Brian Hope-Taylor, the Council for British Archaeology, and "The Need for Adequate Archaeological Propaganda"
Thomas, S. (2013) ‘Brian Hope-Taylor, the Council for British Archaeology, and “The Need for Adequate Archaeological Propaganda”‘, Public Archaeology 12 (2), 101-116.
Brian Hope-Taylor (1923–2001) is remembered as one of the first archaeologists in the United Kingdom to introduce the discipline to a wider audience, through presenting television programmes in the 1960s. He also oversaw numerous excavations. The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is known for being an educational charity, with the protection of the UK’s archaeological heritage and historic environment central to its activities. What is perhaps less well-known is that, in the 1940s, Hope-Taylor was behind a proposal to the CBA to introduce a campaign of ‘cheerful propaganda’, in order to raise awareness among the wider public about chance archaeological finds and their significance, and hence to persuade them to report these discoveries to appropriate ‘experts’. This paper uses archival evidence and the existing literature to examine, within a historical context, the proposed scheme. Had it come to fruition, it would have introduced principles and mechanisms for public reporting and recording of archaeological discoveries comparable to those laid out by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which itself did not come to fruition for another five decades.
Keywords: history of archaeology, portable antiquities, Council for British Archaeology, Brian Hope-Taylor, propaganda.
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