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Current Archaeology editorial
#21
Quote:What we do not need or want is archaeology to become the sole preserve of the commercial unit or — just as frightening — carried out by a detached academic clique. Archaeology needs to be truly inclusive and non-elitist, for does it not deal with the fundamentals of who we all are? If we accept that society as a whole obtains clear benefits from the pursuit of knowledge, why is it that we have a desire to prevent the public from taking part in all but the most corralled of circumstances?

To quote myself, which is quite weird!

And in that I truely believe, we don't have to be one OR the other, there is no (or should be no, THEM and US. I believe in the professional... I also believe in teh weekend Warrior. Over the past 6 months over 600 people (yes really!! perhaps more) have been involved in projects I have directed. they did not detract from my commercial head (I have this desire to eat) but they did enhance not only the projects but my own enjoyment (yes.. read it and weep... enjoyment)

In this 600 people there has been a range from dementia sufferers - schoolkids, people with mental isues, alcohol issues, students and old folk, young people and dads bonding with kids, middle class, poor, rich, workers and single mums. At the end of the day I did not care... but it was in addition to the professional job, sometimes it was even the processional job.

The concept is not to stride apart, even if you have the last word, but to work together as my article said. Don't say one group is 'better' or deserves more or should do this or that... but don't also suggest that somehow an amateur is able to carry out the work of a professional over an an extended but time limited project. I love doing (and I hate the word amateur.. because they are often anything but) non-commercial projects as I am not so pressed by schedules and deadlines.

A wedge is the last thing we need... support please.. I am an archaeologist... a professional one Wink
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#22
diggin - but can you kindly reproduce the recent CA article? i think it carries some important points about the Big Society world we are to be squeezed into.

make no mistake, we need to be leading on this - not merely conforming when necessary

bajr - whole heartedly agree with your stance but the future will require regulation - no?
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#23
Marcus Brody Wrote:I'm aware that this is something that I've said several times on a number of different threads, but I've never really understood why local societies would be so keen to work on development sites. It seems to me that the big advantage societies / amateurs have is that they can pick a nice site (a cropmark or earthwork, for example), ask the landowner's permission, and then dig it, with a fair degree of confidence that they'll actually find something interesting. Meanwhile, most professional archaeologists only get to work in areas where development is happening, which may not be where the archaeology is!

Yep. Spot on.( I'd love to dig where I wanted - as long as I had enough budget to do the post-ex properly, that is)

Not to mention all the boring and troublesome faff that comes with working in the real world like, contracts, CDM regulations, risk assessments, insurance, health and safety, timescales, coming in under the budget whilst still fully recording the significant archaeology, liasing with clients, being accountable for the quality of your work, having the resources to carry out cost-effective post-excavation and archiving...........:face-stir:

Being cheaper is not always the primary concern. You still have to adequately consult and fit into the clients work program and achieve set targets.

Commercial archaeology is a constant process of negotiation and assessment and re-assessment.

Not saying that all amateur archaeologists couldn't thrive under such circumstances......just MANY of those I have worked with were completely unprepared for the commercial world.

My favorite comment ever was.....'Oh, I didn't realise I had a limited amount of time to wash that pot.'
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#24
OK, so lets say all small jobs are done by the local societies for free. The developers will be delighted won't they?

Oh no - hold on - of the members of the local group, three can only do one day a week, anothers on a round the world cruise and Bill, who owns the wheelbarrows, is in hospital with a dodgy ticker.

Most of the small jobs my unit does are won on the basis of price or time - monitorings at 24hrs notice and under 1ha hectare evals with 1 or 2 weeks. How exactly is a local amateur group going to respond to the time pressures of planning led archaeology?

Having said that you can't use this as another arguement for RO status being required. If a developer can get an unpaid group to do the work, to a standard that suits the local curators, and meets their timeframe then why not? In theory theres nothing technically wrong with the idea, it just cannot ever work in practice.

and anyway, the way we're going, all us professionals will end up working effectively for nothing before long.

and CA's wikipedia entry strikes me as quite funny, bearing in mind the general consensus of this thread...

'Current Archaeology describes itself as the "United Kingdom's best selling archaeology magazine", a claim substantiated by British Archaeological Jobs and Resources online, which labels the title 'Britain's favourite archaeology magazine'.
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#25
BAJR Wrote:To quote myself, which is quite weird!

Love it!

As I was saying to myself this very morning, if you disregard the harrumph and bluster (his not yours), two polar opposite political positions identify the same root problem in archaeology: a commercial sector divorced from the well springs of its supporting constituency. Similarly, you are also both arguing for the boundaries around who practices archaeology to be relaxed, and for our work to be more inclusive.

It?s fair to say you want more participation than he, but to my mind the logic is the same.

It?s a bottom up, archaeology for the people by the people, with at best (your view) professional archaeologists facilitating that engagement, and at worst (his view) professional archaeologists exiting altogether. Both positions are anathema to (my view) that we should police the boundaries even more rigorously, be it RO, Charter or licensing.?

That?s not the same as saying no to community projects ? just drawing firmer lines around what those projects should and shouldn?t be. Any other approach devalues our skills, experience and contribution to knowledge. Because everyone can be an archaeologist ? right?

PS: Current Archaeology haters, get over your selves! Differentcolourmud: not sure I get the gag ? it says ?best selling magazine? because it sells more copies than the competition.

PPS: P Prentice: might be able to put a link up over at my place after the weekend ? out of town for the now, but will let you know.
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#26
Quote:If a developer can get an unpaid group to do the work, to a standard that suits the local curators, and meets their timeframe then why not? In theory theres nothing technically wrong with the idea, it just cannot ever work in practice.
Watch out for a B.A.R. on Worth Matravers, where it did work.
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