Saturday 11 April 2015

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Key Question Unanswered

To continue the lepidopteran theme,
Acherontia atropos (Zmierzchnica
trupiagłówka) - metal detecting
is seriously damaging archaeology
Heritage Action, as the name implies, would like to see an active role taken by public bodies in heritage protection. So they ask "Metal detecting … why misinform the only people who can end bad practice at a stroke?" (HJ 11th April 2015). The answer to that is of course that in reality PAS have not really been involved in actively pursuing real best practice since it was begun. Feered to you see. They are afraid if they begin insisting that artefact hunters and collectors act like real partners in the protection of the archaeological heritage, the pretend partnership will collapse.

Like others, Heritage Action is rapidly running out of patience with the passivity of PAS, and has written some “advice to landowners”. 
Landowners are the sole group with absolute power to allow or disallow detecting so they are pivotal gatekeepers both metaphorically and literally. If they aren’t made aware of bad practice (or the fact PAS’s statistics show it is very widespread) they aren’t equipped to make informed, heritage-friendly decisions or to curate the history in their fields on our behalf.
Certain that if the PAS would take the step of endorsing such a text, it would make a huge difference to conservation, they have sent it to the PAS management:
with a polite request that they publish something similar on their website and in the farming press [...]. We’ll let you know how they respond. 
Oh yes. Conservationists "trolling" again, on behalf of the heritage. Read the text of the postulate here and decide for yourself if this is a reasonable thing to expect the PAS of England and (for the moment) Wales to be doing with public money, or an unreasonable one.  I think it sounds perfectly reasonable but then I am one of those "archaeologists bar none" opposed to avoidable knowledge theft through irresponsible collection-driven exploitation of archaeological sites and assemblages. 

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