Have Your Say on the Future of Archaeological Services
17 January 2014
The Society’s autumn 2013 activities included the ‘Political Policies and Archaeology’ discussion, held in conjunction with The Archaeology Forum (TAF) in October 2013. During the event, the political panellists presented their views about archaeology and government, and then answered questions from audience members. The Rt Hon Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, invited The Archaeology Forum and the Society of Antiquaries to take the lead in developing and submitting a report to Government on the concerns, needs and expectations of the archaeology sector.
Following the event, the Minister reiterated his invitation by writing to Lord Redesdale, FSA, and John Howell, MP (who is standing for election to the Fellowship in February), with these words: ‘Following the success of the Political Policies and Archaeology discussion ... I would be delighted if you would take up this invitation to jointly undertake a review into the future of local government archaeological services.’ He went on to say: ‘These services have traditionally played a key role in the identification, protection, conservation and investigation of England’s rich archaeological heritage — including sites of undisputed international or national importance ... However, recent research has confirmed that they are under sustained and increasing pressure.’
Lord Redesdale and John Howell have accepted the challenge. They have issued a call for written evidence in the form of a questionnaire, accompanied by a briefing document (which can be downloaded from the Society’s website. Evidence must be submitted by completing the questionnaire and returning it to TAF by 14 February 2014. Following a review of the written submissions, contributors will be selected to participate in oral evidence sessions, to be held at the Society’s Burlington House apartments in March.
It is my sincere hope that Fellows of the Society will take this opportunity to share their valuable opinions and help shape the future of archaeology and heritage protection in this country.
The panellists at TAF’s ‘Political Policies and Archaeology’ discussion in October 2013 included Jenny Jones (Green Party), Lord Stevenson (Labour Party), Lord Redesdale (Liberal Democrats), Peter Hinton (Institute of Archaeologists) and The Rt Hon Ed Vaizey, MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries (Conservative Party). You can watch a recording of the event from our event archive.
This proposal will have far reaching consequences for the care and protection of England’s heritage.
~ John SC Lewis BSc FSA, General Secretary