Monday, April 16, 2012

Apr-01 2012: Why are there no Reports for When the PAS gets out in the Field?

While it seems a bit pointless asking this too.... If it wanted researchers to be able to understand the biases inherent in the records they create, why does the Portable Antiquities Scheme not write reports for each commercial artefact hunting rally they attend? Such a report would set out the various factors which will affect the information acquired (precise boundaries of area searched, intensity of activity across different parts of the areas), what is likely to have been missed (or simply walked-off with without recording), and most importantly reflecting on the state of what is left of the archaeological record at that spot when they leave. That's how to allow researchers using their records as a source of information can learn what biases may have been introduced by the way the information was collected in each individual case, and only that will allow them to use that information in any form of analysis more sophisticated than a simple and crudely macro-scale presence-absence-here dot-distribution map.