'What is wrong with the concept of county groups? I would think that
Gloucester could then open the doors to more unemployed archaeologists if
they were able to charge a realistic price.
All the advent of units as done is force the wages and the quality of
excavation work down. Likewise there are no longer many opportunities for
amateurs to get involved due to competitive tendering'.
I think he has missed my point altogether. I do not recall advocating either
competitive tendering or 'commercial' units. I merely asked why so many
people consider counties to be the crucial unit size for critical mass.
Archaeology needs to be close to the community, and often our biggest
problems arise because we have been sparated from that community. Some towns
and cities have enough archaeological context to operate units for
themselves, and would be more able to do so if there were not competition -
often from county units with no strong tradition of involvement in their
urban centres - and if some national organisations did not presume that the
ideal unit of local authority was a county. In view of the fact that so few
counties were designated unitary, and that many Districts were retained - in
some instances at the expense of counties - it is reasonable to ask for
those districts which have archaeology teams to be supported, and not
constantly treated as some anomalous oddity.