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Evaluating the archaeological resource in store Duncan H. Brown Head of Archaeological Archives

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Presentation on theme: "Evaluating the archaeological resource in store Duncan H. Brown Head of Archaeological Archives"— Presentation transcript:

1 Evaluating the archaeological resource in store Duncan H. Brown Head of Archaeological Archives duncan.brown2@english-heritage.org.uk

2 3.3. Accessible archives and dissemination 3.3.1. The consensus is that archives are often seen as the end product of a project and that once in store they are left gathering dust and fulfilling no useful function. REALISING THE BENEFITS OF PLANNING–LED INVESTIGATION IN THE HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT: A FRAMEWORK FOR DELIVERING THE REQUIREMENTS OF PPS5 A draft report by the Southport Group 3.3.1 The consensus is that archives are often seen as an inconvenient by-product of a project and that once in store they are forgotten and unused.

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4 Evaluating the Archaeological Resource in Store Informing the Future Society of Museum Archaeologists

5 This project aims to provide the facts that will inform discussion of the ways in which to address what is fast becoming a crisis. Information on the quantity of undeposited archive material, the available space in repositories, the relationship between archaeology and other collections in our museums and the character of the users of archive material, will help the profession as a whole to argue the case for particular solutions.

6 The objectives are to: update the existing map of collecting areas across England, incorporating boundary changes, while also including information on individual collecting policies add onto the map the presence of specialist curatorial expertise in archaeological archive management, including provision of security and access establish procedures for continuing to update the map of collecting areas to inform future enquiries establish the date of deposition for archaeological archive material in permanent storage, in order to assess whether more material has been collected since the advent of PPG16 and developer-funded archaeology identify areas of the country where an archaeological resource centre might provide an acceptable solution for the continued provision of access to archaeology collections clarify the relationship between archaeology and other types of museum collections (e.g. costume, social history etc) to compare the amounts of space available and the levels of supporting expertise characterise the users of archaeological archives, including universities, archaeological contractors, individual enquirers, school groups, volunteer workers and members of the public establish the quantity of undeposited archive material currently held at contracting archaeological organisations and with no identified final repository produce a report that provides up-to-date figures on the size and distribution of the archaeological archive resource, the ways in which it is accessed and the possible ways forward.

7 The objectives are to: 1.update the existing map of collecting areas across England, incorporating boundarychanges, while also including information on individual collecting policies add onto the map the presence of specialist curatorial expertise in archaeological archive management, including provision of security and access establish procedures for continuing to update the map of collecting areas to inform future enquiries. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/sma_map/index.cfm?CFID=33&CFTOKEN=0DC716E4-F703- 46DC-9E2ABBED910233BD

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12 2 establish the date of deposition for archaeological archive material in permanent storage, in order to assess whether more material has been collected since the advent of PPG16 and developer-funded archaeology

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16 Of 7,288 boxes of bulk finds c. 6,500 collected before 1997

17 Site archive grading at Southampton Museums Grade 1sites with archives that meet current standards Grade 2asites with acceptable archives compiled before current standards were put in place Grade 2bsites with archives that do not meet current standards Grade 3sites with archives that are irretrievably below current standards

18 Potential numbers of boxes of finds for dispersal at Southampton Find typeGrade 2a Grade 2bGrade 3Totals Ceramic building material377 16538580 Shell296 111120527 Slag124 15714295 Stone188 2866282 Burnt clay118 9620234 Clay pipe27 3838 Flint24 2127 Charcoal10 6925 Mortar / plaster17 2120 Total1181 5702772028

19 3identify areas of the country where an archaeological resource centre might provide an acceptable solution for the continued provision of access to archaeology collections

20 An Archaeological Resource Centre is defined as: An accredited centre dedicated to the collection and curation of archaeological archive material from within a defined area, that is staffed and managed to provide the best possible access to the archaeological resource for the purposes of enquiry, exhibition, learning, research and general interest.

21 Developing an Archaeological Resource Centre Guidance for Sustainable Storage and Access to Museum Collections Archaeological Archives Forum 1 Introduction 2 Defining an Archaeological Resource Centre 3 Creating an Archaeological Resource Centre Phase 1: Preparation Phase 2: Funding Phase 3: Decision-making and project management Phase 4: Design Phase 5: Development Phase 6: Completion 4 Maintaining an Archaeological Resource Centre Sources of Further Information Useful Contacts Appendix 1 Summary list of documents required Appendix 2 Case studies of existing archaeological resource centres Appendix 3 Case studies of developing projects http://www.britarch.ac.uk/archives/aaf_arc_guidance_2010.pdf

22 4clarify the relationship between archaeology and other types of museum collections (e.g. costume, social history etc) to compare the amounts of space available and the levels of supporting expertise

23 5characterise the users of archaeological archives, including universities, archaeological contractors, individual enquirers, school groups, volunteer workers and members of the public

24 6establish the quantity of undeposited archive material currently held at contracting archaeological organisations and with no identified final repository

25 In many parts of the country, crammed and overstretched local museums are refusing to accept any more finds. And local government cutbacks are likely to place even more pressure on staff and facilities. As a result, archaeology units are reaching bursting point with finds and records unable to find a permanent home. …may be storing over 15,000 boxes of archaeological finds and records on 5,000 sites, at an annual cost of perhaps £0.25m. http://www.famearchaeology.co.uk/2010/11/fame-highlights-storage-crisis/

26 7produce a report that provides up-to-date figures on the size and distribution of the archaeological archive resource, the ways in which it is accessed and possible ways forward

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29 2E2 CAPACITY-LOSS IN LOCAL AUTHORITIES Economic pressures are intensifying on Local Authorities, the most important organisations in caring for our historic environment. Local Authority historic environment capacity is closely linked to the level of local political support. Resources are under exceptional strain and restructuring and capacity reduction is a reality and likely to accelerate. While options are limited, we need to work together to ensure that the necessary expertise is available to local authorities and that it is sufficient to deal not just with the day-to-day planning casework but also with pro-active plan-making and information gathering so that the sector is prepared for the inevitable upswing in economic activity when it comes.

30 5B2 UNDERPINNING LOCAL PLANNING PROCESSES The government is making changes to the planning system which will lead to both a national planning framework in the form of an overarching policy statement or statements and a greater degree of autonomy for local communities through a Localism Bill expected to be enacted spring 2012. PPS5 puts the historic environment at the heart of spatial planning and makes it clear that understanding significance is the key to successful conservation in both plan making and decision making. EH has an important role as statutory consultee within the planning system (contained in Measure 6) to ensure that the changes proposed by the government are implemented in a way that embeds the principles of PPS5. This Activity will ensure that role is underpinned by appropriate guidance, toolkits and partnership protocols.

31 14. Improved standards and better guidance for archive compilation and curation The AAF updates its existing guidance on the selection and retention of finds with more comprehensive recommendations to include all archive material. REALISING THE BENEFITS OF PLANNING–LED INVESTIGATION IN THE HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT: A FRAMEWORK FOR DELIVERING THE REQUIREMENTS OF PPS5 A draft report by the Southport Group

32 4.2Procedure Project Phase ActionPersonnel responsible Project planning 1The Project Specification must specify the necessity for a clearly defined selection and retention strategy that takes account local, regional and national research frameworks. Project executive 2Consider the research aims and objectives of the project and the research potential of the archive when formulating a selection and retention strategy. Project manager Project team 3Consider the requirements of the archive repository and their collection policy when formulating a selection and retention strategy. Project manager Project team 4Include in the Project Design a fully formulated selection and retention strategy that sets out a clear mechanism for deciding what should be retained for archiving and how other material should be dispersed. Project manager Project team 5Agree the selection and retention strategy, as part of the Project Design, with the Project Executive and the Archive Curator. Project manager Project executive Archive curator

33 www.deepstore.com

34 Deepstore archive deposition costs EH box grant per standard box (0.017m³ / c 260x550x120 mm) = £18.10 Ten boxes (1.7 m ³) = £181 Deepstore deposition charge for ten boxes= £16 Deepstore monthly charge for ten boxes= £0.96 / £11.52 p.a. For £181 ten boxes could be deposited and stored for fourteen years

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