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MSC Old Lags
I've noticed on other threads that there is a tendency to play up the feeling that is felt necessary have a degree in order to work in archaeology. Many people who started digging in the 1980s came through the MSC scheme and have gone on to become senior figures in many units despite having no formal archaeological qualifications. This thread is not intended to bash people with degrees but is rather slanted towards those MSC old lags who have achieved significant success in archaeology without having a formal archaeological qualification. Some of my MSC trained colleagues are senior POs and PMs. Are there any other MSC old lags out there who can prove to the BAJR membership that the lack of a degree isn't an automatic bar to career success in archaeology? Once again I'll say this isn't degree bashing but rather a chance to prove that you don't need a degree in archaeology in order to succeed. I was once told by a graduate with a 1st class degree that I had no right to be promoted above her because I had no formal qualifications in archaeology, come on folks prove that I was right and that she was wrong, surely talent and ability are worth just as much as paper qualifications?
well, to be honest that response from that graduate does seem indicative of the undeserved feeling of superiority that a degree induces in certain people. I've got 2 degrees, and while the second one does allow me to do my job, I would only ever say that I am competent at it and have a lot more to learn. One of the best people I have ever worked under had never been near a university, and there is no way that I would have thought that I was anywhere near them in skill because I happened to have a few letters after my name.

++ i spend my days rummaging around in dead people ++
I completely agree with you BB. Until recently I worked in a company where I was the only one with formal 'archaeological education' until a few years ago. It has been said before elsewhere, but a BA or BSc doesn't automatically enable you to dig competently and notice edges and recognise features for what they are. One of the very best archaeologists i've worked with started out in sociology. I can barely accept that there is back biting going on because capability is being rewarded - surely this is what the industry needs to raise standards?

(I really have worked in the field)
please tell me where I suggested that your post was a slur on those with a degree? Thought I was backing you up myself, or am I wrong...

++ i spend my days rummaging around in dead people ++
I am yet to read a BAJR post where non-degree archaeologists are undervalued or belittled in any way.Quite the opposite.I agree without hesitation that there are some superb non-formally qualified archs out there. I also heartily welcome old MSC troops to BAJR, they saw things as they were in the good/bad old days!Big Grin
apology accepted beery, and I'm not from Darlington, thank god (abuse intended, used to live in Middlesbrough and have more than enough experience of Darlington Big GrinBig Grin)

++ i spend my days rummaging around in dead people ++
Surely it is a strength of any profession/industry/field of human endeavour to have people froma variety of backgrounds and "career paths"?

There are many paths up the mountain. (I doubt if any of them start from Darlington though).

Today, Bradford. Tomorrow, well, Bradford probably.
Quote:quote:Originally posted by troll

I am yet to read a BAJR post where non-degree archaeologists are undervalued or belittled in any way.

Thank goddness for BAJR! About a year ago I posted a mail to another archaeological discussion forum (also begins with B), where I suggested (tongue in cheek) that any form of book learning was anathema to those of us in the profession who had come through the MSC scheme. I received several indignant mails one suggesting that it was about time I started looking for another job because I was obviously totally unsuitable for archaeology. Another suggested I was undermining the efforts of the university system by suggesting that archaeology could possibly be undertaken by non-qualified practioners.

I totally agree with the sentiments of Troll and Beer Beast, but actually do wonder if there isn't still prejudice in the wider archaeological world. How many archaeological job adverts do you see for example that state 'degree essential and at least 6 months expeience', whilst countless years experience of a non-qualified archaeological practioner would probably be lucky to get as far as the Personnel Office rubbish bin, never mind a shortlist.
I have a degree myself, however, some of the most effective and professional archaeologists I've worked with have been non graduates who came in through MSC.

D. Vader
Senior Consultant

Vader Maull & Palpatine
Archaeological Consultants

We are the consultants you are looking for
I think that the MSC profoundly changed British Archaeology.What was once the preserve of middle or upper middle class kids was suddenly opened up, and those who managed to stick with it have changed the way sites are interpreted and perhaps even the way in which sites are excavated.

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