With apologies for any cross and multiple postings, the following new publication may be of interest:
The Invisible Diggers: A Study of British Commercial Archaeology
by Paul Everill
224pp, 32 tables, 48 figures, many in colour,
210x298, paperback, (available early May 2009)
Since the increasing reliance on developers to fund archaeological work through the
1980s, and the implementation of Planning Policy Guidance Note 16 (PPG16) in
1990, British 'commercial' archaeologists have become increasingly distanced from
their academic colleagues. This study examines the situation within contemporary
'commercial' archaeology and considers the challenges faced by those employed within
that sector, including the impact of commercial working practices on pay and conditions
of employment and the process of excavation and knowledge production.
Part One provides an historical background, documenting the development of
'developer-led' archaeology from its roots in the largely volunteer 'rescue' excavations.
There is also a consideration of the perception of fieldwork as 'labouring', from the
earliest excavations through to the present.
Part Two presents the analysis of the data gathered for this study. Beginning with
quantitative data provided by a survey of commercial archaeologists, a portrait is painted
of the people employed in that sector before moving on to discuss the written submissions
that many respondents included when submitting the survey.These chapters present and
then develop certain key themes, and the subsequent analysis of extensive qualitative
interviews with 28 participants allows these themes to be considered in far greater detail.
The thematic analysis of the interviews is divided into two chapters - one considering the
career paths of the participants and the other discussing their perceptions of the profession
- and these sandwich the analysis of a participant observation study undertaken over two
months in 2004/5.This study provides a fascinating insight into the working environment
of commercial archaeologists and demonstrates how camaraderie and love of their job is
often just enough to outweigh the adversity they face in the form of low wages, poor
employment conditions and career prospects.
Paul Everill holds a doctorate from the University of Southampton. He has been actively
involved in archaeological fieldwork since 1989 and worked in commercial archaeology
for a number of years,before returning to university.In this time he worked for ten different
units in Britain and Ireland, experiencing a wide variety of sites and types of organisation,
and in October 2004 he became a founding member and secretary of the "Diggers'
Forum", which was set up as a special interest group within the
Institute of Field Archaeologists to help improve the working lives
of professional archaeologists in the UK. After completing his
PhD in 2006 he was employed by the Southampton City Council
Archaeology Unit, and by the Institute of Field Archaeologists as
an external advisor on the recent "Labour Market Intelligence
2007/8: Profiling the Profession 3". In 2008 he was appointed to a
post at the University of Winchester, where he now teaches applied
archaeological techniques and maintains a research interest in the
history of archaeology, development of fieldwork methodology
and the structure of contemporary commercial archaeology. He
is also co-director of a research excavation to the former Soviet
republic of Georgia.
Enquiries and advance orders: -
Hilary Schan. [log in to unmask]
Oxbow Books, 10 Hythe Bridge Street,
Oxford OX1 2EW
(Phone: 01865-241249 Fax: 01865 794449)
The David Brown Book Company
PO Box 511, Oakville, CT 06779, USA
(Phone: 860-945-9329 Fax: 860-945-9468)
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