Category: Opinion


Time Team: the end of an era?

As Time Team ends its run, Jim Mower – an archaeologist and producer for ten years on the programme – reflects on two decades of television archaeology and asks: what’s next? Time Team is the longest running history/archaeology strand in television history. Although often criticised over its lifetime, this is, by any reckoning, a remarkable […]

Gold Rush?

Will the media’s recent glamourisation of the Staffordshire Hoard’s monetary value cause a rise in illegal metal-detecting? Dr Pete Wilson puts his point of view. The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard and the subsequent Birmingham Archaeology project to examine the findspot, undertaken in co-operation with the finder and the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) with funding […]

Antiquities: fake, looted or just lost?

The Los Angeles Times recently reported (29 May 2009) that eBay has reduced the demand for looted antiquities. The story is based on the research of Charles Stanish (University of California) who has been studying the online trade in antiquities.

Integrating amateur archaeology

Do we really have a way of integrating amateur help into field archaeology these days?   At the Archaeology 2008 conference, university professors and leaders of archaeology’s commercial sector vied with each other to show they were deeply professional and amateur-friendly. And there was some success — but it was plain enough that the gaps […]

Community Archaeology: from the grassroots

In CA 213, the Opinion article on Community Archaeology: Against the Odds outlined a problem of exclusion arising from the commercialisation and bureaucratisation of archaeology in England. Whilst I agree whole-heartedly with the main points, I think the article used a worryingly narrow definition of Community Archaeology — that of professionals running one-off grant funded […]

Flagship national archaeology scheme faces crippling cuts

The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is threatened with a realterms budget cut that might close its central unit and terminate the national database. Five jobs out of 50 are set to go, possibly leaving the scheme’s 39 Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) to be grouped and managed regionally. Many FLOs think this would destroy the scheme.

Human remains: retain or return?

Several years ago when I lived in Bonn, I stayed just down the road from the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, which holds the original Neanderthal remains discovered just to the north near Düsseldorf in 1856. My regular visits to view these remains were always very moving and meaningful; gazing at them, I was establishing a connection to […]