BAJR Federation Archaeology

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The answer is serious legislation that makes compromising the Historic Environment in anyway a criminal offence punishable by law. With serious fines, imprisonment and the removal of licences to practice for offenders of any sort including developers. Along with a serious set of professional qualifications leading to a licence to practice within the various disciplines that make up the management of the Historic Environment Resource. All things which I believe are enshrined in international conventions to which this country pays lip service but has not got round to ratifying.

Until we tackle the complete disregard for our heritage shown at the high levels of government we are stuffed as a profession:face-rain:
Wax Wrote:The answer is serious legislation that makes compromising the Historic Environment in anyway a criminal offence punishable by law. With serious fines, imprisonment and the removal of licences to practice for offenders of any sort including developers. Along with a serious set of professional qualifications leading to a licence to practice within the various disciplines that make up the management of the Historic Environment Resource. All things which I believe are enshrined in international conventions to which this country pays lip service but has not got round to ratifying.

Until we tackle the complete disregard for our heritage shown at the high levels of government we are stuffed as a profession:face-rain:

I agree, though with the added caveat that its not just the high levels of government that have 'a complete disregard for our heritage'; I have experienced this from many including: small-scale developers, gas engineer/managers, architects, rich property developers, the tv and film industry, many of our utility companies, many individual construction companies (but only when they have to pay for it and hardly ever from the groundworkers), national park archaeologists, members of the military (at all levels), members of the public, school teachers, farmers, land owners, metal detectorists, walkers, campers, protesters, academic archaeologists, volunteer and so-called professional archaeologists alike. Even those would claim 'oh, i've always been fascinated by archaeology', are happy to destroy it willy nilly if it saves them a few quid or ten minutes of time.

But hey, its only one old filled-in ditch, or collapsing wall. What you moaning about. You can't expect me to pay for it to be recorded. This is progress you know.
Yep - it can be a challenge convincing folk that an industry that turns out intellectual reports about the past is somehow critically important enough for them to pay for it! Yet they'll all tune in if you've got an interesting programme about Stonehenge (or a dead Plantaganet under a car park) on the telly! We shouldn't be too surprised at the indifference we get from those who might be inconvenienced by excavations or Planning Conditions though - it isn't as if the nation will starve or go without shelter if there was a national archaeologists' strike...

(And yes, I do attempt to make my living in our glorious trade! Managed over two decades with more or less success so far!)
Totally agree with the barking one. Which kind of brings us round to that earlier thread on public engagement in commercial archaeology. Isn't it in the industry's interest to inform, impress and generally wow the public with all our wonderful old stuff and the reasons why it is actually important? Get the public, as far as possible, on board and the political pressure to institute decent safeguards of our heritage may follow?
hmmm absolutely but the problem is that too much archaeology is done with negative results and too much is done that really isn't worth the candle! In Scotland 70% of all interventions have negative results and of the positive results half are not worth it.....this is far too much! lets do less but do it better!
Careful, remember that old cliche " Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"
archaeologyexile Wrote:In Scotland 70% of all interventions have negative results and of the positive results half are not worth it.....this is far too much! lets do less but do it better!
Where would you know *not* to do the archaeology in advance of doing it? Watching briefs (largely?) happen because nobody's 100% sure what is/isn't there. If you decide to only carry out an intervention where you know for sure that there's something of archaeological value, then plenty of relevant stuff will end up being JCB'd into landfill. That 30% of positive results might become 90%, but that 90% could consist of 10 sites instead of 100.

On the other hand, nobody will miss it because nobody ever knew about it. Which I'm sure is the sort of developer logic already in operation in some quarters.


No easy answers, for sure.
Don't trust 'negative' results, I've seen plenty of stuff consigned to 'Negative Watching Brief' report forms that was probably perfectly good archaeology - being topical (on another thread), a layer of 'natural cobbles' in one Watching Brief report in Whitby was almost certainly part of a medieval road I subsequently excavated a short distance away, can do you any number of other examples...
archaeologyexile Wrote:hmmm absolutely but the problem is that too much archaeology is done with negative results and too much is done that really isn't worth the candle! In Scotland 70% of all interventions have negative results and of the positive results half are not worth it.....this is far too much! lets do less but do it better!
Are there many parts of Britain where you could guarantee there is no archaeology without some form of investigation? That would seem rather a dangerous assumption to me. But then I am new to this game.
Tool Wrote:Are there many parts of Britain where you could guarantee there is no archaeology without some form of investigation? That would seem rather a dangerous assumption to me. But then I am new to this game.

There are certainly some sites in the City of London and surrounding areas which have been developed/redeveloped 3 times in the 'short period' I have been an archaeologist. Pretty certain that some of those sites have no archaeology surviving (unless you are counting evidence of multiple developments over a relatively short period of time). Remember one site where the motorbike dumped by an archaeologist in the backfilling of site c 1978 was 're-excavated' in the 1990s....
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