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BRITARCH  June 1998

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Subject:

Portable Antiquities

From:

Victoria Cassely <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Victoria Cassely <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue Jun 09 17:23:40 1998

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (72 lines)


Roger Bland, Co-ordinator, Portable Antiquities initiative has written the 
following message and asked me to post it to the list:-

---------------------------------------------------------------------

With reference to Paul Graves-Brown's message of 4 June, I'd like to take 
this opportunity to set the record straight about the disclosure of 
information gathered by the finds liaison officers in the portable 
antiquities initiative. 

There has been no change of policy on this. We have to reconcile the 
principle that the data gathered should be available for public benefit - 
the principle underpinning the whole initiative - with the need to respect 
the fact that most finders will only be willing to divulge find-spots if 
they know that they will be kept confidential. 

The leaflet  'Recording our Past' , which explains the scheme to finders and 
which is currently in the course of production, states in answer to the 
question  'Who will have access to the information about my finds?'   'This 
will be up to you and if you ask us to keep any information that you provide 
about the findspot and about yourself confidential, we will respect that 
wish. We would in any case not expect to make public precise findspots and 
we will consult you on this. To assist in our understanding of the past, we 
would also like to pass information about your finds to the local Sites and 
Monuments record. We also hope to make the information gathered by the pilot 
schemes available for anyone who is interested to consult, but it will be up 
to you whether you would like your name to appear as the finder or not.'  

The dangers of releasing precise find-spots of sensitive finds should not 
need stressing to an archaeological audience: to mention just one example, 
the looting of the site at Wanborough in Surrey was caused by the release of 
the precise find-spot at a coroner's inquest. Landowners too are generally 
anxious that precise findspots should not be publicised. 

 'Your Right to Know' , the White Paper on the Freedom of Information Act, 
specifically exempts information supplied in confidence from the scope of 
the proposed Act.

Precise guidelines on the release of the information have still to be worked 
out as the Portable Antiquities Program was only released last month (one 
possibility, for example, would be to make the information publicly 
available after certain amount of time) and the finds liaison officers will 
be talking to the  SMRs in their areas to discuss how best to pass the data 
on.

I will be glad to receive comments from SMR officers on this - unfortunately 
not by e-mail! I can be contacted at Department for Culture, Media and 
Sport, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5DH, tel.: 0171 211 2011; fax 0171 
211 2006.

Roger Bland


---------------------------------------------------------------

Message posted to list, on behalf of Dr Roger Bland by:



=================

Victoria Cassely
Information Technology Manager
The British Academy
10 Carlton House Terrace
London
SW1Y 5AH


%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

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