RESCUE – The British Archaeological Trust has been campaigning for archaeology and archaeologists since 1972. Formed to highlight the impact on the nation’s archaeological heritage of the building boom of the late 1960s and 1970s, the Trust has sought to enlist support from professional archaeologists, those in the amateur and voluntary sectors and the wider public in campaigns to protect individual archaeological sites, urban and rural landscapes with archaeological and historical significance as well as museum collections and archaeological archives.
RESCUE is, and has always been, entirely dependent on the financial support of its members and individual donors. It receives no state or institutional support other than grant-aid which is used to fund the publication of a variety of manuals, handbooks and other publications. These are mainly practical in nature and are designed to raise and maintain standards of practice in archaeology. The Trust is currently in the process of reviewing and revising its publication list; new editions of standard works will be available in the course of the next year together with a major new publication reviewing archaeology in Britain since 1972 and looking forward to future developments. A conference, coinciding with the AGM, is held annually in April and takes as its focus a different theme each year. Recent themes have included the role of consultants in commercial archaeology, the current crisis in archaeological archives and maritime archaeology. A newspaper, RESCUE News, appears three times a year and complements the Trust’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account.
RESCUE is run by an all-volunteer elected Council who receive no financial remuneration for their work and who claim no travel or other expenses from the Trust. Administrative support is provided by our hard-working part-time, professional office manager. Four officers (Chair, Vice-chair, Treasurer and Secretary) are assisted by members of Council who take on roles related to their areas of specialisation and knowledge. Ex-officio members of the Council are responsible for the production of RESCUE News and the maintenance and updating of the website. Close relations are maintained with the United Kingdom Institute of Conservation (ICON) with whom the Trust publishes First Aid for Finds, the standard text for on-site and post-excavation conservation of archaeological finds.
Members of the council review and comment on government and other proposals and initiatives which have an impact on archaeological sites and landscapes; RESCUE’s financial independence from the state and government means that we are free to offer radical and fundamental critiques of everything from the funding and structure of English Heritage to major infrastructure projects without compromise or concession to special interest groups or funding bodies. Although an active member of the umbrella groups The Heritage Alliance and The Archaeology Forum, and with good links to a wide variety of activist groups, RESCUE takes its independent role extremely seriously and does not compromise on its core commitment to defending the interests of archaeology and archaeologists against all threats.
RESCUE is always in need of new members and new volunteers to serve on the Council but like many similar organisations, persuading individuals to support the work of the Trust is always difficult, particularly at times of financial stress although such times tend to produce the greatest threats to archaeology and the nation’s heritage more generally.
Details of our recent campaigns, publication and membership can all be found on the RESCUE website
You can also find us on Facebook: RESCUE – The British Archaeological Trust and on Twitter @rescue_news