Sunday, 19 August 2018

Public Knowledge Theft accusation by UK Professor: 'My Detectorist Mates Report Lots of Stuff, it's The PAS that is Hiding the Information'

Titanic Fiddling
Raimund Karl of  Prifysgol Bangor University reckons its not worth having all that many laws restricting the way the archaeological record is treated, they don't work anyway, he says (see his Archäologische Denkmalpflege blog too). He writes about this extensively in his text about the discrepancies between the supposedly 'good' rate of reporting of finds (about 80000 finds p.a.) by 'responsible detectorists' (artefact hunters engaged in Collection-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological resource for personal entertainment and profit) in England and Wales and the emerging new estimates for the actual number of people engaged in this exploitive hobby there. He's not having any of this, these estimates are WRONG, because he knows better (2017 'Metal detecting and the lack of efficacy ofany kind of regulation A response to a paper by Samuel A. Hardy' Academia). There he writes (p. 19):
Hardy forgot to consider in his ‘calculations’ that the PAS does not record all finds reported to it (Lewis 2016, 131). Rather, the number of finds actually recorded by the PAS may reflect, on average, as little as c. 1 in 10 of all finds reported to its FLOs (pers. comm. P. Reavill, PAS FLO). Thus, the number of recorded finds might actually represent c. 837,950 finds reported annually to the PAS. Comparing these ‘estimates’, as many as c. 63.71% of all ‘reportable’ finds found annually by metal detectorists during ‘licit’ searches in England and Wales might actually be reported by them to the PAS. This would at least be considerably better than the c. 4% Hardy argues for, even if it probably is an ‘overestimate’. Yet, that is not the even truly important point about the recording of finds of ‘licit’ detectorists done by the PAS. More important is how reporting rates have developed in England and Wales
Really? So reporting rate is developing further even though PAS is turning away as much as ninety percent of what artefact hunters responsibly bring, month after month, year after year?

Let us recap. Dr Sam Hardy has produced figures in an article called: ' Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal detected cultural goods [and let us focus for a second on the meaning of the last part of that title - ignored by the Ixelles Six/Helsinki Gang for example  who also misdirect attention to a permissive/restrictive law dichotomy]. Hardy's figures are pretty uncomfortable reading for the supporters of the PAS (the head of which is one of the Ixelles Six). Hardy's figures show that the c. 80000 objects recorded by the PAS are a pretty pathetic showing if there are 27000 detectorists pilfering the archaeological record for collectables. Karl tries to ignore evidence that does not fit his schematic 'restrictive mode' of data collection and comes up with the notion that there are a low estimate of 'the figure of 14,834 established above' (p. 19) - so about half the number predicated by Hardy's attempt to use the other available sources that Karl looking out of the narrow windows of his ivory tower fails (and now refuses) to see. And in order to bring a lifebelt to those still left on the decks of the foundering titanic shipwreck that is British policy (I use the term loosely) towards the emptying of the archaeological record by archaeological artefact collecting, professor Karl ropes in an off-the-record quote of an FLO. Is Mr Reavill being misquoted? Did he authorise the use of his statement here? Is Professor Karl willing to stand behind its use here in this context?   I think more than ever we need some honest PAS ground-truthing. When, actually, are the British public going to see some for the twenty years of public money this 'Scheme' has already consumed?

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