Thursday 6 February 2020

Laughing off the Looting in the UK

According to a UK newspaper, the British have never taken archaeological looting seriously ('The Times view on metal detectorists: [...] Once mocked, detectorists are helping unearth our rich past' The Times Wednesday December 12 2018). In most other countries, looters taking spades to deposits of archaeological material and walking off with items to add to their personal collections or sell would be punished by law. In Britain they risk only being 'mocked' by shoulder-shrugging archaeologists. They even made a comedy programme about Collection-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological record.

The problem is this attitude that Britain has inexhaustably "rich" deposits of remains of the past, and indications that it might be running out soon are simply ignored by the guffawing and cackling airheads. 

Meanwhile, the Times seemed adamant in 2019 on promoting this destruction with fluff articles (Sathnam Sanghera, 'I thought I’d hate being a detectorist. But actually I dig it' The Times Monday April 15 2019; Ben Macintyre, 'Detectorists: A peculiarly British band of time-travellers. Inspired by recent finds, I’ve been drawn back to the eccentric but valuable pastime of metal-detecting', The Times Saturday August 31 2019,). What's this about? Who is sleeping with whom to get all this attention in one of the serious papers? Because real balanced investigative reporting this is not.

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