Thursday, December 29, 2011

Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales: details published

TheWelsh Government has published details about its handling of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales. The information, released under Freedom of Information, shows that the National Museum of Wales alerted CyMAL on 26 November 2010 ("increasingly concerned"; "The issue ... giving us the greatest concern ... is the Portable Antiquities Scheme"). The letter highlighted the need for Wales to meet the funding gap of £64K. (It is worth comparing these figures to the ones that appeared in the PAS press release in November 2010.)

The second memorandum (from CyMAL dates from 28 October 2011. This seems to suggest that little formal planning was undertaken during the intervening 11 months. (This overlooks the discussions that were taking place in public fora as well as in academic publications.) Interestingly the memorandum required a decision by 1 November 2011. In other words the memorandum was sent on a Friday and a decision was required by the following Tuesday. The prompt seems to have come from "metal detecting clubs in Wales". The memorandum presents a chronology of the funding proposals. The stepped decrease in funding from England is presented. The arrangements for an announcement are discussed ("Rather than a press release ...") as well as a note on the "publicity" by "metal detectorists and historians".

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