I joined the IFA in 1994 just after I had started working in archaeology and
at times I have been critical of, and frustrated by, what I perceived as a
lack of progress on some pretty fundamental issues like pay, working
conditions and career structure. Having said that, it has always been clear
that they were moving in the right direction and I have never been tempted
to let my membership lapse.
For real progress to be made on pay, conditions, training etc one thing is
clear - it is going to require a lot of co-operation and effort on the part
of employers, funding bodies, curators, contractors and trade unions. It's
not (unfortunately) going to happen over night just because we all think its
a 'Good Thing'. One of the sad things about the archaeological profession is
that, at a time of crisis (and I have no doubt that archaeology is in
crisis, not least as far as morale is concerned) we are all attacking each
other rather than presenting a united front. Contractors blame curators for
not setting high enough standards in their briefs, employers blame employees
for accepting such low wages and everyone blames to IFA for not doing
enough, while the politicians praise our 'passion' and 'dedication' for
working in such conditions!
The IFA is working to improve archaeology as a profession but it is a slow
process. That is not to say that archaeologists shouldn't be critical and
push for progress - of course they should - but resigning your membership
isn't going to achieve the desired result any quicker.
Two quick thoughts to end with.
1)As I understand it there are a great many professional bodies where
membership is required (either through custom and practise or because its
The Rules) before you can work above a certain level. Have a look at the IFA
web-site www.archaeologists.net for a comparison with other professions.
2) IFA subs may be high but they are trying to improve the lot of all
archaeologists off the back of a membership of just over 1400 (c.33% of the
total). Perhaps if more of you joined, the subs could go down!
From: Catherine Petts <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: 06 April 2001 08:01
Subject: IFA AMNESTY
>I was very surprised to be told by the family archaeologist that the IFA
>subscription is salary related and that members earning #12K-16K pay #70 a
>year and this rises to #140 at #16K and goes up further for higher
>If this is correct I am surprised that IFA has any members at all. Amnesty
>or not he will not be rejoining IFA because of the cost and because he does
>not consider that it offers value for money
>I belong to two profesional societies, both for professions where the
>average salary is probably tracking #30K. One is of a similar size and
>of operations to IFA and has a flat rate subscription of #80. The other is
>much larger and operates on a far larger scale and has a flat rate
>subscription of #98. My husband is a Chartered Engineer and a member of one
>of the main engineering institutes. He pays just over #100 a year, again
>this is not salary related.
>If i was offering marketing advice to IFA i would be suggesting that their
>problem was that they had priced their ptoduct out of the market and that
>deep price cuts were necessary if they wanted to increase membership - and
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