Friday, 23 February 2018

Hoik it Out: 'Best Practice' for 'Citizen Archyologists'.

Ditching Buckets
Silas Brown this week has some wise words about artefact-hoiking metal detectorists and how much these so-called 'citizen archaeologists' really want to 'save history' ('Farmer Brown: If it walks like an oik and it talks like an oik …' 24/02/2018). It concerns a discussion on a metal detecting forum near you where a 'heritage hero' suggests asking a farmer to get a mechanical excavator with a ditching bucket ('get the farmer to scrape 6″ [sic] off at a time, depends how interested he is if he will do it or not, and how much you can tell him it might be worth his while...'). Damage the soil structure for the Treasure reward, he means. Farmer Brown muses about the manner in which the farmer would be persuaded by this diggedy-duo:
what on earth did this lot say to convince that farmer it was OK?
“Don’t worry there’s probably nothing there?”
“Don’t worry there’s probably lots there, we’ll be rich?”
“Don’t worry, archaeologists would approve?”
He suggests that instead of just accepting that the PAS is telling the public the whole truth about collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record, they consider just what artefact hunters are actually after:
please, before you let anyone onto your land, watch how they walk. And talk.
Of course the effective-as-a-wet-paper-bag PAS could jolly well pull their Bloomsbury corporate fingers out and (as part of that 'outreach' they claim so earnestly to be doing) inform the public and landowners that not even 'citizen' archaeologists excavate sensitive findspots with a socking big ditching bucket. Fat chance of that, hey? We note that 'not-using-ditching-buckets' is not one of the headings in their pretty pathetic twenty-years-on 'Code of Responsible Metal Detecting in Bonkers Britain' written at not inconsiderable public expense. If it's not there, then I guess the PAS consider this to be 'best archaeological practice', innit?

UPDATE 24th Feb 2018
With regard to the effective-as-a-wet-paper-bag PAS 'pseudo-outreach' on 'best practice artefact hunting', Nigel Swift has just pointed out to me that the detectorist in question has already spoken to the FLO but is still going to dig deep.. well, best practice is 'volutry innit'? But is PAS going to speak out? Don't hold your breath. h/div>

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