Rescue Says: Shocking burglary at Canterbury Archaeological Trust Store

The whole archaeological community and beyond will have been shocked and outraged by the recent ransacking of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust’s stores, and the theft of innumerable and irreplaceable archaeological artefacts. We would urge anyone who might know anything that leads to the safe recovery of any of these items, to immediately report their concerns to the Police. Two things that may be missed in this situation however, are the perennial issue surrounding the national dearth of archaeological archive storage, and the state of the UK antiquities market which allows for material such as has been stolen to be sold easily. Were adequate museums’ facilities or secure dedicated regional archaeological stores available, archaeological units would not need to hold significant quantities of artefacts, and thefts of this sort would be far less likely. Similarly the UK antiquities legislation makes the sale of such material easier than if there were more control and regulation, as exists elsewhere in the European and international community. The theft of this material and the damage caused to the archaeological unit’s premises is appalling, and it is sincerely hoped that the perpetrators are caught and prosecuted. We also hope that something positive will come from it and that urgent Government-sponsored action will be taken regarding the current thoroughly unacceptable state of archaeological archiving facilities in this country.

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