Sunday, 21 February 2016

Portable Antiquities Collectors and an Alter-Archaeology of Viking England

It's out... "Portable Antiquities Collectors and an Alter-Archaeology of Viking England" by Paul Barford pp 31-46 of Joanna Popielska-Grzybowska, Jadwiga Iwaszczuk and Bożena Józefów-Czerwińska eds Meetings at the Borders, Studies dedicated to Professor Władysław Duczko (Acta Archaeologica Pultuskensis V ISBN 978-83-7549-300-9) Pułtusk 2016 [in English].

Why the PAS records are not archaeological data. This is part one of a projected series. It was actually written a year ago, just before the PAS underwent some (more) changes which makes my text not as up-to-date as I would have liked it to be, but then the mutability of the PAS is another of those issues which discredit it as a source of 'data' because their nature and quality depend on when they were collected.

Let us see if any UK archaeologist is going to take that text and prove me wrong. Or rather are the Brits going to continue to pretend that there is nothing to discuss, and it is the critics that are the problem, rather than the issues they raise?

Here is how I see the current situation in the UK regarding archaeology, the public and artefact hunting:

Vignette: Baz Thugwit and the karaoke Vikings

I now have the pdf offprints, but have been asked not to put them online just now, as the Academy needs to sell some copies of the complete volume. I'll be sending a few copies to colleagues working in this area.

I've decided to restrict the rest to just ten at the moment. I'll send them to the first six archaeologists from Britain and abroad who is supportive of the PAS/metal detecting. You have to undertake [see above] (a) not to send multiple copies out for now, and (b) react publicly - either on this blog (we can do it as a guest post) or your own. To be clear, I am not a bit interested in texts which say I am right/ have a point (I would not be doing this blog and putting my thoughts out there if I were not pretty clear on that already). I want - and want my readers - to hear proper, reasoned arguments from those who think otherwise, let's see them. Who's going to step up to the challenge?  PAS FLOs are especially warmly invited.

I am not going to send copies to metal detectorists or collectors because (a) their opinion does not interest me, (b) most of them seem incapable of reading a text longer than eight sentences, they'll not understand a word of it and (c) they can pilfer one from somebody else. 

Not a single archaeologist that is supportive of the PAS asked for a pdf  on condition they wrote about what they thought I'd got wrong. Does that mean that this is a class of archaeologists that simply does not read? Anyway, it's now openly on access online... Not that the archaeologists-not-interested-in-reading will find it there either. 

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