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Free archaeology
P Prentice Wrote:...inadequate work is permitted, mainly because the lowest tender still rules...

Thankfully that's still not entirely true - in fact none of the four projects I'm personally currently working on were gained by sticking in the lowest tender. Things must be really crap where you are, so can excuse your perpetual cynicism :face-approve:



Good things do, occasionally, turn up in pipe trenches - ask Dirtyboy about his mosaic
how do you know yours wasn't the lowest tender? and can you explain why the clients did not take the lowest tender?
Reason: your past is my past
What you should be doing is getting feedback when you do/don't win tenders - it's surprising how much information is available if you ask (and the old-fashioned grape-vine's good too), and also, despite PPs world-view, the word 'quality' pops up rather often
P Prentice Wrote:it is far better for the resource and for archaeological theory if it is undertaken as a commercial venture. no university can undertake the kind of projects we do. they do not have our funding and they do not have (with a few notable exceptions with commercial units) have our skills. i know for a fact that some of the leading academics have on record that given their time again they would be in commercial archaeology because that is where the best research is undertaken. the major drawback is that inadequate work is permitted, mainly because the lowest tender still rules, but often because there is nobody in place to recognise the neccessity or the opportunity to push for the best possible. we all know that a vast amount of mitigation is crap and that far too much effort is spent on the least return, such as watching briefs on pipe trenches
and now dinosaur will tell us how brilliant he is -

Interesting angle...........not the one I was thinking of. But I think in general I agree!

If its going to be dug, better to be dug by professionals. With the proviso...........there is a lot of grey. Amateurs can be just as good, professionals can work for free.

And yes, permitted post-ex and research has to be justified and is often limited.
What would be great is a department/society etc that engaged with commercial units/projects and vice versa.

Where are the undergrads/ postgrads/ researchers looking through the grey literature ripe with evidence that disproves the current 'academic' thinking?
Where are the researchers to carry on where our budgets run out?
Where are the societies to dig beyond the excavated area to answer the questions we are often left with.....If only we could have looked beyond the development boundary we could have seen if A was contemporary with B, seen if C was an square barrow or a structure....etc.

But where, barring the odd exception, are the commercial units that have the time, money or clients permission to engage with academia/societies? :face-stir:

Why is there such a gulf between field and classroom?
Jack Wrote:What would be great is a department/society etc that engaged with commercial units/projects and vice versa...
Where are the undergrads/ postgrads/ researchers looking through the grey literature ripe with evidence that disproves the current 'academic' thinking?

There is some crossover, just not enough!

Just been plundering info from an on-line PhD which was clearly written by a researcher (and presumably his supervisor or whatever) largely unaware of the resource of grey literature for his area of study, of which there is much (I even wrote some of it) - some things never change Sad


On the upside he did manage to get one of my published things into his biblio, so will return the favour :face-approve:
Jack Wrote:[...]
Where are the societies to dig beyond the excavated area to answer the questions we are often left with.....If only we could have looked beyond the development boundary we could have seen if A was contemporary with B, seen if C was an square barrow or a structure....etc.

But where, barring the odd exception, are the commercial units that have the time, money or clients permission to engage with academia/societies? :face-stir:

Why is there such a gulf between field and classroom?

One problem facing societies wanting to excavate but not prepared to jump through the hoops for an HLF wad every time an opportunity comes up is that of costs. For example, it's impossible to get a finds assemblage examined for free, there's the running costs (does the site need fencing, a toilet etc...) and the possibility of having to hire in a professional archaeologist to oversee the operation. I know, because we're having just this discussion in our local society at the moment. There are many people who want to do the kind of work you mention, but it's not that easy to organise a group of amateurs with any degree of certainty who'll actually turn up, and money has to be found in a way that doesn't price out the majority of volunteers. If anyone has bright ideas on this front, do please let me know, because I'm sure there are many opportunities to do just as you say, and a willing bunch of people there to do it if given the right chance.
Dinosaur Wrote:Thankfully that's still not entirely true - in fact none of the four projects I'm personally currently working on were gained by sticking in the lowest tender. Things must be really crap where you are, so can excuse your perpetual cynicism :face-approve:



Good things do, occasionally, turn up in pipe trenches - ask Dirtyboy about his mosaic


The two metres of stratified Roman archaeology below it was quite nice too Big Grin
Ooo! And that bit of Roman road I had in another pipe trench this year.

Not all pipe watching is a waste! (Just some of it Wink)_
In reply to Tool if local societies and amatuers want to be taken seriously in archaeology then they must and I mean must, apply, the same standards as the professionals. That said if you talk to the right people there are many professionals who will give their time for free.

In Manchester there is the Manchester Federation where local groups and societies pool resources and skills. However it is extremely difficult to keep groups talking and working together and it is the support of a wide range of professionals that keeps a very dynamic local archaeology on track. (Though I doubt the long established amatuer groups see it that way!)

Far too many people just want to dig without getting involved in the recording and post ex that is essential . If you excavate you destroy. There are reasons for project designs and written statements of investigation and do remember that even if it is not scheduled the curator in your area will still have some responsibility to protect the Heritage Assets on their patch. And why not go for the HLF there are plenty of people who can help you through the hoops. When it comes to the HLF partnerships with non archaeological groups are more than possible.

if your group is not coherent or comited enough to follow a project through from begining to end then the professionals will see this and support cannot be expected.
Wax Wrote:In reply to Tool if local societies and amatuers want to be taken seriously in archaeology then they must and I mean must, apply, the same standards as the professionals. That said if you talk to the right people there are many professionals who will give their time for free.

In Manchester there is the Manchester Federation where local groups and societies pool resources and skills. However it is extremely difficult to keep groups talking and working together and it is the support of a wide range of professionals that keeps a very dynamic local archaeology on track. (Though I doubt the long established amatuer groups see it that way!)

Far too many people just want to dig without getting involved in the recording and post ex that is essential . If you excavate you destroy. There are reasons for project designs and written statements of investigation and do remember that even if it is not scheduled the curator in your area will still have some responsibility to protect the Heritage Assets on their patch. And why not go for the HLF there are plenty of people who can help you through the hoops. When it comes to the HLF partnerships with non archaeological groups are more than possible.

if your group is not coherent or comited enough to follow a project through from begining to end then the professionals will see this and support cannot be expected.

Can't argue with that, and hence my question. There is so much that can't/won't be done by commercial or Uni/research digs that could be done by amateurs/local societies, but it's a nightmare trying to work out how to make it work both financially and in a professional manner. I certainly wouldn't entertain the idea of tackling any of the projects I have in mind unless I was sure they could be done to the best standards but without excluding the people who do have an interest and often valuable knowledge and experience because of costs. It's good to know there are options though. Food for thought.
This Thread has run it's course... and you will notice a number of deletions... I have taken the decision to remove the posts and those related to it, as Unit of 1 has crossed a line that I should have noticed but let go...

It is worth reminding both Uo1 and others that words can be powerful objects that can hurt and upset as much as uplift and support.

Think about that.... before hitting the return key... consider the consequences.

BAJR


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