BAJR Federation Archaeology

Full Version: Sensible Archaeology?
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vulpes Wrote:Is it? Really, what, monographs, journal articles and popular publications are aimed at clients? Let's not confuse planning related grey literature with final dissemination here eh?

What, you manage to avoid all the s**t jobs like watching guys drilling holes for single telegraph poles? Bet the public would be truly enthralled to read about that...as I say, 99% of the output of normal archaeological contractors is produced purely for the client so they can get their job signed off by the council, and you're talking.....if you pretend otherwise Sad!
So 99% of your projects go no further than negative evaluation / dull watching brief stage. I have to say that if you were working in my region that would be regarded as highly suspicious. Not found much lately? Have you revised your fail rate down from the original 99.9% because you found summat good yesterday? Don't get all angry with me, I'm quite clear who's talking .... Rolleyes

I look forward to carefully watching you watch someone else drill a hole for a telegraph pole one day Big Grin
Quote:I have had two commisions for articles about the CSA

Both for Current Archaeology right? Rolleyes

Quote:that's just posing

Well you'd know Wink
oh! snobbery at its best! :face-smart:

And no... one of them is not CA

Good god... let us not worry about insulting everyone... glad I work in Scotland - lest I be accused of simpletonism! Smile

new word... look it up... you won't find it, so add it to your list Wink :o)
Ok, I'm sitting on the end of a dreadful net connection (20minutes to go from computer on to posting!) so I can't keep up with all of this.

I found the review I was on about, the actual quote is

"the informal tone makes it a very easy read, but leaves some discussions lacking a little depth"

Now that's exactly what I'm on about. Tone does not relate to depth. Depth is surely about content not style.
Would it have had more depth if it had been painfully difficult to read?
It would have had an illusion of depth.
Not the same thing.
vulpes Wrote:So 99% of your projects go no further than negative evaluation / dull watching brief stage. I have to say that if you were working in my region that would be regarded as highly suspicious. Not found much lately? Have you revised your fail rate down from the original 99.9% because you found summat good yesterday? Don't get all angry with me, I'm quite clear who's talking .... Rolleyes

I look forward to carefully watching you watch someone else drill a hole for a telegraph pole one day Big Grin

Ah, man/woman/entity playing devil's advocate. As you know full well as a curator, the vast majority of stuff coming out of any unit never comes anywhere near your desk - lucky, if you had to look at it all you'd crawl off into a hole. Take for example recent motorway scheme - reports of one sort or another already run into 3 figures, evaluation reports (by at least 6 different organisations) run into 1000 plus pages, not including geophys, specialists etc (ok, so I chipped in my 400 plus pages in 5 reports, very full box-file), around a dozen background info for specialists type reports, summaries for each site, px assessments, progress reports for the client and consultants, all the specialist asessments, px assessment reports for each site, PDs for each stage, analysis reports, etc etc, till finally at the end of the day you get 1 monograph which knowing how these things go will be limited by financial constraints to a rather slim volume with a CD in the back and some nice piccies just on the off-chance that some brave member of species Joe Public ever gets brave enough to pick up a copy - oh, and maybe a 4 page leaflet as a sop to the 'public inerest' lobby.....20000 pages of s**t for 4 pages of mostly company logos? I think 1% is perhaps being generous!
Quote:So 99% of your projects go no further than negative evaluation / dull watching brief stage. I have to say that if you were working in my region that would be regarded as highly suspicious. Not found much lately? Have you revised your fail rate down from the original 99.9% because you found summat good yesterday? Don't get all angry with me, I'm quite clear who's talking ....

I look forward to carefully watching you watch someone else drill a hole for a telegraph pole one day

Actually, I take all of that back, deeply sorry. During the bike ride home I had something of an epiphany and I can see now that you are right Dino. Based on your previous statements on here 99% of what you produce probably is quite boring. What's more, the public probably should be protected from it. :face-kiss:

If it's so unremittingly dull, why don't you....

Entity.... I quite like that, ta!
Don't rise to the topic diverting foxyness.. YOu have to forgive him, as he does not get out much Wink

Returning to topic please, which I am indeed enjoying (or was) it was most enlightening and entertaining.
Quote:oh! snobbery at its best!

What do you mean? CA is my second favourite archaeological comic Big Grin
even if mostof the work is pointless WBs or lame evals etc it is still incumbent on us to make something of it - a story about the material culture recovered - if you can present your results tying in a theoretical underpinning - which,it has to be said the client doesn't need to have spelt out to them, but which the CA will recognise - all the power to you. to be sure, there are plenty of features such as pit alignments, deliberate deposition, which are effectively theoretically derived interpretations as one imposes a model of a priori knowledge and predicts that the certain features or represented activities on this site here are analogous with those from another site.

it's all too often theory: not that this is a bad thing, at all. having certain models against which we check the archaeology and vice versa is par for the course. and indeed, the exception proving the rule only extends the limits of human archaeological knowledge and endeavour. i thought it very interesting that Richard Bradley's conclusions after having someone trawl through the grey literature for a year seemed to be that the theoretical models hold up. well of course they do: in the commercial sector, we end up using Bradley, Whittle and so forth as the sources for those features of which we are a bit suspicious when excavating. clearly a common-sense approach - archaeologically speaking - is to investigate and try to interpret. if i have to excavate a hermeneutic spiral to dig my way out ofmy ignorance, so be it.

knocking CSA as 'all a bit Daily Mail' was only-slightly-tongue-in-cheek short hand, on my part, for the knee-jerk reaction to difference which i am afraid CSA recalls for me - the attitude,if you like, that it's nothing more than another European plot along with post-modernism, queer theory, black history, feminist/women's history, oral history, popular history and so forth (most of which do indeed owe Marxism some form of a debt) posited against the proper history of the nation; as i say i caricature, but to be honest, the road to hell is paved with good intentions -and whether it's Schama or Ferguson (both of which i enjoy, but also 'read' while reading)i think that setting out an alternative based on observation and interpretation of material culture is our duty as archaeologists.

i have always felt massively hacked off, for example, at the medievalisation of prehistory with the 'big man' his priestly entourage and lesser kinsmen who are his fighting force, and yet which i feel is still largely replicated; what about the rest of neolithic, bronze and iron age societies; the semi-nomadic groups intimated by historical sources but which leave barely a trace; 19thC slum dwellings; the circumlocations of drug-using homeless in Bristol, for example? these are all aspects of archaeology which make me burn with questions more so than castles, churches and other remains of the elite - tho cheap as i am i love a good church or castle.

and watching someone's foundations being dug for an extension and finding adump of pot or - oh irony - doing a WB on someone's lake *hemhem* and finding a souple of medieval smithies floats my boat. but you still gotta interpert it; description's the easy bit - but woss it all about?
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