Saturday 24 April 2021

How to deal with Large Damaging Commercial Artefact Hunting Rallies in UK? A Suggestion for Discussion.

Paul Barford @PortantIssues 30 min
W odpowiedzi do @WDHUK1@JSArchaeology; and 9 innych użytkowników
There is no doubt, large commercial rallies are damaging the archaeological heritage. Even the @findsorguk PAS says so.….
So, what are we going to do about it other than talk?

Since British archaeologists don't seem to be doing much more than shrugging shoulders and just talking about how bad this all is (or blocking any discussion of how bad this all is), here are some suggestions. I note that what they've got to work with are (a) a rather vaguely-worded law on dealing in 'tainted' artefacts that does not really seem to be being used very much at all, and (b)  commercial firms that keep a database of the names and contact details of every participant in each of their rallies, and the name and address of the landowner where those rallies took place, (c) rally participants that walk off with artefacts from this land with no explicit documentation of legal title, and then stick them (or artefacts that could be them) on eBay, again without attention to documenting where they are from and how they got them.

Some alarmist wording on a crowd-funding campaign could well get enough money together to retain a creative and ever-so-slightly unprincipled but persistent lawyer who could work with those three to get some court cases together of individual participants that could be given the suitable publicity. The firm's database can be accessed through either framing it as a cultural property investigation, or a tax inspection. Basically, it seems to me that when illegal or potentially illegal activity is concerned, most metal detectorists want to wash their hands of association with the accused, and when interviewed by the media would be forced themselves to denounce certain practices on such rallies. Formerly shoulder-shrugging heritage professionals could take it from there...

Lawyer gets some publicity and can set themself up as a cultural property lawyer, a sort of a British Peter Tompa (who now has his own law firm I see). They'd be one of the good guys fighting the dodgy trade dealings.  


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