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Empire of Dirt: time to call time on commercial archaeology in Northern Ireland?
The tendering of post ex is common in Scotland too, mainly due to units upping their rates at post-ex!
Why are replies so weird on this forum?
I'm not sure that Bob is correct that there is no value without publication, but it is an interesting idea. If there is no access to the information generated then what was the point of doing the work? And even your standard small mildly interesting site that might not be worth publishing on its own can be bundled up with similar sites to make a useful article. That just takes a little imagination. Also worth pointing out that UJA is quite happy to print short notes on sites or projects, so it's not like you can't publish stuff... I believe Bobs main point, that of around 600 commercial excavations in a decade only 26 or so have been published is frankly a disgraceful situation.

As for the tendering for post ex, I think this relates to a specific type of project, the large road projects commissioned by the National Roads Authority in the Republic of Ireland. Specifically what takes place here is that all sites are written up by their directors as standard 'grey' style reports. What is then tendered for is the process of compiling accounts of all the sites for a project into a single book, with cut down descriptions of the main sites, and thematic discussions of what it all means. The actual site reports are then included on a disc in the back cover, so as far as publication you get the best of both worlds. It's not a perfect strategy, and some sites deserve a full monograph to themselves, which rarely happens (Lismullin coming out in March this year being the first exception) but it has accounted for some 10 books being published since 2008, and several hundred individual sites being published. So not a bad system really. Whether it is an appropriate solution to the problems in NI is not clear, I personally think the NIEA should just enforce the legislation that is in place. Certainly the Minister responsible seems to think the same, and I am hopeful there will be big changes in the near future.
Quote:I'm not sure that Bob is correct that there is no value without publication, but it is an interesting idea. If there is no access to the information generated then what was the point of doing the work
i think you answered your own question there.. Smile
no record, no publication of any sort - the site may as well have been never dug. I am thinking of the difficult re-working of a couple of sites in Scotland = the Udal ( and Broxmouth.

Both dug and never really published, now it has taken a massive ammount of effort and money to piece together the boxes and fieldnotes, the plans and records and admit that some bags of stuff will never be allocated to a period or phase.. And to make it look better, they are seen as the ultimate record.

Some sites need Reports, some need articles as well, some need monographs. All need archived primary data in some sort of sensible semblance of order. and my thoughts are - as stuart says, a disc is always on the back of my rports, with all the data for people to pick over. in archive required formats.
by heck commercial archaeology seems to have been good for diggers in ni. I dont see how publication would get them any more money or security of employment. be interesting to know what bob thinks about diggers copyrights as he seems to be of a literary bent with a bit of eye on academic table.

might be a bit left field but woke up to hear of The death of this person

and the sometime repeated story of being on a salary and not getting a royalty as such. I cant help think that this is yet another example of the problem of being in a public service paradiam. I also think that it is the biggest problem that anybody has with publishing on archaeological material. unlike the bbc we dont have a statewide manopoly with the tax rasing rights to criminalise anybod that does not pay although there still the similarity to rip off the workers.
Reason: your past is my past
Unit - have you ever actually made any money from your copyrighted material?
Yeah, publishing just costs money, you never make money from it. So your idea to let the freemarket decide what gets published... kind of a non-starter.
i charge my clients to satisfy the curators conditions mostly in the form of an archive and a report. they are copyright to me. the report i most definatly supply on paper with me as author. if the tax man ever accused me of being an employee i would wave my context, graphic sheets in thier face. is thenre no copyright involved in your business? I see it as the only starter and if it does not get "published" its because there is absolutly no demand for it.
Reason: your past is my past
what I cant work out from all these unpublished sites is were ther any reports produced or is it just all archive.
Reason: your past is my past
One hopes that it is more than archive!

sheesh... to not produce any sort of immediate narrative is criminal
and I mean archive as what is produced on site, not marking up pot with some accession code and getting the negatives back, i considern that publication rubbish.
Reason: your past is my past

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