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All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group




Revised summary of issues from submissions

  1. Government – policy issues
    • inconsistency in approach to archaeological remains between and within government departments (eg DCMS, DETR, DTLR, MoD, ODPM) - need greater liaison between them
    • need specialist staff in government departments
    • raise awareness of archaeology so that the divide between natural and cultural heritage is diminished
    • need recognition for archaeology beyond tourism eg cultural and educational aspects and in eg taxation/subsidy
    • rationalise legislation and guidance eg policies and practice in agriculture, forestry, local government, transport, planning, housing, minerals and management of their estates; ecclesiastical sites
    • need annual reporting and UK-wide approach
    • local Authorities need statutory role in archaeology and legislation which recognises the regional and local importance of archaeological sites.
  2. Funding strategies:
    • need substantial increase in government funding to underpin the development of archaeology
    • ensure funding for non-developer work
    • proposed development tax ie percentage cost levied on all development
    • desire for transparency in decision-making regarding funding
    • relax rules on landfill tax credit
    • remove VAT on historic buildings and churches etc
    • Local Authorities need further resources to fulfil additional functions
    • extra funding to enable purchase of portable antiquities
    • ease Heritage Lottery Funding regulations
  3. National heritage agencies/organisations
    • Need extra funding for increased responsibilities of national heritage agencies
    • need more strategic projects eg Monuments at Risk (MARS)
    • need national standards and the monitoring thereof for SMR etc
    • some organisations excessively bureaucratic with top-heavy management
    • need well coordinated initiatives between national agencies and local societies
    • more cooperation between all national heritage agencies
    • need better career path within national agencies
  4. Site protection
    • revision planning legislation for more effective conservation and management of historic environment especially for protection of remains falling outside planning process eg agriculture (sub-soiling, de-stoning, power harrowing, drainage, soil erosion and agrichemical/animal slurry waters), works by statutory undertakers, natural processes, smaller permitted developments in towns; small pipelines and surface stripping; afforestation; mineral extraction; desiccation of waterlogged resources; artefact scatters and palaeo-environmental deposits; geomorphologically significant sites; include underground sites; industrial sites; lithic scatters; status of bridleways
    • increase awareness amongst police and make meaningful punishment for transgressors
    • revise scheduling and listing procedures with a wider definitions of ancient monuments
    • problem of preservation versus excavation and tourism
    • lack of staff to deal with increased number of protected sites
    • inconsistent approach to industrial sites and churches
    • loss of unlisted buildings of historical value
    • need records of historic buildings tracking all alterations
    • develop integrated coastal zone management including offshore SMR
  5. Sites and Monuments (SMRs) and Historic Environment Resource Centres (HERCs)
    • inadequate resourcing means development slow and uneven
    • provision needs to be statutory
    • understaffing leads to accumulation of huge backlog
    • SMRs should consistently include upstanding buildings and maritime and coastal sites
    • SMR resource should be available to as wide an audience as possible including on-line and public libraries.
  6. Planning Policy Guidelines (especially PPGs 15 and 16)
    • PPGs 15 and 16 have led to an exponential increase in investigations – need new statutory legislation and all projects go through a new evaluation procedure
    • need statutory provision for post-excavation and publication
    • need better integration between the PPGs
    • competitive tendering has led to lowering of standards (some areas a monopoly) also excessive attention on minor sites
    • need provision for amateurs
    • too much depends on parochial circumstance - LAs are susceptible to political and financial influence
    • fragmentation of the profession along academic and commercial lines
    • fragmentation within the contracting profession
    • specialists fail to communicate well with each other and non-specialists - impedes research
    • separation of excavation team from post-excavation /writing-up/publication
    • lack communication leading to duplication of effort
    • tendering system means non-local bodies engaged in work which can lead to much duplication of work for background info etc
  7. Treasure and Portable Antiquities
    • need secure framework and funding for Portable Antiquities Scheme
    • extend Scheme
    • register details of portable antiquities on database
    • Scheme perceived by some as accelerating destruction
    • need grants to support purchase of treasure
    • redefine treasure
    • publicise laws on Treasure and portable antiquities
    • revise principles of ownership
    • reinforce illicit trade as an offence
    • create database of cultural objects
    • rigorous issue of export licenses
    • repatriation following UNESCO guidelines
  8. Community / public archaeology
    • need statutory obligation for communities to be informed of all archaeological work
    • need archaeological liaison officer
    • access to SMRs
    • foster social inclusion eg Culture-on-line
    • need community involvement
    • give breadth to focus eg museums, conservation and above-ground archaeology
    • public recognition for user groups who raise issues eg re spiritual needs for access or reburial
    • outreach encourage public access throughout whole process
    • ensure standards to avoid dumbing down
    • need locally-based archaeology service
    • need statutory framework for what should be provided by Local Authority archaeological services with adequate funding
    • joined-up approach between professional, amateurs and volunteers, failure to take account of local knowledge
    • PPG work has poor provision for public access
    • archaeology and Best Value statements
    • more large and permanent regional units
  9. Volunteers/amateurs
    • need for training for amateurs
    • education and liaison officers to encourage voluntary work
    • disappearance of opportunities for amateurs
    • widening rift between professional and amateur - need more liaison between professional and amateurs
    • forum of communication between universities, museums and local societies
    • inform of local interventions - need a database of local activity
    • regional network professional staff seconded to liaise with amateurs and museums
    • encourage voluntary sector to do research and get qualifications
    • encouraging especially young
    • many amateur industrial archaeologists are better qualified than professionals
    • remove bar on Heritage Lottery Fund for training excavations
    • more communication between societies - pool expertise and equipment
    • costs of venue for lectures
    • maintain local diversity in terms of input rather than force central regulation
    • charity and VAT laws make too much paperwork for local societies
    • anti-licensing (Valetta, article 3) – perceived to restrict work of amateurs vs pro-licensing to raise amateur and professional standards; control bad practice but not prohibit/inhibit
  10. Education
    • promote wider public interest
    • present historic environment as educational resource
    • Schools:

      incorporate prehistory, including the palaeolithic in school curriculum
    • promote archaeology school qualifications
    • enable archaeology graduates to enter teacher training
    • incorporate archaeology in wide range of curriculum subjects
    • encourage an awareness of local archaeology including industrial archaeology
    • Universities: costs of university education put British students at disadvantage compared with other countries in Europe
    • masters for professional training will increase debt burden on students students leaving with little practical experience
    • funding often given to universities in preference to units with specialist expertise
    • need professional placement system at university level
    • establish centres of excellence in universities for Industrial Archaeology
    • forge links between local authority officers and universities and fieldworkers - university routine involvement in consultation planning process
    • encourage research in UK
    • teach skills for professionalism and commercial archaeology
    • Continuing Education: lifelong learning opportunities for adults to ensure standards in non- professional sector
    • inflexible system of funding (HEFCE) with bias to courses with qualifications
    • include industrial archaeology
  11. Conservation
    • cuts to archaeological conservation lack of conservators
    • need research into conservation
    • training for conservation posts
    • regional conservation centres to share facilities and expertise
  12. Museums and archives
    • storage areas full – need regional accessible depots with space for research for long-term provision in correct atmospheric conditions and adequate staffing levels
    • need guidance on what constitutes appropriate repository
    • underfunding of national and local authority museums
    • no designated posts to curate collections
    • cuts mean disposal of material, need coherent policy
    • prevent archives being split
    • rationalise published archives
    • upgrade old archives
    • need standards for archives
    • list of archive holdings eg Archaeological Data Service
    • need data on nos of artefacts unearthed each year
    • need better reporting procedures so local museums are informed
    • educational role of museums
    • low standards of display with poor presentation and interpretation – need national standards
    • need more local exhibitions and national travelling ones
    • return of material which should be in regional museum
    • develop partnerships between national and local museums
    • claim VAT back for university museums
  13. Archaeology as a profession
    • no system for providing integrated training, accreditation or career structure
    • dwindling number of specialists - need database of existing specialists
    • interest in artefacts has declined - out of date or lack of corpora
    • lack of synthesis of finds material with lack of common terminology
    • lack sharing of skills and regional cooperation
    • inadequate training provided for professionals with some dubious quality training schools being set up
    • training needs to include health and safety on site; report writing, surveying, use of information for desk-top evaluation, staff management
    • currently no meaningful code of practice or terms of reference to ensure consistency of standards
    • need regulatory independent body
    • need flexible local system with minimum standards, training and disciplinary action
    • job insecurity with short term casual contracts
    • units cannot charge ‘normal’ overheads of eg training and development and accommodation etc because threat of undercutting
    • poor pay
    • need minimum terms and conditions
    • many professionals overworked and demotivated
  14. Dissemination / publication
    • need compulsory provision to be made for post-excavation and publication to acceptable standard
    • grey literature needs to be made available
    • synthesis of work required
    • dissemination needs to be enjoyable and accessible - regional publication in a variety of media outlets
    • lack coherent IT strategy for the publication of specialist reports
    • major backlog of publication needs listing
    • national register of all investigations
    • confidentiality clauses hinder dissemination
  15. Research
    • Lack of research support for Local Authority curatorial archaeologists
    • excavation only undertaken if a threat therefore framework for research archaeology is undermined
    • need for research-led rescue projects with an inter-disciplinary approach
    • lack of percolation of research ideas throughout sector
    • need to digest data and provide overall analysis for longer-term overview and strategic planning
    • need for a sustained programme of synthesis; need joined-up approach to promote projects which are collaborative across all 4 main sectors – public, private, academic and voluntary
    • lack of research because most work is watching brief and site evaluation
    • some research designs inhibit innovation
    • development tax would enable excavation of a selection of sites of high research interest
    • competing organisations reluctant to talk to each other so no overall research policy
    • national and regional research frameworks needed to inform strategy
  16. Tourism and recreation
    • archaeology under-valued in respect of tourism and recreation
    • some government emphasis on archaeological input to tourism at expense of other consideration
    • Local Authorities need resources and policy to develop tourism
    • information gap between brochures and Sites and Monuments Records
    • dilemma tourism vs preservation
  17. Scotland
    • divergence between Scotland and England in archaeological policy formulation
    • Scottish Executive’s (HS has low profile) intention to abolish Ancient Monuments Board and Historic Buildings Council for Scotland
    • Council for British Archaeology and Institute of Field Archaeologists (with UK remit) focus on England - need a common approach to archaeological policy formulation across UK
    • European Landscape Convention applied to Scotland
    • liaison across government departments
    • urgent need for complete review of provision of archaeological services
    • Some Local Authorities make no provision for historic environment
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