>Subject: For moderation - THREAT TO ARCHAEOLOGY SERVICE IN NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE
>From: [log in to unmask]
>On 7th February 2000 the Executive Committee of the North Hertfordshire
>District Council voted by a majority of 8 to 4 to, in effect, dismember
>the Archaeology Service which the Authority has been running very
>successfully since 1974 within their Museums Service.
>Since 1994, when the Service's former field unit was disbanded, the
>three experienced officers in the employ of the District Council have
>been responsible for five main aspects of archaeological work:
>1. Providing the curatorial planning advice.
>2. Maintaining a Sites and Monuments Record, the field and collections
>archives, and the artefacts/ecofacts collections.
>3. Preparing the former field team's data for publication, including the
>extensive excavations at the Romano-British settlement at Baldock,
>carried out between 1980 and 1994.
>4. Identifying and recording portable antiquities for detectorists and
>others, currently about 1100 objects per annum.
>5. Answering all other types of enquiries from the public, etc.,
>providing advise on museum displays, interpretation, information, public
>The three existing posts consist of the Keeper of Field Archaeology, the
>Post-Excavation Officer and an Illustrator.
>The Committee decision, to be ratified by the full Council at their
>meeting on the evening of 22nd February 2000, means that the
>Post-Excavation Officer Post, vacant since mid-January, will be
>abolished; the Illustrator will be made redundant at the end of March,
>and the post also abolished; the Keeper of Field Archaeology will be
>retained but solely to write backlog reports, without the services of an
>illustrator or any other backup; planning advice will be sought
>elsewhere (from unknown "consultants") with a budget, including
>overheads, of £10,000 (currently the planning advice costs £23,000);
>non-archaeologists elsewhere in the museums service will become
>responsible for identifying (not recording) portable antiquities from
>the public; any archaeological records will no longer be maintained
>locally in the museums service.
>If you have any views on this proposal that you may wish to write to the
>North Hertfordshire District Council, please do so as a matter of
>urgency before 22nd February 2000 by emailing [log in to unmask]
>The Council's business address is Council Offices, Gernon Road,
>Letchworth, Herts SG6 3JF
>Telephone 01462 474000/474300
>Facsimile 01462 474559
>The Leader of the Council is Cllr. F J Smith, telephone 01462 474307
>Other Members may be contacted on 01462 474442.
>Messages for Members may be left with officers on 01462 474208 or 474403
>Remember, it is important to ask that any message or correspondence that
>you send is brought to the attention of all Members of the Council
>before the meeting on 22nd February.
>Thank you for your interest and support.
>Dave Mather, Treasurer, North Herts Archaeology Society.