Friday 29 November 2013

Swedish Archaeologists More Alert than Dozing British Counterparts

While Britain's Portable Antiquities Scheme is part and parcel of telling people wotta-lotta Treasure is out there to be had with a metal detector through the iffy dumb-down of "Britain's Got Treasure" and nobody lifts as much as an eyebrow, let alone a finger, archaeologists in other countries take action when the media start talking about the same thing over there. Take Sweden for example ("Treasure hunting and archaeology" Liv Westring's blog, November 28, 2013). There's lots of gold there too, but there are restrictions on how and who is allowed to excavate on archaeological sites over there (and on the sale of  found historic items of rare metals as gold, bronze and so on). In Sweden to search for archaeological artefacts in the earth you need a license and permit from the county is necessary. There is a total ban on metal detectors on Gotland due to the large amount of looting on ancient sites.

So there was some alarm when the newspaper Aftonbladet wrote an article (about the miniature golden figures recently found at an archaeological site in Blekinge): “Here lies the hidden golden treasures!” accompanied with a map of Sweden and some sites marked with golden coins. Pretty quickly this was being posted around the social media by and among Swedes interested in cultural heritage. Immediately a couple of them got onto the newspaper, which at first tried to dismiss the concerns, but obviously enough did it that in the end Aftonbladet added a section named “The rules that apply” which briefly explains the key-points of the cultural heritage act and how the usage of metal detectors are restricted. And I wonder how many English archaeologists even bothered to dash off an email of protest to ITN or the PAS?

Vignette: Archaeologist dream Barbie

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