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BRITARCH  February 2000

BRITARCH February 2000

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Subject:

Re: cost of archaeology

From:

"paul blinkhorn" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

paul blinkhorn

Date:

Thu, 24 Feb 2000 09:35:04 -0000

Content-Type:

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----- Original Message -----
From: <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2000 5:15 PM
Subject: cost of archaeology

Steve:

> A regional tax may be a solution but you are still dealing with a pot of
money which has to be assigned on a quality based decision. It is likely a
situation would arise where a series of sites come up and funding decisions
are made that the money goes to 'the most important'. The following budget
year only sites of less quality than the sites not funded the previous year
arise.

Well, this is why I have suggested a central contingency fund - EH do this
to a limited degree at the moment - eg a large Saxon site in the midlands
produced some very important Bronze Age remains which did not show up at
evaluation, and therefore there was no money to pay for the post-ex on them.
EH stepped in and have funded the post-ex on the prehistoric, with the
original post-ex budget based on evaluation going to writing up the
post-Roman.  EH can't do this for every site, however, as their
(publicly-funded) budget won't stretch to it - if they have an extra source
of income, the 'development tax', and its set at the right level, then the
need to make decisions over which site to dig would never need to take
place - they would all be covered.  Not every development destroys
archaeology, so those that don't provide funding for those that do.  Someone
else mentioned the developers not liking this tax - I'm not so sure - it
means that rather than getting lumbered for a whopping bill if they should
decide to build on an archaeological site, they pay a small amount each
time, thus softening the blow - it would all be tax-deductable as well.  It
would also stop situations like the Sleaford Iron age site where the
developers threaten to take their development (and its subsequent jobs)
'elsewhere' if the council don't waive the archaeological condition - no
matter where they build, they'd have to pay.

>Surely at present at least we can argue for funds on an individual project
basis without worrying about the budget running out leaving other sites
without any archaeological involvement. Also how would the legal side of
this work out as at present archaeology in the planning system requires a
developer to fulfill a legally binding condition. With a budget based system
that could not happen as the control of the archaeology would be outside of
the developers control and therefore unenforceable.

I don't really see how - as before, the curator would not 'sign off' the
site until the archaeology is 'cleared' - the developer will be given a date
at which s/he can get on site - if the contractor hasn't got the excavation
finished by then, they get their backsides kicked , perhaps even have
penalty clauses built in to the contract which meant the archaeologists have
to compensate the developers if they run late.  They are, like the
developer, private companies, and penalty clauses for non-delivery, late
completion etc are common in the building trade, and both sides could insure
themselves against this happening - IME most developers on big projects are
more concerned with hold-ups than the relatively piddling cost of the
archaeology - they don't always go for the cheapest tender, but, in the case
of big projects, the one which will do the work the quickest - keeping plant
etc. on hold is far more expensive than paying for archaeology!  Archaeology
is cheap - a site I excavated meant that the devloper had to stick 10,000
on the cost of the 250-325k houses he was builidng and he still sold them
all before they were built - in the end, he squeezed in an extra small
house, which paid for the archaeology!

Paul Blinkhorn








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