Saturday, June 13, 2009

Welton on the Portable Antiquities Scheme

In his wikipedia attack page on the subject of "Paul M. Barford", Buffy the cowardly critic maliciously writes:
Paul Barford is a vociferous and outspoken critic of progressive, modern archaeology and outreach between the Archaeological community and the general public, in particular the *Portable Antiquities Scheme in the united Kingdom which Paul Barford has called " the Portable antiquities Scam" *[5]
Mr Buffy has clearly not read the text of the TAG paper, so he is unlikely to understand what I say is the "scam". I wonder to what degree a global encyclopedia should be saying that it a "progressive and modern archaeology" that forms partnerships with artefact hunters and collectors. Outside the topsy-turvey world of British archaeology artefact collectors are (rightly) treated as a threat to the archaeological record. Such a "partnership" in most other milieus would be regarded as "retarded and outmoded". Buffy goes on to say about the PAS:

This immensley successful scheme was set up to allow members of the public to formally record objects of historical interest that they may have found, for the greater benefit of the archaeological community and the UK's cultural and historical *Patrimony.
Except as far as I can see no Steve Welton has contributed any information to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. I am checking this with the PAS. So far they have not vindicated him.

Some examples of the success of the *Portable Antiquities Scheme are the *Harrogate Hoard & the *Ringlemere Cup.
In what way I wonder? They are both Treasure items. As any (responsble, informed) metal detectorist should know, The PAS is for recording non-Treasure items. Weston is misleading his readers.

In June 2009, Paul Barford cynically compared the *Tiananmen Square protests of 198, in which 2,600 innocent Chinese protesters were were killed, with his own struggle against the concept of 'Partnership' between The *Portable Antiquities Scheme and members of the public recording items they have found with the *Portable Antiquities Scheme.
Well, of course Buffy neglects to supply his reader with the reference here, because if he had done so, the reader would see that this is not at all what I said, Buffy is deliberately and maliciously twisting the truth. I contrasted the Tankman (now believed to be a Chinese archaeologist) standing up to the Tienanmen tanks with British archaeologists who will not stand up to looters of the British archaeological record with metal detectors. Nobody is "struggling" with the concept of members of the public recording accidental finds with the PAS, what there is concern about is the uses to which artefact hunters and collectors are putting it - and the deghree to which they are simply NOT using the scheme, which is what the Hertitage Action counter does - by giving figures that may be directly compared with those of the PAS database. There is a massive shortfall, which is of course why Buffy is not telling wikipedia readers the truth about what it is intended to signify.

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