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CBA Community Archaeology Report
#1
A new report highlights the sheer scale of voluntary archaeology in the UK, and makes important recommendations about how these activities should be supported in the future. [/url] [url=http://www.britarch.ac.uk/sites/www.britarch.ac.uk/files/100430-community/Excavation%20at%20Knights%20Templar%20Copmanthorpe%202006.jpg][Image: Excavation%20at%20Knights%20Templar%20Co...202006.jpg]
Over 200,000 individuals are involved in a community archaeology group or local society, carrying out activities as diverse as excavation, marine archaeology, recording a historic building or volunteering for a Young Archaeologists? Club Branch. This figure has more than doubled since a similar survey was carried out in 1987.
The reasons for this increase are varied. Interest in archaeology is widening, with a greater range of television programmes, websites and publications available than ever before. It may also relate to a real expansion in voluntary activity of all kinds, with a recent report indicating that 43% of adults had volunteered formally within the last 12 months. It is also significant that increased funding opportunities for local archaeology groups have become available over the past decade, especially from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The CBA report, Community Archaeology in the UK: Recent Findings, brings together a UK-wide research project that surveyed, consulted and interviewed voluntary groups to gain a clearer understanding of the nature and scale of voluntary involvement in archaeology. Professional archaeologists and outreach workers were also consulted to assess how the activities of voluntary archaeologists could be better supported and recorded.
Key findings from the report are that:
  • There are at least 2,030 voluntary groups and societies active in the UK that interact with archaeological heritage in a wide variety of ways. This represents approximately 215,000 individuals with an active interest in archaeological heritage.
  • Relationships between voluntary archaeologists and the c 7500 professional archaeologists in the UK are mostly good, but some problems can be identified. Thus there is a case for more training for professional archaeologists to equip them better to work with and support volunteers.
  • Group activities, even levels of expertise, are significantly influenced by local conditions, such as relationships with professional archaeologists, legislation, and availability of grants.
  • The dramatic decline in continuing education departments and the closure/down-sizing of many archaeological organisations continues to have an impact.
  • Sustainability is a key issue that emerged throughout the research phases, and more research is needed into the means by which bottom-up, community-led archaeology projects may work to ensure sustainability.
  • There is a need for training, but this varies from area to area, and from group to group. Hence any training programmes must be tailored to specific regions or groups, and must have an emphasis on practical rather than passive sessions. Increased use of online learning models will enable learners to choose material appropriate to their needs. However, online provision cannot substitute for face-to-face interaction, which is still considered to be of most value.
  • Some community archaeology groups are very good at broadcasting and publishing their work, others less so. 11% of groups that responded to the survey claimed not to publish or broadcast their work at all.
The CBA will be acting on these conclusions with ambitious plans to train a new generation of professional community archaeology facilitators to help groups make the most of their activities. The CBA will also be expanding its suite of advice and guidance facilities, and focusing on raising the standard of work carried out by volunteers.
This research is funded by the Headley Trust, and links in with a broader programme of support for community archaeology launched by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) in 2009. In 2006, the CBA created the double award-winning Community Archaeology Forum, a website which allows groups to create their own pages, upload advice and guidance materials and discuss their findings with others: http://www.britarch.ac.uk/caf
This report highlights the amazing variation and ingenuity of community archaeology carried out across the UK. For particular examples of projects, groups and local societies, please contact the CBA.
You can read further details about our community archaeology work here.
An article reporting on these findings can be found in the forthcoming British Archaeology magazine, due on 11 June 2010.
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#2
Has the CBA issued a price per volueenter that a professional archaeologists should expect to make?

I only ask so that I don’t facilitate them off.

"[SIZE=2]ambitious plans to train a new generation of professional community archaeology facilitators"[/SIZE]
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#3
BAJR Wrote:[*]Relationships between voluntary archaeologists and the c 7500 professional archaeologists in the UK are mostly good, but some problems can be identified. Thus there is a case for more training for professional archaeologists to equip them better to work with and support volunteers.

[*]There is a need for training, but this varies from area to area, and from group to group. Hence any training programmes must be tailored to specific regions or groups, and must have an emphasis on practical rather than passive sessions. Increased use of online learning models will enable learners to choose material appropriate to their needs. However, online provision cannot substitute for face-to-face interaction, which is still considered to be of most value.


I haven't had time to read the full report yet (too busy trying to remain financially solvent) but these two sections do strike me as a bit of a slap in the face for professional archaeologists, especially as I would imagine that a large proportion of the c7500 have had very little contact with volunteers, at least through work. Given the lack of training opportunities in commercial archaeology anyway I wouldn't see training in inter-personal community and outreach archaeology as have as high a priority as basic site skills, H&S, report writing etc etc. It strikes me that you are more likely to be able to learn such skills, in a funded environment, as a volunteer, which is surely a bit backwards? If someone asked me how to learn about field techbiques (even if they had an offer of a job in commercial archaeology) I'd probably suggest that they volunteered on an HLF funded project because training would be more likely and better organised.
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#4
RedEarth Wrote:.,.... It strikes me that you are more likely to be able to learn such skills, in a funded environment, as a volunteer, which is surely a bit backwards? If someone asked me how to learn about field techbiques (even if they had an offer of a job in commercial archaeology) I'd probably suggest that they volunteered on an HLF funded project because training would be more likely and better organised.

I agree, although I was mostly trained on commercial jobs, I was lucky. I was on a team of experienced archaeologists who didn't mind training up a newby.

I've been a digger on a comercial dig where we got a handful of volunteer enthusiasts (who'd never been on a site before) who spent their time cleaning and moving parts of a modern cobbled path as unfortuneatley they didn't have enough of a grasp of the basics to be let loose on the archaeology and no-one had any time to train them from scratch....Sad

Its tough for both sides on a commercial site....its difficult to get enough commercial experience to get employed (unless your lucky) and its tough for a team of archaeologists under time pressure to train up and 'carry' volunteers.

I think of it in terms of learning to drive.... you get formal training (volunteer or pay for training digs) but once you've passed your test (got enough of the basics) your let loose on the roads (get a job on a commercial dig), where you start to really learn (where you start to really learn).

A clumbsy metaphor I know....
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#5
I sort of agree with the previous posts, however, I look on them with a certain sadness because I learned my field skills working as a volunteer on commercial sites in the mid 1980s (before there were that many professionals).

We may also be finding all maner of things cropping up in Curator's briefs in the near future, thanks to the inclusion of public outreach in PPS5.
D. Vader
Senior Consultant

Vader Maull & Palpatine
Archaeological Consultants

A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of Tony Robinson.
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#6
Quote:I agree, although I was mostly trained on commercial jobs, I was lucky. I was on a team of experienced archaeologists who didn't mind training up a newby.

Me too, though in almost all cases, it was in people's job descriptions to train people; that was one of the key reasons that they were supervisors or whatever. Although thinking back, I got plenty of guidance from people who were at the same level as me.

However, my feeling is that most volunteers are not interested in being trained up so that they can get jobs as professionals or work on commercial sites. They are just doing it for interest and fun, which is fair enough. The place I'm working now has taken on a couple of student placements, and members of staff put considerable amounts of time into training them. The last couple of students have been retired people who are going back to retirement. I have no problem with training volunteers/students who are going to be professionals, but if my objective was 'skilling the sector', I would want to somehow concentrate on people who are going to be professionals. I don'k think that many other professions would give internships to people who are not planning on doing the job.
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#7
great training picture

I had forgotten that you have to make them kneel in a line and remember to only supply one kneeling pad.
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#8
its great that there are so many volunteers but surely more attention should be focused upon those of us who are desperate to have a career in the field, otherwise there are going to be lots of skilled volunteers with all of us graduates going into different professions due to the lack of opportunities etc etc and not many people who have gone through the studying can afford to work on a voluntary basis!
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#9
very good point!
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#10
“a career in the field” -sorry mum but there probably is no such thing as a career to be had in the field. Some at best spend a few years there. Some survive a decade or so but they have basically wasted their lives or are such sad cases it does not matter that much. It might be worth a look at for a year or so but make sure that you move on. I guarantee that it can only be up. CBA employ about 20 people or so. Not sure what they do but don’t think any of it can be called a career. Have noticed that if you are interested in working in the young archaeologists club is good if you are female and your name ends in a i or a y.
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