Sunday, November 3, 2013

Metal Detectorists 10, Archaeologists 0?

That's how some are pitching the latest statistics of treasure reported by the public and archaeologists in England and Wales.  But this sets up a false competition between the two groups when their efforts should instead be viewed as complementary.

Even worse, one voice in the archaeological blogosphere has taken all this to an extreme.  Indeed, he goes so far as to demand that what should be considered good news instead requires the resignation of the responsible Government Minister.

Rather than celebrating the knowledge that has come from these finds, he instead claims these artifacts are better better left in the ground for future archaeologists to discover.  But that is pure fantasy.  Archaeologists will always be few in number.  Their digs will always concentrate on significant sites, not the farmer's fields where most treasure is found.  And while we are waiting, it's much more likely that the artifacts themselves will be lost through deterioration and development.

Luckily, most real archaeologists in the United Kingdom have made peace with metal detectorists.  They recognize that the Treasure Act, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and the knowledge of and preservation of artifacts they bring benefits everyone.   So let's all celebrate the latest finds in England and Wales and salute the "heritage heroes" of the archaeological and metal detecting communities that have made it all possible.

1 comment:

stoutstandards said...

"Even worse, one voice in the archaeological blogosphere has taken all this to an extreme. Indeed, he goes so far as to demand that what should be considered good news instead requires the resignation of the responsible Government Minister"...

It's called jealousy, and methinks this individual should ask Santa for a metal detector this Christmas.