The Public Archaeology of Treasure

Review by Emily A Freeman

The term ‘Treasure’ is complicated and has a variety of connotations for those inside and outside the heritage sector. This book of collected papers explores the legal and cultural attitudes towards ‘Treasure’, with many of the authors using early medieval examples. One of the recurring threads weaving throughout is social media and how it can enhance public engagement but can also be detrimental to heritage.

Discussions around public engagement, like Aisling Tierney’s essay on the ‘Cadbury scandal’, explore the general public, private, and heritage sector’s complex relationship with ‘Treasure’ and each other. An interesting legal perspective is provided by Adam Daubney’s ‘Rest in Pieces’,  which explores the contradictory legal status of grave goods versus the human remains they are found with.

For a general overview of this complex, multifaceted term, the reader would find this book a useful primer.  It does, however, unfortunately miss a wider UK context due to a heavy focus on England and Wales.

The Public Archaeology of Treasure
Howard Williams, Peter Reavill, and Samuel Clague (eds)
Archaeopress, £38 (pbk), free (eBook)
ISBN 978-1803273105