The POWER of Archaeology
The Power of Archaeology campaign aims to get MPs and local Councillors more closely engaged with archaeology and heritage issues, raise the profile of threats posed by cuts and planning policy reform, and make sure that decision-makers understand what archaeology does for us all and why people care passionately about it.
This page will give you information on how to get involved and support the campaign and its aims. The following downloads provide further advice on what you can do:
A greater range of advice toolkits can be found here.
Why archaeology needs you!
We want to get people talking about archaeology in the corridors of government. We want every MP and every local Councillor to hear from constituents and ward residents about the fantastic work that archaeology does in communities - from the amateur history and archaeology groups working to discover information about the local past and engage communities, to the professionals who maintain historic environment records, facilitate good planning, and check inappropriate development.
We need your help to do this! Whether by writing, meeting, or tweeting your MP, attending an event, or sending us a statement of why archaeology is important to you and why government support for archaeology (whether local authority services, museums, or sympathetic policy) is vital.
MPs often talk about their 'local heritage' and refer to local famous monuments, such as castles or stately homes. They also talk about local industry, local culture and identity. However they are often unaware how much archaeology and heritage there is around them, how it links people and places together through time, and how much it matters to people.
Your MP has a responsibility to listen to your concerns about your local heritage, and you have a right to ask for a response to issues that matter to you.
Demonstrating the direct power of archaeology through the actions of local communities enables us to work more effectively towards these ends.
Archaeology creates real benefits for people and places, for the economy, and for culture and society. Whether through enhancing tourism opportunities, creating local distinctivness and brand, or simply by promoting community cohesion, cultural awareness, or individual social benefits.
There are an estimated 200,000 volunteers engaged in archaeology in England alone, contributing an estimated 20 million volunteer hours per year. A conservative estimate of the net worth of this contribution puts it at nearly £175 million. This figure represents archaeology that generates a wide variety of outputs and outcomes - from producing significant archaeological reseach and making new discoveries, to managing our network of Young Archaeologists Clubs, to providing guided tours, managing local archaeological sites and putting on exhitibits or just helping out at local museums!
We want politicians to understand that archaeology is all around us - from mountain top to sea bed! There are more than 1.4 million records of archaeological sites in the UK - that's an average of 10 per square kilometre! 95% of people think it is important that heritage places are looked after, and 74% beleive that the government has a moral obligation to protect heritage sites.
Futhermore, archaeology is enjoyed by millions of people each year, both tourists and locals. It is one of the most recognised aspects of the UK's heritage, a key element of our tourist offer, an educational resource for our children, and a backdrop to our daily lives!
Current heritage concerns in parliament
In the recent Queen's Speech the announcement of a Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastrucuture Bill with perceived impacts on archaeology undertaken as part of the planning system created a significant wave of activity from those engaged with archaeology.
The Bill, along with the recently passed Housing and Planning Act are examples where current government reforms have illustrated the lack of wider understanding of the role that archaeology currently holds in the planning system and how prevailing political priorities can impact them if there is not a strong voice raised in opposition.
Furthermore, cuts to local government are leading to archaeology services being eroded to the point of collapse, and in some areas, where councils have been especially affected by the reductions to their budgets, have been cut entirely. In many places specialists are struggling to maintain databases of information on the historic environment (known as Historic Environment Records) and can no longer effectively advise on applications for planning permission in order to minimise impacts on heritage assets and maximise public benefit.
What can you do?
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We want all MPs to be invited to attend local events for the Festival of Archaeology, held this year between 16 and 31 July.
You can find out what's happening in your area here.
Why not go along and speak to them about why you'd like them to support local archaeology and heritage?
Here's a list of things you might be able to do:
- Write to your MP to tell them about events you are attending, and ask whether they'll be going
- Write to your local Councillors and ask how they'll be contributing to the Festival
- Invite your MP to any events that you will be running (whether part of the festival or not)
- Tell us when you have written, and when you have received a response so we can log details - you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Use social media to send pictures of your event or your visit to an archaeological site. You can also find and contact your MP on Twitter through a postcode search here: http://tweetyourmp.com
- Contact the CBA for further advice!