Sunday, 14 October 2018

A Good Time for British Archaeology to Face up to the Truth About Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Resource

Time is Running Out for the
Archaeological Record in the UK
Heritage Action write of 'The moment of truth for British Archaeology?' (Heritage Journal blog 14/10/2018) drawing attention to the implications of RESCUE's new 'policies for the future', which include two points on artefact hunting and the antiquities market.
Their central assertion, the absolute game changer, is that “Rescue believes that unregulated hobby detecting and other fieldwork does not contribute sufficient value or information to our understanding of the past to justify the damage caused to the wider archaeological resource”. Their message couldn’t be clearer: unregulated metal detecting isn’t sustainable so Britain shouldn’t tolerate it.
They point out that this
seems like a concept whose time has come, but only if the CBA gets on board too. But why wouldn’t it? Here are some more things Rescue said that we’re virtually certain CBA agrees with:
We have concluded that the current system for regulating the recovery of archaeological evidence by non-professionals in the UK is inadequate.

The PAS has been unable to sufficiently advocate for archaeological methodologies and rigorous survey practices to underpin artefact collecting

Rescue calls for a national investigation into the feasibility of a licensing system for all archaeological work, including metal detecting.

We will advocate for all metal detecting, fieldwalking, excavation and other intrusive survey to be subject to prior authorisation

Rescue will also advocate for the introduction of legally enforceable compulsory reporting of all recovered archaeological material

We will support the creation of antiquities legislation for England that requires all artefacts offered for sale to be fully and legitimately provenanced….
It’s to be hoped the CBA will confirm that it DOES indeed agree with all that Rescue has said on this matter because for the Council for British Archaeology to be at odds with the Council of The British Archaeological Trust would surely be an intolerable situation for British archaeology?

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