Saturday 5 November 2016

They need to wise-up and smell the roses!

 I believe this conference is perfectly timed by
PAS and should open up a few eyes and minds

An artefact hunter who fancies himself as a bit of an 'amater archaeologist' displays the typical unoriginal thinking characteristic of the milieu. On a blog the design of which closely follows that of Heritage Action,* Roy Gout trots out his equally unoriginal semi-articulate gor-blimey views. This week its on the PAS fluff-conference: 'Can Detectorists be Archaeologists?'
As a detectorists myself and an amateur archaeologist that has worked with qualified archaeologists where my detector was called upon [sic] [I must say], this promises to be a very interesting series of talks. Any form of education, as long as it is a balanced appraisal of the subject, is most welcome as irresponsible detecting without giving thought to the archaeology is without doubt a serious matter and hopefully will be discussed at length.
I doubt it, that is not the conference's theme, obviously. On the contrary. The next bit is equally incompetently phrased: 
There are two types of detectorists apart from the many thousands out there that, in my opinion, are irresponsible in respect of their lack of concern for our heritage and unseen archaeology. One is the blatant ‘night-hawk’ [...] and the other is the genuine beginner/casual user of a detector who seem totally unaware that they could be damaging the archaeology [...] This doesn’t make the latter a bad bunch – just an uninformed one 
Well, it does doesn't it, like anyone who goes out on the road who has not the faintest idea of the Highway Code and what all those different shaped signs mean. Suggesting that they'll eventually learn (by trial and error) is not really an excuse. Yes, you can teach nine-year olds to drive a car,. but filling the roads with pre-teen coach and lorry drivers is in nobody's interests except maybe cost cutting transport companies. 
Another heritage website doesn’t seem to allow for this and offers no credit to the ‘good guys’ seeing the majority of all detectorists as stealing our heritage and the vast number of them not declaring their finds. So where do they think all the hoards and other antiquities found came from if not reported – out of fresh air! 
No, out of the archaeological record. Where many of them have been sitting in context safely thousands of years, the only threat now being metal detectorists out to fill their pockets and get their treasure rewards. Most of them after incompetently removing them from that context themselves, destroying any information about that context. This is nothing to be complacent about.  The heritage websites (including mine) that discuss the wider issues are right, even the PAS admits that they see only a small proportion of what artefact hunters hoik. The majority of the information artefact hunting could offer is simply being pocketed (stolen from the rest of us). The detectorist claims:
The dark or negative side is always highlighted by them and virtually no credit given to the huge amount of detectorists out there doing the right thing! They need to wise-up and smell the roses!
The fact is there is a very substantial 'dark' and 'negative' side' to current policies on artefact hunting and its products. And it is about time everyone 'woke up' to that fact and the need to counteract these problems. Certainly the mistaken idea that what the 'huge amount of detectorists out there' are doing is indeed 'the right thing' to do to the archaeological record seems to be a good starting point. The writer concludes his presentation of this conference: 
I hope it is well attended and appreciated by a level-headed audience and hopefully gives the naysayers something that will pacify them a little 
Well, none of them were invited to take part in the discussion, the list of speakers shows clearly that an airing of different views and frank and open discussion of the issue is not at all what the organizers have in mind. The PAS and its supporters have never welcomed frank and open discussion of the issues. Also there is no indication that the deliberations will be published, giving them any permanent form. This is obviously just the usual PAS feelgood spin. 

*[Compare Roy Gout's:   (active as 'the Heritage Trust {sic]' since 2011) with Heritage action's well-known webpage (March 2005) and work out for yourselves what is going on]. 

Vignette: Lost

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, what is going on is exactly what appears to be going on!

As for Mr Goutte, he's a guest there not the proprietor, and he really doesn't get it, particularly the fact that PAS has acknowledged the vast number of finds aren't declared. Hence his ire (which he would direct towards PAS if he knew which way was up).

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