Thursday 27 February 2014

PAS- Curt, Unhelpful and Covering-up?

What goes on here behind closed doors?
I've just had an answer (from a address) to my query sent the other day about the A20 Medway Trashed Grave site from the spade-wielding Jennifer Jackson, PAS Finds Liaison Officer, Kent. I'd written to ask her about whether there were any previous finds from the field being searched by the "Medway History Finders", in other words, whether they were targeting a known site. Guess what reply I got? It was curt:
I am afraid that we are not able to comment on the ongoing Treasure case.
Not able? I was not asking about the "Treasure case". Other things were found in that field. I did not even ask her if she really said that the Medway club had "done the right thing" by deep-hoiking everything within reach and whether that is the position of the British Museum. Should I?

In a second mail, I appended a thought which the PAS Liaison Officer dismissed in silence:
In the interests of furthering "best practice", the PAS surely should produce guidelines leaving no excuse for something like this to happen. "Responsible detecting" should include a more explicit requirement to secure finds in situ than the current vague wording of the CoP.
If she was my "liaison officer".... At times like this, I can see why some metal detectorists turn their back on the Scheme for its unhelpfulness and impoliteness. Perhaps it needs pointing out that liaison between "partners" goes two ways, the FLO represents the interests of archaeologists to finders, but also should be interacting with archaeologists and taking active part in all sectors of the heritage debate.

UPDATE 27.02.14
Despite the Kent online HER being knackered I managed to access some information concerning earlier finds from this site in the records, I am not saying more to avoid being accused of giving away the location, but I am now watching this one with added interest.The PAS database has quite a few finds from this parish including not a few of similar date to those we saw being hoiked by Medway History Finders. What is the relationship between them? Why is the PAS unwilling to answer a simple question about what was known about the site before that fateful "club dig"?


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