contaminates the picture) to the end of March 2013 is a short period and the numbers are correspondingly smaller - and therefore more sensitive to temporary glitches, like a FLO leaving the job and a period when there was nobody to fill the post (Essex for example). Nevertheless the picture seems clear. Here is the graphic representation, the same colour scheme as before.

The spread of the areas shown in black are noticeable. Almost everywhere, these figures suggest that there has actually been a decline in the percentage of dugup finds being recorded. In very few areas (Gloucestershire/Avon, Berkshire/ Oxfordshire, and the Isle of Wight) do the figures seem to remain the same. Why this is happening is unclear. It is also interesting to note a stronger differentiation emerging between the southeast/Home Counties and the rest of England. Nigel Swift and I have noted a similar divide in the character of metal detecting clubs between these two area (incidentally if you look at the map in the sidebar, the distribution of readers of this blog tends to divide into two clusters along a similar line - which actually, though I think coincidentally, reflects the underlying geology). 

The extreme variation in proportions is difficult to explain, they go down to just one or two percent of all dugup finds of the HA model in some counties to 65 and 75% for two counties before March 2010. In fact, it is only certain counties (certain FLOs!) which are keeping the numbers up to their apparent high levels.

Also rather unclear is the interpretation of the anomalously high values of recorded finds from two northern counties, North Yorkshire and East Yorkshire (while South and West have an abysmal record). I am sure the FLOs there are very persuasive and approachable, but is that the only factor? 

I stress that these are work-in-progress, but even so reveal a couple of things that really need to be looked at in more detail. Needless to say, any light the PAS itself can shed on the factors involved and the interpretation of these figures would be very helpful.

*since the latter tend to be more mobile than those regularly attending a club - I am of course aware that not all members of a club which is based in one county actually live and do all of their detecting in that county - but these are currently the best figures in the public domain which we have from the PAS.

** It should also be stressed that the PAS statistics being used lump metal detected finds together with accidental finds by other members of the public, so these values are in fact much higher than the actual ones.

Coins of Bonosus and Proculus on eBay

Another artefact bearing the name of Proculus has turned up on eBay: Roman Æ Medallion of Proculus being sold by seller 'legendsfromancienttime'. The price is GBP 10.99, it is of course a 'historical replica':
 PROCVLVS AVG laureated bust left / VICTORIA AVG Victoria with wreath advancing right. Weight: ~ 10 gram Diameter: ~ 24 mm [...] These pieces are NOT ancient coins. Each coin is stamped 'COPY' on the rim.

Now anyone who looks at this object can see at once that it is not an original coin, just a bit of fun. Matters are somewhat different with another item on sale at the moment: "Rare bronze antoninianus of Quintus Bonosus, Usurper in Gaul ca.280 AD" with a PAX reverse Item number 221197663023 being sold by coin dealer 'ancient-collection' (21 comments) many of whose somewhat over-priced goods look as if they've been tooled. That however does not put some buyers off. I'm interested to see if his Bonosus finds a buyer at  a BuyNow price of $5,599.00.   The description is not very encouraging:
1.28 gr. [...]  NFA XX #441, a prior listing of this coin, notes, "[...] Proculus is not known to have left behind any numismatic record, but a small number of crudely produced antoninianii appear to be attributable to Bonosus. These closely resemble the "barbarous radiates" of the period of the Gallic empire, though a little thicker and heavier than most of these issues. The present specimen also exhibits traces of original silvering."
Hmm. Many barb-rads do.  The dealer's idea of a description of the coin is to tell his buyers about the events of c. 280. He does not give the legend, probably wisely, all you can see is [...]AVG. No 'B' or 'Bono...' anywhere in sight on the flan. The portrait is rather too chunky even for a bad barb-rad.  It seems the only basis for the attribution (at least mentioned) is that this is "crudely produced " and "a little thicker and heavier"... I'll not be buying it. It is interesting that this dealer has apparently not heard of the upcoming sale of a Proculus coin in the UK, or perhaps he believes like the York FLO and Roger Bland that it is a fake?

"Brun, Baby, Brun": UK-Norwegian Hoard Hunters

Networks UK’s History channel has ordered what is billed as a "new factual series", the eight episode "Hoard Hunters" from ITV Studios. This is a "docuseries following archaeologist Mike Webber and his team as they travel to sites of known treasure hoards around the UK to piece together history and perhaps find more artefacts". The treasure hunting escapade is described as a "character driven series that feature amateur enthusiasts who are the best at what they do”:
Hoard Hunters follows Gordon Heritage and Gary Brun as they team up with archaeologist Mike Webber to embark on a quest to unearth hoards of treasure and unlock historical mysteries. Each week the treasure hunting heroes take on a fresh challenge at a new UK location, heading to sites where previous hoards have been found in an attempt to salvage what may have been left behind and maybe even find a whole new hoard
It was described by Andy Cook one of the TV researchers thus:
A sort of Top Gear meets Time Team for the History Channel, made by ITV Studios. Hoard hunters follows Gordon Heritage & Gary Brun, expert metal detectorists as they re-visit the sites of old hoards with bigger and better equipment than before. Combining history, humour the show resembles a boys own adventure – as we follow Gary and Gordon on their quest, whilst historical investigator Mike Webber looks into what they might find.
It is called an "archaeology" programme. Well, what can we expect after the ITV's PAS-produced "Britain's Secret Treasures"? Now we are not going to have even secret ones. The presenters will show just how easy it is for any Tom, Dick and Hamid to go to the records, find a likely Treasure spot and get the metal detectors and spades out and dig up the rest of the archaeology at these sites. Sites, that is of the discovery of nationally important archaeological remains, so by that token these are themselves nationally important archaeological sites, not suitable for ad hoc digging willy-nilly on a Treasure-hunter's whim. What is going on over in the UK? Has any archaeological body given the producers of this treasure-seeking adventure film full of "characters" the low-down on the possible undesirable side effects? Or has the PAS already put its name down to supply FLO-Characters (the pop-star, the cute one, the jovial bald one) for the needs of the programme?

Mike Webber does a lot of work with mudlarks. My guess is that anyone who has seen some of the river detecting or the depth-advantage videos Messrs Brun and Heritage have been involved in will feel that it is very likely that (like Ric Savage's "American Digger" over in the States), this one is not going to present UK metal detecting in the most favourable of lights. We will see.

Patrick Munn, 'History UK Orders Two Factual Series ‘Banger Boys’ and ‘Hoard Hunters’..', February 22nd, 2013.

 History UK orders “Banger Boys,” “Hoard Hunters”...', Real screen February 22, 2013. 

Latest Ruling in Koh Ker Sotheby's Statue case

The latest development in the case of United States of America v. A 10th Century Cambodian Sandstone Sculpture Currently Located at Sotheby's, is that a New York District court judge is allowing the case to proceed, having denied Sotheby’s motion to dismiss the claim brought on behalf of Cambodia by the US government. The case concerns the knocked-off Koh Ker statue currently held on behalf of Mrs Ruspoli Di Poggio Suasa.  George B. Daniels dismissed several of Sotheby’s key arguments and ruled on Thursday that the government has “sufficiently pled facts regarding Sotheby’s knowledge that the Statue was stolen at the time of import into the United States.” He also found the government had presented sufficient evidence that the British collector who initially sold the statue, “knew the statue had been looted from Koh Ker.”   He is allowing federal prosecutors to amend their forfeiture complaint concerning the National Stolen Property Act. 

According to the Judge's 18-page ruling:
Sotheby's was aware of the origin of the Statue, that it had been broken off at the ankles, and it first appeared on the international art market during a period of rampant looting of antiquities from Koh Ker. Sotheby's has a particular expertise in works from India and Southeast Asia, including extensive experience in the sale of Khmer artifacts. Sotheby's consulted regularly with the Collector and knew him to be the original seller of the Statue in 1975. The Collector knew that the Statue had been looted from Koh Ker, and had trouble selling it in 1975 because many prospective buyers were unwilling to purchase it due to its lack of legitimate provenance and missing feet. Subsequent to import, Sotheby's was expressly advised that the Cambodians had clear evidence that the Statue was definitely stolen. Sotheby's is alleged to have provided inaccurate provenance information and omitted information about the Collector who acquired the Statue in Sotheby's communications with potential buyers, the Kingdom of Cambodia, and United States law enforcement. Accepting all of these fact as true for the purposes of the parties' motions gives rise to a reasonable inference that Sotheby's knew that the Statue was stolen at the time of import and thereafter.  
Adam Klasfield, 'Discovery Slated in Suit Over Cambodian Statue', Courthouse News Service Friday, March 29, 2013

Rick St Hilaire, 'Cambodian Statue Forfeiture Case Moves Forward - Sotheby's Motion to Dismiss is Denied', March 29, 2013.

Chasing Aphrodite blog, 'BREAKING: Judge rules in favor of Cambodia, Denies Sotheby’s Motion to Dismiss Claim to Khmer Statue', March 29, 2013

Some Interesting PAS Stats (1)

The PAS database has been working a little bit clunkily over the past few days, I've been trying to pull some figures out, but its going very slowly. So here's one search I did, I'll post the results up for your delight and edification: Statistical analysis of the database for for Wednesday 1st January 2003 until Sunday 21st March 2010. the significance of the date in March 2010 is that the next day a whole load of extraneous data were dumped into the database from two coin archives. They contain records going back well into the last century and items found by ploughboys and archaeological investigations, thus blurring the picture if we want to use the PAS database to study the effects of artefact hunting alone.

Finds per county

No county recorded 1551 1372
Avon 3483 1009
Bedfordshire 3922 3513
Berkshire 1759 1048
Buckinghamshire 8287 7193
Cambridgeshire 9125 6355
Channel Islands 2 2
Cheshire 2348 2208
Cleveland 165 142
Cornwall 2024 1913
Cumbria 2625 1782
Derbyshire 1695 1329
Devon 2955 1771
Dorset 4768 3176
Durham 2047 1721
East Riding Of Yorkshire 8601 6885
East Sussex 10351 7287
Essex 13052 7119
Gloucestershire 8288 3082
Greater London 4775 4242
Greater Manchester 111 109
Hampshire 19884 11939
Hereford And Worcester 7 5
Herefordshire 1558 1326
Hertfordshire 6871 6554
Isle Of Wight 9277 5756
Isles Of Scilly 7 7
Kent 8577 7839
Kingston Upon Hull 5 5
Lancashire 2191 1859
Leicestershire 16573 7306
Lincolnshire 23719 17894
Merseyside 154 154
Norfolk 28059 25803
North East Lincolnshire 86 85
North Lincolnshire 4357 4120
North Yorkshire 15459 9137
Northamptonshire 8239 6454
Northumberland 1398 771
Nottinghamshire 5329 4681
Oxfordshire 7126 4993
Rutland 824 489
Shropshire 14630 2355
Somerset 11809 5017
South Yorkshire 2726 1620
Staffordshire 4113 2704
Suffolk 44495 23399
Surrey 7478 4988
Tyne And Wear 206 195
Warwickshire 12651 6867
West Midlands 519 238
West Sussex 10963 6338
West Yorkshire 1632 1153
Wiltshire 14103 8196
Worcestershire 2565 1794
Yorkshire 1 1

Finds per county (Wales)

Bridgend 44 44
Caerphilly 33 33
Cardiff 248 160
Carmarthenshire 180 143
Ceredigion 22 22
Conwy 47 41
Denbighshire 229 209
Flintshire 314 274
Gwynedd 78 69
Isle Of Anglesey 107 106
Merthyr Tydfil 15 14
Monmouthshire 2349 749
Neath Port Talbot 17 17
Newport 224 174
Pembrokeshire 1918 450
Powys 974 490
Rhondda Cynon Taff 83 76
Swansea 9868 1317
Torfaen 12 12
Vale Of Glamorgan 3756 931
Wrexham 228 218

I'll be looking into the significance of these in my seminar on 10th April. There is actually something very interesting emerging from them.

Some Interesting PAS Stats (2)


Here for completeness are the corresponding figures for the dates after the data-dump till the end of last year: Statistical analysis of the database for for Wednesday 24th March 2010 until Sunday 24th March 2013

Finds per county (England)

No county recorded

 Recording in Wales is right down  - just 229 finds: 

Finds per county (Wales)


I'll be looking into the significance of these in my seminar on 10th April. There is actually something very interesting emerging from them.

Friday 29 March 2013

Renewed Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Evolution

Over in darkest Wales, Forum member "Stever" gets a question off his chest (March 28, 2013, 08:56:43 PM):
Just though i would through [throw? PMB] this question out there why is it that metal detectorists are required to cooperate with archies yet they dont for the most part with us[?] 
Member "Chef Geoff" ("Finds 2013 Roman grots 14 Fibula 2") is in some doubt about what he means, and enquires: "In what way don't they cooperate and what sort would you like to see?". Stever explains (Reply #2 on: March 28, 2013, 09:38:36 PM):
 hi geoff i went over to talk to one ealier on a site i knew there was history on but he was rude and basically slagged off us detectorists. i guess just a bit of mutual respect would be nice geoff thats all. im just ranting really but i dont get why on earth they think they have more rights than us[.] 
The reply is interesting. Chef Geoff (Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 09:53:36 PM) opines:
 Basically because they do. Unfortunately Steve archaeologists see a lot of the damage that we detectorists can cause to a sight(sic), not only Nighthawks but the everyday hobbyist who digs through stratification removing dating evidence. Yes I think most now realise that we have added hundreds of sites to the record but they are also well aware that thousands of detectorists go out every weekend and don't record their finds which takes away evidence not add to it.
There are two significant things about that comment. The first is that I'm pretty sure that "Chef Geoff" wouldn't have said that a few years ago. Secondly, it sounds to me like he's saying stuff he has learned from blogs like this one rather than from the PAS. The PAS do not say things like that in their "outreach". More to the point, is it true that British jobsworth archaeologists are becoming more sceptical about partnering artefact hunting than a few years back? Oh, I hope so. Time they woke up to where the Pied Pipers of Bloomsbury are trying to lead them.

A "Citizen-Collectors' Archaeology Permit" in Florida?

A group of artefact hunters (and 'citizen archaeologists')  in Florida are trying to effect a change in the law. They want to see the introduction of a "Florida Citizen Archaeologist Permit (CAP) program" to allow individual private citizens to legally recover historical archaeological artefacts from "state sovereign submerged lands, including lakes, rivers, streams, and coastlines". Currently, under Chapter 267 of the Florida Statutes, all archaeological materials found on state lands or submerged in state waters belong to the people of the state (see The Heritagist: "Archaeological group objects to proposed Florida Citizens Archaeology Permit", Posted: 28 Mar 2013 ).  They propose that such permits would be available upon payment of an annual fee and agreement to certain conditions.
In the past, Florida had an Isolated Finds Program (IFP) that allowed individuals to collect artifacts from state submerged lands, but the program was discontinued in 2005  [partly] because of the failure of many private collectors to report their finds.  The proposed CAP program would essentially reinstate this same program, and thus give rise to the same reporting concerns.  
It is noted that the effects of the "Isolated finds" programme were much the same as is happening with the Portable Antiquities Scheme in England and (for the moment) Wales: "only a few reported locations and they were the same people (harvesting multiple artifacts, not singular finds)". The proposed CAP is not an archaeology permit, but rather merely a collecting permit ("to better regulate artefact collecting in public waters [...] to obtain a permit to legally recover and curate..."). Archaeology is rather more than simply collecting old artefacts.

Not surprisingly some archaeologists are opposing these moves. Sarah E. Miller, Director of the Florida Public Archaeology Network Northeast Regional Center for example argues against the implementation of the proposed CAP program. The Florida Public Archaeology Network believes this proposed program is contrary to the public trust."
The Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) is rightly concerned about the loss of archaeological context and information about the recovered materials that would occur if they were not properly reported.  Unfortunately, as shown by by the previous experience with IFP, such reporting requirements prove extremely difficult to enforce.  FPAN has issued a statement on its blog explaining in more detail its objections to the proposed CAP program.
There are seven really good points on the blog, worth reading, too, by supporters of the PAS over here in Europe.

A few years ago however Robert L. Knight and Donald L. Munroe published a text (available here on archaeologynet) "The Florida Isolated Finds Policy – Opportunity and Responsibility for River Divers". Here they conclude PAS-like that the important thing is the information and "partnership":
Florida’s IFP is neither a success nor a failure, instead, it is a good alternative to open hostility between avocational and professional archaeologists. Whatever the outcome of the IFP, Florida’s laws governing artifacts in submerged lands, and future enforcement of those laws, artifacts in Florida’s rivers will continue to be extracted. Those artifacts may be in private collections or in state-owned collections and actually may migrate from the former to the latter sometime in the future.  
This seems a suitable cause for the US Collectors' rights organization the ACCG to get involved in. They are always banging on about how, instead of asking US collectors and dealers to clean up their act and avoid buying smuggled artefacts, the source countries should be facilitating the reporting of artefact hunting activities (voluntarily of course) through setting up in countries like Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Egypt clones of the English (and for the moment, Welsh) PAS. Those of us with a more developed sense of justice and fairness than that possessed by the average US collector of dugup antiquities would argue that if the US were to impose such a requirement on a (sovereign) foreign state, it should at least adopt such a measure itself. Lead by example. Here then is a solid opportunity for the US advocates of the PAS-clone solution to looting problems to see that it is introduced in the USA. Now they have lost their Baltimore Illegal Coin Import Stunt case, they can turn their attention to other ways of supporting US collectors' rights by encouraging this model of dealing with the archaeological record through a citizens' initiative closer to home.

I am sure in good time we will also hear - though more likely it seems on a metal detecting forum or blog - from Archaeologist "Lisa" over in Florida (who seems otherwise to support the FPAN) how such a citizens artefact collecting activity would benefit the people of Florida. I am sure it will make as edifying a read as her dismissive take on the long-term effects of artefact hunting on the UK's archaeological record, and the training of artefact hunters in the elements of archaeological recording to fend off criticism of the hobby (to "eliminate the rebuttal archeologists fall back on, “Destroying Context”..."). 

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