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Is the time right to sort out pay and conditions?
#31
Noddy Wrote:Every unit I've worked for has claimed to be a 'business'. I never worked for one that was. Outside Archaeology I've worked for both a PLC and couple of private companies. They were businesses. The managerial ethos was the difference.

Maybe I'm being a little too literal here, but for a commercial archaeological unit/company/what ever you want to call them to function without going bust don't they have to be, by definition, a business? And the one I work for most certainly operates as a business. Thankfully a slightly nicer business than the ones I was used to in my previous life.
I reserve the right to change my mind. It's called learning.
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#32
Marc Berger Wrote:what you need is a pre evaluation, evaluation.

by what law are they doing the archaeology? Theres a lot of so called ex council units in this type work as often its based on some ancient pre-war mineral right.. Normally joined up with where the county authority wants the gravel to go into public council developments. Do the gravel quarries in the winter or the year before, the roads in the summer. How has it saved a fortune?

New Permission awarded in ??2005ish actually (ran on from a previous one, can't remember offhand which year), with archaeology built in (as had the previous)

Saved a fortune as in not wasting money on evaluation? Big bit of landscape was always going to have archaeology anyway, and geofizz rarely shows stuff on rural sites that you can't see equally well by good old fashioned topsoil stripping - brown soily bits in the gravel. Big infrastructure project we're doing at the moment has (and is) demonstrated amply that geofizz misses a proportion (carefull wording here - politics - somewhere between 0-100%) of the archaeology on some subsoils and hence can be a poor guide to what's there to be dealt with. If its going to be trashed anyway, simpler just to get the top off and see whats there. Did a big site years back where the geofizz was great - apart from the 120 dead people with oodles of stuff Sad
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#33
Dino I agree that geophys should not be considered an evaluation but I don't think that evaluation should be seen as a waste of money. You seem to be suggesting that the saving of not doing any evaluation very neatly increases the budget for excavation by not wasting money. The whole point of evaluation is to establish the costs of excavation. A lot of archaeologists, I think wrongly, use evaluation to determine presence or absence of significant archaeology. Your gravel site methodology (is it excavation or evaluation methodology?) of strip and plan is post application. I presume that the gravel quarry people, yourselves and the curators are all satisfied with what you are achieving at the budget time frame that you have agreed on. Question should be what evaluation was that cost negotiated on because if you haven't got one I imagine that you got the job of "excavation" over anybody else because of some other method that did not involve archaeological evaluation? If so is it that you are gambling with the clients money on what might be there?
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#34
When the client's going to have to pay to have whatever's there dug anyway, why should they waste money on evaluation first? Geofizz, trial trenching etc isn't going to have any impact on the final excavation results under those circumstances anyway [some fieldwalking might have been good though] Actually in this case most of the most interesting archaeology wouldn't have looked like anything on geophysics and the site's so huge trial trenching would have been needle-in-a-haystack stuff. Rectified kite photography post-stripping proved to be particularly effective though :face-approve:

The mitigation methodology was, I'd imagine, part of the application (we didn't deal with it)

It'll come as a considerable surprise to many people (including me) reading your post that geophysics isn't a form of evaluation! :face-huh:
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#35
Don't ... bite ....!

If a site is going to be topsoil stripped and the client is happy to wait until then before getting a cost for recording any archaeology present then that is obviously the best way to do it. But if you need an indication in advance of likely amount of archaeology, for better assessing costs or just for information pre-determination, then evaluation is required, of which geophysics should usually play a key part.

'Bad' geophysics results can be due to soil conditions but they can also be due to poor survey practice and interpretation. If you want the best, most reliable results use a specialist and not just someone who can walk up and down fields.

In terms of features such as graves and other isolated features, high resolution surveys with multi-sensor systems can help improve identification of those. Not guaranteed but definitely provide an increased chance of identifying discrete features. We do 0.5 m by 0.15 m as standard when we use ours and there is no associated increase in cost. Equipment has moved on and the industry needs to be aware of that and not be too stuck in the past based on results from 15, 10, 5 or even 2 years ago.

(did I bite?!)
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#36
Surely the main point of evaluation is to aid the curator (and ultimately the planning authority) in deciding upon the proposed impact of development on the archaeological resource and thereafter to devise appropriate forms of mitigation...at the point of 'evaluation', cost is largely irrelevant
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#37
kevin wooldridge Wrote:Surely the main point of evaluation is to aid the curator (and ultimately the planning authority) in deciding upon the proposed impact of development on the archaeological resource and thereafter to devise appropriate forms of mitigation...at the point of 'evaluation', cost is largely irrelevant

Fair point. Cost considerations aside if a project goes to strip and record before any evaluation and archaeology of national importance turns up then what happens. Is it too late to preserve it? We've had geophysics sites where we have turned up very significant archaeology that there was no previous evidence for. A couple that spring to mind are one very large site (200 ha) where the archaeology was so extensive and potentially important that the proposed development was stopped and another where we turned up a possible henge on a site that had been parkland for a couple of hundred years and then relatively recently turned to 'rough' ground. No 'evidence' prior to our geophysics of any archaeology within the site, let alone something of potential significance. Any evaluation that did not include geophysics would probably not have found these or allowed their significance to be put into context.

But I've got involved in another digression from the original topic. Is it the right time to sort out pay and conditions. Not sure if its a better or worse time that at any other point. But fundamentally if your working conditions are poor and you are not happy with the level of pay then work somewhere else.
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#38
PhaseSI Wrote:Fair point. Cost considerations aside if a project goes to strip and record before any evaluation and archaeology of national importance turns up then what happens.

In my example we had known archaeology of national importance anyway, known about for 60-odd years, but the powers-that-be had decided not to schedule it. Upshot was the client already knew the archaeology was going to hurt financially...although considering the value of 20M tonnes of gravel I suspect we appear somewhere down in the 'sundries' section on their annual accounts...

Actually, archaeology of 'national importance' doesn't take any longer to dig than the other sort, on our biggest on-going excavation the Scheduled bit stopped at a fence that used to cross halfway down the site, archaeology's much the same both sides of that line and being treated the same way. The last thing I had published in a 'proper', non-regional journal was arguably of international importance (it certainly seems to get referenced a lot in overseas journals, anyway) and that got dug in 2hrs in lumps in sub-zero temperatures on a January morning, no different to any other feature [apart from the cool stuff]
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#39
Quote:Surely the main point of evaluation is to aid the curator (and ultimately the planning authority) in deciding upon the proposed impact of development on the archaeological resource and thereafter to devise appropriate forms of mitigation...at the point of 'evaluation', cost is largely irrelevant
Shirley without excavation there is no archaeological resource. The curators and geophysics are putting horse before cart when they use evaluation to find archaeology and geophysics pretends to be evaluation.

Diggers rates of pay are very much based in "excavation". Its probably where they get their introduction to field archaeology and where experience of pay and conditions are formulated. On average what does the industry expect out of digging -one feature or three a day and would you cost that on a rate or price.

So without an evaluation (the answer will not involves algebra), if you set out on an expedition to the hinterland land of excavation how many diggers would you take with you, what rate of pay would you be willing to pay them, how long would you expect them to tell their families that they would be away for and where would you locate the site hut?

Quote:and that got dug in 2hrs in lumps in sub-zero temperatures on a January morning, no different to any other feature [apart from the cool stuff]
priceless?
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#40
Ah, was hoping someone would spot the pun :face-approve:
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