BAJR Federation Archaeology

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For the second time in about 12 months my local PAS officer has asked me to help excavate and record a chance finds made by farmworkers and detectorists. I am happy to help and give my time freely; just as well as the PAS tell me there are no funds available to pay you. As a self employed archaeologist I am beginning to wonder if I should be really doing this and ecouraging the PAS to get valuable work done for nothing.

Does this happen elsewhere ?

I would be interested in hearing the opinions of other BAJR Bods in this subject BUT PLEASE lets not get into a MD debate !!


My understanding of the PAS is that funds can be made available for the excavation, recording and recovery (ERR) of finds, albeit in a retrospective sense, when each PAS officer presents their costs to HLF every 3 months. I am sure that in exceptional circumstances the potential costs of ERR could be agreed by the relevant HLF Project monitor at the time of the discovery of the find.

Of course it is up to you whether you personally want to (and can afford to) do pro bono work for for your pet PAS officer. If the thought of finacial reward would sully your relationship, why don't you ask for some return backscratching i.e free access to SMR data, invite to the PAS Christmas party, free photocopies of archaeological 'grey literature' in your planning area.

I've never been asked to do anything for the PAS, but have done other similar things for free - including giving talks, helping with surveying and fieldwalking, a bit of digging, archive help, etc. Some of this I can wrangle through work, some not.

For me, it's not really a lot of time and I think that the benefits to the profession of showing accessibility and openess is invaluable. I would also rather see people do something under instruction once, so that they can see what best practice is and can manage a good job on their own the next time.

As a one off it wouldn't bother me personally, but if it became an expected committment I would probably suggest someone else...


Well, I helped the PAS officer with recovering lots of nice silver coins. Now the Coroner has "requested" that I attend the Inquest regarding the finds.

I have never been to a treasure inquest and do not really know what to expect . Have any of you BAJR Bods any experience of Treasure Inquests and can let me know what I should expect ?


Magpie [?]
This is an interesting point...

I may in fact be asking for 'help' myself quite soon..

However.. I feel it is dangerous to go out and help for nothing.

I do know that PAS often work over and above - and have worked with them. That said, they are being paid for that job, and so to help out there should be at least, expenses. After all, in these events we have to rememeber that this is a real bonus.. where an MD (or member of the public) has taken the step in reporting something rather than jsut digging it out... and we all know how tempting it is! - Just think of trying to leave that big sherd of pottery in situ rather than pulling it out!

I will ask the PAS if there is money available for calling in an archaeologist...

The only thing I can say, is that it gets us closer to one of the reasons we do archaeology.. the discovery of exciting new and intersting finds (among other reasons of course) and to ensure the next time... this person will get archaeologoists in.. becasue we show we are there to help.. to get more info and not to just 'take the site'

Magpie... would be interested to talk further about this... perhaps we could talk on t'phone?

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
To be honest and straight to the point...
A man is worth his pay.... "pay peanuts.. you get monkeys".
Also there is the point that you believe in the heritage and will stand up for what you believe.
UKDFD is recording finds and financing its own database purely by volunteers with no financial help from the various schemes that are available. Credit where credit is due!
PAS can find the money... if it needs too.
Recording OUR heritage for future generations.
Conversely, I have helped out on archaeological digs for free. (having said that, once I had a pub lunch bought for me by a FLO, and being a fat git, this didnt come cheap :-) )

It is interesting though to consider that at what point services should be charged for.

If a job is worth doing, then its worth doing it tomorrow!

Homer (Simpson)

I think the point I was originally trying to make was something along the lines of ......

Archaeologist asked by the FLO to help someone (yes, with a MD) who has found some coins.
Archaeologist spends a day excavating , a day writing a report and half a day at the Coroners Court and does not get paid a penny.

Finder and landowner share £ 10,000 plus for a coin hoard.

I am please to be able to help but there is something not quite right Sad

Ahh, yes I see your point.. definately not right!

Difficult one, either you charge a flat fee or get an agreement for a percentage of any potential award (no insult meant, am not sure how that would sit with archaeological ethics).

No way should be doing all that work just so others benfit financially.

If a job is worth doing, then its worth doing it tomorrow!

Homer (Simpson)

The said archaeologist was brought in by the FLO/PAS.
The said metal detectorist excepts archaeologist on site... because of recommendation by the FLO?
PAS/FLO should compensate Archaeologist... not detectorist.

The field walker, detectorist, Joe public is being responsible.
When a detectorist finds something of value he then stops digging etc. (save items etc)
Archaeologists come in and excavate/record the site... detectorist/field walker etc gain reward of items found.
This is part of the Treasure system.
This is part of your profession and the "rough part about it.
And if the crunch comes to the crunch I think this is what gets up the archaeologists nose more than anything.
The field walker, detectorist, Joe public gets rewarded... you don't... hence a lot of the divide between diciplines.
Recording OUR heritage for future generations.
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