Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Conflicting Accounts of Welsh Portable Antiquities Scheme "Rescue"

After several months' silence, the British Museum has weighed in on the discussion of the "future of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales" but only because it has only just now noticed "there have been recent concerns expressed as to the future operation of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales". Roger Bland himself penned a somewhat bland announcement, which I will quote in full:
Discussions between the Welsh Government, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, the British Museum, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have now successfully addressed this issue in such a way that will ensure the continuation of the scheme, including the important post of Finds Liaison Officer, in Wales. More information is available here: - http://wales.gov.uk/publications/accessinfo/decisionreports/culturesport/2011/hl6476/?lang=en.
That's it. No details about just what will be continued and in what form. The "more information" however, dated 31 October 2011 contradicts the letter previously sent out by Linda Tomos:
The Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage has agreed a recommendation to provide additional funding from Welsh Government and Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales budgets in 2012-13 to support the continued operation of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) in Wales, and identifies a funding framework for future years. This follows a decision by the British Museum to reduce its contribution to the costs of operating the scheme in Wales. [...] The Minister for Heritage is being asked to consider a revised funding package from Wales to support the continued operation of the popular and successful Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) in Wales in 2012-13 and identifies a framework for future years. [...] The funding package being considered would allow for the continuation of the Scheme in Wales including the continued employment of the Wales Finds Liaison Officer by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and the continuation of the role undertaken by the Welsh Archaeological Trusts.
Does Dr Bland's announcement indicate that the "consideration" has come to an end and the funds have been assigned? If so, why does he refer to the earlier announcement as supplying "more information" when it provides less?

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