Thursday 6 February 2020

The Times View on the Destruction of the Archaeological Record

Times 'leading article', "The Times View on Metal Detecting", begins, apparently, like the vignette shows, but the rest of the bla-bla is hidden behind a paywall, but from the way it begins, I doubt that the rest of it is cutting edge British investigative journalism, it is even anonymous it seems. I'm not paying for that.

First of all, it is not "metal detecting", that's what airport metal detectors do. What The Times is talking about is Collection-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological record.

Using the proper name means the question is raised not about the loose "objects" hoiked, but the record they come from. Half a million "Roman objects" translated into at least half a million holes dug blindly into the archaeological record. What is the Times view on that when it happens in Iraq or Palmyra? Holes dug by brown-skinned folk do the same damage as holes dug by Baz, Skiver and Tattooed-Harry in Surrey.

"Treasure Island"? Is that the Times view too? Britain's "abundance of finds" has very little to do with any Treasure legislation, but the work of an entirely different body of people.

Has Collection-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological record actually added so much to our "understanding of ancient Britain" that the irreparable damage done to the context from which these collectables and "Treasures" are hoiked can just be shrugged off? It seems that the Times view very probably is yes.

Anyone who did pay to support what looks like its just going to be PAS-puff care to send me the rest?

There is a similar one here: "Once mocked, detectorists are helping unearth our rich past"...

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