Saturday, 11 October 2014

Cash & Community?

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) sent me a letter today. They say that their core funding source has been withdrawn, although they fail to mention where that comes from, assuming that everyone knows this. I can only assume it is from government. They are asking members (professional archaeologists and non) to make a donation on top of the subs already paid. Needless to say archaeologists are on one of the lowest, if not the lowest, wages for those with a degree. Cuts are going to be made to teams in local planning departments relating to heritage, professional archaeologists have fallen from c.7,000 to 4,000 in the last 5 years and 'new blood' coming through the universities has also fallen in numbers. So that source of funding is also going to drop. Archaeology as a profession is dying and some of us have seen it coming for years (I've been in the job since 1990). The changes to local heritage provision, the privatisation of the job (from local government to private 'units') and low, low wages have all contributed to this. One of the main causes is the lack of effort to gain support from communities, but this is a chicken and egg situation i.e. money needs to be put into this effort but we don't have the money. But also it is how to go about it. 
What does and can archaeology do for you? Are we willing to pay for it?

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