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Full details of Nottingham Meeting
#11
Personally I will take the can of worms, open it, and slurp down a mouthful.

I can but agree to some form of 'barrier to entry' in which a certain verified level of competence is required. This does however begin an even more rapid slip and slide in creating two flavours of archaeology

Temporal Contamination Engineers who deal with construction and development - removing, mitigating and ensuring project deadlines.

AND

PubliArch - where like minded people who are wanting to study a particular area or site will do just that, taking as long as is needed over a long time period, utilising goodwill and local interest.

Of course, the TCE may indulge in a bit of PublArch because it can be more fun than the day job... (though sometimes the day job is good - it may consist of mainly looking into empty holes)


Quality will be skills based of course... and Quality must also be of value... (thats where the PPS 5 usage should come in) The development control Archaeologist will look at best value and ensure quality standards are maintained... not minimum... but quality standards...

see:
The quality management system in Dutch archaeology

and

Dutch Archaeology Quality Standard (KNA) (full pdf of the Guidelines)
www.sikb.nl/upload/documents/archeo/knauk.pdf

To my mind, this is the nearest thing we have to a damn fine system! :face-approve:

So in a nutshell.... why not! We have nothing to lose and all to gain from acting as professionals
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#12
Good one Troll... The drop in membership has at last stopped and reversed... so we shall see about an increase that is as large as is needed for a full mandate. Benefiting all
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#13
In reply to David I haven't worked in the Netherlands so can't comment on the the Dutch system, but it doesn't sound dissimilar to the Norwegian practice.....In Norway the heritage laws are drafted in such a way as to create two types of archaeologist.

There are archaeologists who work for the counties or cities carrying out evaluations and highlighting the potential of archaeological sites under threat through the planning system. In effect these archaeologisrts are allowed to uncover limited areas of archaeological sites, evalute what they have found, but are not allowed to excavate.

The second type of archaeologist works for one of the 5 archaeology museums in Norway or for NIKU (the national heritage organisation) and these persons are allowed to excavate on sites that have been approved for excavation by the state archaeological monitoring service. There is no official licencing system in Norway, but if you don't work for one of the 5 archaeology museums or NIKU you cannot excavate. This rule also applies to amateur archaeologists. All prehistoric and historic remains dating prior to 1538 are automatically protected in Norway as are some sites of later date. Each of the 5 museums has a monopoly over a defined geographical area (although there is occassional shring of projects close to the touching borders of geographical areas).

As a result of the restriction on who is allowed and where they can excavate, archaeological employment in Norway is heavily geared towards the supply side rather than demand led. Archaeologists and archaeological opportunities are limited resources. As a result wages and conditions are comparable with other graduate professions....Archaeologists try to be helpful, but there can occur occassions where developers are required to wait for archaeolgoical works to be carried out if there is no space in the work schedule. As in the UK the cost of archaeological work is met by the developer.

I mention this in passing to illustrate that there are alternatives to the 'free market' approach favoured in the UK. And not just theoretical alternatives, but alternatives that (as in Norway's case) have over 100 years of applied practice to demonstrate their effectiveness.

More on the hypothetical side.......My own feeling on the situation in the UK is, that whilst I would not discourage anyone from studying archaeology (fascinating subject after all), the only way to create a highly paid, highly motivated professional workforce is to limit the number of persons able to professionally practice archaeology. I would refute any suggestion that this might be considered or become elitist by suggesting that entry as a professional archaeologist should come from a variety of sources, NVQs and apprenticeships as well as from university or college graduates. In fact I would like to see (perhaps sponsored by a vocationally interested body such as the IFA) entry level competence qualifications and staged professional grading above and beyond traditional academic study. Maybe some of the enlightened universities might be willing to come on board with such a scheme...I am not expecting this to happen over night and I personally would be happy to see a staged scheme introduced linked to a raising of wages and benefits that would reward currently practicing archaeologists who came on baord the scheme, as well as providing a career framework for a smaller but more skilled and wider experienced number of new entrants.

I would also be in favour of a quota system to address some of the inbalances in the demographic, gender and social profile of the profession...purely hypothetically of course...
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#14
I thank you very much for that post... certainly what I like to see! AND it shows the alternative approach, where it seems the archaeologist is an important part of the process... not one that is having to stare into a small trench while a bucket swings overhead and a concrete foundation is poured behind them... (no pressure mate... but get a move on!)

I would like to know more about teh Norwegian system...

And without giving too much a way... the universities will be open to it
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#15
Good grief Penfold! Could this lead a certain Institute to finally accept that field archaeologists are in fact specialists after all and not simply navvies whose entire existance should be focussed upon providing office workers with careers? :face-approve:
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#16
I like a lot of these ideas in theory but have to admit to feeling a little unconfortable with the restriction of who can enter the profession. Agree that certain grades of employmnent can only come with experience but this approach seems a bit elitist. You say nvq etc as route then talk about only certian unis doing qualifications - and with top up fees this could mean even higher student debt if students are chanelled into particular institutions which could potentially create a monopoly.

The filter in action now is job availabilty not competence and there is nothing to say that those in employment are any better/worse than those who have not managed to get jobs - in particular recent graduates who have been unlucky with their timing. Pretty sure their no different to me 8years ago i just graduated during a boom time and have therefore been able to build up the skills and contacts in advance to help me through now.

By trying to impliment something like this dont we risk doing what we often complain that the generation of archaeologists now running companies have done - that is to climb their way up then pull the ladder up after themselves.
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