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Is archaeology using interns and is this and acceptable practice?
I did look at the Wessex advert and they are not archaeology positions and they say commission will be paid on the signing of a contract. (don't know what that means). That being said there should never be volunteers working on a commercial project except if they are doing things that would not be done as part of the normal commercial work. There is an extremely fine line between providing opportunities for volunteers and exploitation. I do know of cases where amatuer archaeologists desperate for opportunities in real archaeology find themselves being used to shift wheel barrows rather than being given training and the real experience they thought they were going to get. And no I did not report these incidences as the info was second hand.
I am an experienced archeaologist hanging on in the profession by the skin of my teeth and It really does my head in to know that where as a paid job is hard to find I could work every day of the week as a volunteer and organisations would fall over themselves to have me do it.
Amateurs and recent graduates alike should ask themselves if the volunteer work they are doing is a vital part of a commercial project. If it is they are being exploited.
I've been following this thread with some interest, so decided to finally register and attempt to contribute.

I recently spotted a large commercial unit offering 'volunteer opportunities' as part of their commitment to 'widening access to heritage and archaeology'. This can include site work, but only non-skilled work 'including shovelling, barrowing and hoeing'' unless the PO feels sorry for you and throws you a posthole now and again.
To work on an excavation you would need to provide your own waterproofs and safety boots, although a viz vest and trowel are given to you on loan after a tenner deposit is dutifully handed over. Accomodation? Afraid not, but there are 'hotels, B&Bs and campsites close to and most excavation sites'. Hotels?? Oh and transport to/from site? Forget it.

Public outreach is very important, but is it simply being used as an excuse to use unpaid labour on developer-funded projects? It's not simply about involving local communities, the unit clearly states 'We have provided opportunities for local, national and international volunteers.' It's also not a recent development, this unit appears to have been taking on volunteers in these roles since at least 2008.

Apologies if it's old news to anyone, but I couldn't believe the cheek when I saw it out there in the open!
If the excavations part of a commercial/developer funded project and the "volunteer" is doing work required to complete the project on time and within budget then the volunteers are being exploited.nAsk your self if somewhere along the line some one is getting a financial reward from your labour. If so part of that "reward" should be coming to you.

If the project is work that is being undertaken for the opportunities it provides for community engagement or research for local groups then that is not a problem.

It is quite simple really. Letting people shift your spoil for you is not community engagement no matter how you might argue it. So out the units who are doing it if you have direct first hand experience of it.
All the information I provided (and more) can be found on their own website, see Information for Volunteers - I first found this 'opportunity' listed in the volunteering section of the Current Archaeology website.
It may be that this company has a very wide range of projects some of which are commercial some of which are community and they may well argue that the volunteers are an addition and that in fact it costs them more to have them on site along with their professional Outreach Officer. There is such a fine line to this volunteer opportunity or exploitation. The rule of thumb is if it costs more to have volunteers and public engagement than it would to tackle the site as a purely commercial project then it is valid community outreach

If the volunteers are a free work force for a commercial job then it is exploitation.

I think there is a real issue here but it is very difficult to decide what is and is not exploitation. I do a lot of volunteer work but it is always on none commercial projects.

You can have volunteers on commercial projects but the volunteer must gain something from the work. The reality is that if you are providing opportunities for training and volunteer participation this will add to the cost of the commercial work and not reduce it. If you think you can get the job done at a cheaper rate by allowing volunteers to participate then you are exploiting those volunteers.
WTF! Outreach? I like the fact that you have to agree to work the same hours as contracted staff - it does appear that these are commercial excavations can anyone from the unit in question confirm or deny this?
Interesting thread. Lots of issues here.

However, I do have to disagree with you here Wax
Quote:You can have volunteers on commercial projects but the volunteer must gain something from the work.

I do agree with most of what you have written. But I don't see a role for volunteers on any commercial site. Who is to determine whether they are 'gaining something', and whether that 'something' is worth their time? It would be different for evary person. Besides, the people in Haddock's example are gaining something: excerise in the open air, bit of banter, training in barrowing skills which is hard to come by. Done by people desperately trying to get into their first digging job, not retired time rich people.

Quote:in fact it costs them more to have them on site along with their professional Outreach Officer.

Really? more than what? is there any evidence for this? If they are just doing barrow runs, I can't imagine that it takes much of someones time to train them.

This is exploitation, and I for one would love to see that IfA come out with some kind of statement on. But I suspect that this is what the Southport agenda means and that the unit is just following the line coming from the top of the IfA.
Oxbeast Wrote:But I suspect that this is what the Southport agenda means and that the unit is just following the line coming from the top of the IfA.
The Southport agenda?

edited Google is my friend...

Quote:In Southport in April 2010, conference delegates resolved to seize the opportunity presented by a new PPS5, to chart the practical steps that would need to be taken if the investigation of the historic environment in planning were really to deliver public benefit as heralded. The ‘Southport Group’ initiative that ensued conducted a series of consultations and prepared a draft report which was published in July 2011. By April 2012, we will have seen considerable changes in our operating environment, with the National Planning Policy Framework in England, budget cuts in local government, continuing depression in property and development markets, yet no doubt also some highly successful historic environment projects and outputs.
To reply to Oxbeast. You can have outreach on commercial excavations but if its true outreach and community involvement it needs to be built in from the start and it will not be a load of volunteers pushing barrows. Hence true outreach costs on top of the commercial excavation. This is my measure of true community involvement in commercial projects, it costs as you need extra paid site staff to supervise and manage it. Surprisingly some developers are happy with the extra charge as it is good publicity and ticks all sorts of boxes.

if it don't cost more than a straight commercial excavation then it ain't community outreach
@Wax, totally agree. But also, it is not only cost, but task and intention. It would be OK for volunteers to work on stuff on top of the WSI, but what is described in the WSI is the commercail excavation. Someone has to push that barrow, and if digging th

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