As others have already mentioned, the recent conference at UCL was very successful in bringing together a wide range of groups and individuals working in 'community archaeology' (a term which covers a range of projects and initiatives some of which are perhaps better described as archaeological outreach work).
The proceedings of the conference will hopefully be published within the next 2-3 months and this will provide a useful guide to what is possible - and promote the high standards to which many of the projects aspire.
One direct outcome of the project was the establishment of an email discussion list for community archaeology which the CBA has set up using its own discussion list facilities. You can join the list through its web page at
The CBA also agreed to provide a web-based 'show case' for community archaeology projects (which is likely to be set up as a wiki for those who understand these things) allowing everyone to add and update their own content. We hope to be in a position to launch this before the next major related event, the conference in Manchester in early November which I hope will be an opportunity to build on the UCL discussions, critique current practice and move forward to promote good practice throughout the diverse range of initiatives that are underway, many funded by the HLF under the Local Heritage Initiative umbrella (though this particular strand is coming to and end).
The CBA also has a working group currently looking at diversifying participation in archaeology. At its meeting last week the group received presentations on the Dig Manchester project (www.digmanchester.org.uk), and community outreach work being undertaken by the School of Archaeological, Geographic and Environmental Sciences at the University of Bradford, together with a presentation by Rob Isherwood (a research student at Manchester who is looking at community archaeology). One of the outcomes of that meeting was the idea of developing a 'toolkit', based along the lines of the Community Access to Archives project (see http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/partnerprojects/caap/team.htm), to guide community groups who want to develop their own projects. The CBA will be taking this forward in the coming months as part of our strong support for local and regional groups who are undertaking 'archaeology for all' (the CBA's mission statement), building on the report of our earlier working group on participation in archaeology (see www.britarch.ac.uk/participation).
I would encourage you all to get access to the proceedings of the UCL conference when it comes out, and also to attend the Manchester conference in early November if you are able. The CBA is providing some sponsorship to enable community groups to be represented at the Manchester conference where this would not otherwise have been possible.
Meanwhile, if you want an excellent example of community archaeology and how local groups can work productively with professional archaeological 'facilitators', check out the web site for the Greater York community archaeology project at http://www.yorkarchaeology.co.uk/community.htm
And if anyone is interested in helping out with the CBA's work in this area then do get in touch.
Dr Mike Heyworth, Director, Council for British Archaeology
St Mary's House, 66 Bootham, York YO30 7BZ, UK
tel 01904 671417, fax 01904 671384, web www.britarch.ac.uk
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