Thursday 18 June 2015

Coiney-Detectorist Stab in the Back for Roger Bland

Over on the IAPN lobbyist's blog, of all places, appears a comment approving the new management of the PAS 
The PAS is in excellent hands [...] not only is she bright, and [...] really does have impressive credentials 
Roger Bland [OBE, FSA, RNS, BNS (Council), Council for British Archaeology, Museums Association; Finds Research Group; Rescue; Society of Museum Archaeologists; All-Party Archaeology Group Advisory Group; FDA (Convenor, Culture Section and BM Branch); Honorary Lecturer, Institute of Archaeology, University College London] had better, and failed to protect the Scheme, his Scheme,  from dismemberment.  It is my prediction that Susan Raikes is less well-placed than Roger Bland to deal with the local partners (the local authorities funding or co-funding the work of most of the FLOs) and will not be able to do that. We will, I think, find out very soon what her abilities in that area are as the local partners start splitting away as a result of the  BM's appropriation of a national scheme to further its own territorial ends. It is interesting to note that just a few weeks ago, Tompa and the IAPN hanger-on detectorist Howland were singing the praises of Roger Bland and the benefits brought to artefact hunting by his PAS. Like a flag flopping in the wind these people can be counted on nothing more than to go with the flow.

Dave Welsh has at least a more sober vision that the gung-ho IAPN/ACCG hate-mongerers ('The Decline and Fall of the PAS' Thursday, June 18, 2015). It is interesting to note that he sees the PAS' failure to admit to error over things like the Lenborough hoard hoik as a significant factor in the Scheme losing support when it was needed. He could be right.
there were also irregularities (perhaps even culpable negligence) in the manner in which certain excavations were conducted, which aroused the understandable ire of doctrinaire archaeologists, when the collaboration functioned at its worst.
Archaeology without method is not archaeology, I think that less "doctrinaire" than a matter of definition what the PAS was set up to do. Welsh goes on:
Dr. Roger Bland is not only a very distinguished archaeologist but also a very distinguished numismatist. This observer does not perceive anyone in the remaining administration of the BM and the remnants of the PAS as being professionally worthy of carrying Dr. Bland's boots. No doubt they do have organizational harmony merits and political connections sufficient to make them more comfortable colleagues for the beleaguered politicians who have now sacrificed the PAS upon the reeking altar of budget reductions. [...] It seems however that this particular "restructuring," involving as it does the exit of a very distinguished and trusted public servant, imposes an almost impossibly high expected standard of achievement and performance upon his successors.
But they are not going to attempt to match it, are they? Because, it would seem from what little information has escaped into the public realm, that Lava-PAS is setting out to do something quite different from the original PAS from which it came. You will note that, six weeks on, not a single policy  statement has emerged from Ms Rilkes' office the way she sees the PAS going now. A national, publicly funded, scheme. How long do you think, dear reader, we - stakeholders, its "audience" - will have to wait?

Vignettes: False friends 

UPDATE 18th June 2015
Literacy skills are obviously not some collectors' strong point. One of them is suggesting now: "Barford is suggesting that commending Ms. Raikes' background and achievements somehow diminishes Roger Bland's". I said nothing about her achievements in the field of running a national programme, they remain to be demonstrated. What I said was that splitting the Scheme up and putting it in where it has been put diminish the SCHEME relative to the version created by Roger Bland.

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