Friday 23 August 2019

Friday Retrospect: This Went Unremarked by the Tekkie-Supportive UK Archeological Community

The British archaeological community was blasé about this last year, remains unperturbed this year:
Referring to a DCMS study which showed that 1.5 per cent of adults in England had taken part in metal detecting in the last year, [Michael Ellis, arts minister] said: “This increase in detecting has contributed hugely to the extension of our knowledge of our past.”
1.5% of the current adult population of England is 674 700  people. Nearly seven hundred thousand people (!). The PAS has a capacity to deal with the finds made by just several thousand people. The shortfall is several hundred thousand. Surely, even the most diehard archaeological supporter of collecting must admit that this situation cannot go on.

The balance is that if 670000 people have engaged in metal detecting in any one year in England alone and only a very small fraction of what they have taken OUT of the archaeological record has ever been recorded, the balance is not any "extension" of our knowledge replacing what evidence was removed (irretrievably, for ever), but a permanent and massive loss.  Innit? No amount of glib palliative arkie-speak and political feelgood spin can change that fact. So I guess that's why British heritage professionals (I use the term loosely) are simply ignoring the uncomfortable bits. Shambles. 

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