Wednesday 19 January 2022

"Not in it Fer Th' Munny"? The Implications of £4.5m payment for Le Catillon Hoard.

Obviously metal detectorists from France and Britain should now be heading with their machines to the tiny island of Jersey to see how much more of its archaeological heritage can be monetised by treasure hunters. There's more profit there than anywhere else and teh citizens of the island have brought it upon themselves:

British archaeologists are concerned that the Government of Jersey’s decision to pay £4.5m to purchase the Le Catillon II coin hoard against official advice has set a “damaging” precedent for valuations that will affect museums’ ability to keep important historic finds in public ownership both locally and across the water [...] The final payout figure was more than twice as high as the TVC’s suggested £2m after counter-valuations from coin specialists Chris Rudd and CGB Numismatique of around £6m were put forward.
(Jenny Potigny, 'Jersey’s £4.5m coin hoard payment ‘sets damaging precedent in Britain’ Baileywick Express, 18 January 2022). As researcher Andy Brockman points out this decision provokes strong fears that the move has paved the way for so-called “casino metal detecting” (The Pipeline, 'Fears Jersey Award Could Lead to Inflated Valuations under Treasure Act' thePipeLine December 24, 2021).
he described the decision as “explosive” and said that it would leave Portable Antiquities Scheme and Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport questioning how to “come up with a response to the States of Jersey undermining in one day the credibility of the key committee in the Treasure process”.
"Response" from the Portable Antiquities Scheme? Ha ha ha. The response should be to return the coins to the finders, all of them, and let them sell them to get their "six million" pounds while the bottom drops out of the market due to the influx. And charge them the going rate for the conservation, documentation and storage, while at the same time not refraining from saying loudly and publicly what we think of the commercialisation of archaeological evidence and how metal detectorists are trashing the past for their own private gain. Artefact hunting only exists with public approaval and acceptance. It is time archaeologists and all who (actually) care for the archaeological heritage start to work to remove that public acquiescence. This must STOP. Stop Taking Our Past. STOP Letting Exploiters Take Our Past. Response from PAS? Don't hold your breath.


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