Saturday 6 November 2021

"Saxon/Roman/Bronze Age" Site to be Commercially Looted by UK Treasure Hunters on Sunday [Update]

  Daylight knowledge theft (Favpng)

Evidence seems to point to another ethical issue that is completely ignored in most discussions of so-called "Responsible Metal Detecting". It looks like an infamous commercial metal detecting rally organiser Sovereign Metal Detecting is using HER data to target sites for rallies. The latest: " This Sunday we have over 70 acres of the most promising Saxon/Roman/bronze Age undetected that’s blessed with so much History it beggars belief". It beggars belief that this is going on week after week under the noses of the UK's 6000 heritage professionals and there are only a few lone voices of protest - like Andy Brockman here. As Neil Brodie observes British archaeology's entanglement with this destructive collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record is tight. The lame video some of them made with their metal detecting "partners" recently makes NO MENTION of this issue, after all, why would it? these archaeologists' "responsible metal detecting" is nothing more than a feelgood copout label excusing inaction, rather than a concept that can be squared with actual practice and the needs of archaeological resource preservation or useful standards of "preservation by record" of the sites and contexts exploited by artefact hunters for collectable loot. Will British archaeology ever face these issues rather than merely year in year out repeat the same old blah-bla-bla?

UPDATE 8th Nov 2021

As a result of this event and discussions of the background, Shropshire Council has acted to limit location data in on-line HER after these accusations that a commercial artefact hunting rally company used HER to target known, but unprotected, archaeological sites and assemblages (see: Andy Brockman's Pipeline news coverage here). This may be a smart move, but it means that the entire population of the country (56,287,000 people) are deprived of free access to full information about their heritage because of the selfish and cash-orientated attitudes of a few thousand greedy artefact hunters and takers. This is wrong. A minority is spoiling things for everybody, and we should be speaking out about it.

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