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BRITARCH  April 2011

BRITARCH April 2011

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Subject:

Re: Scottish archaeology - is everyone breaking the law?

From:

Gareth Marklew <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 10:17:03 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (75 lines)

Mike
If the English forced the concept of monarchy on the Scots, it happened well over a thousand years ago. Seeing as the injustices of the distant past are so important, I take it you've been searching the earth for descendents of the Picts so that they can re-claim the heritage the Scots so brutally deprived them of?
Of course, a sense of history and heritage, and an association with, and sense of ownership of the objects and remains that are part of it are a keystone of national and regional identity. And if it was the case that the evil English were crossing the border, ripping Scottish artefacts from the soil and running back to London to hand them personally to Her Maj, you'd have a point. But that's not the case. The 'Crown' here is not an evil Englishwoman, but an institution which like it, and the history which led to it, or not represents, for want of a better phrase, UK plc. And it is better that discovered items are placed in public hands rather than private ones.
Look at it this way. Would you be happy if the concept of Bona Vacanta was maintained, but rather than passing to 'the Crown' items passed to the Crown Office, or the Procurator Fiscal, or the First Minister, or some other uniquely Scottish institution?
This isn't about England v Scotland. It's about the rights of the public at large to shared ownership of their cultural objects to the rights of private individuals to ownership of the same. There's a debate to be had there, but dressing it up as a war for Scottish independence doesn't wash, and handily ignores the fact that what you're suggesting sweeps away systems for regulating and recording finds (and their contexts) leaving
nothing but the flimsiest of protections in their place.
Gareth 

> Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2011 09:26:19 +0100
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Scottish archaeology  - is everyone breaking the law?
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 
> Andrew,
> 
> I've no doubt this "everything belongs to the (English**) queen unless 
> you (Scottish) plebs can prove otherwise" (... and will then be smartly 
> taken down to London aka the 'British' museum), is not compatible with 
> modern human rights legislation which makes it illegal to discriminate 
> by birth or class ... And reading the defining case on Bona Vacantia 
> (The St. Ninian's Isle Treasure) wasn't much reassurance, because I was 
> shocked to find this was mostly about the applicability of old Norse law 
> in Shetland and although I didn't read it in detail, I didn't see much 
> to suggest it was actually a test of Bona Vacantia so even this "law" 
> for securing items of archaeological importance in Scotland is seemingly 
> highly dubious and open to dispute.
> 
> In short, there is a sufficient muddle, aloofness and outright stupidity 
> in the law in Scotland to enable a smart lawyer to make a nationalistic 
> Scottish jury's blood boil - so one can only hope that an important 
> historical find is never put before such a jury .... before someone has 
> the sense to do something about it!
> 
> Mike
> 
> **English ... the common perception by common jurors!
> 
> On 25/04/2011 08:59, Andrew Smith wrote:
> > It is not archaeology, but history, but Mike's rebuttal of the 
> > monarchy's role in Scotland could surely only be valid if James VI had 
> > been forcibly removed to London in 1603  to prop up the English 
> > throne. I would suggest that that is when the rot set in.
> >
> > Was Scots Law not guaranteed independence from external interference 
> > under the Act of Union in 1707 (Google: 'Such a parcel of rogues in a 
> > nation' for Robert Burns' take on that particular piece of 
> > legislation.)? So is 'Ownership' in Scotland not defined by Scots Law? 
> > If it allows 'one for the rich and another for the poor' then it is a 
> > disgrace.
> >
> > And I am also a Scot.
> >
> > Andrew.
> >
> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mike Haseler" <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > Sent: Monday, April 25, 2011 8:08 AM
> > Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Scottish archaeology - is everyone breaking 
> > the law?
> >
> >
> > On 25/04/2011 07:08, keighley mark wrote:
> >> Hi Mike
> >>   It sounds cut and dried. But...
> > Mark, my original investigation was trying to understand where this idea
> > of Bona Vacantia comes from, because I (like many Scots) fundamentally
> > reject any concept that ownerless items belong to the Queen (An English
> > institution of an individual owner of a country which seems to have no
> > historical foundation in Scotland beyond the imposition of English
> > concepts of ownership on Scotland by an English ruling elite -- which
> > I'm spelling out in nationalistic terms for anyone else reading to
> > explain why this may not be the best way to encourage Scots to report
> > portable finds!!!).
> >
 		 	   		  

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