Responding to various points:
The Northumberland Archaeological Group offers joint or family membership!
Apart from lectures we offer a programme of guided walks and a short annual
excavation. If National Archaeology Days had coincided with our excavation
we could no doubt have got involved but it
doesn't so we can't.
It takes quite a bit of time organising a society - unpaid in one's own
time. Our group just doesn't have enough of the right people with time on
their hands to organise activities outside our core programme, though we
have taken part in local history fair type events.
I'm not quite sure what else in the way of 'promoting archaeology to the
wider community' is
envisaged. As several people have pointed out NADs and HODs and Young
Archaeologists etc already do this. People interested in archaeology will
hear about the local society and join and may then get the opportunity to
take part in fieldwork.
Those who don't want to join societies either lack the time or are
presumably not enough interested to commit themselves.
The Big Dig gave a one off (or perhaps annual, who knows?) opportunity for
people such as this too have a taste of what digging involves with some
guidance. This may be as much as they wanted; or it may persuade them to
join, or indeed form a local history/archaeological society or do a course
of some sort, but it's difficult to see how the wider archaeological
community and/or the professionals can help them (or be expected to help
them) in the longer term if they choose not to do so. They may of course
pursue their own documentary researches into their house or area. They may
just continue digging up their gardens.
must do some work
>Many of these local archaeological groups have around 100 or 150 members,
>whom about 30 or 40 may be 'active'. And many societies' main function
>seems to be to provide lectures, training and interesting projects for
>members. This is laudable as far as it goes, and many are involved in
>excavation, research and survey work, but I'm not sure how many societies
>are actively promoting archaeology to the wider community. For example,
>many local societies are participating in National Archaeology Days at the
>end of this month? I know of one or two, but a look at the listings
>suggests that most events are sponsored by museums. Perhaps more local
>societies should join forces with the local museum for the occasion - and
>make sure their involvement is publicised.
>Certainly, I don't think the societies themselves represent the wider
>community - their membership seems to be overwhelmingly white, middle class
>and reasonably well educated. Not a good advertisement for the
>accessibility and inclusiveness of archaeology.
>Rodney Gunner wrote:
>>How do we keep up the interest which has been generated in community
>One way is to promote local archaeological societies<
>One won't build on the enthusiasm that Big Dig may have generated simply by
>giving people the address of the local archaeological society. Not
>wants to join a society. Much of the enthusiasm over the weekend seems to
>be have been shared by families - and how many societies currently offer
>family membership (I don't mean just husband-and-wife joint membership) and
>events for the whole family?
>But perhaps we need a Young Archaeologists' Club for adults?