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"Are Archaeologists Killing the Goose?" - A sign of things to come...
#21
I agree that there wasn't a 'goose' as such. Then again, there rarely actually is in any industry or sector, at least not for anything more than a fleeting moment. A durable and long lasting 'goose' probably means someone is getting ripped-off (I can't stop thinking of rubber chickens now). The reference to 'the goose' suggests that aggregate extractors probably feel like they ARE getting ripped off, which means that they don't see the value in funding archaeology.

We may or may not agree with them (I suspect/hope we disagree with them, but still). The point is that if they are seeing things this way, we need to pay attention to it and recognise that if they start to pull down the commercial shutters on archaeology by whatever means, we are going to lose even more money, jobs, security and everything else that we work for. Not only that, but if one part of the construction and development industry takes a lead, others are fairly likely to follow.
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#22
interesting how the discussion vascilates. Some see PMs ripping off clients, some see consultants as robin (in their) hood, but all the work is surely based on a WSI agreed with a curator in a free market. Surely the salient issues are whether WSIs are fit for purpose, that they are sufficiently policed and that the police know their what they are talking about? How then is anyone ripped off and how is the archaeology improperly mitigated?
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#23
Hmmm... surely the issue is... is the real loser in all of this is the actual archaeology
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#24
I'm not sure it is vascillating as such. I think this might be a group of people across an industry trying to pull together a fairly expansive range of issues and positions, a task which has become pertinent because of an article expressing a client sector's possible opinion and future position on how they approach archaeology. Like many of the issues in commercial archaeology, this one might be to do with communication and perception more than anything else.

I think, P Prentice, you have posed the core questions we have to ask of ourselves. But we also have to recognise our overall position in the food chain and be aware of how we project archaeology to clients and society and how we use it ourselves.

We are an end-user industry attached to the periphary of the construction sector. We have been since rescue archaeology came into being and will probably continue to be - nothing has changed about that position and we shouldn't be too surprised if nothing much changes beyond our susceptability to the economic dynamics of the constuction sector. When times are good, we have it reasonably good. When they are bad, we get squeezed, just like now (however anyone wants to word that or whichever route they want to take to peripheralise or undermine our claims to economic legitimacy).

If we want to move beyond that, we need to understand the dynamics and what we are worth. Construction pays for archaeology, in-spite of the minimal benefit to itself, because of the perceived value of heritage to society. Without that perceived value, we're nothing more than archaeological rubbish collectors to construction and they can usually clean up a site using a 360' and a couple of dozers far quicker and cheaper than we can. If we do not underline the value and demonstrate it to society (and those who supposedly represent communities) we will lose the justification that persuades developers to take account (or as much account) of archaeology.

If we want to make more money and have better Ts&Cs, on the other hand, we need to diversify, develop and innovate our industry.
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#25
the actual archaeology is only as good as the stories that we weave from it. Tell better stories and you'll get more listeners. Get more listeners and and you'll get better paid.
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