Saturday 5 January 2019

Archaeological Values of PAS database IX: More Fictional Data

Image not COLEM Property
I have already discussed several cases of problems with the PAS public-funded database. here is another one, fictional entries.   FLOs accuse this blog - critical of the PAS as 'fake news'. I cannot imagine what the Essex FLO was thinking here:  FINGER RING Unique ID: ESS-FF63AA
Object type certainty: Certain Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation A complete gold engraved finger ring of probable second-age date, c. SA 1600. The inscription in the Black Speech of Mordor reads: "Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul" Translated: One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them. One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them. Finger rings such as these were frequently used to enslave millions of people, elves and other dark creatures. Notes: This particular example is damaged, possibly by fire, likely in an attempt to destroy it. Subsequent actions Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder Chronology Broad period: UNKNOWN Period from: UNKNOWN Period to: UNKNOWN Dimensions and weight Quantity: 1 Personal details Recorded by: Ms Sophie Flynn Identified by: Ms Sophie Flynn Materials and construction Completeness: Complete Spatial metadata County or Unitary authority: Mordor District: Orodruin Parish or ward: Mount Doom  References cited No references cited so far.
The database record states ('certain') that the object in question is a gold ring, then a Treasure case number is required. If the ring was (as the Database entry states) forged in the Second Age and destroyed over two millennia later (its present condition), then it is older than 300 years. So why was it "returned to finder"?

I think this kind of messing around in a database that is already compromised by a lot of problematic material in it, really cannot improve public trust in it, or the people that spend public money creating and maintaining it. It is also worth noting that this entry has been on the database enough time (Recording Institution: ESS Created: About one year ago Updated: About one year ago) yet the 'Workflow status', like that of many records on this database, is still 'Awaiting validation'. Clogging up the Database with spurious data is not a measure that is likely to facilitate the validators' work.

While I think we all appreciate a little banter and humour in work, there are surely limits when it comes to use of a public resource in a manner that undermines confidence in the substantive merit of its contents.

I have not used the database's photo above, otherwise the Essex Museums lot will be having the police on me again, bless them. Sort yourselves out, Essex.

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