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Pay and conditions - The ultimate answer?
#11
If Valetta was actually applied in this country there would be restrictions on who could under take archaeology. I suspect the fall out from this is what is stoping it from happening. Apart from outlawing metal detecting (except by qualified individuals) it would restrict the amatuer/community involvement and impose penalties on those trashing our heritage (developers).

The problem is not lack of public engagement with Heritage but lack of engagement on behalf of our elected representatives in Government. That said the new secretary of state for culture might be a breath of fresh air, fingers crossed.
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#12
Kill off what profession. At least Barking you can see my point that society does not pay us for the archaeology but likes to insist that "we" the "profession" does archaeology. I think that us archaeologists should treat society as polluters and demand that they pay for it. The model is simple. Society demands that a developer pays to undertake archaeology in return for permission to develop. This production has a cost which the developers bare but which also reflects the price of the production of the archaeology. We then say to society if you want this development at the cost to the environment here is the price (and we might charge more if we found good stuff) and the difficult bit is if they don't want it we chuck it in the bin but I would rather we saw it that any authorising authority was a polluter and insist that they pay for the archaeology. It just might be away to make museums statutory rather than museums are a benevolent charity. It would also have a profound affect on the curators within the authorities whatho Jack? It's not about wages and salary, it's about price and a bit of principle.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#13
Marc Berger Wrote:Society demands that a developer pays to undertake archaeology in return for permission to develop.

First problem - at the moment "society" isn't doing much demanding! (We let the Eton mob scrap most of our Planning system since the ConDemNation got in...)

Quote:This production has a cost which the developers bare but which also reflects the price of the production of the archaeology.

So the developer pays the cost of the excavation? This is what happens now. To make a difference, it would have to be "open chequebook" instead of "lowest tender".

Quote:We then say to society if you want this development at the cost to the environment here is the price (and we might charge more if we found good stuff) and the difficult bit is if they don't want it we chuck it in the bin but I would rather we saw it that any authorising authority was a polluter and insist that they pay for the archaeology.

So "society" pays for post-ex, archiving, and publication? Not likely, but then again I'd vote for a system where ALL the archaeology was done by the State, with developers made to stand aside and wait until we had sterilised their site to our satisfaction, and then they pay a levy (say 5% of total development cost?) towards a central pot that supports all the work of this State department around the country...

Without a major change away from the current weak Planning system and cut-throat tendering, nothing's gonna improve.
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#14
I'm vaguely amused that there have been countless comments and threads about pay and conditions, yet the answer has appeared in this little one just like that. And, to be annoyingly repetitive, the problem is no-one wants to play the cost of our work because it doesn't represent value to them.

So, we need to be increasing our perceived value to both the public and our paymasters. That's where our energies should focus if we want a better wage. Those in a position to do so need to be working with the developers to find ways they, the developers, can get more back from the archaeology work that just the planning consents, and of course we have to keep engaging with the public so that they consider our work to be of value too.

There, that was simple, wan't it. And all before beer o'clock.
I reserve the right to change my mind. It's called learning.
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#15
Tool Wrote:So, we need to be increasing our perceived value to both the public and our paymasters. That's where our energies should focus if we want a better wage. Those in a position to do so need to be working with the developers to find ways they, the developers, can get more back from the archaeology work that just the planning consents, and of course we have to keep engaging with the public so that they consider our work to be of value too.

There, that was simple, wan't it. And all before beer o'clock.

Ah if only it was that simple, many of us have tried for years to improve the profile of archaeology but what is needed is legislation or inforcement of existing international agreements. It's a standing joke in archaeology that developers are willing to pay more to protect the newts (and other wildlife) than the archaeology. Wonder why that is? Something to do with hefty fines rather than innate value?
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#16
Wax Wrote:Ah if only it was that simple, many of us have tried for years to improve the profile of archaeology but what is needed is legislation or inforcement of existing international agreements. It's a standing joke in archaeology that developers are willing to pay more to protect the newts (and other wildlife) than the archaeology. Wonder why that is? Something to do with hefty fines rather than innate value?

I was being a little tongue in cheek about the simplicity, but I do believe that the pressure to increase our wages and conditions ultimately has to be applied from outside of our little industry - we're not powerful enough to directly influence what a developer is prepared to pay. And yes, stronger legislation would help! Smile
I reserve the right to change my mind. It's called learning.
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#17
Tool Wrote:I was being a little tongue in cheek about the simplicity, but I do believe that the pressure to increase our wages and conditions ultimately has to be applied from outside of our little industry - we're not powerful enough to directly influence what a developer is prepared to pay. And yes, stronger legislation would help! Smile
But stronger legislation is only likely to have an effect if it limits those allowed to carry out the trade of archaeologist. As there is at present no industry wide 'standard' for what constitutes archaeological proficiency, it seems likely that membership of the IfA and/or academic qualification will become the criteria that define your applicability to work in the profession. I don't believe you and many other folk really want to go down that route....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#18
kevin wooldridge Wrote:But stronger legislation is only likely to have an effect if it limits those allowed to carry out the trade of archaeologist. As there is at present no industry wide 'standard' for what constitutes archaeological proficiency, it seems likely that membership of the IfA and/or academic qualification will become the criteria that define your applicability to work in the profession. I don't believe you and many other folk really want to go down that route....

Too right I don't want to go down that route! Neither membership of the IfA nor having a degree are any guarantee of proficiency. What would help is the employers, whether archaeology contractors for the bulk of us or developers if they employ individuals directly being held more rigidly to account. I work for a company. They train and supervise me. If they're doing their job right then I'm doing mine right, regardless of my personal membership of any organisation or my educational history. Conversely I can see a situation where such restrictions were imposed, less people work in the business, archaeology companies can't fulfil their obligations to their contracts, the developers get pissed off and exercise their huge political might (construction being the single largest employment group in the UK unless I'm mistaken) and the planning rules get relaxed. So no, that is not the way to go.
I reserve the right to change my mind. It's called learning.
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#19
How come other countries can clearly define who can and cannot practice as an archaeologist? What we need is some sort of on the job accreditation, BAJR's skills passport?
In a previous incarnation in another profession I received a six months practical course with on the job training I was then expected to reach a measurable level of proficientcy within 18 months or be asked to review my suitability for the job. It was my line managers direct responsibility to mentor me and mark my work, this was in his job description. When I left and took an archaeology degree I was ten years working as an archaeologist in a variety of roles for several organisations before I sat down with a line manager for a PDR!!!!!! Ten years of being responsible for my own training and career development no wonder there is a skills shortage and the youngsters get out. Archaeological organisations need to take direct responsibility for training the next generation. Other professions manage it so why can'nt we. Oh I forgot it costs money, and companies have to under cut each other to survive. As long as that attitude persists we are sc.....
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#20
barkingdigger Wrote:Feel free to add some!


I wouldn't be daft enough to claim I had an answer in the first place.

Increasing the perceived value of what we do might be achieved through a more joined-up process, with museums more involved from the beginning, perhaps even in the planning process as they are likely to be medium through which people view what is found with the developer getting a lovely pat on the back and some good PR for doing the right thing. Speeding up the accessing of results that are going to show the value of what is found - i.e. getting shiny stuff into museums as quickly as possible, making it clear where it has come from, no more 'workmen found...' stories in the papers and proper press-releases, less heads-bowed looking at the points of trowels and more getting out and talking to people about what we do. Of course, this is happening with plenty of jobs but not enough. Everyone could take a lead on this - it would be nice to get to a point where you don't have to keep explaining to people who should know better that the developer pays for it, no, not the council, not EH, no, we're not volunteers or students, yes, you can access the results of the reports (making that happen quicker and more consistently would be nice though), no we haven't found any treasure (not today anyway). The issue of the quality of the work done always seems like a sideshow, something we just like to torment each other with and which is always going to be virtually impossible to conclusively deal with, whatever that would mean anyway.
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