Wednesday 4 January 2017

Archaeoduck and the 'Treasure Hunters'

An interesting contribution to the discussion of 'what archaeology is' has been made by the personable Dr Chloe Duckworth in a brief 'Archaeoduck' video, here:.

Archaeology explained posted on You Tube by Archaeoduck on 3rd Jan 2017.

While not, myself, agreeing totally with the presentation (I missed the word 'methodology'), it is nice to see an attempt to do this being made in a format which may be more palatable than others. It would have been nice if this had been a PAS or CBA video. So we get the "digging up old things" misapprehension brought up (here I'd have liked the 'methodology' mentioned)...

From the point of view of the part of the heritage debate I myself am more interested in, I was a bit disappointed that the whole issue of 'explaining archaeology' reduces the mention of the issue of artefact collecting to a mention of 'what a treasure hunter is interested in' (gold). There are very few actual people out there who say like a foulmouth slob in Bournemouth "Oi'm a Treasure 'unter' but many who declare themselves to be metal detectorists, interested in understanding the past like the archaeologists. I really do not get the impression that anyone hearing such claims would get from Chloe Duckworth's brief presentation here what the difference is in the use of the word 'understanding' in those two cases. It would have been nice if the presenters had taken into consideration a huge English speaking audience out there that after a generation of 'PAS outreach' now thinks that hoiking objects out of the ground willy-nilly is doing archaeology - including those that believe that because the British Museum told them so. I hope the production team take a closer look at the issue of collection driven exploitation of the archaeological record in its wider context of artefact collecting and the ethical and moral issues involved as well as the commercial side of the phenomenon and address some of the vacuous dumbdown crap that the Bloomsbury pro-collecting lobby puts out in the name of 'doing outreach' and 'partnership'.

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