On 29/10/2010 14:22, Marcus Smith wrote:
> John Wood wrote:
>> If long term storage of material that is unlikely to be referenced is
>> the matter of question and such that is not environmentally sensitive
>> why not put the stuff back where we found it?
>> It was happily stored there for hundreds/thousands of years so why
>> can't it be so again?
> Okay you guys, I know it's Friday, but this is getting a little weird. :/
the simple fact you will have to face someday is that given that more
and more material is being collected you have more material than you can
possibly handle and another simple fact is that the only reason most of
the junk that is handed in is worth anything is because an illusion of
value is created by manipulating the perception of its worth -- come on
most of it was thrown away as unfit for use even at the time in was
thrown away --- and now? Worthless!
This creates a dilemma, because if you were to "loose" (i.e. put it in
landfill), loads of artefacts to free up space, then you are effectively
saying that it has no value. This isn't the kind of narrative that
archaeology would like portray about its artefacts. The archaeological
"brand" relies on the public perception of rarity, exoticism, etc. to
create its key selling point (although being informative helps)
So somehow you have to square the circle of saying:
"archaeological artefacts are very rare and valuable"
... whilst at the same time "loosing" articles you can't store which
is really saying:
"There are too many archaeological artefacts, they are of no value and
we are having to throw them out".
Obviously, that's being a bit "blunt" and for public discussion you'd
have to dress this up in a lot of fancy prose, (intrinsic value of the
nation's heritage and cultural identity etc. etc.) but the basic
principle would be the same: common all garden problem of a mismatch
between (too much) supply and (too little) demand of a value-inflated good.