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Diversity
#21
Wax Wrote:... most of my peers, the ones I went to school with and grew up with are all earning well over £30,000. Few archaeologists have any hope of earning at that level. The route for survivale is to hook up with a partner who will have steady job and good income, something that allows a good many archaeologists to continue in the job. Many do not have permenant contracts and even more leave the profession....If you have ambitions towards job security and a good living then you will not enter this profession.

The last Profiling the Profession survey showed that 61% of UK archaeologists are in the age range 30-49. That seems to me to represent people who have decided to stick with archaeology having had some experience of what the conditions and salary and types of contract are....you would imagine that most disillusioned folk would leave in the years immediately following graduation i.e early to mid 20s.

So I don't accept your contention that people leave the profession purely on those grounds or that the number that leave exceed the number who stick with it. A permanent contract in archaeology is one thing, almost permanent work is another...sometimes folk can overlook the permanent contract providing they have permanent work even if it is a series of short contracts....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#22
P Prentice Wrote:i would guess that the majority of us with careers in uk archaeology, got involved because we were interested in what could be found out to explain our own lives. when i look at an excavation in my home town i feel a direct link with the lives revealed, i retain that sense of ownership with sites in my home county and for the most part with sites in my home country. having had a reasonable education i am aware that my dna will probably show that my ancestors probably came from further afield and when i look at excavations in asia or africa i am interested, but not really to the same extent as if i was looking at sites for which i have greater knowledge. even though i know that actions and events in apparently foreign cultures can have directly influenced the very archaeology i find so compulsive, i also know that my tiny head is not capable of knowing enough about the global site for me to invest sufficiently the time required.
so how do we instil a sense of ownership in more diverse audiences and encourage more diverse participation? my guess would be that we have to become more relevant to more of us. by telling better stories. stories require story tellers and story tellers need to emerge from behind context sheets, pot reports and radiocarbon dates. when was the last time you told a good story?

I've disagreed with much of what you've said on these forums, but can't fault what you say here. The story is the important part - it's what I look for - a ditch (sorry, linear feature...), a sherd of pot, a burial or a wall is all well and good, but it's the context, the story and the ways we connect to that story that is the fascination. This debate has been raging a while though, hasn't it: what role can those in the commercial sector take, if indeed they should take at all, to help convey that story and bring it alive to a wider audience. I still think this is the crux of so many problems that get mentioned in relation to the business of archaeology. Too much is kept in house, a secret for the select few. And then we wonder why politicians want to discount archaeology from the planning process, why the public don't notice when their heritage is being lost for good and why huge swathes of the population don't even know we exist. But is there an appetite to address this within the balance-sheet world of commercial archaeology?
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#23
OK, I've not been about that long in this business, but it does appear that those who do take to this mad world do tend to be able to keep a pretty steady stream of employment regardless of who for. I'd expect to see quite a high drop-out rate for those starting in the business, as the reality on the ground I suspect is considerably harsher than taught at Uni. But, if you stick it for three years or so, there's a good chance that you've got the bug, you've got the contacts and your name is known.
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#24
Tool Wrote:OK, I've not been about that long in this business, but it does appear that those who do take to this mad world do tend to be able to keep a pretty steady stream of employment regardless of who for. I'd expect to see quite a high drop-out rate for those starting in the business, as the reality on the ground I suspect is considerably harsher than taught at Uni. But, if you stick it for three years or so, there's a good chance that you've got the bug, you've got the contacts and your name is known.

I think that's absolutely right. I also suspect that these days many archaeology graduates do not even bother to dip their toes in the water, so they give up before giving up!!. The percentage of archaeologists in their 20s in the most recent PtP survey is 13%, in 2002 it was 26%...
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#25
lots of things to respond to

So what happens to each new year's crop of archaeology graduates when in the whole field of archaeology across the country there are only 5,000 jobs and that is not new jobs but existing posts bearing in mind a good proportion of these are not in field archaeology? I know far more archaeology graduates who never made it into the profession than I know practising archaeologists. And if the average age of archaeologists is 42 then where are the places for the newbies?

I will say it again, anyone who is ambitious for a good salary and steady job is going to avoid archaeology like the plague.

That is not to say we should'nt do anything about it and for once I agree with PP we need to sell ourselves better.(I do my bit for this mostly in my own time)

And Mr T would find life as an archaeologist much easier with a well paid Mrs T but the months away from home might scupper that in the long run
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#26
I don't know if those figures reflect graduates not trying, rather very few hiring opportunities being available during that period. With so few places available, those established in the business and willing to stick with it are the ones likely to hold those few places, and newbies are not going to get much of a chance for a look-in. I get the feeling things are starting to look up though.
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#27
Wax Wrote:And Mr T would find life as an archaeologist much easier with a well paid Mrs T but the months away from home might scupper that in the long run

Oh I don't know - the future Mrs. T might see it as an advantage...
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#28
So, the industry needs to be more engaging, yet being a commercial enterprise is not going to be keen to spend scant resources (or to put it another way, the client isn't going to want to pay extra) on doing so. How do we square that circle?
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#29
Tool Wrote:So, the industry needs to be more engaging, yet being a commercial enterprise is not going to be keen to spend scant resources (or to put it another way, the client isn't going to want to pay extra) on doing so. How do we square that circle?
Persuade the client that engagement is value for money (excellent publicity) and archaeology need not be done behind closed doors. Difficult when archaeology is an after thought to the construction process rather than built in from the very start. Not impossible though and there are many ways of doing it.
There are now several large developers who have funded booklets on various aspects of the archaeology of Manchester that have been revealed by commercial excavation. This was driven by a curator who could see beyond fulfilling planning conditions and developers who grasped the idea of the positive publicity they generate.
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#30
Interestingly, I was having a brief chat with a manager from a large house building company the other day, and they are considering options for publicising the archaeology of their sites, more as a way of recouping money than for altruistic reasons, but it's certainly a possibility. It was quite funny to see the personal interest from him (and others in similar situations) conflicting with the professional inconvenience of having us on site. Now I'm loathed to bring up the IfA again, as I feel I've done more than enough IfA-baiting lately, but this is exactly the sort of area they and the CBA should be looking into in my view. It's of benefit all round if done properly - the client loses less money, we get the public on our side thus offering maybe some political support, and those currently not able to access archaeology may get more of a look in.
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