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The School of Jack Yr2
P Prentice Wrote:i'm minded of a time back in the day when visiting my team on a new road job one of the engineers crew-bosses actualy tried to intimidate me into giving up on a site that was going to hold them up! :face-approve:
On a similar track a particularly bolshie site manager on a project in London had a full skip dropped on the roof of his car which he had 'carelessly' parked in tower crane range. That was when the archaeologists realised that he was as disliked by his own workers as he was by the archaeologists. After that relationships between the contractors and archaeologists improved greatly, perhaps cos we had recognised a common enemy!!
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
aye there is nothing like a common enemy to unite the disenfranchised.
it always help to show your finds off to plant operators, give them some spiel about what they indicate - and if you dont know make it up!
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
Indeed, sometimes the 'heat' or coldness of the relationship between a particular (construction/management) company and the archaeologists on a site is directly proportional to the budgeting relationship.

For instance, put simply: a company paying for the archaeology directly will be largely interested in how much will it cost/ can we get out of doing this. Whereas, a groundcrew charging day rates for 'special' sections on say a pipeline may love the archaeologists as each time they find a site, the groundcrew get more money.
Jack Wrote:Take lots of photographs...

...but be careful which ones you stick in the report, no point advertising the fact that you f***ed-up - have been personally involved in a couple of projects recently where sites had previously been trial-trenched by others, finding 'nothing', when in retrospect one can see in the report photos all the stone walls etc hanging out halfway up the sections in the machine-overdug trenches...the Roman road with a trench-shaped hole in the middle of it wasn't a ringing endorsement for the profession either. Neither client was too happy about the subsequent 'unexpected' additional archaeological costs...two different groups of culprits, so presumably this sort of report-illustration faux pas is fairly common?
Course 201: Lesson 3 Not all archaeological remains are equal.[SIZE=2]

A key concept, often difficult for the budding supervisor to get to grips with is Significance.
As archaeologists we naturally want to save absolutely every scrap of archaeological information possible as it is our mission, our passion and often the breeze blocks chained to our feet.....

But, and its a big but, to save the many, the few must fall by the wayside.
Or put another way,

'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.'
'Or the one'

It is impossible, impractical and financially unrealistic to dig every square millimeter of archaeological deposits, collect wash, mark, record, report on, archive and store every find (artefact or ecofact)

Just do the maths!

So how are the decisions made as to where to dig, what sample of features to excavate and how best to do so, which deposits to environmentally sample or which finds to discard?

In the commercial world every cost must be accounted for and justified.....

It is the potential significance of the feature/deposit and what it contains to add to existing knowledge and/or add to stated research objectives that dictates its importance.
This importance is measured against the cost. That is the cost of excavating/recording/recovering the evidence on site, but also the post-excavation costs of assessment, analysis and publication.

Then the question is it worth it? If yes, then do it. If no, then can a smaller sample suffice? etc etc.

It sounds shocking written down, but think on this, it is also the basis of all digging decisions.....For instance, should this slot be wider? Do I have to dig another slot through this ditch? Do I need to take out the other half of this pit? Does this topsoil need sieving?

Learning what is significant and what isn't is part of becoming a supervisor and progressing within the industry. It takes time and an awful lot of reading and understanding. Luckily there are a multitude of guides from the IfA and EH to aid is this. Also several period-specific and region-specific publications have been produced that summarise what is known, what isn't know, and what needs to be done.

These documents are both the tools to learn about significance, but also are the justification used at the assessment stage of post-excavation when stating what analysis should be done and what shouldn't.

The journey of understanding significance is like a ladder. The first rung could be reading MAP2 and MORPHE etc, or asking your manager on site/or on the phone. The last rung, however, is never reached!

I usually dig the good bits, seems to keep everyone happy :face-approve:

Actually both the sites I've got lined up are pretty much 100% anyway [a Neolithic thingy and a chunk of strat Roman town]
Dinosaur Wrote:I usually dig the good bits, seems to keep everyone happy :face-approve:

Actually both the sites I've got lined up are pretty much 100% anyway [a Neolithic thingy and a chunk of strat Roman town]

The School of Jack knows very well that you have a significance calculator in your head Dino.....though, due to your age it may have migrated into your subconscious and become instinct:face-stir:
Jack may have migrated into your subconscious and become instinct...

I knew there must be some reason why I keep finding stuff :face-approve:

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