Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Metal-detecting seen as looting by Milken Institute report

The Milken Institute's Financial Innovation Lab Report on Financial Innovations for Developing Archaeological Discovery and Conservation (December 2008) [pdf: registration required] has a section on the UK Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) (p. 9). Although the report initially talks about the reporting of "chance finds" (p. 8), the dedicated section on the PAS seems to present metal-detecting as looting.
The scheme has also been criticized by some scholars as legalizing looting, promoting the removal of artifacts by amateurs. Proponents of the plan counter that the looting was happening already and that the scheme encourages those who have looted to at least document what was taken and from where, preserving minimal cultural context.
So it looks like that in the eyes of critics and proponents of the PAS (at least in the eyes of the Milken Institute Report) that looting of archaeological sites takes place.

But is the report suggesting that looting is acceptable so long as the finds are documented? Does this miss the point about damaged and lost archaeological contexts?

But perhaps the Milken Institute's report was more about the "discovery" of archaeological finds than the recording and interpretation of them.

1 comment:

richard said...

what a load of rubbish.
Not only are archeologists getting more greedy but are afraid metal detecting will probably take over the use of archaeology soon as the mst interesting adventurous and fascinating stories are not told by archeologists who spend hours and hours digging a trench wowing over a piece of pot but by a detectorist uncovering an anglo saxon cemetries and historic places that by the time archeoligists got around to findingthings like that we would be in the grave and we would be ancient history

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