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A handbook for new diggers?
#41
Marcus Brody Wrote:I know that this is off the main topic of this thread, but I do wonder whether the increased uni fees will result in a return to the situation where a degree is no longer a necessity for working as a digger. After all, it's questionable whether it's sustainable to expect someone to take on debts of ?27,000 in preparation for a job than may only pay ?16k, possibly rising to ?30k after a number of years if they're lucky. Some of the best archaeologists I've worked with don't have degrees, having come into archaeology during the MSP of the 80s. They learned their trade on the job, and it may be that this sort of model becomes more prevalent in the future.

ummmm...I can see where your idea is coming from but wonder if the reverse isn't true. In this time of increased student fees and decreasing employment opportunities shouldn't the profession be arguing for a raising of academic standards for new entrants rather than a lowering. I am just thinking that the kind of kick that archaeology needs to get out of the rut of 16k salaries and closer to the national average wage is actually a shortage of available staff and a batch of cash-desperate MA graduates with 50 or 60k debts rather than the piddling 27k that undergrads bring to the table...
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#42
Quote:I do wonder whether the increased uni fees will result in a return to the situation where a degree is no longer a necessity for working as a digger
It's possible that increased fees plus the downsizing/closing of university archaeology departments, is more likely to stabilise the sector. There will be fewer fresh graduates looking for work and experienced diggers will be more in demand as the cheap labour supply dries up.

At the moment, labour supply outstrips demand, forcing wages down. Once units have to compete for good staff, wages will have to be bumped up to attract the talent who will logically come from the existing experienced workforce, degree or not.
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#43
"At the moment, labour supply outstrips demand, forcing wages down. Once units have to compete for good staff, wages will have to be bumped up to attract the talent who will logically come from the existing experienced workforce, degree or not"

Unfortunately we have a very long way to go before demand outstrips labour supply.

Back to the hand book, it might be nice to have it printed on paper that can take being used in the field. The MOLAS red book and First Aid for Finds are and it is one of the most useful elements of these publications. Cannot see a Kindle or I Pad taking a week in the field in typical British weather. I dread the day when I sit on my better half's I Pad by accident.

Electronic media is very nice but batteries are needed and resistence to the conditions on your average site is not there yet. An all terrain solar powered hand held device with a screen that can be read in most light conditions is still some way off.
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#44
How does a manual propose to teach new diggers all those lost skills like being able to find the edge of a feature?
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#45
kevin wooldridge Wrote:ummmm...I can see where your idea is coming from but wonder if the reverse isn't true. In this time of increased student fees and decreasing employment opportunities shouldn't the profession be arguing for a raising of academic standards for new entrants rather than a lowering. I am just thinking that the kind of kick that archaeology needs to get out of the rut of 16k salaries and closer to the national average wage is actually a shortage of available staff and a batch of cash-desperate MA graduates with 50 or 60k debts rather than the piddling 27k that undergrads bring to the table...

I don't necessarily think that there's any direct correlation between the level of indebtedness of new entrants and pay rates. I think it would be dangerous to assume that wages would automatically rise simply because every new digger had an MA and debts of ?50,000 - after all, if that were the case, wages would have risen with the introduction of tuition fees, and would have risen again when they were increased, simply because the average digger owed a lot more money at the start of their career. And we all know that this didn't happen.

I'm always slightly uneasy when people decide to pursue an MA or a PhD to try to further their career - sure, a few of them make it into academia, but many more seem to end up back digging again, only with much higher levels of debt. For example, I know a couple of people who did post-grad courses in osteology, only to find that when they finished, there were very few jobs available in that field. I'm not suggesting that post-grad qualifications are a waste, as education's never a bad thing in itself, but I would say that anyone undertaking such a course should think carefully about what they'd want to do afterwards, and whether there are jobs available, rather than assuming that just because you have a higher qualification and owe more money, you'll automatically get paid more.
You know Marcus. He once got lost in his own museum
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#46
I was at uni when there was a massive boom in archaeology student graduate numbers and with it an increase in "Masters" (not oxbridge ones which you buy).

Come accross this
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ah-shs-office/learn...logy_final

what they started doing in my day was watering down the undergraduate courses and putting that flannel in the masters courses. This makes interesting reading. There is a stratergy at work. Is it that the qualification to get on the masters course is pure twank.

"The IoA successfully compensated for falling undergraduate enrolments by expanding its Master?s
provision" what does that mean?

[SIZE=3]
Quote:i) The popularity of archaeology as an undergraduate subject
[/SIZE]
Quote:[SIZE=3]Archaeology is a subject with considerable public interest and appeal. Nonetheless, the number of [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]applicants competing for places on UK undergraduate archaeology programmes declined by almost [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]50% in the period from 1996 to 2008. It appears that students (and their parents) became increasingly [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]wary of high costs and the necessity for loans, especially as a career in archaeology is seldom [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]associated with high salaries. This national trend probably impacted the IoA particularly hard because
of the high costs of living in London, so that IoA undergraduate enrolment fell from 245 in 2004/5 to
150 in 2008/9. Furthermore, archaeology is relatively popular with mature students (15% of the
2011/12 undergraduate intake were age 21 or older), with the result that undergraduate recruitment has
been more susceptible to changing rates of mature student participation in HE than would be expected
in many disciplines.

The IoA successfully compensated for falling undergraduate enrolments by expanding its Master?s
provision (see next). Since 2009 there has been a slight recovery in the number of applicants to
undergraduate archaeology programmes and this, coupled with the IoA?s decision to launch a joint
Archaeology and Anthropology degree, resulted in improved undergraduate enrolment (185 in 2011/12).
[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]ii) The growth of Master?s training[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]The period from 2002/3 to 2010 saw a 27% increase in the number of Master?s students in UK HE. In [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]the context of both declining undergraduate numbers and its mission to educate future leaders in [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]archaeological research and management, the IoA seized the opportunity presented by this general [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]trend and greatly expanded the range of its own Master?s provision to the point where in 2009/10 its[/SIZE][SIZE=3]18 degree programmes collectively recruited 272 taught Master?s students. Since then Master?s [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]recruitment has declined by circa 5%. The IoA?s mean UGTongueGT ratio over the period 2007/8 to [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]2009/10 was 1.6, which significantly surpassed UCL?s 1:1 target for 2012/13 and is - based on[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]anecdotal evidence - considerably above the average for UK archaeology departments. In absolute [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]terms the IoA undoubtedly has the largest and most diverse Master?s student community anywhere in
the UK and quite possibly in the world.
[/SIZE]

Reason: your past is my past
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#47
Quote:"The IoA successfully compensated for falling undergraduate enrolments by expanding its Master’s
provision" what does that mean?

Business is good?
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#48
Obviously, a lot of us started out with the old Molas manual tucked under our arms : still an obligatory point of passage for anybody planning to detail site skills. Reading University's training-site manual might also be something to look at...I think there is one!

Having produced a site-skills training handbook, I would be interested to be involved in this project.
I suggest there is room for a chapter on "soft skills": teamwork tips or some such thing. Also, the importance of understanding how a site forms (site formation processes by any other name) the basics are not that complex and help see wood for trees once grasped.
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#49
Reading reports and writing

The skill of research
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#50
It means the decision to teach masters saved the huge staff base at the IoA from layoffs/early retirements for a few years.
UG numbers this year are not down that much - they were up last year so a drop on last year is meaningless without the longer term trend and that is not down as much as many people expected. Many Universities survive on their joint honours with classics/history or anthropology students and that pool is much bigger and more versatile than single hons archaeology.
The vast majority of undergraduates could not give a hoot about the pay and conditions in commercial archaeology because they have no intention of doing it, or doing it for long (less that 50% single hons grads go on to do any further archaeology). As a result I think fees will have the most dramatic effect on master’s courses not job seekers. At the moment the government claims that graduates will not pay back a penny until they earn 21k, if this goal post remains still it will leave plenty of room for the two year digger to remain in the profession before going to teacher training, becoming a surveyor, working for dad or to joining the civil service. It will also leave room for those who stay and who over a life time in commercial archaeology will probably pay back much less than those who currently leave with 3.5k a year plus living expense all of which must be repaid. However, by contrast when UGs leave with 30k of government debt they may not want, or be able, to privately finance a masters and many departments seem to be consolidating their postgraduate provision in preparation. Maybe the IoA can maintain its market position by being the biggest and most diverse masters teaching institution in the UK, maybe not.
On this note a text book that sits nicely in the 3rd year/masters slot, by providing professional development advice that university staff cannot, could be a winner so why not take your idea to a mainstream publisher like Rutledge/Duckworth/Oxbow or better still the CBAs hand book series. In paperback it would still be ?15-25 but with distribution support and marketed as a text book it could sell 1000 not 100 copies and have a lasting impact on next generation.
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