In a story on the website of Culture 24 (who, of all organisations, should know better!) we saw this, inserted in the middle of an otherwise heartening story about the growth of the voluntary archaeology sector:
Together with the work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which records the finds of metal detectorists, voluntary archaeology is a growing phenomenon and a cornerstone of archaeological investigation and discovery.
The juxtaposition and implied equivalence of metal detecting and voluntary archaeology is quite unsupportable in our view and potentially damaging. Metal detectorists (the 99.9% that aren’t working within an archaeological framework anyway) are NOT voluntary archaeologists, they are the opposite. Voluntary archaeologists do not act in their own interest. Voluntary archaeologists do not pocket what they find as their own. Voluntary archaeologists do not sell what they find.
It is surely incumbent upon the CBA and Culture 24 to make those differences crystal clear, both to ensure the excellent reputation of genuine voluntary archaeologists is not damaged by unjust association and to ensure that any farmer who gets a knock on his door asking for access to his land understands precisely who he is dealing with. As our headline says, Careless words cost history!
It is sad it is left to the likes of a set of amateurs – us – to defend the reputation of another set of amateurs, voluntary archaeologists. Can’t they just be given the full unadulterated exclusive praise they so richly deserve without being bracketed with others with whom they have zero practical or ethical connection? Is it because all the professionals are frit of publicly standing up against PAS? No need to answer, it can be taken as read!
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Staffordshire hoard: reward shouldn’t be £3.2m but £32m claims detectorist!
The Staffordshire Hoard and Metal Detecting? My Irish Eyes see an Illegal Activity
Legalised metal detecting? “No thanks, we’re French (and care for our history)”
National Council for Metal Detecting say reward delays are “unacceptable”!
Detectorist Michael Darke on what his share of YOUR £500,000 means to him
Detectorists dig up 11,000 artefacts in two week period. Every fortnight!
Metal detecting: half a million artefacts removed since UK exited Basra
Metal Detecting: more evidence it’s all for the love of history?
Metal Detecting: now the dealers are heroes too!
Metal Detecting: support from abroad – but look who it’s from!
NEWS: Metal detectorist jailed for six months
Metal detecting for money: Isobel, 7, shames the sham heroes.
Metal detecting is purely about love of history: UPDATE
Metal detecting is purely about love of history: computer says no!
Mr Browning, heritage hero – UPDATE
French metal detectorists seek archaeological asylum in Britain!
Metal detecting: annoyed by the rules? Make up your own!
Nighthawking: much ado about the wrong thing.