Sunday 17 May 2020

Naked Greed Posing as Sport and Naked Artefactology Posing as Conservation

Outdoor recreation
Heritage Action: 'Metal detecting is back. Because it’s wholesome?', 17th May 2020.
Sadly, last Wednesday detecting was allowed to re-start in England straight after the National Council for Metal Detecting told Ministers it was a member of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, implying that detecting is pretty wholesome. But it isn’t a sport and it’s unlike all the other listed outdoor activities as it involves taking stuff from the countryside and not reporting most of it. Precisely like egg collecting. So it’s not “wholesome” at all. Why PAS didn’t explain that to the Government is a mystery.
It's not really, the PAS in general avoids explaining anything much beyond 'naked artefactology' to anyone. Anyway, their 41 members of frontline staff have had a fifty-day lockdown period to clear their naked artefactological backlog, now they can do ongoing naked artefactological recording. On Weds 13th May 2020, PAS recorded just 42 objects, half of which are coins (stats 13th May 2020). On "Finds Friday" it was down to just 26 items (as many as 21 of which were coins). Now they’ve cleared their backlog during the lockdown, let us see how well they do getting all the finds made by probably around 27000 detectorists online. After all, if the FLOs are all working from home and avoiding contacts, they’ll not be distracted by other “outreach” tasks, just concentrate on the recording.

Because it seems to me that if you've elected to make the sole measure of your success "wotta-lotta-finds-we-got-on-our-database", that's going to need a bit of intensified work. This time last year they had 21317 records containing 30585 objects. This year the winter was wet, then the ground was dry, and then we had lockdown, and thus there was less destruction of the archaeological record through collection-driven exploitation but consequently the PAS results are 16971 records about 28866 objects... notta lotta records really. Just in fact three records a day from 41 FLOs (not mentioning the volunteers) in 137 days (instead of four a day in the previous year). What, actually have they been doing while "working from home" on public money?

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