... why should we pay a treasure hunter 1000 times more than an archaeologist to dig up an object? Even to my politician, it seems pretty obvious that new finds like this year’s Crosby Garrett Roman helmet need to be in a museum where people can see them; and equally obvious that the sums of money paid to treasure hunters are as absurd as their public adulation. Two million pounds for the helmet and three for the Staffordshire hoard – these are sums that could keep a small museum going for several years.
There is a huge debate in the United Kingdom about the value of Arts and Humanities. Craver concludes his editorial with this:
Archaeology is in the business of understanding the climate, the soil, society, religion, conflict, commerce, living together: no minor matters. It is as important as every other science, from medicine to space travel, and its findings have a permanent value. Whatever the future brings, let’s hang on to this principle: the true currency of archaeology is knowledge; that’s our gold standard, valid everywhere.
I am grateful to Paul Barford for drawing my attention to this editorial.