|Where the archeology ends up in Britain|
Britain’s archaeologists are dumping tens of thousands of unrecorded finds; pottery fragments; flint tools; medieval coins; for no better reason – they claim – than a lack of proper storage facilities. This deplorable situation was first revealed back in June 2016, by Patrick Sawer, the Daily Telegraph’s Senior Reporter. Whereas the UK’s detectorists have and are documenting well over a million artefacts on the UK Government-financed Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), or, with the privately run the United Kingdom Detector Finds Database (UKDFD), the reverse is catastrophically occurring in the archaeological world.
Thousands of historical fragments are simply being dumped in skips. It seems there needs to be a system so that archeology’ can become in part, self-funding by selling off what it doesn’t need to collectors after having been properly recorded. Howland makes an important point about ownership:
Equally important perhaps, is the urgent need for farmers and landowners to know precisely what artefacts they have allowed excavators to be carted off and equally vital, whether they want them returned. Artefacts dumped without the knowledge of their owners is theft and might well place a well-meaning archaeologist in an invidious position. It would be equitable if landowners, farmers, and archaeologists entered into negotiated Finds Agreements of the kind pioneered by Britain’s detectorists to protect everyone’s interests.