Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Utter Foolishness

Now I really have seen everything. PAS critic Paul Barford is so upset with another blog that he has asked the PAS to step in on his behalf. See

He accuses the other blog of spreading misinformation, but, of course, I know more than a few individuals who believe Mr. Baford's blog is full of misinformation (as well as utter rudeness to anyone with whom he disagrees).

The good people at the PAS obviously have more to do than to mediate disputes amongst bloggers or to take issue with everything that might be said in the blogosphere.

On a related note, I understand that Mr. Barford's critical book about the PAS has evidently been delayed by the publisher once again. One can only imagine the reason why.


Paul Barford said...

The PAS has received thirteen million pounds to provide archaeological outreach on these matters to the British public. It is not doing so. The British public (who pay for this) consist of more than a few thousand (6000) metal detecting club members. I am not asking PAS to "step in for me" as informing members of the public about archaeological conservation is not my job. But it is theirs, why are they not doing it?

Cultural Property Observer said...

The PAS budget covers all the costs of administering the program of which public outreach is but a part. That includes the website, the recording of finds, the FLO's who do outreach to local clubs who are important stakeholders. Great bang for the buck or pound in this case as far as I am concerned.

Paul Barford said...

If you were to look at the material created when it was set up, you would learn that the primary function of the PAS is public outreach, the database and all the rest are tools to do this, and not an end in themselves.

The main group of stakeholders in the common archaeological heritage are the 54,340 000 people who do NOT go out metal detecting on Britain's archaeological sites. They are not served at all by PAS visits to metal detecting clubs, but are expected to foot the bill of the PAS failing to acknowledge that and their needs.

Cultural Property Observer said...

And if you go to the British Museum and local museums around the
England and Wales, the fruits of the Treasure Act and PAS are there for all to see.

And, if you want to talk numbers how many archaeologists are out there and why is any public money at all spent on their pet programs?

Paul Barford said...

What "public money" for archaeology are you talking about? Do you know what "developer funding" is and what role it plays in British archaeology and Cultural Resource Management?

Nevertheless, paying for the PAS is a very large chunk out of the money allocated for archaeology in England from public funds available for "Culture, Media and Sport" - because that is the main source of PAS funding, as state-funded (and local government-funded) archaeological outreach, the "pet programme" as you put it of about fifty professional archaeologists and heritage professionals. The trouble is this money is taken from that available for preservation too, of historic buildings, cultural landscapes, policy creation, conservation, documentation and all the rest of the functions of national heritage preservation agencies and the only thing it is "preserving" really is the hobby of artefact hunting from criticism.

Cultural Property Observer said...

And PAS and the Treasure Act benefit the most people and do the most good overall. An archaeological program with a real base beyonds archaeologists themselves! No wonder it has been largely spared budget cuts facing other programs with very small constituencies. And at least the money is spent at home.

Contrast this modest program with the millions upon millions the US has spent on Iraqi, Egyptian and Afghan archaeology. Well, at least the millions spent for Egyptian archaeology (the part that was not probably skimmed off) has helped foster tourism as an additional benefit.

Budget pressures will no doubt impact the public monies spent on archaeology. As they should. There are frankly a lot more pressing needs that should be addressed than make work programs for archaeologists.

I'm not against archaeological reserach, but much of it should be funded privately in my opinion.