Monday 14 April 2014

Sajid Javid: what lies ahead for the new UK culture secretary?

The way ahead, but no
rocking the boat by
UK's 'sit back and wait'
Dave O'Brien, 'Sajid Javid: what lies ahead for the new culture secretary?' Guardian Professional, Friday 11 April 2014. Maria Miller's successor could make a positive impact on UK arts, but first must address lack of coherent policy at DCMS
'The lack of coherent cultural policy is something with which Britain has traditionally struggled, irrespective of the party in government'

obviously the current nonsensical approach to artefact hunting, collecting and the aberrations of the antiquities market are only part of the problem. But these issues are the one government can - with a will - sort out at a stroke of a pen.  Alternatively, the UK and its jobsworth archaeologists can all can continue to sit back and pretend there is no problem and fail to deal with it, as they have all done for the past decade and a half.


Detectorbloke said...

What does the government need to write with its pen if it had the will.

Paul Barford said...

Make the Treasure Act about archaeological value and not precious metal content, give the PAS fixed legal status within the heritage system, integrate hobby detecting into sustainable heritage management programmes, regulate the antiquities market.

P2Pinvested said...

Paul, would you care to expand on your "intergrate hobby detecting into sustainable heritage management programmes" point. I am a little unsure about what you are suggesting.

Detectorbloke said...

Thanks. I would be interested in more detail about each subject. I think others would be to so we could consider them and give reasons for why we disagree if we do. I know your views on detecting I just don't know that much on what you would do about it.

Paul Barford said...

What would you like to "know"?

Obviously it is sadly anachronistic for a modern state to base an act to allow the state to acquire important archaeological finds on whether they are made of gold, gold, gold, silver and gold or not.

The PAS has no legal status, and no clout. It should be given both. The PAS should assess Treasure cases.

I wrote about both in the PIA article.

Regulate the antiquities market... that's what this whole blog is about. Today's secretive could-not-care-less free-for-all needs sorting out in favour of transparency and accountability. Only in this way can we stop criminals profiting from the destruction of the world's archaeological heritage.

UK "metal detectorists" who come here NEVER see this issue, never discuss it, all those people "passionately interested in the past" could not give a tinkers about this key issue and seeing where they fit into a wider picture. Show me a single informed discussion of this on any of their forums.

Metal detectorists say they are "saving history" and that's why we should keep the hobby. OK, if that is so, let us work together with the responsible detectorists to do that in a co-ordinated way to make its results of value and sustainable. Today's ad hoc system is not achieving that and is allowing all sorts of cowboyism to flourish in its shadow. Let's organize things to kick out the non-productive and merely erosive cowboys.

Now, how would you suggest accomplishing those four tasks?

Obviously, at the forefront must be discussing the issues openly and transparently in public.

Detectorists must inform themselves what the issues are, and what the options are for fixing the problems, and why they need fixing. Big hurdle there when the principle detecting organizations have a vested interest in keeping their members as far as possible from potential sources of information about that.

Of prime importance is informing the public about what is wrong with the current situation (and the rosy picture presented by interest groups in favour of maintaining the damaging status quo) and what damage it is doing to their and their children's heritage and getting them behind moves to improve it.

Responsible artefact hunters and collectors have a part to play in the latter.

Anonymous said...

"Responsible artefact hunters and collectors have a part to play in the latter."

Pivotal I'd say. PAS bases it's survival strategy on claiming everything in the garden is lovely thanks to them. The effect of a powerful group of thoughtful detectorists saying "no it isn't" would be massive. The two big gainers would be the country and them.

But have they the nerve not just to "love history" but to influence it?


Detectorbloke said...

Thanks Paul. I'm just trying to get different views before making my mind up. Wuss one might think but just my way of doing things.

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