Whither Archaeology? Peter Furtado Welcomes an Opportunity to Discuss Archaeology with the Experts

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As the article opposite reminds us, there seems to be no end to the insights of the past that archaeologists are offering us, especially within Britain itself. Just in recent months we have had reports of a unique hoard of Roman buckets and dishes that turned up at the bottom of an old well in London, and a remarkable find of Iron Age cauldrons in Wiltshire, unearthed by a metal detectorist in a field.

Public interest in the subject is sky-high, exemplified and stimulated by the high-profile television coverage, which manages to stress the excitement of discovery, while still (usually) giving due weight to the more technical matters of analysis and interpretation. And the huge success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme has brought the once-anarchic band of detectorists into the academic fold, giving a direct point of contact and offering them every encouragement to come forward with their finds.

As a result, dialogue between professionals and the public is rich, complex and two-way--arguably even more so than dialogue between historians and the public. And to further that dialogue, Lisa Westcott, editor of the enterprising magazine Current Archaeology, has initiated an ambitious two-day conference run in collaboration with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, to be held at the British Museum on February 9th-10th, showcasing the best of British archaeology, and introducing selected world archaeological projects. …

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