I think, or at least I hope, that most detectorists here in the states are familiar with the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme. Started in 1996 the PAS allows detectorists to report finds of possible archaeological importance without fear of recrimination, and be assured that these finds will remain theirs or in a few instances be reembursed if a museum, college or institution is interested in keeping them and putting them on display. The Scheme has been a huge success and a real boon to the tekkies in the UK.
I ‘personally’ would love to see something similar here in the United States but before we go any further let me refer you to my posts of March 9th, and March 11th of last year. They will shed some clarity (or maybe not) on my position or lack thereof. Would a PAS here be a help or a hindrance? Would it encourage more detectorists to come forward with their finds or would they be afraid of repercussions? Would it simply invite more restrictions? Is it even possible or feasible to accomplish something of that magnitude? And….does anyone really give a rat’s ass about anything but what they are going to dig up next?
I feel pretty certain that relic hunters are not interested, and have stated such many times. Their rationale is ‘we hunt on private land, have had no problems and have nothing to worry about’. That’s pretty much the same for those hunting the water. They too are usually immune from any type of restrictions, but will both parties be saying the same thing down the road? I have my doubts.
Let’s be honest too…if we were to even attempt to push for something like a PAS it would take a unified, well funded group of people, dedicated to following through, no matter the roadblocks, and right now I don’t see that within our ranks. Our three ‘supposed’ national groups seem to be hibernating at the moment, apparently “working behind the scenes” as they like to say. Sadly we are now a non-entity, an anemic and impotent group of hobbyists when it comes to accomplishing much of anything, let alone something of the magnitude discussed here. Oh I know we can rally a few phone calls and emails to piss and moan about this and that, but creating a PAS is not even in the same ball park.
I am well aware that I am stirring the pot again and being overly critical but I think it’s a topic worth discussing. I may be wrong. If you are reading this…do you even want change? Do you really care? It’s okay if you don’t. Just say so but then don’t bitch down the line when big brother bites your ass and it will happen. Maybe not now. Maybe not next year, but it will happen.
So, be brave and tell me what you think….
THIS COULD BE FUN!
Found this article on Eddy’s Current’s Facebook page and liked the sound of it. Why not a little humor? It’s a fun pastime and just maybe this will help our image. I do however reserve the right to change my mind once this show airs. I’ve learned the hard way not to get excited about tekkie TV shows.
And this too is pretty cool….what will the archaeologists in the future think if they should uncover this?