Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Portable Antiquities: A Term Needing a Proper Definition

Today's question is:
Can archaeologists and other academics using that term so freely now give us a precise holistic definition of what the term "Responsible Artefact Hunting" means in a global, not local, context - and from the point of view of the conservation of, rather than promoting collection-driven exploitation of, the archaeological record? 
One archaeologist tried but gave up after two tweets. Anyone else out there care to step in and fill the gap? There's a Learning, Volunteers and Audiences Portable Antiquities Outreach Scheme out there somewhere, maybe they can answer the question... And what about collectors and dealers'  associations? When are artefacts collected by collectors the results of "responsible collection" and when are they the products of "knowledge theft" and irresponsible action? At a time when collecting portable antiquities is being promoted all across the world by various groups (including many British archaeologists) as a form of public engagement with the past, the lack of any kind of agreement over this issue is disturbing.

Vignette: responsibilty

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