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Atlas of Hillforts ? 1 million well spent?
#21
Wax Wrote:"The project and its host Institutions bear no responsibility for any access or health and safety issues that may arise during your participation in this project."

I am pretty certain that the statement regarding H&S is incorrect as it not possible for anyone to pass off their responsibilities under the H&S at Work Act by merely publishing a statement that they bear no responsibility. I don't think the best way to engage volunteers in any activity is by telling them 'We don't give a toss if you come to harm'....no no no!!

The attached document Volunteers and the Law outlines the facts.....

http://a4id.org/sites/default/files/Volu...%20Law.pdf
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#22
I have now looked at the forms and the guidance notes and they even state that they are assuming a level of prior knowledge. This does not strike me as a serious attempt to involve volunteers as without some degree of training the guidance notes are not going to work. Give people a set of notes without any on the ground training and they will interpret what they are supposed to do in as many different ways as there are people who undertake the surveys. They will do this even with the training but at least you will mitigate the variation in approaches.

The project may well be valid but the results the will get from the volunteers will vary so much to make those results virtually meaning less. The whole volunteering side has not been thought through. Unless they are testing what you get if you give people a form and a set of guidance notes ( think they mention that duplication is ok so perhaps they are testing the volunteer survey methodology).

Wish them the best of luck but think they have totally missed the point (and a fantastic opportunity) with the volunteering side of things. As for that disclaimerSad!
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#23
Ok... this is great that data we never knew is collected. I just don't understand

a) what new info is gathered.
b) why volunteers are asked to collect it without training
c) this has been done on a regular basis.. I ask again... without dating... well.... lets see what comes out.

as it happens... I have an OSL test on a "hilfort (or should I say banked enclosures ) which could be interesting - can't wait.

As people are saying --- voly falls off bank while doing this... is not going to rub from an insurance point of view be careful.

For me the 72 "upstanding" sites like this in the Lothians - only 4 are dated. aand the one thing that becomes clear is that none conform to a physical topographical typology
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#24
BAJR Wrote:Ok... this is great that data we never knew is collected. I just don't understand
a) what new info is gathered.
b) why volunteers are asked to collect it without training
c) this has been done on a regular basis.. I ask again... without dating... well.... lets see what comes out.

a) since the beginning of commercial archaeology there has been the talk (very little action) that ivory tower archaeologists will stop excavating and start synthesizing all the work that happens day in and day out with the other 99%. This might just be the first steps, or not. However, the idea behind the project is not to gather new information from excavation but to take the 100's and 1,000s (10,000s???) of reports we have, that lets face it get very little use, and try to make sense of them. Ideally, that means new information but it's archaeology, you don't actually know what you've got till it's all done and dusted, and being backfilled. Even then we usually end up with more questions than answers.

Maybe we think it won't turn up anything ahead of time. Maybe we think a king is buried in a car park. We don't know till we try.

b) It's the brave new world of grants. No longer are people going to be able to sit in an ivory tower and fiddle with whatever they like. The people fronting the bill, you know us taxpayers, want to see engagement and results that mean something to us. Crowd sourcing and volunteering is the new "it" thing in the world of grants. The problem is that while some of us have been doing this for decades now, even me at my relatively young age, they are learning for the first time. Think back to your first project that involved the public, did it go well? How about the first 50? How about the last time? I am guessing we are all learning something new each and every time. They just happen to be starting at step one.

Does the volunteer and engagement look ill formed and questionable, maybe. Would my first or your first attempt to get a wider public involved in such a project look different, maybe but probably not. What we are seeing here are the teething problems of a sub-sector of archaeology that has never had to really engage with people (with many great and notable exceptions, not stereotyping everyone). To keep with the teething metaphor, they are growing up but as with all experiences with growing they are going to fall down, fall off the bike and get a wicked hangover.

Unfortunately, your going to see a lot more projects that will try to engage people but fall flat. It will be many years before they train PhD students and future academics to be able to undertake this sort of work. Eventually they will get there but we will see many more projects like this. That being said those who have the experience can always help them along :face-confused: .
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#25
BAJR Wrote:I have an OSL test on a "hilfort (or should I say banked enclosures ) which could be interesting - can't wait

Stuff I had done has caused a big old re-think on site-formation processes and much report re-writing, and I haven't even had any dates yet, thats just from assessment of the profiling samples, the actual dating samples are still in their tubes awaiting the cash from the client. Hope you're good at reading graphs with logarithmic scales Smile

Brilliant technique, much underused at least in the non-research universe, as are many in commercial archaeology - can see a new thread there...
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#26
Wax Wrote:I have now looked at the forms and the guidance notes and they even state that they are assuming a level of prior knowledge. This does not strike me as a serious attempt to involve volunteers as without some degree of training the guidance notes are not going to work. Give people a set of notes without any on the ground training and they will interpret what they are supposed to do in as many different ways as there are people who undertake the surveys. They will do this even with the training but at least you will mitigate the variation in approaches.

The project may well be valid but the results the will get from the volunteers will vary so much to make those results virtually meaning less. The whole volunteering side has not been thought through. Unless they are testing what you get if you give people a form and a set of guidance notes ( think they mention that duplication is ok so perhaps they are testing the volunteer survey methodology).

Wish them the best of luck but think they have totally missed the point (and a fantastic opportunity) with the volunteering side of things. As for that disclaimerSad!

yep. nail on head

Doug, brilliant post!

Though my cynical side still thinks that if people are working/ contributing, they should be trained, fall under a duty of care and be paid!

I dread the day when I receive medical treatment based on evidence gathered by the public on a 'volunteer/ community outreach medical research project'.
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#27
Quote:Would my first or your first attempt to get a wider public involved in such a project look different, maybe but probably not. What we are seeing here are the teething problems of a sub-sector of archaeology that has never had to really engage with people (with many great and notable exceptions, not stereotyping everyone).

In a way I do agree... though for that sort of money - you should be expected to think about that sort of thing first. However/. as I am a charitable chap and all that/ Rather than carp about it ... Smile I am ready to get in there and put ti too the test. SO I need some Edinburgh University students to work with me and do all the "Hillforts" ( gawd I hate that term) in the Lammermuirs - I will provide transportation and we can all go out. - I have now created the form on an app for android phones. so we can test out this funky survey method as well,

Quote:I dread the day when I receive medical treatment based on evidence gathered by the public on a 'volunteer/ community outreach medical research project'.

This is indeed my worry... how can one be sure about the veracity of a volunteer survey? Without training and without checking.

well... lets see what happens
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