Rescue AGM 2013: The archaeological archives crisis


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Talk on 27/04/2013 by Gail Boyle, SMA and Duncan Brown, AAF.

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  • Gail will introduce GB and DB and structure of talk.
  • Rescue AGM 2013: The archaeological archives crisis

    1. 1. 26/04/ Crisis?Rescue AGM 2013Gail Boyle, SMA & BMGADuncan Brown, SMA & EH
    2. 2. 26/04/13POLICY HE12: POLICY PRINCIPLES GUIDING THERECORDING OF INFORMATION RELATED TOHERITAGE ASSETS12.3Local planning authorities should require any archive generated to bedeposited with a local museum or other public depository willing toreceive it.Local planning authorities should impose planning conditions orobligations to ensure such work is carried out in a timely manner andthat the completion of the exercise is properly secured.
    3. 3. 26/04/13 Accessible archives anddissemination3.3.1 … archives are often seen asan inconvenient by-product ofa project and that once in storethey are forgotten and unused3.3.2 … archive creation andcompilation is often compromised3.3.3 … standards at individualrepositories can vary3.3.4 … repositories are unable toachieve acceptable standardsof curation for digital material3.3.5 Archaeology stores are full tocapacity
    4. 4. 26/04/133.3.6 …need a selection process3.3.7 …the planning process does notsuccessfully monitor archivedelivery3.3.9 …in many areas there is norepository for archive generated3.3.10 … little synchronisation betweenmuseums/repositories and HERs,record offices and universities
    5. 5. 26/04/13 Accessible archives anddissemination13 Raising the profile of archaeologicalarchives14 Improved standards and betterguidance for archive compilation andcuration15 Development of resource centres
    6. 6. 26/04/13
    7. 7. 26/04/13 and enhancing the historic environment record141 Local planning authorities should make information aboutthe significance of the historic environment gathered aspart of plan-making or development managementpublicly accessible. They should also require developers torecord and advance understanding of the significance of anyheritage assets to be lost (wholly or in part) in amanner proportionate to their importance and the impact, and tomake this evidence (and any archive generated)publicly accessible³º. However, the ability to record evidenceof our past should not be a factor in deciding whether suchloss should be permitted.³º Copies of evidence should be deposited with therelevant Historic Environment Record, and any archives with alocal museum or other public depository.
    8. 8. 26/04/13
    9. 9. 26/04/13 Society ofMuseum ArchaeologistsMeasure 2 - Threat: Assessment and Response2E2 CAPACITY-LOSS IN LOCAL AUTHORITIES2E2.102 Evaluating the archaeological resource in storeReport on the current position of archaeological archive collection inEnglandUpdate the existing map of collecting areasIdentify where an archaeological resource centre would be a suitablesolutionInvestigate the use, storage and curation of archaeological archives inmuseumsClarify the relationship between archaeology and other types of museumcollectionsAssess how much material has been collected since the advent ofPPG16Establish the quantity of undeposited archive material
    10. 10. 26/04/13
    11. 11. 26/04/13Museums161 museums surveyed:134 responses
    12. 12. 26/04/13Contractors100 + organisationsconsulted:46 responses
    13. 13. 26/04/13
    14. 14. 26/04/13Map – Vital Statistics links to the 151 museums whetheraccepting or not, plus contact information 120 able to collect but only 84 withoutconditions 47 local authority areas with no currentcollecting body for archives
    15. 15. 26/04/13Specialist Staff Only 30% of the museums that replied had acurator of archaeology or equivalent – many reportedstaff lost as the consequences of local authority budgetcuts
    16. 16. 26/04/13SpaceOn average archaeologicalcollections occupy 22% ofspace available in museumstores – local history occupiesdouble this amount
    17. 17. 26/04/13UsesMore museums appeared to usearchaeological collections for loans,teaching collections, and handlingpacks than other types ofcollections.
    18. 18. 26/04/13Visits40 museums reported a collectivetotal of over 2000 visits to seearchaeological material in store inone year alone
    19. 19. 26/04/13Archaeological collections, includingarchaeological archives, have been used byrespondents to reach a very wide and diverserange of audiences.Projects & AudiencesArchaeological collections, includingarchives, have been used byrespondents to reach a very wide anddiverse range of audiences.
    20. 20. 26/04/13Effects of PPG16Many more sites since 1992 but fewer large archives.
    21. 21. 26/04/13Archives with Units9,000 un-depositable archaeologicalarchives in England. The estimatedvolume of un-depositable archives was1,160m³.The figures indicated an estimatednational storage cost of £330,000annually.
    22. 22. 26/04/131.3 Recommendations1 Produce a policy statement on thesignificance of archaeological archivesnationally, and their importance as a keyresource in the future.EH, ACE, AAF2 Promote the potential of archaeologicalarchives as a resource for engaging allcommunities.AAF, SMA, IfA3 Establish a national strategy for archivecompletion as a means of providing easyaccess to the archaeological record.AAF4 Develop a national strategy for the storageand curation of archaeological archives.ACE, EH, AAF
    23. 23. 26/04/135 Ensure that the significance of archives isfully recognised at all stages of planning- ledarchaeological work.AAF, ALGAO, SMA, FAME6 Seek solutions for archive material thatcurrently cannot be transferred to arepository.AAF, EH, FAME, ALGAO7 Develop a framework for the provision ofarchaeological archive advice to practitioners inplanning authorities, contractingorganisations, museums, and communitygroups.AAF, IfA8 Promote and publicise the collecting areasmap.SMA, FAME
    24. 24. 26/04/13AGM8thMay 2013Westminster Meeting House8, Hop Lane,St. Martin’s LaneLondon
    25. 25. 26/04/1319751963200219511960