Tuesday, June 16, 2015

PAS Under Threat?

This news should be of concern to everyone.   Due to budget pressures in the UK, the Portable Antiquities Scheme will be folded into another department at the British Museum and likely suffer budget cuts despite its popularity with both the public and many British archaeologists.   As a result, Roger Bland, who has run the PAS since its inception, will be leaving his post.   

The PAS has been instrumental in bringing archaeologists, metal detectorists and collectors together in a shared effort to help record the past.  So, perhaps it's not surprising that the BM states that the PAS is being placed in the Department of Learning, Volunteers and Audiences as part of an effort to help the BM with public outreach to help make it the "museum of the country" by working with partners outside of London. If so, CPO hopes that the BM will ensure this important asset remains adequately funded despite obvious budget pressures.  

For more, see here.  


John H said...

The PAS is in excellent hands if this tart comment from the vinegary Barford is anything to go by:

"Her [Ms Raikes] first degree (Durham) was in Ancient History and she has MAs in both Museum Studies and Primary Education. There is no mention on the Linkedin page of her experiences with metal detectorists, numismatists or the NCMD. Roger had tonnes. Ms Raikes however began her career in amateur archaeology (Education officer of the Sussex Archaeological Society Feb 1997 – Dec 1999)."

Not only is she bright, and a lot brighter than some who spring readily to mind, she unlike Barford evidently, really does have impressive credentials though she could have followed the Barford CV method by describing herself..."A British archaeologist living in London."

Best wishes

John Howland

Cultural Property Observer said...

Barford is suggesting that commending Ms. Raikes' background and achievements somehow diminishes Roger Bland's. This, of course, is ridiculous. Roger Bland was instrumental in helping to modernize the ancient Treasure Trove law. His hard work with the Treasure Act and PAS made it into a successful program that will hopefully continue under new management despite the obvious budgetary pressures that are being exerted. To put matters in context, the UK is very serious about tackling its budget deficit and this has also impacted all government funding, including that for the UK military, which no longer has the reach it once had. (So much so that they are griping in Washington that the UK can no longer be considered a reliable strategic ally.)

John H said...

Peter, I agree. Dr Bland has done wonders and the baton is being on to another with impressive credentials. Only Barford, or one of his dim hangers-on would contrive such a threadbare, not too mention comical argument. Of course he 'forgets' the source of the original quote.

Then again, that's Barford being Barford and running true to form. At least the new PAS chief is not credentials-coy and a whole lot more distinguished than the Warsaw Wannabe. It must gall him that he's been passed over, but I rather suspect his enthusiastic sojourn on the other side of the Iron Curtain in 1986 put paid to any hopes of advancement.

Best regards

John Howland

Paul Barford said...

Mr Howland's comments on the "impressive credentials" of the head of the Schools Department of a London museum to whom a formerly national scheme has been entrusted fall wide of the mark. There is nothing "threadbare" in the argument that it is extremely disturbing that this has happened, and it will have severe knock-on effects on both heritage management as well as the status of the metal detecting hobby in the UK (and possibly further afield if the PAS is being advocated as a model to follow elsewhere). That metal detectorists in the UK are blithely ignoring that is interesting. For Mr Howland's information, the position of new manager of the PAS (it used to have a 'Head') was not advertised, it was an internal appointment made behind closed doors.