Saturday 8 May 2021

UK Archaeologists have NO Idea

Alan Chubb, the PAS and British Archaeology
The 1990s Today ("Detectorists").

I am just going to put this up here. It's a comment to my earlier post 'UK Archaeologists Have an Idea', PACHI Friday, 7 May 2021:

"Brian Mattick said...
Crumbs! Do they read the detecting forums?

And do they know how many efforts there have been apart from PAS to form a responsible metal detecting climate, always without success?

And do they remember this list of resistance to reform:
"Don’t criticise us or we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t tell us what to do or we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t undertake surveys of nighthawking else we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t let PAS dominate us else we’ll stop reporting” (and later: “Don’t reduce PAS’s funding else we’ll stop reporting”), “Don’t impose a Code of Responsible Detecting else we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t discuss licensing us else we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t ban inappropriate rallies else we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t impose restrictions under stewardship schemes else we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t tighten up EBay else we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t ever, ever, ever short change us on the Treasure rewards else we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t abate our Treasure rewards for not calling an archie out else we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t talk of using some of our Treasure rewards to finance proper excavations of our findspots else we’ll stop reporting”, “Don’t write to farmers without us dictating what is to be said else we’ll stop reporting” …. and now… “Don’t extend the items covered by the Treasure Act beyond exactly what we say else we’ll stop reporting.” Rich, is it not, when the majority of detectorists….. don’t report!
And have they considered why NCMD and FID have refused to sign the official Code and why most detectorists show farmers their OWN code which doesn't require them to act responsibly but fools farmers into thinking otherwise?

For a start, let them persuade NCMD to cancel that pretend responsibility document as a first priority. If they won't, let them deduce it's not a case of "both sides of the same coin" at all, it's two activities entirely impossible to reconcile.

But even before that, I still think they should read the forums for a year or two, or 20, like me. They obviously have no idea what most detectorists are like and are assuming the already-converted minority (who don't need converting) are like the rest. They aren't.
Well, the short answer to that is that they clearly do not make any effort to make use of the opportiunity forums and social media have afforded for looking over the shoulders of metal detector users in the UK (and beyond). Perhaps that's the only way they can keep their rosy-tinted spectacle view of the whole phenomenon. I REALLY do not understand why, after 24 years of expensive archaeological "liaison" with artefact hunters and other finders, British archaeology is still stuck in "1996-mode". This seems so utterly naïve and out-of-touch. Archaeologists support a phenomenon affecting the archaeological record and yet refuse to research it properly.

1 comment:

Brian Mattick said...

"and yet refuse to research it properly".

Being charitable, perhaps not "refuse" but assume it's not necessary. If you interact with those who "get it" and bring you their finds and not with those who don't and don't, maybe you think that is the real world, populated with people with a full set of teeth and morals.

Yet they KNOW from the stats that's not true, by a massive margin and if only they'd get onto the forums, in disguise for obvious reasons, it would be entirely clear. They have a duty to do so. A few screenshots, or a thousand, delivered to DCMS and APPAG would make a big difference to Government attitudes towards what's happening in the fields.

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