Thursday 17 January 2019

The Archaeological Values of the PAS Database (IX): Go on, Guess [UPDATED]

More PAS public dumbdown instead of informing public about portable antiquities issues, but also taunting them, by putting the picture on its side and then trying to appear clever (like: 'I know what this is bet you plebs dont!'):

The fact it is obviously a modern token (slot on the reverse) and the dialphone numbers and Hebrew script really did not fool anyone, and you wonder what is the point of fooling around like this? What kind of archaeological outreach is that? Zero, actually since the thing is c. 1965.

 But OK, viewers were asked to reflect on 'the main conundrum with this little piece being how it came to be deposited in a field in rural Northern England. Any guesses?'. I'd say the most probable reason why this is in a field is that in the fifty years or so since its striking, it was in somebody's exonumismatic collection, which
somehow got broken up and this item got into the field (kids playing 'shop' with late Uncle Benny's coins, house burgled, thief dropped bag in the dark, holed coins used as ersatz roofing felt washers on a cowshed?? Who knows? Anyone can make up a story). But surely PAS is set up for a purpose other than provide artefactological guessing games for the proles.

The point this obviously out-of-place object raises is how may other 'out of place' items in PAS database have similar origins? How can we tell in the case of items that would occur in UK fields anyway? This again is reason to question the reliability of any of the 'data' in the PAS database when it is taken 'as is'.

UPDATE Two hours later
That's sweet:
"Thank you Paul for taking part in the PAS guessing game, your answer is of course correct, it is an Israeli phone token.  Let me also take the opportunity to thank you for your feedback allowing us to consider how the PAS can in future improve their public outreach and spend public money, something we are constantly trying to achieve.Thank you for your interest in the Portable Antiquities Scheme. But for now, let me just leave you and your readers with this message:

Well, that's probably what it says below the "Go Away Barford" Twitter forcefield shielding most FLOs from PACHI observation, bless them. So, what is it about these guessing games, 'on this day' , 'here's a pretty thing' and 'finds advent calendars' that substitute for archaeological outreach that is so sensitive?

I've got a question for Ben Jones. You posted something in the public domain, and when somebody engages with it in the public domain with more than some dumbass joke ('aliens!") - which it seems you can cope with - and actually raises a substantive issue on its basis, you blocked them. Why? Why can't you cope with a non-joke? Does blocking me make that issue and the questions about it disappear? Or if there is no issue, instead of hiding, why not demonstrate that there is no issue? Do't you think that the repetition of this sort of behaviour from the FLOs blocking discussion of awkward issues will one day actually be more widely noticed and considered to be typical FLO behaviour? And when it is, where does that get you? Are you actually capable in the archaeological use of social media of more than guessing games and entertaining piccies of brass Hindu gods and other such curios? Are FLOs there merely to entertain the proles on public money, or do they fulfil a more archaeologically useful purpose - like actually being there to teach archaeology to the public? Israeli telephone counters do none of that.

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