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Government support for archaeologists
#21
I agree Kevin, and once again it comes down to what the person expects to do with their life - we should also promote and respect those that take a different pathway. In my life, a lack of degree has never been a barrier, as the type of employment I have undertaken has valued practical skill first, and also, to be truthful, I am better off as a self employed person Wink Where I am quite happy in employing myself.

The idea that degree is essential for field archaeology in a way detracts from exactly what a degree is about. And would companies stop knee jerking that a degree is essential...for a digging position

When you phone up and say...

Why? There is a long pause and then

"er...... um... because it er shows... er... something "

But surely you would rather know if they can set up a total station? or half section a pit? or take a level? know what settings are needed to take a sensible record photograph?

"Well....er......yes....."

and does a degree teach any of these things?

" um...er....no"

I rest my case.

It is not the intent of an archaeology degree to create a practical field archaeologist... so perhaps it is time to stop kidding that it is. Now the benefits of critical thinking, study, research etc... these are useful in other aspects, and perhaps in getting other jobs. But my reasoning is that degrees should not be seen as a mark of competence in field archaeology, they are a mark of competence in study and research and structured learning. Therefore support in creating training and practical skills would be a good step for govt... which also has transferable benefits. as would be the companies recognising that a person with x y z skills is worth more than a person with x skills. and stop lumping a 20 year lag who can plan with their feet while excavating with one hand and taking levels with the other. with a person who is just starting out and although able to trowel well, has yet to master all the other skills.
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#22
Dinosaur Wrote:Exactly which cuts are you complaining about? I'm anti most of them but I'm pro some education cutting, this country would be billions better off if they stopped pointlessly churning out graduates - why give half the population a degree when only 10% or less (probably a lot less) of the total jobs market involves any sort of degree-level skills/knowledge? - archaeology as has been discussed on other threads is a good example, an archaeology degree is in no way an asset for being a digger, so why are we being expected only to employ graduates?

.....not wishing to kick the crutches from under this noble enterprise but it will need a lot of clarification before everyone who posts on here will give it their wholehearted support (possibly excepting Unit?). Good plan in principle though :face-approve:


You're not kicking the crutches away at all! The point is to try and distill from all of the opinions what is the main focus of a lobby - what should be in and what should be out.

I personally think the focus should NOT include education as if there is not a decent archaeology "industry" left after all the Government cuts then there is little point having a degree course let alone a degree.

And I can safely say that out of all the Number 10 e-petitions I have signed from Pensions for Gurkhas to Badger Culling to Prevent TB in Dairy Cattle (sorry Hosty!! :0) I have never seen any of them do any good...and when you do make an inquiry, the Freedom of Information Act is waved and it takes weeks to get an answer by which time the point of the petition is over.
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#23
BAJR Wrote:It is not the intent of an archaeology degree to create a practical field archaeologist... so perhaps it is time to stop kidding that it is. Now the benefits of critical thinking, study, research etc... these are useful in other aspects, and perhaps in getting other jobs. But my reasoning is that degrees should not be seen as a mark of competence in field archaeology, they are a mark of competence in study and research and structured learning. Therefore support in creating training and practical skills would be a good step for govt... which also has transferable benefits. as would be the companies recognising that a person with x y z skills is worth more than a person with x skills. and stop lumping a 20 year lag who can plan with their feet while excavating with one hand and taking levels with the other. with a person who is just starting out and although able to trowel well, has yet to master all the other skills.

Couldn't have put it better myself.

Can we also get rid of the not-sure-why-they-bother MAs too who don't seem to have picked up a decent work ethic on their way through universty (twice)?
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#24
David said:

"But surely you would rather know if they can set up a total station? or half section a pit? or take a level? know what settings are needed to take a sensible record photograph?

"Well....er......yes....." and does a degree teach any of these things?" um...er....no" I rest my case."


Actually David I was taught all of these things (admittedly it was a theodolite and edm rather than a total station which had not been invented then). We were also taught to use plotting and plain tables as well as chains and a lot more practical things as well. David what do you know about photogrammetry?
Archaeology is an academic research subject and thus a degree is essential, I will not employ anybody without a post graduate qualification. Yes there are too many graduates but let’s not get side tracked. Cuts in government spending are necessary and would have happened whoever was in power. Lobbying about spending cuts in heritage funding is very necessary. People always forget what heritage brings to the economy via way of tourism and its contribution to education. For some periods archaeology is the only means of obtaining knowledge. It makes a vital contribution to society. To paraphrase PPG 16. To my mind the worst things about PPS 5 is that the reason for recording, research and preservation is omitted.
What we need to lobby government about why heritage, history and archaeology are important and if we can convince government of this many things will just follow.
What is the second biggest use of the internet?
Why do tourists come to Britain and what do they do?
What proportion of the population visit a church every year?
Why is heritage good for the health of the nation?
For example Stonehenge has 750,000 visitors a year each paying who ?7.90 to get in – that is six million a year. They also spend in the gift shop and at the food stall. How much more would spent in the shop was bigger (and thus had a bigger selection of goods) and it had a proper caf? and restaurant? If we say that the profit made is five million a year then the 25 million cost of the visitor can be seen in perspective. Why EH could not make a business case for the visitor centre I simply do not know.

The Yorvik Centre has over half a million visitors at ?8.95 a time and its shop at one point had had the second highest revenue per square foot of any shop in the country. These are the kind of points that government need reminding about.
Dr Peter Wardle
(David – one my stats exam questions was calculating the number of turnstiles that would be needed for the Yorvik centre. The correct answer was 2.4 and we had to justify our answer in whole numbers. I suggested that 10 was more realistic number and the estimates of visitors number were too low. Archaeology is more than just digging.)
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#25
Excellent Dr.P

- Archaeology on internet
-Tourism
-Heritage and Health of the Nation

could I also add:
- archaeology as multimedia adult learning (especially where earlier education has been a failure), and as a core-curriculum auxiliary for children
-heritage as a socially and mentally stimulating interest for the retired, elderly,... and even the socially restricted....


AND

- dare i say it? - archaeology as socially useful, motivational, and diverse skills building activity for the long term (willing) unemployed....................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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#26
Been away for a while. Back again.

In response to an earlier post from peter, I am sorry but I see very little in the Minister's responses actually supporting archaeology. The PAS? Yes. The need for revision of the definition 'Treasure'? Perhaps yes. A single Treasure coroner? Well, if we can afford it, so probably no. I didn't hear anything along the lines of 'this Government is proud of the quality of archaeological work done in the field, universities and museums etc - nah, nothing of the sort. Just - well, there are cuts that have to be carried across the board (Coalition euphemism for 'fairness') and so stop whining.

As for getting the politicians to listen to our woes - I fear they are getting such mixed messages. We are, as a discipline, a pretty undisciplined and fragmented bunch. The threads on this forum show how there are problems between the HE sector, museums, units, local planning depts, voluntary sector. Tensions exist between them all - lovers of Venn diagrams would have a field day with British archaeology. We simply have too many talking heads, too many 'lobbyists' coming from far too many parts of our discipline.

Simply, I would propse that we beef up The Archaeology Forum (The AF). Its current website hasn't been updated, I think, since early 2009 and they only meet four times a year. Well, times are hard and they are getting harder. So here's the thing. The AF needs to meet monthly for the foreseeable future. It needs to channel through its website - or through someone's website - the results of all its individual initiatives with the political sector, both central and local. It is imperative that these are shared with us so that we can all become advocates of the common cause when we, as individuals, have to represent archaeology to others.

But most importantly, the AF needs to be chaired by somene who commands the respect and support of the majoirty of British archaeologists among the diverse, fragmented bodies of our discipline. I would propose CBA's Dr Mike Heyworth MBE. He is already secretary to APPAG (which is in need of kick-startign and should be the groupd through which our concerns/vision should be related to Government), on behalf of The AF. But, he also fronts up CBA - and is probably up to his neck in things. Surely, someone of his calibre needs to be given the support and time to speak on behalf of the many groups around the country. I would propose, somehow, the CBA (perhaps with some financial support from all the groups that make up The AF) gives him the necessary sabbatical to act as our champion, speaking for us all, articulating the various strands of our subject and its value to our country, its economy, its progress through development, its education etc etc.

There - I will leave that one with you all. Think about it - we need one voice, one well-respected person, one knowledgeable person.

We need a hero - (cue Bonnie, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBwS66EBUcYr)

lol
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#27
The heritage network intended appointing such a person if the new Act was in the Queen's Speech. As the Act was axed the post was never appointed.

Peter
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#28
Excuse my ignorance, but who are/is The Heritage Network, apart from the Herts unit of the same name? And in any case, why do we need to wait for an Act of Parliament to find such a person? Surely the need for the act is another thing on the agenda of the Archaeology Forum, which needs to be championed by someone who etc etc etc...
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#29
F.Pryor - R.Bradley - T.Robinson - B.Hughes - N.MacGregor?

(please. not any of the big commercial directors)

query : item "Heritage Network, relationship to Hertfordshire"
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#30
"It is not the intent of an archaeology degree to create a practical field archaeologist... so perhaps it is time to stop kidding that it is. Now the benefits of critical thinking, study, research etc... these are useful in other aspects, and perhaps in getting other jobs. But my reasoning is that degrees should not be seen as a mark of competence in field archaeology, they are a mark of competence in study and research and structured learning".

Right...so critical thinking, study and research are totally divorsed from digging are they? You can have one without the other can you? Is it not the lack of training in archaeology courses (10 days in my case) and lack of time to train when volunteering (if you can find a place) during study? I see a chip I think. Rolleyes
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