Sunday, 22 March 2020

Heritage Action: "Britain abandons recording finds due to COVID19 yet metal detecting continues!"

There are lots and lots of archaeologists in Britain, most of them worried about their own arses at the moment with "the Virus" lurking out there. But why is it again Heritage Action that does their thinking for them ('Britain abandons recording finds due to COVID 19 yet metal detecting continues!' Heritage Journal 22/03/2020)?
PAS has stopped accepting finds for recording. No-one can blame them as many detectorists haven’t been social distancing. They’ll resume recording sometime “in the future” which signals a bleak outlook for recording: most finds don’t get reported already, even fewer will be after a year. So Britain is back to where it was more than 20+ years ago with an army of artefact hunters combing the fields and all the knowledge being destroyed. Except that now Britain’s laissez-faire policies have allowed the army to grow three times larger.
The responsible thing to do in such a situation is to desist, but, facing the closure of offices and workplaces to allow self-isolation through home confinement like in the rest of Europe, metal detectorists seem to be treating this as a hobby, using their extra leisure to rip up even more of the past in an entirely unmitigated fashion ("asked on the largest detecting forum if the virus would curtail their activities scores of them have just said no and that they’ll go out detecting far more!"). HA concludes:
Scandalous doesn’t begin to cover it, it’s legal unmitigated knowledge looting and it should be prohibited while PAS is inoperative – let PAS, Rescue, CBA, BAJR, ALGAO, EH, HE, APPAG et al publicly say so if they agree, which they surely do. And straight away please. They should ask the Government to instruct detectorists to stay at home.
But will they?  If last year 1300 Treasure finds were found, that's 3.56 of them daily. Each day that detecting goes on in England and Wales, the more it costs the public purse to pay the blighters a Treasure Ransom (to STOP them flogging them like the Leominster gang did). Cumulatively it's millions of pounds a year - though I have yet to see official figures on precisely how many. That's millions of quid of public money that could be spent elsewhere, and as the Coronavirus Crisis hits the British economy and society in the coming weeks and months, that money could be better spent elsewhere.

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