Archaeo-blogger David Gill has evidently helped organize a forum on the PAS. See
Gill obviously drove the agenda: some faint praise for the system combined with much rehashing of various (mostly old) complaints about it.
The papers speak for themselves. Overall, this all would have been more useful if there were an effort to compare the number of finds reported in England and Wales with those in Greece, a country whose cultural policy Gill apparently holds in high esteem. Does Greek law-- as it is actually administered by its bureaucracy-- encourage the reporting of finds? From what I heard at the recent CPAC hearing on Greece's proposed MOU with the US, I think not.
As an aside, I wonder about Mr. Barford's stated affiliation with the Institute of Archaeology, Warsaw, Poland. Other information suggests that this affiliation is quite dated. If so, it certainly should not be used to somehow elevate Barford's status. [This affiliation was subsequently deleted in favor of just identifying Mr. Barford as an "archaeoblogger".]
I also question Gill's obsession with "lobbyists" promoting PAS before CPAC. In point of fact, this idea also has also been heavily promoted by numismatic groups who employ no registered lobbyists, and, indeed, its greatest proponent is a private collector who has spent his own time and money to travel to Washington, D.C. to speak on the issue. See http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2010/11/rational-proposal-for-hellenic-republic.html
To his credit, Gill and UCL did invite some speakers with opposing views, but I still must agree with Gabriel Moshenska of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, who stated, "It is a measure of this [the archaeological] community’s widespread elitism and class snobbery that the most feckless professor of prehistory with a string of unpublished excavations is likely to be afforded a thousand times more respect than the most diligent member of a metal detecting club."
Addendum: In some end of the year foolishness, Prof. Gill has suggested he had nothing at all to do with organizing the above submissions of academic papers. See
I suspect he is being far too modest and have asked him to clarify in the comments section of his blog. He has yet to do so and instead is harping on the fact that UCL "initiated" the conference, but this certainly does not foreclose Gill's help in "organizing" it. Of course, all this is just another diversion from the major issues at hand. The papers were purportedly designed to help assess the PAS, but they failed to do so because there was no effort to compare PAS to other systems like that in Greece. Ultimately, PAS needs to be judged not by any perceived shortcomings, but by how it compares with other systems in fostering the recording of artifacts from the past. In this, I'm quite confident the record speaks quite well of the PAS.