Friday 7 February 2020

British Fallacies from a Brexiteer

Evertonian nationalist Jona
I wrote a post on a question one might ask the PAS, and this got a reply from a flag-waving Brexiter:
Jona 🇬🇧 @Jona EFC · 28 min W odpowiedzi do @PortantIssues @TRegistrars i @findsorguk
Morning Paul, do you have an issue with Metal Detectorists? Whom I may add are one of the largest contributors to the PAS and who 99% are in the hobby to collect and preserve the history of this nation and treat all land and finds with the upmost respect!
oh dear... I see it's not just a "Make Britain Great Again" bubble some islanders live in...  Anyway, such superficial fluff deserves challenging (and it is a shame that its a blogger in Poland that has to do it and not the public-funded outreach organisation PAS or the equally public-funded Treasure registrars in Bloomsbury that prefer maintaining dumbdown to making the effort to inform the British public about the fuller story). So in answer to Jona:

Artefact hunters are "one of the largest contributors to the PAS" only because they get the lion's share of the attention of the PAS, to the utter detriment of the 99.5% of citizens that pay for it and yet are neither artefact hunters or collectors - of course precisely the point I was making. The PAS is not just about making lists of stuff collectors have taken out of the archaeological record and pocketed. As should need no emphasis (but apparently does in today's Boris Britain) Digging archaeological evidence out of their context, be it deep or surface, just to collect it is NOT "preserv[ing] the history of this nation" or any other. Which is what the PAS really should be pointing out to the 99%. It is not the "finds and land" that need to be treated "with the utmost respect" but the contexts and associations that metal detectorists rip them from to add them to their personal collections, trashing the archaeological record by doing so. As the PAS should explain to ALL. Do I "have an issue with that"? Yes. I do. Don't you? Should not the people employed in the PAS? Hence my question to @findsorguk.

But cliche follows cliche. The reply was unsurprising:
Would you rather all these funds be left to rot in the ground never to be discovered as without us data base would be a lot lighter. There are bad eggs but I can reassure you that most Detectorists have preservation and correct recording of histroy and artefacts in mind.
Readers of this blog will know that there are substantive arguments to counter self-serving rhetorical "rotting" arguments. Yes I would rather that elephants and Wildebeest stay protected in the wild and not in a cage or stuffed on a wall or as loose bits in some museum's "database" (and yes Jona, it IS the same thing). The number of "bad eggs" not recording is considerably more than the rhetorical "1%" and it is unclear how digging holes in archaeological sites and assemblages to hoik items for private collection is any more "preservation' than shooting rhinos and elephants to 'preserve' their valuable horns and teeth.

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