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David many thanks for the conference and thanks to the audience who where superb.

And thanks to the camera crew.



5.5 hours to get home

4.5 hours to get home... many thanks to everyone who went... many thanks to those that contributed and BIG thanks to gary and Pat for putting in their own time, money and expertise to film it.... watch out in January for the final cut... and DVD. This time you can be there 'in person'.

Next year it may be in Oxford, and we will provide accomodation... but this will mean a cost...

See yopu then... when it will eb all about training

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
I think given the importance of what was discussed I think we need a faster delivery and more debate.

How about doing a summary of the notion of pan European standards and starting a discussion on this.

I'd just like to echo Peter's thanks for all the effort everyone organsiing and presenting put in (including Peter) - it has certainly got me thinking!
Unfortunately I'm away most of the next week and a half, but will rejoin any debate after that!

Dutch Archaeology Quality Standard
W.J.H. Willems & R.W. Brandt
Den Haag 2004

A 237 page document that brings together professional standards and professional competance.. very much like BAJR (and others) have been pushing for. If you know what skills you need to do a particular job and know what is expected of you for a particular job, then it is left to professional judgement... then we are getting somewhere... whether amatuer or contractor, metal detectorist or finds specilaist... there should be an easy guide to the baseline standard... the requirements of a practitioner and the trust to allow the person to use their own judgement about what si best.

There is no reason why we can't have a pan european standard... one that involves us all in creating a SINGLE document that binds us all, and does not leave us drowning in a sea of Guidance.. We need the firm hand of Standards..

So come on... whats your thoughts!

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
Hmmm... Not sure why we need a 'Pan-European' standard. Not to mention the difficulties in producing such a document - harmonising archaeological practice in the 27 EU and umpteen other states that make up the continent. I would expect such a document either to be pretty vague or too prescriptive - and really why? Why not a Pan-Global standard??[?]

Still the Dutch paper is interesting - haven't skimmed it all yet - but I would suggest that it has a lot in common with the S & Gs produced by the IFA. Certainly they are not unaware of it and it is the IFA that we have to thank for playing a large part in producing the English translation. That said we have a lot to learn from across the North Sea - not least on preservation in situ.

Would suggest that the recent work of the IFA on the NVQ in Arch Practice fills the gap here.

Otherwise, I find the bit about job titles interesting and would suggest that perhaps the model of Archaeologists, specialist, technicians and the levels of qulifications and experience set out here makes a lot of sense.

Vive la Différence!
Vulpes, you may indeed be right... but this document did come as a surprise to most people...

If the IFA had been involved in the translation, why have we never heard of this... Why are we benchmarking a profession and looking at job roles and requirements... when in the Dutch document there is alrady a pretty decent template.. involving all the main job families... with 3 levels ... We seem to be reinventing the wheel - (or I should say, starting from scratch when we could have had a head start..)

IFA S&Gs are as vague as anyone... a game to play is act as bad contractor good curator... (or visa versa) and you can get round anything...

A European Standard Document (with regional appendices) would allow us all to follow best practice.... and know that whether you are in Midlothian or Mycanae.. if you are carrying out an excavation you are bound to the same base standard, where the same level of expertise is expected, where the expecations of reports, artefact curation, material archiving is known. There are certain 'universal truths' and certain areas of debate... but put it this way... saying carry out a RCAHE Level 2 building record is open to various interpretation...

There is a case for professional judgement... and each may have their own comment, however, If I go to a garage, and ask for a change of tyres, I expect the same if I am in Germany or Greece, UK or Portugal... If I ask for a structural survey of a building, I expect it to cover the same ground no matter where I am... etc... so why not archaeology... ?

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
Surely a European Standards document with regional (national?) appendices is much the same as having regional/national standards, which we already have - to some extent. The major stumbling block to having more detailed national standards is getting all the curators in one room and getting them to agree - as I've already pointed out on this forum.

Although I occasionally get a duff report - it doesn't get approved or the planning condition discharged until it's up to scratch - I don't need a Pan-Euro document to do this -just experience, the brief, spec and a bit of time.

I strongly suspect that such a high level document would be about as intelligible and useful as MoRPHE EH's MAP2 replacement. :face-confused:

Not sure about the tyre analogy either.
...the structural survey analogy is closer than the tyre one. You won't get the same structural survey from any two surveyors UNLESS you give them the same brief (spec). While this will tell them what you want surveyed (put crudely) it won't tell them how to do it: that is their professional judgement and why you have employed them.

They will however be bound by professional standards and guidance that will appear vague and imprecise, because they cover general concepts of conduct and professionalism (in the traditional sense of the word). They will not say you must inspect this or that in such a such a manner as they will be expected - required - to make an appropriate decision themselves. That is why they are called professionals.

You don't know what you've got till it's gone.
Vupes .... you have kind of hit the nail on the proverbials... Your judgement of what is or is not up to crtach is personal judgment based on experieince... but across the range we have a very non specific.. vague... complicated ... non-standard curatorial service that varies depending on the day and the region you are in.... one might ask for buildings to be recorded... another might not... one might ask for a building to be recorded but not know if its a good report or not...

take this process (its what we do (should do) already)

Prepare the fieldwork
The preparation work relating to the fieldwork comprises all the work that is necessary in order to be able to implement the fieldwork. The fieldwork is carried out on the basis of a Project Outline approved by the competent authority.
Implement the fieldwork
The fieldwork covers all activities in the field as prescribed in the Project Outline and agreed with the principal.

Interpret the fieldwork
The interpretation of the archaeological field evaluation has to provide answers to the research questions stated in the Project Outline. This is recorded in a final report that has to be approved, after which the field evaluation can be concluded.
End of the process.

now take 3.
Assessment of the finds and samples
The finds and samples are assessed by an appropriate specialist with regard to their suitability for analysis with the assessment being recorded in a report.
Senior Specialist/
Senior Archaeologist
Send statement of finds and samples to be deposited to the depot
An estimate is made of the quantity of samples, finds and corresponding documentation to be delivered to the depot.
Medior Archaeologist
Analysis of field walking data.
The field walking data are analysed, documented and recorded in a file (data file + report).
Medior Archaeologist
Analysis of contexts
The contexts and structures are analysed, documented and recorded in a file (data file + report).
Medior Archaeologist
Analysis of finds and (borehole) samples
The finds and (borehole) samples are analysed and documented by the respective expert/specialist per finds category. The results are analysed, documented and recorded in a file (data file + report). The analysis is carried out in conditions which guarantee the stability of the material.
Medior Archaeologist/
Junior Specialist
VS03 and OS14
Preservation of finds and samples
Finds and samples that have been analysed and selected are preserved in such a way that they can be stored in conditions that are as stable as possible in the (transit) depot.
Senior Specialist
Temporary storage of analysed and selected finds and samples
Finds and samples that have been analysed and selected are packed, sorted and coded in such a way that they can be stored in conditions that are as stable as possible in the (transit) depot.
Excavation Worker
and valuation
The various parts of the archaeological field evaluation (subreports) are assembled in a report. The report contains a valuation, in accordance with the research questions in the PO.
Senior Specialist
Selection recommendations
If prescribed in the PO, recommendations are drawn up in accordance with the valuation, the prevailing archaeology policy and the selection criteria currently in force.
Senior Archaeologist
Sections 3.1 to 3.9 are checked by the Senior Archaeologist. The Senior Archaeologist tests whether the valuation described in the report answers the research questions in the Project Outline. If correct, the Senior Archaeologist approves the report and appendices by signing/initialling them. The selection report is part of the archaeological field evaluation report.
Excavation Worker/Medior Senior Archaeologist/Junior & Senior Specialist

This clearly sets out in one page, what to expect, who should be doing it and what they should do, with cross ref to further information...

I like it becuase for once... its all in one book, not spread between dozens of documents.. and is a clear process... (no reason why the IFA standards and Guidance can't be part of it... )

If I ask which 'standard you require when asking for a Watching Brief... do you have to ask for other elements? DO you ask for detecting for example... and if not why not, if you do, how do you specify it... etc...... Would it not be good just to ask for a Watching Brief, and Professiona Judgement kicks in, within the parameters set down in what is expected for a watching brief... etc.. etc...

keep talking though

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."

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