Sunday 17 March 2013

The Tekkies and the Troglodytes

"Leave archaeology and heritage alone" argues Paul Gething (director, Bamburgh Research Project) at the news that local government plans are that the role of the city archaeologist and conservationists in York are to be very much reduced in the near future. He goes on:
York is a historical and cultural icon. Our history and archaeology is second to none. We celebrate that fact and every time a person comes to York to share in our heritage and culture it reinforces that fact. At the heart of that is City archaeologist John Oxley. That is what the bean-counters seem to have missed [...] This is a classic case of culturally myopic, intellectual troglodytes, assessing the price of everything while knowing the value of nothing. Leave our archaeology and heritage alone. 
But perhaps the bean counters see that archaeology (real archaeology) costs (them) money. What Gething is urging is not so much "leave us alone", but "continue funding us as before". Bringing tourism into the argument as the only justification is a big mistake.  What however the tourists are becoming accustomed to see are a few walls and things, but the "heritage' for them increasingly means museum showcases full of gold and silver items. And who finds them in 21st century Britain? is it the archaeologists, or is it members of the public with metal detectors? The insistent outreach of the Portable Antiquities Scheme is having the unintended effect of educating the public (against its own stated principles) to see wandering around the fields with metal detectorists as the equivalent of doing real archaeology, and one anyone can join in and find those amazing "Britain's Secret Treasures".   Frankly, I think that the British archaeologists who miss this not-so-subtle differentiation - and its long-term significance are the mentally-insufficient troglodytes.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.