Wednesday, 15 September 2021

UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme Say One thing, Do Another

(c) Julian Evan-Hart - The editor of Treausure Hunting magazine.

(c) Julian Evan-Hart - The editor of Treausure Hunting magazine.

PAS in their page about commercial artefact hunting rallies say: "large scale metal-detecting events (rallies) do not provide the ideal circumstances for Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) staff to record finds in the field, and can therefore result in the loss of much archaeological information", so their staff will no longer record finds during rallies. There was that article by Scheme Head Prof. Mike Lewis about how damaging they are... and yet in a Treasure hunting Magazine article by Julian Evan-Hart, among other things we read a fluff piece about "Detectival 2021": "Several fields were releasing a good old spattering of Roman coins too, indicating a good level of occupation in that period. It was as always great to see representatives from PAS in the Finds Tent doing their sterling work identifying the coins and artefacts, perhaps most puzzling of which was an ancient Greek Drachm". One wonders why they were there. Mr Evans-hart's photos show the chaos. this really begs the question of when PAS are there recording the findspots of the finds tekkies bring in to them.. are they actually "saving" much of the archaeological information that is lost by their being randomly and selectively hoiked from their contexts. By the way, have a good liook at Evans-Hart's documentation. How many of the tekkies can you see with a mobile GPS hanging from their belt?


Brian Mattick said...

PAS "may attend rallies to promote best practice and may take in finds for recording later, but not (normally) to record finds in the field" but Mr. Evan-Hart says "always great to see representatives from PAS in the Finds Tent doing their sterling work identifying the coins and artefacts".

I'm not sure I want my taxes to go on a free identification service for these people. In fact, I'm certain.

Unknown said...

I think you will find they are voluntary PAS recorders. They are trained by the British Museum so you can self record on the PAS database.

Paul Barford said...

The PASt Explorers project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to enhance the PAS's volunteer programme, ran from November 2014 until April 2021. It's finished now. Evan Hart mentioned "representatives from PAS in their tent". So whose tent was it? Why are they calling themselves "representatives from the PAS"?

Unknown said...

Because they are representing the PAS, the Tent is a marquee where the finds are recorded and shown to people who want to see what's been found. The volunteers usually get their travel expenses and food paid for by the event organiser.

Paul Barford said...

But that is the point, the Portable Antiquities Scheme that they represent has said that they will not condone commercial artefact hunting rallies by participating in them and recording finds there. Yet here they are. What is it you do not understand?

Brian Mattick said...

PAS said they "attended" the Spring event in June. So did they or didn't they?

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