Friday 28 February 2014

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Bonker's Britain's Top Museum Said "we Done Right"?

The trashing of what looks like the remains of an Anglo-Saxon grave in east Kent was apparently "praised" by the understanding folk of the BM's PAS. Amazing. Here's what they are saying, first in the press, where everyone can see it. First a quote from metal detecting's long serving (25 years practice) ambassador, on the Kent Mercury website, "Holedigger pete" wrote (23-02-2014 19:42:57):
Christine,  [...]  everything was done by the book [...] the arch's said we done (sic) the right thing, [...] we [...] have been praised by the way we delt (sic) with the find on the day
More explicitly, "Holedigger pete" wrote in the same place (22-02-2014 17:19:40):
[...]  everything was done by the book [...] The BM and our FLO said we done (sic) the best thing by taking out what we could
Really? The BM actually said that? If they did they've lost all ambition to ever see any best practice among their partners. Time to call a halt to this, methinks. Other forum members are looking on and drawing conclusions for themselves, Peter Pearce (Re: Saxon Hoard found Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:53 pm) wrote: 
Staggering, what a find and what a stroke of luck that you were advised to keep searching that area. The god's were smiling on you for certain.
The gods, or the BM? There is a difference. A stroke of luck that they actually advised the  club to "keep on hoiking", great fun was had by all trampling around in a dirty big hole in the most sensitive part of the feature, trashing it totally, but what a lot of luvvery stuff ("roobies, look at the culah!"). The finder "Whatunearth" (Re: Saxon Hoard found Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:40 am) after describing what he did Sunday afternoon added:
I finally managed to get in contact with the FLO the next day and having explained the situation to her, she agreed that it was for the best.
Hmmm? Best practice epitomised Ms Jackson? I do hope that as part of the outreach paid for out of the public purse you sent him a link to the Codes of Practice where it says that. Could I have it too, this new revised code? The most telling statement about the involvement and reported approval of the PAS comes from a slightly later text on a public detecting forum ("Holedigger Pete", the club chairman Re: Saxon Hoard found Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:10 pm): 
when the hoard was found, we rang our FLO Jennifer Jackson on the day and could not get hold of her. The next day Jennifer rang Greg and said she could not do nothing till Friday or the following week Greg informed about this and i was not happy. I tried to contact Jennifer but her phone was turned off[.] due to the find being close to a main road i contacted the 3 top people at the BM and sent them pictures these are the people who got things moving. They told me the site could not be left till Friday and they would get a team together for the next day and that the police would be informed about the area to keep an eye on it. Yes i had thought about this happening one day and what to do, on the day i done what i thought was right to take out as much as we could without any damage to the area i could not sleep at night knowing nighthawkers could rob the site. The BM told me i did the right thing and i stand by what i did. [Last edited by Holedigger Pete on Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total].
Did they indeed? Has he got that in writing? The BM (apparently on Sunday - but there are some doubts about the timing of all this stemming from the above account compared with others) had pulled out all the stops to organise an immediate response team the next day, but the tekkies (instead of taking turns to sit up there a few hours each to guard the site until the next day so it can be examined intact by the archaeologists) deep-hoik the rest of it out and the next day (?") phone the FLO to say what they've done and both the FLO (and according to this account) the BM "told me I did the right thing"? By what right would the BM do that? 

If the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme actually said that, I think there are 62 million taxpayers (not to mention archaeologists and lawmakers) who have a right to hear why. If the detectorists quoted above are not telling it like it was, then equally there are 62 million taxpayers (not to mention archaeologists and lawmakers) who have a right to hear what the PAS actually did say to these people and how they actually do envisage best practice in cases like this.

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