Tuesday 13 January 2015

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Good Handling, Care and Storage of Archaeological Objects

"Being responsible means:[...]
Familiarising yourself with and following
current conservation advice on the handling,
care and storage of archaeological object

Coin Trashing,
Thumbs up
from UK tekkie
On a metal detecting forum near you, member "Tinopener" from Leigh-on-Sea  is looking for some conservation advice for some of the nation's cultural heritage he has accepted responsibility for looking after. He decided not to go to his FLO for outreach and advice. In the thread 'coin tumbler' (Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:56 am) he reveals:
Hi every one after spending a hour trying to clean two coins can any one suggest a coin tumbler to buy.. nothing to [sic] costly and are they worth it..[sic] by the way the two coins were a George 111 farthing 1799 and a George 111 penny 1797 I think ? [sic] [thumbs up emoticon]
Is there an FLO on the MDF forum? The answer to the tekkie's question "[do] I think?" is self-evident. That the idea should come to anybody's head that throwing historical objects into a rock tumbler with abrasive material to knock and grind them down to the bare metal as a means of looking after artefacts is simply abhorrent and says a lot about this person's mentality. His ability to analyse the issues here about "care" and "proper handling" corresponds to his ability to compose and punctuate three simple sentences in English. He bought one by the way.

Over ten years ago Labour minister of Culture David Lammy boasted that the PAS was putting curation of a large part of Britain's portable heritage in the hands of people a large number of whom are "challenged by formal education"  which he thought was great. Fine, but then surely PAS outreach, informing them about the issues involved in that need to be targeted on that particular demographic group. Somebody who has no idea what a comma or question mark are for is not going to cope with a textual explanation full of punctuation marks and big words or subordinate clauses he does not understand. These people need pictures, a how-to-and-why video, and lots of smileys. The PAS website and outreach materials contain nothing of this sort. I guess that's what happens when you ditch the Education Officer and just try to muddle through without.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well PAS advice does include the sentence: "Don't use barrelling, wire brushes or other harsh methods they will only cause damage" but it's embedded in lots of dense text so of course it won't get seen by most detectorists.

They could make an effort though. For instance, they could distribute leaflets when they visit clubs with 10 Good Practice bullet points. I suspect it would be seen as too bossy though and an interference with the rights of free born Englishmen to do what they like with the country's heritage.

For instance, can you imagine a PAS poster being put up on a club noticeboard saying "if you find a hoard, STOP!". Nor can I, yet PAS still get their salaries.

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