‘Community Archaeology’ has become a popular term in archaeology, being used to describe activities ranging from work carried out by professional archaeological organisations in which public involvement is encouraged, through to the many activities that are initiated and led by local communities themselves, such as historic building conservation, landscape survey projects, and of course excavations. However, the exact scale and types of activities taking place, that may be classed as ‘community archaeology’, has yet to be identified at a national level.
The CBA has always championed the role of the voluntary sector in archaeology, and with funding from the Headley Trust, we appointed a Community Archaeology Support Officer, Suzie Thomas. The first phase of her work was to carry out a major piece of research into the scale, nature, location and needs of the voluntary sector in archaeology in the UK. Just how much archaeological work is carried out on a voluntary basis? And how can an organisation like the CBA better support those voluntary participants?
The research took the form of a nationwide survey of the groups and societies that were engaging, or had the potential to engage, with community archaeology in its many forms. In addition, Suzie went out and visited groups, community archaeologists and other heritage professionals to gain a greater impression of the types of interactions taking place, and what potential there is to develop this further.
For those interested, the transcript and Powerpoint presentation of a recent paper presented by Dan Hull and Suzie Thomas on the development of the Community Archaeology Forum at the Institute for Archaeologists conference in Torquay, in a session titled “Communities in the Field”, can be viewed below:
On 12 September 2009 the CBA held a workshop on community archaeology. The presentations from this workshop are now available to view: