Further to my recent suggestion on Britarch (which was commended by Dr
Heyworth) that a Code of Responsible Collecting be formulated, I wonder if
there has been any further consideration of the idea?
Applying simple straight line logic it seems obvious to me that the
nighthawking problem is intimately connected with the attitudes of dealers and
collectors when considering whether to buy artefacts with less than
immaculate paperwork (to say the least). Although not the only answer
(British courts are notoriously lenient with nighthawks) it seems to me that a
CBA statement on the question of how collectors ought to behave would be
both appropriate and (in some cases at least) beneficial.
I am prompted to raise this issue again by a recent press report.
Farmer John Browning has been waging a one man war against nighthawks on
his land for many years and has been praised in Parliament for it. To me, his
war has also been against those who have provided a ready outlet for the
fruits of nighthawking and it seems reasonable that British archaeologists
should leave no such purchasers scope for telling themselves or others that
their purchasing procedures were satisfactory or that the fact they may have
purchased tainted goods was unavoidable and not their fault.
We have waxed annoyed about what has been suffered by Mr Browning here
In addition, our basic feeling is that he has a real claim to the title “heritage
hero” and I wonder if it could be a useful element of archaeological outreach
to the public and help highlight the problem if the CBA considered instituting
an annual award of some kind for people such as Mr Browning. Might this be
considered along with a responsible collecting code?