BAJR Federation Archaeology

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hamstrung?! Who's hamstrung?? and Why? Or is this just kick the curator again? B)
To be fair curators have to work within planning and can be over-ruled and to my memory can only recommend. Though in most cases this is taken. However, curatorial archaeology is in somewhat of a defensive position just now. the contractor should be workng on the same archaeological principals
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when curators are so hamstrung

the predetermination system is also hamstrung by a lack of transparency. The so called benefits of early engagement in pre-application discussions which is where developers are directed towards evaluations do not lead to open competition for the work. It seems to me and I am trying to put this as mildly as possible if a curator recommends that a development requires a field evaluation if I was the developer I would probably want to hire the last company who had been acceptable to the curator. Yes there are hundreds of exceptions where other evaluators were hired, most notably are where developers already have a relationship with an evaluator. But the current (pps5) system is not that open to competition, unlike the post determination situation where the landowner and agents will probably get five or more speculative tenders through the post using the address supplied on the Decision Notices.

It seems to me that if the early engagement in pre-application discussion leads to a evaluation brief that that brief should be made a public document before any archaeologists are appointed
In which case should there be an archaeo-tender list?
no, nay, never (top tip make a big song and dance about getting off that list)
I think the real question is what is the authority of the pre-determination brief-(if it there is a brief). Is it something that should go through the case officer?
It was imagined in ppg16 that the brief elicited tenders for the developer. In my experience the developers in the predetermination stage don’t like to broadcast anything about their development let alone announcing to the world that the authorities think that they are riddled with archaeology. It should be noted that authorities now charge for pre-application “advice”.
The developers mostly approach one evaluator and really only want to show it to get a ball park figure and an explanation of what it all means. In a lot of areas it will be an established archaeological set up. Although I have no direct survey I imagine that in about 8+cases out of 10 that the developer goes with the first evaluator that they approach. Its quite critical if you want evaluation work to get in first, it’s the how that is the problem.
But to bring it back to the thread what makes a good urban eval presumably a curator would say a good urban brief but you are not going to get that unless it is subject to competition.-we then have the problem of the curator who then becomes the judge of their own brief complicated by the fact that its possibly confidential and has been re-interpreted by a scheme which is also possibly confidential, if it exists.
The best and least destructive urban evaluations I've done are where we've been able to identify cellars etc to machine out, quick and easy (and cheap!), gives you a good idea of how much stratigraphy there is in section, straightening sections usually gives you enough dating evidence, and, most importantly, it doesn't totally trash the archaeology compromising any subsequent area excavation whilst giving you all the information you actually need (there's X amount of stratigraphy of Y date-range). Also cellars can be good for shoring (nice structural walls to shore against), or even avoiding the need for shoring, and sometimes nice floors to shovel off.....Unfortunately in my experience curators usually manage to to get in first to insist on the trenches being put in idiotic locations, but then there aren't that many who actually have any hands-on experience of digging those types of sites.....
Yep, it's Kick the Curator time again. Let's all pile in. Especially those working for unnamed northern English units with questionable working and employment practices.

It is of course sloppy, inexperienced curators who are fully responsible for poor archaeological work. Rather than those who actually carry out the work. You may be right? Who knows? Certainly not me, for, being a curator I (of course) barely know one end of a trowel from t'other. :face-thinks:
i'm certainly not trying to kick curators - i want them to have more time to really QA the sites in progress - this will not be possible if, for example, retiring Curators are not replaced as part of 'government efficiencies' .....

i do blame the units for poor quality work - but equally i wonder at the circumstances that enabled them to get away with it....new legislation is all very well, but i fear the loss of local government posts/structures....especially in historic urban centres...
Quote:but then there aren't that many who actually have any hands-on experience of digging those types of sites
and here I am with Vulpes... I certainly gave people a run for their money when I was a DC archaeologist .. still working in the field was a good thing for me.

However, Dino also has a point where there are places that have curatorial services that could do with doing a bit of dirt archaeology from time to time. and one more

However... contractors are also bound to do the best for archaeology... not just the client
I dont want to kick the curator. I just think that the archaeologists should do more curation. I interpret from pps that ALL planning applications should have an archaeological consideration in writing from the applicant and that includes for the pre application discussion- the “commercial” archaeologists should already have been involved and made to understand-create the local curatorial agenda

Ok kick them a bit- I don’t think the so called curators can have a coherent curatorial policy
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