Sunday 11 May 2014

Ornithology Day - 'Archaeology' Day?

There seems to be a clash in ideologies in the Sussex Ornithological Society organizing its upcoming (6th August) East Sussex Ornithology Day at Michelham Priory, Upper Dicker, Hailsham. They say "come and be an ornithologist for a day with hands-on activities, displays, arts and crafts and a fun trail around the grounds. Suitable for all ages". During those "hands on activities" members of the public can get to see some of the local birdlife up close and add some to their collections:


This will be “an organised day out” “enjoyed by country folk” “conservation-friendly” of course, nothing wrong there, then.  Reportedly the Sussex Archaeological Society on the other hand is organizing on the same day its:

"Archaeology Day":

"Come and be an archaeologist for a day
with hands-on activities, displays, arts and crafts

and a fun trail around the grounds.  Suitable for all ages".

 That's Bonkers Britain and the heritage of the PAS for you. Self-centred exploitive hoiking equated with a discipline with a methodology. Metal detecting and hoiking artefacts is not "what archaeologists really do".

A prediction: this is the only place where you will see ANY kind of discussion or protest against this event between now and the 5th August from a British-born archaeologist. The rest nod sagely and mumble something indistinct about "public engagement in the destruction of the remains of the past". Meanwhile the birds die and archaeology is trashed.


Vignette: Some people who should know better appear to have fun slaughtering birds. Some people who should know better are encouraging artefadct hunting and collecting dugups.

UPDATE 14th May 2014
More Bonkers Britain: It appears some people involved in this event are embarrassed by being caught on camera by Sussex Archaeological Society with metal detectors in their hands. I have therefore protected their identity here, please replace the photo above by the edited version in your copy of this post. Thanks. And you people, you are RIGHT to feel ashamed of youselves. We have the name of one of them, whose going to name and shame the other two? And who are the four standing off-camera on the right? Shame!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a shame, we ran a story about the Day of Archaeology on the Journal just yesterday, it's a great concept, yet the first thing that pops up is this damaging nonsense.

It hardly reflects well on the Society, which is a very large one (and we've run a feature on it too). I hope they amend it. It's surprising as both the BBC and the press have given up claiming detecting equates with archaeology for several years.

This incident reminds me of Worlingworth where artefact hunters persuaded a local archaeology society to run a detecting rally. Someone in Sussex has taken their eye off the ball by letting a non archaeological self-serving tail wag the archaeological dog. An FLO is based at one of their properties. Perhaps they lazily thought that meant artefact hunting is archaeology?

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