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Archaeology's crossroad; working together or striding apart?
Windbag Wrote:It's a shame that money takes such a prominent role in both commercial and academic archaeology, but we as a society have limited resources and need to mobilize those resources to match society's expectations as best we can

That is to an extent true, but it only needs a small change in emphasis to completely change the 'end-product' of a lot of commercial archaeology. What if curators were to insist that planning conditions related to archaeology would only be fulfilled once a synthetic analysis of the the results of the excavation were achieved and the results made available to the wider public (I hesitate to use the word 'published' in this context, as maybe that has connatations of paper and printers ink)?

Maybe they could use PPS 5 to enforce such conditions - or maybe not!!
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
can a small change be significant?...lets hope so
deadlylampshade Wrote:it is not ONLY a profit making exercise

Someone mentioned profit again, oh my aching sides! Archaeology, 'commercial' or otherwise, comes nowhere near making any real profit (I await the stories of unit directors in their jags, blah blah, they're just like the bloody bankers, blah etc). But that's not the point, is it? Still very confused about what this thread is actually talking about. Perhaps everyone should try reading some Sartre, might put things in perspective.
I agree that a small change or shift can make a huge difference in what is a fairly small industry like this. Imagine where archaeology could end up if we saw a big change, or perhaps a significant shift for a part of the current industry. Kevin's example of a small shift in curatorial practise resulting in a significant gain for communities or interested audiences is perfect. It underlines the fact that, from the position of those of us in the commercial sector, we perhaps find it difficult to perceive that value or the possibilities for those who do have the time, funding or ongoing research programs to utilise our products as they are at present (whether or not those people do capitalise on it at present), or just the fact that someone could capitalise on it even if they don't at present. The again, maybe we should use it more......

Incidentally, I had a thought recently. While I feel the need to specify the standard caveats regarding my views on the current financial cuts and distrust of the concept of the Big Society; to shift the responsibility for the social outcomes of the cuts away from central government and onto local government and communities;

What are the opportunities for archaeology and archaeologists (and companies, for that matter) within a huge social concept like the Big Society? Can we find and fill a space within such a thing?:face-huh:
With regard to profit, it depends on where you are and what you're doing. For a small number of companies who are set-up appropriately there is the possibility of significant profit (although not so much at present, but the capability remains when the markets settle and find their feet). For many companies small profit and incremental gains are the best they can hope for, and some companies will only ever break even or make losses for a whole host of reasons which have been exposed more than ever of late. But suggesting there is no profit in archaeology is not particularly accurate, although I agree that bosses in jags are not a significant reason for that. But that's not what we're looking at either, is it. :face-stir:}Smile

The numbers of companies that may end up being sold off or dissolved in the coming 12 to 24 months may have a stabilising effect on what is a crammed market, and the likely removal of a large number of the subsidised units may free up space within what has been an overcrowded market place for the past few years. This may mean less archaeologists are employed in the standard commercial sector from now on but it could, if recognised and used properly by those that remain, help push up wages and conditions. A big IF! ......and our responsibility to build on.

Where can some of those archaeologists go to utilise their skills and knowledge and push archaeology out there for everyone's benefit?
Looking through this thread I keep think part of the answer is to be found in Ordnance Survey.

Must dash.
Is our currency 'knowledge', really? Surely our trade is in ideas and assumptions as well as fallacy and intrigue. Knowledge is something altogether different. And let's face it most of what we produce is boring and mundane even though it is wrapped up in an expensive cloak of pseudo-fact. Don't get me wrong, i think there is good work being done in the commercial world just as there is duff stuff being produced in academia but a lot of what you find published or in the grey literature will not impact on the authodoxy and nobody uses it to interpret our past. The general public, and therefore Despoiler & Co Ltd, will happily sign up and pay for stuff that is presented in a way they can understand and that is exciting and intriguing and it tells them something about how we got to be who we are today. Our box is sufficiently small that we should be able to think outside it surely?

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