Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's Time for a Rethink of Policy on Artefact Hunting in Wales: Na i PAS ar gyfer Cymru

The Welsh "metal detectorist" calling himself just "Neil" ("Administrator, Superhero Member") announced after the "Detecting Wales" thread concerning the silencing of a certain heritage blogger had for a while been filling with self-gratulatory posts expressing the obvious feeling of entitlement of their authors and showing full acquiescence to the stifling of debate on portable heritage issues in great Britain:
I am going to lock the thread now mate just to ensure there are no repercussions.
The repercussions are that people seeing the Welsh reaction to list-member Avalon's announcement that he has "put an end to Paul Barford and his anti detecting blogs" will start to look just why it is that Welsh "metal detectorists" want to see a blog discussing portable antiquity collecting issues in a wider context out of public sight.

The repercussions are that their reaction to the news might be to want to look a bit more closely over their shoulders at just what it is they are doing out there on the green pasturelands and ploughed archaeological sites of Wales and adjacent areas.

The public who see that thread and then this blog might well want to ask why it is the Welsh taxpayer is now going to be asked by supporters of artefact hunting to fork out huge amounts of money mainly to service the exploitive and erosive hobby of a minority instead of discussing other ways of dealing with the problem. This money could be better spent elsewhere.

The repercussions are that it has become clear that we can no longer afford to continue the bold social integration experiment begun by a New Labour government in 1997 without any public discussion of its effects on and implications for the preservation of the archaeological record of the British Isles. Especially when any attempts to draw attention to its defects are met with aggression, threats, disruptive behaviour by so-called "metal detectorists" in the UK and total silence from the one organization set up nearly a decade and a half ago to be archaeology's voice on portable antiquities issues.

Now that devolving Wales has been cut off from the direct influence of artefact hunting's "partners" in Bloomsbury, perhaps it is time for the Welsh to find a more effective means of dealing with Britain's increasing problem with the plundering of the archaeological record for collectables by a small, selfish and largely anti-social minority.

Now, with devolution, it is surely the time to stop the pretence and take decisive action against a few hundred selfish despoilers threatening the fragile and finite archaeological record of Wales.

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