Thursday, 17 June 2021

Missing Artefact; Censored Discussion

UK Metal detectorist:

This Viking ring-pin, found by a detectorist, was handed in to a FLO, by the book, 2 years ago. Now it seems to have mysteriously gone missing, just before it was due to be handed back. Does not fill one with confidence in integrity of findsorguk does it !

Kevin Lomas @KevinLo55427454 · 15 g.:

Not surprised about this at all. Disgraceful turn of events. To start with 2 years is far too long anyway and this is exactly the reason why some people are reluctant to record such finds. If this remains lost the powers that be should be made to compensate the finder.
Unearthed (uk) ltd @Unearthedukltd
[...] we are getting some horror stories through from detectorists saying just how how many objects have gone missing over the years, maybe we need FLO watch for some?

Here we have a thread that well illustrates what's going on in the tiny narrow world of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.  Not because of its content, at all. 

I personally have absolutely zero doubts at all about the integrity or dedication of FLOs. That is not in question for me. I can imagine how difficult it is to keep track of the many objects that pass through their hands, especially in a period when the entire team has been working from home, it is not a task I envy them.

However in what seems to be developing in to a long social media thread in which no doubt all sorts of points are being made in real time, I am blocked by many of the participants from seeing what they write. What however is pretty astounding is that it seems these are all FLOs and the PAS/British Museum, while I see all the metal detectorists taking part in the discussion and their points of view as they've not blocked me. 

As a result of this, my (obviously rhetorical) question to the PAS is, whose side are we on? This blog is about an open discussion of portable antiquities collecting and heritage issues from a conservation-based viewpoint. What is it that they are doing that they have to hide? Whatever it is, it is paid for by public money. this blog and its readers are also the public - part of the audience the PAS is paid to outreach to, not just the part that collects artefacts and brings some for them to see. That seems to require more courage and persuasion than the PAS can muster.

UPDATE (22.06.2021)

I gather from what is being said by others about what a FLO said that the pin has now been found, safe and sound.


Brian Mattick said...

I think the most urgent watch required is not of FLOs but of ignorant, under-qualified, loudmouthed scruffs with a grotesquely overblown sense of entitlement. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of missing pieces of heritage THAT would reveal?!

Paul Barford said...

And yet, while we say these things about irresponsible artefact hunters and collectors, it is the PAS that blocks us!! Only in PAS-entanglement world would that make sense.

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