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Coastal Heritage Under Threat: CITiZAN

Coastal Heritage Under Threat: CITiZAN (A National, Community-Based Response)

Lecture by Gustav Milne, FSA

CITiZAN is the community-based Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeology Network operating with regional teams operating from offices in York (with the Council of British Archaeology)  London (with Museum of London Archaeology) and Portsmouth (with the Nautical Archaeology Society). All the sites our volunteer teams work with have no statutory protection and are all threatened with destruction: our aim is not to conserve them, but to “preserve them by record” through a programme of initial survey and long-term monitoring.

Building directly on the strengths of previous projects, we are applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to support a much expanded three-year programme from the summer of 2018. This will lay firm foundations for a sustainable, community-based, cross-sector solution to the challenge not just of recording archaeological foreshore features exposed by coastal erosion and tidal scour, but also developing high-precision monitoring surveys of the wider problem of coastal change itself.

As part of the innovative approach adopted for CITiZAN’s proposed new project, a series of collaborations is being proposed to provide long-term sustainable support. Central to this is the partnership with local universities in many aspects of the six new regional Discovery Programmes (in Humberside, Liverpool, Essex, Kent, Solent and Devon), supporting public engagement/ outreach activities, including training events, as well as the associated community-led fieldwork and research.

Our high media profile (CITiZAN team recently featured in the BBC’s Country File and in Channel 4’s Britain at Low Tide) together with our outreach work will raise the profile and understanding of coastal archaeology set in its wider context of coastal change, relative sea-level change and climate change.

We also hope to provide training to rangers/wardens on coastal sites managed by conservation-minded agencies (eg National Trust, RSPB) using CITiZAN methodology with their own volunteer team. This sustainably embeds community-recording in those institutions, widens the coverage of our survey and broadens the membership of our community surveyors. This initiative will be underpinned by a new national guidance on best practice for the preservation by record of archaeological features threatened by coastal erosion.


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