Sunday 28 December 2014

Will Archaeologists Break Forced Silence?

Heritage Action, ever hopeful that 'bonkers isn't forever' write of "Metal detecting: New Year new hope?" (HJ 28/12/2014)
 In parts of the US 90% of Native American archaeological sites have been vandalised. The Government is trying to stop it. In parts of Britain more than 90% of archaeological sites have been metal detected. The government isn’t trying to stop it. You might think they and British archaeologists don’t care, but they do. It’s just that having bottled out of legislating and set up a voluntary system that has largely failed there’s not a lot of appetite for acknowledging the reality. But silence shouldn’t be taken as acquiescence. Most archaeologists do want the activity legally regulated. [...] over the past few years the mood music has definitely been changing. Dare we hope that 2015 will be the year when a lot of archaeologists come clean and openly declare that the Emperor has no clothes and that the activity needs to be legally regulated? 
There has been some discussion among archaeologists of several examples of hoard-hoiking where greed has got the better of ethics, following on from the Crosby Garrett helmet fiasco, the Hollingbourne ('A20') grave trashing, the 'Dunelme hoard' hoik of September and now the Lenborough Hoard  The author quotes an archaeology professor that has come out and said what many are privately thinking about artefact hunting and its effects and asks:
Will 2015 reveal lots of archaeologists and academics willing to echo his words? Or will it take another five or ten years?

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