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Subject:

Re: BAJR Federation - comments

From:

Nigel Swift <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 20 Apr 2009 09:50:29 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (132 lines)

In the case of amateur participation I see the situation as far more simple than you imply. There should be a reasonable level of assurance that what is being done and how it is being done is to the satisfaction of professionals. I am sure this happens in many cases already. It simply means that professionals should be prior-advised of a project and it's aims and subsequently advised of it's results. If professionals are sometimes able to visit during projects then that is a bonus. But the crux is that the turning of sods ought to be seen as an adjunct to local professional activity or heritage management, not a matter for unanswerable academic, entrepreneurial or recreational whim. If it is important enough to be professionally managed it is important enough not to be open to all to do what they will. As you imply, amateurs are a valid and valuable element of archaeology but the term?should not be regarded as a?badge of inarguable respectability. That needs to be earned, no!
 t claimed.



----Original Message-----
From: PETTS D.A. <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Mon, 20 Apr 2009 13:17
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] BAJR Federation - comments



This raises lots and lots of questions.
How would it work in practice? How is archaeology defined? Are we talking about 
excavation or all archaeological work (of which excavation is just a part)? 
Would we insist that every person who wants to spend time on a dig has to get 
some kind of qualification/certificate? What about eveyr person doing field 
walking? Or earthwork survey? How would we give them training? Who would pay for 
it? Who would provide it? Who would check it? Should county mounties visit every 
community/amateur excavation demanding to see people's papers (this would need 
to be done each day as the workforce changes).
 
Having been involved in community archaeology from various angles, I would 
imagine this is the kind of thing that could kill it stone dead. Many people on 
the digs I've been involved in have just wanted to come for a day or two for a 
taster to see what its like. Should I ask them to first take an exam before they 
come on site? Of course one would hope that people supervising digs are 
adequately trained, but should this be something which is enforced. 
 
 

________________________________

From: British archaeology discussion list on behalf of Nigel Swift
Sent: Mon 20/04/2009 12:37
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] BAJR Federation - comments



and those who for whatever reason (often experience without specific 
qualifications and amateurs) find themselves excluded.?


That is not a fair accusation in the case of many professions. Entry to 
professional institutes is often either by qualification or experience. However, 
proof of competence is quite rightly insisted upon and in cases where a 
practitioner could cause damage, like medicine, for reasons other than 
machiavellian self interest by the rest.

I can't see why archaeology shouldn't be structured in the same way. Entrance by 
examination or experience, subject to a test of competence and a requirement 
that?proper standards are adhered to.?Amateur archaeology would fit comfortably 
into such a s
tructure and archaeology would be properly safeguarded. The "closed 
shop" motivation would not come into it but the financial benefits of one would 
certainly be reaped so there is simply no downside.


-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Haseler <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Mon, 20 Apr 2009 12:03
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] BAJR Federation - comments


Steve@DDL wrote:?
> And we now see electricians trying the same con trick,?
> with calls for "all electrical equipment to be removed from DIY stores > as 
only fully qualified electricians should .... change fuses".?
> > > Is that a bit like only archaeologists should dig archaeology??
> > :-)))?
> > Steve?
> > Steve, the game of creating artificial barriers to a labour market are many 
and various:?
?
1. Qualifications ... is usually a good place to start. This is usually 
portrayed as "raising standards", but in reality it is creating a barrier so not 
any tom dick or Mike can get a trowel and start digging for gold.?
?
2. Legal barriers ... usually based on qualification are even better, since e.g. 
doctors can sit in a room telling us that only they can prescribe anti-biotic, 
when if you go to ASDA and buy S.American meat you'll find it is full of the 
stuff (and anti-biotic immune bacteria).?
?
3. Organised labour. There's nothing like the threat of a labour boycott to 
force up the price. Moreover, since most businesses compete with each other, so 
long as the general price of labour rises, and all employers suffer the same 
conditions, it really doesn't harm the employers commercially if the union 
enforces standard conditions.?
?
4. Restrictive places for training. Another neat trick is to have a requirement 
for a qualification for a profession, and then to severely restrict the numbers 
of entrants into the training on the pretext of "quality". Doctors, dentists, 
vets, all ensure there never is an excess of supply of Doctors, dentists and 
vets by regulating numbers going into training.?
?
Of course, the real trick is to
 convince not only the general public but the 
politicians that you need these barriers to entry in order to "safeguard" the 
interests of the public. It obviously helps doctors to have the odd quack aka 
"wise woman" having a patient die on them, who the doctors can then say: "it is 
because the patient went to a wise woman that they died" ... a bit unfair when 
doctors, are judge jury and prosecutor!!?
?
Similarly I suppose the key to raising the pay and conditions of archaeologists 
is to highlight the way the "unregulated" archaeologists have destroyed the 
history of our country. Obviously archaeology has already gone a long way toward 
this, by e.g. convincing the public that only archaeologists can be the 
custodians of ancient monuments (and Stonehenge would be an obviously 
contentious example where views differ as to whether archaeologists really are 
the proper custodians ... but cathedrals or listed homes would be others).?
?
....?
?
WHAT I'M REALLY SAYING: is that if you want to raise pay and conditions it is 
going to cause conflict because it inevitably creates a barrier to entry to a 
labour market which means that those finding they can jump the barrier are 
winners, and those who for whatever reason (often experience without specific 
qualifications and amateurs) find themselves excluded.?
?
Mike?


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