You are currently browsing the daily archive for 18/11/2011.

It has to be said, not everything about the Staffordshire hoard glisters like gold….. Here’s a video of the Staffordshire Hoard Exhibition in Washington DC. It has been a massive success and it is hoped a tour of other US cities can be arranged. The Hoard will be the cover story of November’s National Geographic magazine, and documentaries and books featuring the artefacts are also in the pipeline. Council chiefs are hoping that this level of exposure will see the Hoard reach an audience of more than 300 million people in almost 200 countries. Makes yer proud to be British! A purely good news story in difficult times.

But not entirely so, unfortunately. The exhibition features a “dig pit” where you can search for treasure with a detector yourself just as if it is just fine and dandy even though it’s illegal in almost every country except Britain and there’s not a single word of caution about the fact that Terry Herbert, the finder of the Hoard, spent 5 outrageously irresponsible days digging the objects up, piling 244 bags of them on his kitchen table and causing immense damage to the context before he decided to tell archaeologists what he had found and brazenly claim his millions from the taxpayer.

Thus, 300 million people in 200 countries are to be given the message that where detecting is legal it’s fine to do it irresponsibly as you still get praised and rewarded and where it’s labelled as looting it pays handsomely.

Update 20 November 2011: It has been put to us in the Comments to this article that this is something that should be laid at the door of the American museum and is unlikely to have been the result of any advice or lack of it from the British end and we are happy to acknowledge that this may well have been the case.

Update 2 July 2014: On the other hand, the travelling exhibition going round Britain now has “hands-on interactives so you can have a go at detecting for treasure“. So it’s not just the Americans that have got it wrong!

 

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