BAJR Federation Archaeology

Full Version: 5 years time.....
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But at least Marcus you have a plan.....as do I but.mine is very short term. Finish this bottle of Connemara tonight and hope that tomorrow brings less pain....!
I think this is an interesting one and whilst I havent thought long enough to offer a very compehensive answer a coupl of things spring to mind.

Firstly, I really hope there is an economic upturn. If field archaeology stays development-led then people coming fresh into the profession really will need lots of development to get a similar experience to, for example, myslef 10 years ago. By this I mean decent sized excavation and getting experience from the bottom-up. I think it is far more healthy (and fun) for people to do a length on-site apprentiship before moving 'upwards' into give advice, doing assessments that sort of thing.

However, secondly, the way things are going, with big units based on older structural models struggling to stay at the same size (unless they grab more units in a sort of capitalist empire-building (which is also doomed to fail)) I think the days of 'the digger' may be over. This is also tied into technological advances too (e.g. geophysics can tell you a lot quickly without digging etc etc). On this basis I would say that people starting out need to have an awarness of the diversity of 'archaeology' as a profession and develop as broad-based an approach as possible. As much as I hate to, I think a successful newcomer could do worse than think like an environmental consultant, improve their desk-based skills and see large-scale digging as something that happens infrequently in the increasingly streamlined organisation they work for.
Oh yeh, by bottom up I wasnt implying that field staff are less worthwhile that consultants. I think i was refering more to the current pay as being 'bottom'-rung. Anyway its badly phrased poorly, thought out and please dont flame me
gumbo Wrote:As much as I hate to, I think a successful newcomer could do worse than think like an environmental consultant, improve their desk-based skills and see large-scale digging as something that happens infrequently in the increasingly streamlined organisation they work for.

While I fear that you may be right, and that looking to go into consultancy may be the most lucrative path for future archaeology graduates, I'd be very much opposed to this becoming the norm. If a developer is employing a consultant, I'd like to think that they'd appoint someone with sufficient experience and knowledge to do the job. I'm sure we're all familiar with the recent graduate who turns up on their first commercial site expecting to be in charge, on the basis that they've got a degree, don'tcha know, only to be quickly made aware of the yawning gaps in their knowledge of what to do on site. How much worse would it be if such a person went straight into a consultancy role, where they may be writing the specifications for fieldwork programmes, without ever gaining the knowledge of on-site archaeology at the trowel-edge?
Yeh agree totally of course. But my point really was that if less digging is going to be done then people will have to do other things if there is a profession to be had. And (see my 1st para) whilst I feel this would be terribly sad as working extensively on site has been very important to me personally, it may be that this sort of experience just isnt available in the UK in tthe future
Marcus Brody Wrote:........................ How much worse would it be if such a person went straight into a consultancy role, where they may be writing the specifications for fieldwork programmes, without ever gaining the knowledge of on-site archaeology at the trowel-edge?

I have already experienced this.
Jack Wrote:I have already experienced this.

i think we have all experienced this in some form

there are many consultants and there are many mounties who dont know their trowel from their elbow and who can ruin a site as well as any cowboy unit.
the answer surely is to insist that everybody does there time on site before being allowed to make decisions and influence the work of people who know what they are doing on site.
i think at least 5 years on site and preferably 10
We are just coming back again to the age old problem of lack of career structure in archaeology.

Who knows who will land a consultancy job straight out of uni or be in the right place at the right time and become PO in two years?

Or spend years shuffling from job to job to job with no new training or opportunities to take their place at the bottom of the heap in the next company

Where do i see myself in 5years.... hopefully a lot better off than now, how will I do it - fuck knows - feel like most of what I laughably call a career I have just blown around taking best thing offered at time

No plan then no more of a plan now, other than now I know that the direction I want to aim for is out of commercial archaeology
Get a management qualification, nobody else will have one!
Management qualifications...! I have known a couple of archaeologists who gained MBAs with a view to improving their management skills - unfortunately they were found out by the unpredicatability of archaeology as both a profession and a business

I think Trowelfodder's experience is that of many archaeological practitioners - and is perhaps the kind of response I expected this thread to produce. I think hers is the kind of experience that new entrants to the profession should take note of - someone talented, concientious, both qualified and experienced and ambitious, but still unable to gain steady employment after a number of years. And also perhaps a good example of the 'typical' archaeologist that the profession, for the sake of its own rugged health, should be looking after a bit better....
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