A Culture Secretary who thinks archaeologists are the real heritage heroes? Fingers crossed!

John Whittingdale, the new Culture Secretary. The first one for some time who is crystal clear about the pre-eminent value of archaeologists in archaeological investigations?

Here’s what he said in the Commons 18 years ago:

“Anyone who has been on an archaeological dig will know of the painstaking, enormously slow process that is involved in uncovering objects. The precise position in the ground of every revealed object and its proximity to other finds is carefully recorded. When people come along who are not experts or who are not necessarily interested in the history of an object, but whose main motivation is simply to try to uncover a pot of gold, and they root around without paying much attention to the archaeological importance of their finds, the archaeological information is lost. All too often, they simply chuck aside anything that does not immediately appear to have a monetary value.”

He sounds indistinguishable from his Irish and French counterparts. How refreshing!

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