|Questions at UCS © David Gill|
My colleague Dr Ian Baxter and I were tweeting some of the key points. Here are some of them:
- lack of clear conservation policy for the archaeological record
- critical debate on artefact hunting missing from the archaeological community
- the forum paper for the Papers of the Institute of Archaeology
- under-reporting may be as high as 80% (though Norfolk may be as low as 25%)
- the development and methodology of the Heritage Action counter
- the disturbance of deep stratigraphy due to metal-detecting
- the increasing use of metal-detectors that detect deeper and in a range of conditions
- the intellectual consequences of loss of context
There was an extended time of questions, discussion and debate.
- What could be done to improve the situation?
- There seemed to be widespread dislike of the term 'treasure'. We were reminded that the focus is often on the metal rather than the archaeological importance.
- Is legislative change important? Should reporting be compulsory?
- Comparison was made with Greece where there are stricter controls and recording of finds. (This perspective was provided by Cambridge researcher Christos Tsirogiannis.)
- Is the legal framework now outdated where once it was world leading?
- 10% of archaeological sites in Suffolk known from metal-detecting.
- The importance of the 30 year relationship that had been developed between the archaeological and metal-detecting communities in East Anglia.
- The impact of potato crops on archaeological sites.
- Should PAS-style reporting be introduced for countries like Iraq?
- English Heritage advice on metal-detecting.
- Representative collections to be held by museums; acceptance of private collections.
- Where should financial resources be directed in the present financial climate?
- Positive media coverage of PAS.
- ITV's 'Britain's Secret Treasures'should be seen as 'entertainment' rather than a factual programme.
- The Crosby Garrett helmet and the failure to close loopholes in the present system.
- The amount of money paid for treasure finds (and apparent lack of transparency).
- The scheduling of archaeological sites (and areas around 'hoard' findspots). This led to a short discussion of the area where the Staffordshire Hoard was found.
These points should give a flavour of the paper as well as the subsequent discussion. They do not necessarily cover all of Paul's points or all of the questions.
I felt that the seminar brought together a range of positions in the debate. Paul offered a voice that is so often marginalised, overlooked or silenced. I very much hope that he will turn his notes into a published version.