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kevin wooldridge Wrote:It is virtually impossible in the UK to find a landscape that in some manner or another has not been modified directly by human action or as a result of human action sometime in the past 9000 years. Therefore 'archaeology' is everywhere. Whether we choose to record it or the degree to which we choose to record it or the period we decide to record is another matter. The 90% plus claim for 'nothing' is ridiculous......90% for 'can't be bothered to look for the wood amongst the trees' is actually the reality.....

Yep, I'm with you Kevin. unless it has been previously destroyed.

Doug, I don't believe you. I may be misunderstanding, but if you could predict where archaeological 'sites' were or aren't with such a high accuracy and precision none of us would have a job and you'd be a multimillionaire.

Besides, what do you define as a 'site?'. We dig landscapes.
I feel I should add a little bit as well. now that we have wandered so far from the path of Free archaeology that it is but a distant memory.

As another Scottish ex Plannning Archaeologist I suffered the same fab hit rate of conditions placed to archaeology found. for me it became more and more down to Predictive Terrain Analysis. and the better my previously non existent HER got, the better it got. The trouble is regionalisation. In England from about Northumberland downwards, there seems to be more archaeology than you can shake a stick at ( and here I must clarify - I agree with Kevin that the whole land is archaeoogy - and it has won me money as I challenge anyone to find a place that has not been affected by the hand or influence of man ( I know one but ain't telling you... ) it is what you want to record that matters and then you have the chance find...

I recently carried out an eval... one that I brought the 10% down to 5% for the client, as I predicted ( rightly) that there would be no significant archaeology. There was relict Rig and Furrow. but recording was enough. if there ever had been bronze age temples or Iron Age huts, they were long gone, and the material remains are not quite like what you get in south England. as in... bggr all.

I am quite clear that I prefer only to take on work that the possibiltiy of finding a site is minimal and pass onto others, work that has potential... potential because mainly we already know it is there... or at the very least it should be there.

THe tricky bit is to know which bit we can say... listen... forget it... and which bits will we go... ah.... wish I had done that.

I sit more into the archaeoogyexile camp than you would suppose. we do need a debate to answer the question of cost benefit to the client. and justification to the planning department.

As Red Earth say... finding nothing is difficult. finding something significant enough to warrant further work however is harder still. and the finding something... was this something we would reasonably already know?
hosty couldn't you have done the evaluation at even less cost. Out of interest what did you have to archive, did you have to negotiate and submit a wsi, what standard of report did you have to produce. And then hosty once you have got your costs right down couldn't you have convinced your client that you needed to do a 20% evaluation survey and take twice as much time. I personally think that you have to look a lot harder under rig and frig to find anything. A lot of mounties round my way would just turn the whole thing into an earthwork survey with a possible watching brief. Glad to hear that you a least got an evaluation. But my point is that because we have mounties doing archaeology we archaeologists are not allowed to make money from potential negative outlooks, where as the mounties mostly justify their existence on their providing a negative service to the nasty developers
Unitof1 Wrote:...where as the mounties mostly justify their existence on their providing a negative service to the nasty developers
Um...the fact that most 'mounties' now live under the roof of 'Development Control' accurately describes what they do....I can't think why that would 'mostly' be considered 'a negative service', unless you believed that any form of development control was unnecessary....and 'No' you don't have to answer that. It was really a rhetorical question....
Evals frequently give completely the wrong 'results' and it's extremely unwise to take them as evidence for absence of archaeology - and when I make comments on here about gravel features in gravel that can only be seen from 30m away under certain light conditions I ain't joking, and they are not the kind of stuff you'd ever find in a trial trench...
Jack Wrote:Doug, I don't believe you. I may be misunderstanding, but if you could predict where archaeological 'sites' were or aren't with such a high accuracy and precision none of us would have a job and you'd be a multimillionaire.

Besides, what do you define as a 'site?'. We dig landscapes.

Yeah, I am guessing you are misunderstanding me. Accuracy and precision are tricky. As precision goes up accuracy goes down and other way around. Lets say you label everything in your area, lets say Scotland, as containing a site (yes, agree about landscapes but that is a whole other discussion). Well you are 100% accurate. You guessed where all the sites are- everywhere. Not very useful for most.

Now lets say you label only 10% of Scotland as 'likely' to contain sites, the precision part of the equation. It turns out that in that 10% you capture 70% of all sites. That means 30% of sites are in the so called "not likely" areas which might get bulldozed.

This is all hypothetical that will vary from area to area and definition to definition of 'site'. It will vary by how one cuts up the area you use. Some of the best predictive models will capture 85% of known sites in less than 20% of landscape in high probability area. That still means that you will find 15% of sites in the other 80% of the landscape. These are also called red flag sites or gross error.

Now it all depends what you want to do with this information. You could alter you model so that lets say 30% of landscape is labeled high potential and you capture 98% of all sites. That is still 2% of sites that would get destroyed if you only investigate that 30% of the landscape.

Is 2% loss ok? Is 5%? Is 10%? What is acceptable is really a tight rope to be walking. Now most predictive modellers have come to the conclusion that any loss is unacceptable. Also, many managers and to be fair most laws (outside UK included) agree with this assessment.

So when I say high accuracy and precision the definition of each is relative and highly highly subjective. This is why most modellers use PM as a method to estimate potential costs (e.g. there is a very low likelyhood of finding something there so build there) , NOT to decided where to dig.

Hope my condensed version of 40 years of pm was understandable.

So yes I can predict 95% of sites on 10% of the landscape but monetizing that is another problem. I can predict but the local gov. archaeologists can overide me (and should for those other 5% of sites), so what is the point.

However, that really does not matter. Lets say I predict where lots of sites are going to be were you develop your housing estate. What the fuck do you care? Archaeology is what .02% of your budget. You bought the land already. It would cost you 10x? 20x? 50x? as much money to buy a new plot of land and get all the permissions. Your going to build no matter what. You're also going to try as hard as you can to get out of spending that .02% on archaeology or be pissed because you have to spend it.

Now if it was a government road and you can take whatever land you want, yes predictive modelling works well because you can move your project, private development not as easy to move. Also, it helps if your afraid of idelling machines on site but some half decent planning can take care of that.

So yes- I can predict sites but it is not going to make me a millionaire or put people out of jobs.

If you don't believe me, how many people can point to the majority of their desk based assessments causing stuff to not be built. The answer will be zero. As much as people bitch archaeology rarely (it still happens) stops things from being built.
PS I should also add that predictive modelling has a very strong methodology- actually multiple methodologies. From my experience with local authorities there is very little thought or methodology that does into decisions.

Please no one get mad or insulted. I am simply saying that there does not appear to be a written methodology e.g. HER shows no sites on sand dunes and we have tested 20% of all sand dunes. When we reach 20% eval and no results than we no longer require more evals. Usually it differs from local archaeologists to local archaeologists and their experiences or feelings. If anyone has had a different experience please let me know.

When things like this go on I am firmly in the group of more eval because it is such a crap shoot and so variable. If a better plan was in place than I believe even with the loss of a few sites you could have a better system.
oh doug your magnificence of significance....but....how much money do I make in pounds and pennies make out of all your predictions in the field next to my clients expectaions.


for kev-s: "don't answer that"---- why not?
Unitof1 Wrote:oh doug your magnificence of significance....but....how much money do I make in pounds and pennies make out of all your predictions in the field next to my clients expectaions. Basically take your eh pension and shove it weher e I doonbr t care

for kev-s: don't answer that---- why not?

rhetorical light weight?

Ah Unit, your fake bad writing skills never cease to both confuse and add a bit eloquence to the conversation.
sorry I just wanted to point out that you make me none the richer
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