Saturday 2 January 2021

A Decade More of Looting in England and Wales (A Projection)

Heritage Action raises a question British archaeologists have been ignoring for a while now. 'Metal Detecting: New Year, no change – in fact heartbreakingly worse' (02/01/2021).  I discussed this in the post above. And there I posed a question. 

What will this graphic (courtesy of HA) look like on 31.12.2029? Can we afford another decade of this?  

I'm not going to leave this as a rhetorical question. Let's have a look. 

If the PAS still exists and PAS data continues to accumulate at the same rate as in the decade 1st Jan 2009 to 31st Dec 2018 (so avoiding the slump of the Covid years) that'd be an extra c. 1,011,300 finds (1516359 + 1,011,300 = 2527618). If in the same decade the HA counter continues to tick away at its former rate, that's another 2,480,000 or so artefacts to be recorded (6,972,338 + 2440,000 = 9,412,338), and if the number of metal detectorists in ten years time has not increased and the artefacts in the soil have not started to run out and be more difficult to find, in a decade the Revised Artefact Erosion Counter predicts there would be a massive 8,235,000 artefacts to be recorded (at what cost?). (8,760,847 + 8,235,000 = 16,995,847).

Up at the top is what that looks like. I think that in a decade from now (if there is still a PAS), there is not a chance in hell that anybody is going to still be calling it a "success" and a solution to the "metal detector problem" - unless of course they continue to ignore the issue that this post raises. So, what do you think, dear Reader, are British archaeologists going to spend the next ten years with their fingers in their ears, their eyes tightly closed and their lips firmly sealed? Or are they actually going to begin to ask those uncomfortable questions that one would have expected from real professionals two decades ago?  

I'm not holding my breath while waiting. 

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