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From my view of the discussion at the BAJR conference it wasn't so much that people were set on a pan-European standard. The real need that was highlighted is to make sense of the plethora of standards and guidance documents that we have available now.

They are spread out between the IFA, English Heritage, other specialist organisations, county councils etc etc. and sometimes contradict each other. The concern was what do you follow when.

The Dutch document was highlighted as an example of where, seemingly, a concensus has been reached on a nationwide basis as to what standard to follow for a range of archaeological activities. The benefits of not re-inventing the wheel for each project and knowing that the job role of a site assistant or project officer between companies were comparable seemed to be the biggest pluses.

Whilst I think that a pan-Euro document may be useful at a broad brush and principles level (the standard?), I still think each contry will want an appendix setting out the details of how that is interpreted in their domain (the guidance?). In the meantime lets work on our own standard and guidance (by all means based on the Dutch example) and then we can bring something to the table when it moves forward.
Spot on teaMonster... Spot on...

Glad to see you were listening ! Big Grin

at least now I know what I was on about as well... Wink [:p]

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
What Teamonster said was very much the gist of my argument at the conference nice single simple standards rather than the dozens of documents.

The notion of a pan European was something that I suggested. This is based that ecology (the nearest discipline to us in the process) in effect has European (EU) standards and the UK system derives from a mix of things but particularly the introduction of EIAs in the early 1980s following EU environmental law and the Valetta convention.

I've spoken to some our resident ecologists - whilst they have the European legislation, that undoubtably gives ecological constraints greater clout than archaeology in many cases, it is more or less up to each country as to how they implement it.

The standards for great crested newt, for example, survey and mitigation and awarding licences, are not European standards, but designed and published by Natural England (formerly English Nature). There is a lot of dialogue at European level between the agencies, but they don't appear to have agreed a pan-European standard.

Perhaps for once we can be ahead of the ecologists!!! However a pan-European standard for undertaking fieldwork wouldn't alter the fact there is no designation at a European level...

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