The Power of Archaeology is a new campaign to engage more politicians with archaeology. Facilitated by the Council for British Archaeology and supported by BAJR, to show MPs that archaeology is all around us – whether above ground or buried, well known or newly discovered through planning processes and research, or as yet still unknown.
What is exciting about this campaign is the positive nature of what you can do.
You, your mates and your family can contact their MPs – in writing or in person – and tell them why their local archaeology and heritage matters to them. Invite the MPs to attend events as part of the Festival of Archaeology or Archaeology Month in Scotland so that they can experience the archaeology for themselves and witness the local enthusiasm that exists for it!
Through this positive campaign MPs will become more receptive to archaeological arguments relating to these issues and that through visiting exciting local archaeological sites, and meeting passionate local groups and individuals, MPs will be moved to recall archaeology during relevant policy discussions in Parliament and mention it in debates and possibly be more amenable to standing up for the interests of those constituents who care about archaeology and heritage in their work.
The CBA will continue to lobby politicians on these issues, but your help is needed to ensure that this vital level of base understanding of the importance of archaeology exists and that politicians are receptive to the issues that it faces.
All those interested in archaeology and heritage to contact their MPs and to let them know what these issues mean to you – let’s start a national dialogue between our elected representatives and everyone that cares about the very special history of this country!
5 minutes, 3 simple steps
Join us in a fast and easy campaign to raise MPs awareness of archaeology, and why it matters.
If everyone could spare 5 minutes out of their day to perform these 3 activities, we could have every MP in the country receiving information about archaeology, and hopefully, attending some of the fantastic events on during the Festival of British Archaeology, so they can see in person how unique, exciting and important archaeology is.
Three simple steps we would like you to do TODAY, TOMMORROW or NEXT WEEK> ( but don’t wait too long – remember your livlihood is at stake here!:
- Write to your MP to as if they will be attending any local Archaeology events, and tell them why archaeology matters to your community
- Find your MP on social media, and send them a tweet, Facebook post or similar – of your favourite local site or place to show them in a public arena today that archaeology matters to their constituents, and ask that they pay it some attention
- Sign up to the Local Heritage Engagement Network via email, twitter, or Facebook to be kept up to date with the Power of Archaeology campaign
Things you will need to know to do this:
- Look at the short LHEN Power of Archaeology toolkit for letter & email templates: http://new.archaeologyuk.org/Content/downloads/4339_Toolkit 8 – Power of Archaeology.pdf
- Write to your MP directly via email through https://www.writetothem.com
- Find your MP on Twitter through a postcode search here: http://tweetyourmp.com
- Very few MPs use Facebook, so you may need to use a search engine to find out if they do.
- Add your name to the LHEN Power of Archaeology campaign and stay in touch with the latest news and activities: https://docs.google.com/a/archaeologyuk.org/forms/d/1zBy6DU2GDp_sIaV4mpY7NxBD8tHQ_K4aGhtuBlDEEJE/edit (all information added is private)
You can find further information to help you do all of this at: http://new.archaeologyuk.org/lhen-toolkit
Keep in touch on BAJR… report in on successes or failures to engage your MP. If we know, then we can add our voices. and make sure that they can’t ignore our voice.
MPs have a considerable influence over issues affecting heritage and archaeology. They can table written or oral questions to Ministers, they can place motions, or even bring private members bills to be debated. An informed MP can contribute to debates on legislation and policy issues in the House, and can ensure that particular issues are heard.
Some specific issues include:
- Planning policy, which affects protections for archaeological material discovered during or affected by development processes, as well as creating guidance for conservation and management of our built and natural heritage.
- Setting budgets for local government, national departments & agencies – such as Historic England, and national museums, which indirectly affects local heritage services as well as such programmes as the Portable Antiquities Scheme, managed by the British Museum, as well as setting directions for operation for these bodies and others, like the Heritage Lottery Fund.
- Heritage legislation is also controlled by parliament, with such topics as the Treasure Act, and ratification of international instruments (such as the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict – which is due to be signed in the current Parliament).
- National Infrastructure, such as HS2 and highways (e.g. the planned A303 tunnel at Stonehenge), impact directly on built heritage and as-yet undiscovered archaeological remains in the ground.
MPs have a responsibility to listen to their constituents’ concerns about how these issues local heritage and archaeology.
Meeting with your MP and exposing them to the activity and passion of people who work with or are interested in archaeology is a great way to ensure that they will be receptive to issues when they are debating relevant issues.