Friday 28 February 2014

A20 Grave Trashing: "You Done Well" and Kent County Council Policy

Kent County Council's Finds Liaison Officer has reportedly been telling some of the County's metal detectorists that they "done well" hoiking out an Anglo-Saxo grave group from a site. That appears not to be what the County Council's website (Your County - Putting Kent First) is telling people.

What to do if you make a find [...] If you do find something that you think may be of archaeological or historic interest, then the following steps will help ensure that it is treated properly and that people are informed, who may be able to help.
1. Try not to disturb a suspected archaeological site; certainly do not attempt to dig it up! Much of the most important information about archaeological sites and finds comes from the context that they are found in - how they lie in the ground, what other features may be close by and the condition they are in when discovered. Removing finds from the ground without this information being properly recorded can significantly reduce our ability to understand them properly
2. Many sites and finds are very fragile. Taking them from the ground without proper care can damage or destroy them.
like textile remains and organic remains in graves I suppose it means.

Here's where to go to "Report damage to a site" (oh, look it includes "Ms You-done-well", fat lot of good that is then). It also says "We have additional information for people using metal detectors" but there is no link to such a text. Perhaps it's for "partners' eyes only"? I think it raises questions about the quality of Kent's (probably pretty expensive) heritage protection if a document setting out county policy  says one thing but individual members of staff are reported by their "partners" to take it upon themselves to say something quite the opposite.

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