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Sensible Archaeology?
absance of deevidence isnee deevidenve of the absance
Reason: your past is my past
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GnomeKing Wrote:"The watching brief without evaluation was a boon to this lazy and blind job justification. I have no problem with it except that there shouldn?t be any paperwork unless the visiting archaeologist feels the necessity."

What utter nonsense!!!

to know where something is, it is helpful to know where it is not.

yes, but I don't think the public are terribly interested in being told that it's not, if you do that too often they might start querying why all the money gets spent on archaeology in the first place.

Oh, and private/commercially sensitive reports/correspondence etc between a contractor and their client don't usually end up in any public archive, more likely in the shredder....just as well, HERs would have to start acquiring considerable bigger premises just to store it all! :face-stir:

BAJR - Good debate :face-approve:
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Dinosaur Wrote:Oh, and private/commercially sensitive reports/correspondence etc between a contractor and their client don't usually end up in any public archive, more likely in the shredder....just as well, HERs would have to start acquiring considerable bigger premises just to store it all!

Why do you think I operate a paperless office? I'm not a tree-hugging, yoghurt-knitting environmentalist you know. }Smile
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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Dinosaur Wrote:yes, but I don't think the public are terribly interested in being told that it's not, if you do that too often they might start querying why all the money gets spent on archaeology in the first place.

to be honest they can query all they like; the principle is very simple and straight-forward: polluter pays. there are any number of clients who patently see archaeology (along with bats, newts etc.) as environmental issues to be paid for that they go away. this stands as much for private individuals as companies in my experience; which is not to say that they all wish it, either.

but it comes back to that aspect of technical reports and professional knowledge and how we disseminate that to the public; if an area is consistently blank, that can be used to provide a contrast with the surrounding area's relative richness. and again the question is asked 'why?' and off we set on our theoretical journey to tell a story why. which the client then gets told when they ask 'why do i have to pay?' to be honest, what i find harder to justify is why one person has to have archaeological work done prior to their building work, when their neighbour who had building work done in the past couple of years did not have to have archaeological work done. the answer that it is the DC's responsibility not mine rarely provides comfort and no succour in their (not infrequent) dispute with the DC or CA over why they should pay for work. what is funny is how often (relatively speaking) the suspicion is manifested that the CA and we (service providers) are in cahoots
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"what is funny is how often (relatively speaking) the suspicion is manifested that the CA and we (service providers) are in cahoots "

I take it you don't work for one of those poacher-and-gamekeeper in the same building type of units? I wouldn't be assured of the promised chinese walls if I were a client.
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Oxbeast Wrote:"what is funny is how often (relatively speaking) the suspicion is manifested that the CA and we (service providers) are in cahoots "

I take it you don't work for one of those poacher-and-gamekeeper in the same building type of units? I wouldn't be assured of the promised chinese walls if I were a client.

no. just an honest poacher.
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@Gwyl
I think the types of book you are talking about are simply missing. I do still see those English heritage ones around, normally in Gift Shops at their sites, but I wouldn't know if they still do new ones.

Do you remember the little penguin rang
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Archaeology books don't tend to tell a gripping story any more like they used to (ok, so in the past the story was often pretty wrong)..... it takes a pretty sad character to enjoy a good evening in with a modern site report (so I don't tell anyone, and wine's usually involved anyway to blur the pain), the last popular gripping archaeological read I can remember that I actually managed to get some non archaeologists to read was Hengeworld. Think part of the problem is the rather structured way that reports have to be written these days, which doesn't encourage creative thinking amongst the commercial end of the profession (who generally don't have time anyway, what with trying to earn a living etc), and as has been discussed before on this site alot of the academic end of things seem to have strayed off the path somewhat, and even if they haven't, the way academic funding is structured they're hardly encouraged to fill the gap. Can't see EH having much scope to contribute in the near future either...... Sad
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Has anyone read 'Writing Archaeology" by Brian Fagan? I've been meaning to get a copy but keep forgetting. Is it any good? Has it made it onto University reading lists?

My own experience would suggest contract writing provides a great training, you get used to writing competent text fast, and how to structure and order the points you are making. That may have been a lucky chance for me though because one of the longer projects I was on used internal and external editors extensively and that provided a real learning experience.

As for good recent books...I thought After the Ice was great but could have done without the time travelling Lubbock myself. I think it might have been a bit long for a general audience but if he breaks that up into separate books at some point... I bet the parts on the near east and europe could combine into a very popular book for instance, and one on the new word would possibly sell well too. Cunliffe's 'Between the oceans' was pretty damn good too, in terms of writing style and archaeological content, and his one on Pytheas the Greek is a little gem of a book. Tempus as mentioned by Gwyl have a decent range of books, but you're never sure what you're going to get with one of theirs. Obviously I'm happy to get something hard core and academic as much as I am to get an easy reading general introduction to something I know fek all about. It might be handy if they split the range into two imprints though...
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Stuart Rathbone Wrote:Do you remember the little penguin range with the blue spines? Those were a superb range of books, all the big names seem to have done those at the time. And that range also did history, politics, sociology...There are equivalent sort of books around for those other subjects though, but not in a cohesive and recognisable imprint like that.

I think you mean the old Pelican series, full of fascinating title by Mortimer Wheeler, Leanard Wooley, Jaquetta hawles etc. All good stuff but the problem is that the general readership isn't there to support it any more (if it ever was then). What the general public want (or what publishers think they want) is the book of the whizzy TV series. As for the more specialist end of the market, this seems to written to entertain the authors and their friends or to fill a gap in their department's RAE score.
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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