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Subject:

Re: Bamburgh and Training

From:

David Petts <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 2 May 2003 11:43:49 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (57 lines)

>When I began as a 'volunteer' in archaeology, it
>wasn't because I wanted to actually 'volunteeer'
>my services, but because that was the accepted
>method of payment for most archaeological staff,
>even by bodies such as the department of
>Environment here in England.

But surely there is a fundamental difference between a dig paying volunteers
to skimp on cheap labour and a completely non-commercial dig, such as
Bamburgh, paying expenses to attract someone to do finds. It seems in the case
of Bamburgh, its not a case that the choice is between doing a job for a full
IFA wage or expenses, but rather doing a job for expenses or doing it
completely for free. I really can't see how this undercuts archaeology as a
profession- the logic confuses me. Surely, the implication is that
professional archaeologist should do no voluntary work, whether for expenses
or free, in their spare time because it undermines the profession!? This means
that my decision to help a local archaeology society organise fieldwalking
would be a bad thing, because I should be charging them full wack for my
professional advice!

david





>Cynicism therefore always makes me suspicious of
>'volunteer' opportunities, which might actually
>hide a fairly complex hierarchical system of
>staff reward, especially where so called
>'expenses' are involved. According to Mark Dover
>this is the situation that applies at Bamburgh,
>where he says he will be receiving higher
>'expenses' per week, than the 50 the Finds
>Assistant gets. Because he what .... has a racier
>lifestyle in his tent and with his free food??
>
>I am sorry to say that the payment of non-taxed
>'expenses' to archaeologists in lieu of a proper
>living wage, does undermine the profession,
>whether it is done by competing archaeological
>units in London and the Home Counties or by
>research excavations in Northumberland. In the
>normally highly paid legal profession the idea of
>staff working 'pro bono' on certain types of
>project is an accepted fact (and as the Sedgeford
>project suggests, perhaps a practice that all
>professional archaeologists should also take up).
>However, there are Law Society  guidelines to
>ensure that 'pro bono' work is what it says and
>does not become 'ex gratia' (if that is the right
>expression). And to do 'pro bono' work you first
>have to have the luxury of not having to struggle
>for every scrap that comes ones way.
>
>

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