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Thanks for that... I will be meeting with one of the people who helped set this up... (down in Portsmouth I am told!) so will question him about probelms, suggestions... etc.....

It would be loverly to have something collected into one place... (maybe I am just a neat / obsessive person)

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
Sorry I missed the debate last weekend and I have some difficulty understanding precisely where this thread is coming from (or going to come to that). However, if I can throw one more consideration into this mix....

Whilst the British archaeological 'system' is obviously the concern of most BAJR followers, it isn't the only method or practice through which other European countries regualate and/or practice archaeology.

Some countries or regions of Europe have in effect 'archaeological monopolies', where a single body is responsible for all fieldwork or where separate single bodies are resonsible for the equivalant of what the British would call 'evaluation' and 'excavation'. Perhaps the first step in the BAJR debate is to recognise where Europe-wide standards might actually have some affect. I have the feeling for example that many EU countries have been able to exclude archaeology from the pan-European activities where 'competition' should apply. Whilst of course such bodies might be (and probably are) self-regulating, Euro-wide standards seem in such instances to be a touch irrelevant.

Whilst I know that we have to live with it, I consider that the British 'system' would not be universally welcomed across Europe. Moreover, many European archaeologists would probably be insulted that the British could be so crass as to suggest the implementation of a pan-Euro system of standards whilst standards in Britain are's the right word'ill-defined' maybe ...and poorly implemented.

That natural reticence and an exisiting monopoly situation means a BAJR campaign to introduce Europe-wide standards might fall on many deaf or closed ears. Shouldn't BAJR road-test it at home first and see how far it gets falling on Brit-ears before thinking of pressing those standards on the rest of Europe.

Quote:quote:Originally posted by vulpesNot sure about the tyre analogy either.

I agree with the foxy gentleman that maybe the tyre analogy is not one of David's best.

If you went to Norway or Sweden in any given January you would discover that tyre standards are very different to those of Greece or southern Italy.

But then again as an analogy it does demonstrate my point about the difficulty of implementing a British-based system of standards across the wide variation of continental-Europe. We may think our tyres are suitable for all 'weathers'. Other Europeans might disagree...
nicely put.... and agreed with..

for example earthquakes are not a great concern of british archaeologists while greek ones might disagree.. hence regional variation... the EU was set up however to i,plememnt pan european standards.. allowing for regional variation...

I so why is archaeology considered different.

I agree that trying to get French to adhere to British 'standards' might ber... er problamatic... but thats it... this is not british standard.. this is european standard... I do agree that I would like to see a standard in the UK first.. Smile

So looking at the Dutch model .... properly... is a step... one we may disagree with... but lets look at it first.

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
I think, as Kevin has implied, archaeology has to be different because legally it is a private or a public concern (or a strange half-way house) depending on what country you are in. So unless you rip apart a lot of infrastructure diversity is here to stay. Also, for the record, I think that is mostly a good thing.
I think we need a summary of what was said at the conference which may clear up some of the issues being raised.

I made the point that we need three things - the standard itself practical guidance and training. The Dutch standard does not replace the need for a site specific spec but it does simplify the process.

This is rather like the EH standard for building recording or the IFA/ICE contract where all the basics are covered in one document and there is no need to re-invent the wheel for every project.

The point is that that all archaeological systems in a sense derived or should adhere to the Valetta convention. Similarly the way archaeology is dealt within in the planning system is derived from Euro environmental laws. EIAs where made law in the early 1980s but not implemented in the UK until 1988 - PPG 16 was a logical progression from this.

So why couldnt we cherry pick all the various standards across Europe. I for one am not suggesting we impose a British Standard on the rest of the EU anything but.

Allowing free trade in archaeological contracts was one reason the Dutch translated their standard into English. It is also one reason for having a pan EU standard.

Peter Wardle
It is a shame that some of you were not able to come to the recent European Association of Archaeologists meeting in Croatia, where precisely these sort of issues were being discussed at a strategic level - both formally within the structure of the conference, and informally over a few drinks outside it. Watch out for pan-European archaeological contracting units (or rather consortia) coming to a site near you in the next few years... it [u]will</u> happen.

The EAA does exist as a forum for discussing many of these sorts of things, although it does not constitute a professional body with the ability to design and enforce standards.

For those interested here are a few of the session abstracts which touched on some of the points made in this thread

Does the archaeology of Europe exist?

Models for delivering research in European development-led archaeology

Bilateral agreements on archaeological standards and ethics

Pan European contracting units are already emerging. OA has loads of work in France. Wouldn't fancy Scandanavia, though. I heard that all archaeology grinds to a halt for four months of the year. A pan European system of recording would be great though. There have been a number of occasions when I tried to explain to a French or Swiss archaeologist why we follow the features, and don't just excavate arbitrary spits across the whole site. Most of the time, they get all defensive.
Not so sure about pan-european contracting units. Seems like a surefire way to lower terms and conditions of employment to me....

Surely the best way forward is for co-operative agreements (rather than competition) between archaeological contractors, archaeological instigators, archaeological curators, archaeological specialists, national heritage bodies, universities, museums and archaeological trade-unions across the whole of Europe.

Not in the British tradition I know, but it could work.....

I think some of the larger units are thinking co-operatively rather than competitively. Smaller units are, sadly, likely to lose out even more in the future. However the contractors are to some extent ahead of the curators in this regard, who, as many posts on this thread have made clear, are not even consistent throughout the UK. One clear issue is the need to establish parity between the different professional institutes - ie. non-UK archaeologists working in the UK should be members of the IFA... UK archaeologists working (for example) in the Netherlands should be members of the AWN (Archeologische Werkgemeenschap voor Nederland)... but are the institutes comparable?

Apologies for some of the links in my earlier post not working, I can't seem to upload the URLs correctly. Best to go to the EAA Conference 2007 website and look at the conference programme.


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