Sunday 9 September 2018

UK 'Metal Detecting', the Harsh Realities Behind Cuddly-Wuddly [UPDATED]

'What on earth did PAS think most 
detectorists were in the fields for – for 

an unselfish love of history?'

Archaeological knowledge hoik
Heritage Action ('PAS muses whether detectorists will pay for the upkeep of PAS. They haven’t been paying attention!' 9th September 2018) knows why UK archaeologists and metal detector using artefact hunters and collectors have been pretty quiet about recent suggestions for future much needed PAS funding.

The reasons are very clear. The funding suggestions 'Give PAS a percentage of Treasure rewards', 'Mandatory licensing of detectorists', 'FLOs charging for their services such as attendance at rallies' have all been proposed before – including by them. HA remind us that invariably detectorists have reacted with fury to notions such as this in connection with their own exploitative hobby and say they’ll go on recording strike or turn to nighthawking if anyone tries to restrict their freedom to do what they want how they want and for free (In the social media, 'so far there have been sixteen threats to go on recording strike, mainly over perceived threats to their “freedom”..').
It’s that unshakeable opposition to paying that is surely behind detectorists’ current silence – and indeed the silence of archaeologists (including PAS in private) – they know detectorists won’t pay. If you doubt a word of this we suggest you go onto a metal detecting forum and suggest licensing, a reduction in Treasure rewards or payments to PAS. Let us know what happens.
I know six academics who I suspect would find it an eye-opener to do this, to test out the truth behind their cuddly-wuddly head patting fawning on these 'non-professional metal seekers'. Do they have the intellectual courage to do that? Or is that too a bit too 'complex' for them?  One wonders how long on the eve of Brexit it will take Pieterjan Deckers, Andres Dobat, Natasha Ferguson, Stijn Heeren, Michael Lewis and Suzie Thomas to mature to actually engaging in a proper discussion about the issues raised by British 'policies' (I use the term loosely) on Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record, from their 'transnational' perspective. Can they?

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