Sunday, 14 October 2018

Council for British Archaeology and Artefact Hunting

"Our vision is Archaeology for all: by 2020 everyone will know how they can enjoy, understand and care for the historic environment – and why it matters". CBA

The CBA is an archaeological body that basically is concerned with the public face of the discipline in order to enable people to protect and celebrate their archaeological heritage. They've published the CBA Strategic Objectives 2016–19  that 'presents objectives to take us towards 2020 – Archaeology for all'. The preamble is about 'Making Archaeology Matter' to the public and discussing the 'Scope' of the  and the role of the CBA is caring for historic remains and using them to 'reveal new stories' . The objectives of the Strategic Plan fall into three main groups:
Enhancing the protection and stewardship of the UK’s archaeological heritage 
Increasing the range and diversity of public participation in archaeology 
Increasing public awareness and knowledge of the UK’s archaeological heritage
In the light of Issues 10 and 11 of Rescue'e recently-revised policy statement, it is worth noting where Collection-Driven Exploitation (CDE) of the archaeological record would fit in with this.
-  It is not in any way or form 'Archaeology for All' unless you see archaeology as 'just digging up old things' - which I would suggest it is not.
- CDE is not a form of public participation in archaeology but collecting - which is something totally different.
- CDE is not any form of community archaeology or a form of public engagement with archaeology , or active involvement in archaeology
- CDE does not 'protect' the archaeological heritage - hoiking finds out of assemblages just to add to a personal collection trashes the sites and assemblages exploited,
- CDE and the building of scattered ephemeral personal artefact collections are not promoting the enhancement of appropriate levels of curation for archaeological material in museum collections with appropriate public access to encourage use,
- CDE is thus not any form of enhancing the protection, undrstanding or stewardship of the UK’s archaeological heritage,
- fostering CDE is not empowering local engagement with advocacy associated with the protection and stewardship of the UK’s archaeological heritage
- promoting CDE is not facilitating and empowering enhanced public stewardship of the UK’s archaeological heritage based on increased local understanding of the historic environment
- promoting CDE is not helping increase public awareness and knowledge of the UK’s archaeological heritage 
- Promoting CDE will not help promoting the protection and appreciation of the UK’s archaeological heritage on land and under the sea to politicians and key decision makers across the UK and abroad
- promoting CDE is not a 'sustainable way' to achieve any of the CBA's objectives
The strategy refers specifically to artefact hunting in the bit on
'Supporting ambitions to encourage all finders to act responsibly when they discover archaeological material and encouraging greater public understanding of the value of portable antiquities to our growing knowledge of the UK’s archaeological heritage'
It does not stress the difference between chance finders and artefact hunters who deliberately seek out sites and assemblages to make their selection from and pocket the artefacts in them for their own private uses. Does the CBA consider that this manner of treatment of the archaeological record (with or without a PAS set up to try and gain some benefits from it) is one that a responsible opinion-forming body such as the CBA should condone or condemn? Would the CBA agree or disagree with the RESCUE statement "unregulated hobby detecting [...] does not contribute sufficient value or information to our understanding of the past to justify the damage caused to the wider archaeological resource"?

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