Saturday, 6 October 2018

Looting Matters on English Artefact Hunting.

Prof David Gill has picked up the same story as myself, on the Heritage matters blog, he points out
Historic England has noted that metal-detectorists have been active on part of the scheduled Roman site at Corbridge in Northumberland. Do we need to change the language used to describe such activity? Do archaeologists need to start talking about the intellectual implications of such illegal activity? What information is being lost from the finite archaeological record? Further details can be found on Looting Matters.
The reference to his LM blog goes to 'Metal-detecting at Corbridge', Looting matters October 06, 2018):
The scheduled Roman site of Corbridge in Northumberland has been the target of illegal metal-detecting. Historic England has noted that English Heritage, the organisation that is responsible for part of the excavated site, has had to mount a security operation to protect the site. It is known that parts of Hadrian's Wall (just to the north of Corbridge), itself designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been targeted by such illegal activity. Roman archaeological sites are found across this frontier zone. What actions are being taken to protect the finite archaeological record across the region? What information is being lost through illegal metal-detecting? What are the intellectual implications for Roman frontier studies? Where are the responses from the archaeological community? This would be described as looting if this was taking place at a classical site in the Mediterranean. Does the language of describing such illegal activity in England need to change?
I think the key message here is precisely the one David notes: Where on earth are the responses from the British archaeological community?

Vignette: Three monkeys - which British archeological opinion-forming body does not belong in this group in terms of their reaction to Collection-Driven exploitation of the British archaeological record? 

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