Thursday 31 October 2013

Treasure losses at all-time high

New headline figures, published today, show that last year (2012) a shocking 998 cases of legally protected Treasure had been hoiked out of their archaeological context in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the highest level of such erosion of the archaeological heritage since statistics were first published 5 years ago.

A detailed break-down of the equivalent figures for 2011, also published today, reveals that in that year a massive 92 per cent of all these losses of such archaeological material was caused by unrestricted artefact huntingwith metal detectors, currently unregulated by any law.

Commenting on these figures, Heritage Minister Ted Fluffy said:
There’s something essentially disturbing about this trend, and my Department is worried  that each year reveals still more cases of this nature. The archaeological record of our country is a precious, but also finite and fragile resource faced with threats from all sides. Deliberately removing these items from their burial context by artefact hunters and collectors on such a massive scale prevents us from using them as archaeological evidence to help us get a fuller picture of how life was lived centuries ago. Also dealing with such finds when reported adds enormously to the financial burden on our already under-resourced heritage sector. There is simply no possibility to raise the resources to professionally investigate each findspot from which such material has been removed to the degree required, still less organize proper analysis and publication. I salute all the responsible members of society that do not yield to the temptation to exploit our nation's precious archaeological heritage in the selfish pursuit of personal entertainment and profit – they are the true heritage heroes - whose patience and unceasing support for real archaeological research do so much to help protect our nation's buried heritage.

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