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Constructive thoughts on the effect of cuts to archaeology and heritage
This leads on from the previous thread about Cuts and Working Together. This is intended to act as a board for everyone to put down their thoughts on:

What archaeology and heritage does for society.

What the effect of cuts will be.

How these can be prevented.

Lets get something constructive down so we can then move this forward, be it through letters to MPs or suggestions for action to be taken/campaigns to be formed.
Thanks for starting this

1) The benefits of archaeology to society.

Connect people to where they are and who once lived where they live now.
Chance to be involved in the adventure of discovery ( list initiatives like Thames Discovery Programme, Hungate, Lost Landscapes of East Lothian, Scotlands Rural Past )
Education and Learning in schools
archaeology is the only way people will ever find out who we once were and how we became who we are now

cutting archaeology funding will stifle research and prevent our everyday stories being told

archaeologists want nothing but your support

heritage remains - archaeologists persist
and maybe ..... we promise to explain it better in the future
To paraphrase Benjamin Britten (when he was asked to justify the role of composers): an archaeologists job is to be useful - and to the living.

Rather than search the nether reaches of the collective bum crack, ask yourselves the question: what do you do as an archaeologist on a daily basis that is useful to the living?

That's not rhetorical, I am genuinely interested, but like beat the gong, I think we've really got to get used to arguing our pitch succinctly.

These long rambling posts are making me switch off - and I'm on side!
What archaeology and heritage does for society?

Archaeology and heritage hold an important place within the social milieu, providing a great deal of community and economic value. Archaeology and understanding our heritage can inform on our past and provide an anchor to our social and national heritage. Archaeology and heritage can also provide an economic means.

Why should we care? Perhaps it is simply through our fascination with archaeology and heritage, so that we may understand modern societies as we are rooted in the context of the ancient past.

Archaeology provides a means, holding the potential for us to learn a great deal about who we once were. As a result, we can better understand who we are now.

Archaeology is also a great leveller by providing us with challenging information through discovery. Archaeological investigations have changed our understanding of societies such as those that have been neglected in "traditional historical accounts, such as ethnic minorities, women, and the working class." Archaeology provides us with a method to share new insights on the past and helps us to reshape our understanding of history.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
These ideas in from the other email discussion
  • Potential loss of PPS5
  • Erosion of local authority archaeologists
  • Effect of localism on PPS5, if it survives.
  • Loss of CBA funding - not exactly a Big Society move!
Quote:These long rambling posts are making me switch off - and I'm on side!
@ Digging

I know what you mean, and I am writing some of these rambling posts . Polemic only gets me so far Wink

What I want to see is a tight 200 word argument... a short phrase that says Archaeology is worth protecting because...............................................................

And said in a way that does not require a degree in archaeology to understand what the feck we are talking about.

What do we want?

A stronger support for PPS5 and statutory HERs within a framework of social inclusion and diversity.

When do we want it..?

We don't care any more, as you have just lost me with gibberish..

has been said that you have a way with words, so could you start off what you do for the living.

For me... I get people smiling in the rain
the value of archaeolgogy can not be divorced from values of pubic science and education - thus there is a wider field of reference to contend with (why have knowledge? do we really need to know that? what's the point?)

Archaeolgoical reseach is part of trying to understand what we see around us, where what we stand on came from, how societies have changed, and what it is to be human...

As a shamanistic vehicle it is incompatible with commercial gain, but very potent for personal psychology and knowledge.
As a purely commercial enterprise it will struggle to be anything other than Temporal Waste Clean-up & Disposal, reliant on somebody else to define the value.

There is no other Sustainable way to present the profession, other than by its Results.

OK - its a long game, slow accumulation of evidence etc.. > but the value of this game needs to be articulated - this needs articulate people, able to speak. As has been said before, the place to start is by nourishing the younger part of the profession, and re-invigorating (possibly pruning) the mature parts.

(you gotta Cut wood, to Grow wood...)

A miserable and depressed workforce, in a Wage cold-war with its own clients and employers, will not achieve much now, nor in the long term future.
We could have had more unity in the past...but there it is...

Here we are...and if we want society to want us, then we had better sit up and take a good look at what's happening in the world...

1st things first
What I'm looking for, is a way of explaining archaeology's value to my parents. My Mum spent twenty minutes at Stonehenge once and thought "it was a bit small and not very impressive". They watch Time Team and are occasionally interested. These are the kind of people who pay taxes and we need them onside. I believe they were once termed "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus".

Taking my parents as an example:

Quote:Potential loss of PPS5
They'd be only too pleased to see the back of PPS5, so that argument's going to cut no ice. You should've heard the earache I got when friends of theirs putting an extension on a social club building, had to shell out for a watching brief that found absolutely nothing. I'm still recovering from the tinnitus.

Quote:Erosion of local authority archaeologists
In my county, the council is planning to axe school lollipop ladies/men. How can we justify keeping local authority archaeologists? Nobody will die if they're not there.

Quote:Effect of localism on PPS5, if it survives.
Effect of the what on the what now? I feel another earache coming on.

Quote:Loss of CBA funding - not exactly a Big Society move!

What's the CBA? Does it do Meals on Wheels?

We need to focus on things that might matter to non-archaeologists and we need to be able to justify our existence in relation to other threatened services.

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