Tuesday 20 August 2019

Surprise, we STILL Know too Little Even on Nighthawks, but it is not They That are the Problem

Adam Daubney and Louise E. Nicholas 'Detecting Heritage Crime(s): What We Know about Illicit Metal Detecting in England and Wales' IJCP Volume 26, Issue 2 May 2019 , pp. 139-165  You can read the abstract here. Here's my cut-the-crap edited version (Spot the difference):
Information on the number and nature of incidents of illicit Collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record is difficult to collate owing both to the nature of the crime and to the way it is recorded (or not) by law enforcement authorities. In this article, we examine the strengths and limitations of the available official and unofficial sources on illicit removal of material from the archaeological record in England and Wales and explore the potential they have to tell us about current trends in this form of heritage crime. The first unofficial source is a list of incidents reported to Historic England, which contains basic information on 276 incidents recorded between 2010 and 2017. The second source is the result of a survey of the PAS’s finds liaison officers regarding the extent to which they assisted law enforcement authorities for the years from 2015 to 2017. Both sources were then contrasted with a freedom of information request that was sent to all 49 police forces in the United Kingdom. Although there are some synergies between the unofficial and official sources, the lack of detail in any one data set makes them of limited use in demonstrating trends in the macro- and micro-scales of time and place. Accordingly, many of the issues highlighted in this article could be resolved by devising a better system for police record keeping of offences involving the illicit removal of archaeological material from the archaeological record.
Yep, none of that pitiful and utterly superfluous 'metal detectrists that report what they take are a jolly good thing, it's mainly the nighthawks that's the problem' crap. The link to the 2009 Nighthawking Report does not work, but if it did, you'd see that this register was one of its recommendations. That's the progress we've made in a decade.

The issue, though is NOT the "nighthawks" at all, but why bother looking at the elephant in the room? It's been there now for more than two decades. Farting. Still, most British archaeologists pretend not to see or smell it. So if archaeologists cannot even work out (ten years on) even some basic facts about one aspect of artefact hunting in England and Wales even when calling on the resources of not one, but two outside bodies to help, how long is it going to take them to get out of the marasm of unconcern?

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