You are currently browsing the daily archive for 05/06/2021.

Long ago we were regularly berated by a previous PAS Director for not “getting on the train to Liaisonville”. Luckily, that sort of dialogue (together with “just give it another few years, things will get better”) has been dropped as reality hammers daily on the doors of the British Museum.

But we have continued to bang our drum over the fact so few detectorists play ball, a regret that PAS expresses far too rarely. Here’s a selection of the sort of things we say, week in and week out (which have earned us much abuse and the occasional death threat):

  • As much as people like to say it is about the history, if that were the case these objects wouldn’t end up at auction at all.
  • The significant problem here is the perception of the archaeological record as a place for financial gain than historical enquiry and something to be privately possessed.
  • No one is able to show finds to more people in a home than in a museum.
  • This is especially true for objects from rallies that disappear in different directions and lose the context of being together in the same display.
  • Also, in a private collection they are not available for XRF, residue analysis, X-ray, conservation, etc.
  • This is not about elitism or an us vs. them attitude. It is about working together with specialists to get the most out of an objects history for all to enjoy.

However: those aren’t our words! They are direct quotes from a Finds Liaison Officer last week! It’s gratifying that such things wouldn’t have been said publicly by a PAS employee years ago, so things ARE changing. There’ll be no bad consequences, no addition to the 16 threats of a retaliatory “recording strikes” from NCMD and no public criticism from PAS.

Plus, something GOOD will happen: farmers, stakeholders and legislators will be better informed. We’ve been calling for PAS to stop pulling its punches for two decades while fuming that the Emporer often prances around totally naked on closed detecting forums while wearing his Sunday best in public! Let’s hope things are changing for the communal good.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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