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BRITARCH  February 2005

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Subject:

Re: : More MD? finds on ebay

From:

Paul Barford <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 3 Feb 2005 18:23:46 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (47 lines)

 Gary Brun writes:
 > Brush it under the carpet as much as you like....  But the crap will
still
> be there when you move the carpet.
I am sorry, I have mulled over and over this post trying to understand your
carpet metaphor and I just cannot make it come out in any way be helpful to
understanding the view you seem to be promoting.

It seems to me though that it is an excellent one for my own position The
carpet is the voluntary recording scheme called PAS, we have spent nigh on
seven years looking at the pretty pattern on it, wishing we had a bigger
one. Now we have a bigger one and come to appreciate and admire the pattern,
I say lets lift it (in true archaeological fashion) and look at what is
hidden by it underneath. Now I reckon that all that wet smelly excrement
which has been accumulating all those years is not in fact doing the new
carpet any good, certainly not the floor, and I for one have no intention of
walking hand-in-hand into the twenty first century with anyone over such a
surface until we have thoroughly cleaned it and made sure the floor is safe.
The floor is the archaeological record by the way. I leave you to work out
the rest.

So yes, "constructive debate" is in order, but that actually consists of a
little more than running around with smiles on our faces saying "hey let's
all be nice to other guys, nice weather!". It involves identifying the
issues and discussing them thoroughly. Unfortunately when we try to do this
and start asking more searching  questions (about ust what is under the
carpet, how much of it there is and what its doing to the floor), that's
when we find invariably that the smiles drop from the faces of the
pro-artefact-collecting lobby.

This is an archaeology discussion list for among other things "general
discussion of issues relating to archaeology in the United Kingdom". The
points I and others have been raising cover a number of aspects of the way
artefact-collection interacts with the archaeological record and its
long-term protection as well as with the archaeological world. I see no
reason whatsoever for banning detectorists from such discussions here, but
ask that they actually realise that here it is indeed the ARCHAEOLOGICAL and
conservation aspects of detecting which are likely to be the main ones
discussed. There are other fora for discussing other aspects of
detector-related topics, many members of Britarch are also members of such
fora and probably get a lot out of them. There are also many internet
chat-rooms for meeting and being nice to all sorts of people, take your
pick, but most of us come here to talk over and learn about British
archaeology.

Paul Barford

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