Archaeology for all

The 2013 Day of Archaeology falls within the 2013 Festival of Archaeology, run across the United Kingdom by the Council for British Archaeology. This year we have had even more events run by even more organisers, and we have reached out to even more people, particularly via the extensive media campaign which runs alongside the Festival. In fact on the Day of Archaeology our day starts very early with a slot on the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme as part of a theme running all week. In my interview, broadcast earlier in the week, in my role as the Director of the CBA I was able to promote the key role that farmers have as stewards of the historic environment on their land.

Having just got back from spending two long days in south Wales at the launch of the Cadw Community Archaeology Framework at Castell Coch, and at a meeting of the Welsh Culture Minister’s Historic Environment Group, it would have been useful to spend a day in the CBA office in York, but I was scheduled to head down to meetings in London. Covering the whole UK, as the CBA endeavours to do, means a lot of travel and increasingly means dealing with diverging heritage systems and legislation in each part of the UK.

On the Day of Archaeology itself, I first had a lunchtime meeting in London with Kate Pugh, the Chief Executive of The Heritage Alliance, to discuss the future business of the National Heritage Protection Plan Advisory Board, which I chair. The coming year will be particularly important for the Plan as the initial five year Plan runs to 2015 and we’ll need to start consultations about a new iteration of the Plan for the period after that, with the added complication of the proposals to restructure English Heritage kicking in around the same time. Hopefully the Plan is becoming increasingly embedded within the sector with an increasing number of organisations developing action plans  to map their activities on to the Plan’s measures.

After lunch, both Kate and I headed over to the offices of English Heritage in Waterhouse Square, for an informal consultation session on the plans for the future of EH. This was a very helpful session, prior to the launch of the formal consultation in September, and we were briefed by senior colleagues from EH on the proposals and given an opportunity to ask questions and share our initial thoughts which will guide the shape of the consultation and the new structures which will emerge.

On the train home it was a chance to catch up with all the emails that pour in every hour of every day (it seems!) and plan for the weekend ahead, attending a committee meeting of CBA North in Newcastle on the Saturday morning, and then heading over to Hadrian’s Wall and a visit to Escomb Saxon Church on the way back to York.

Archaeology for All – the vision of the Council for British Archaeology – is a fully inclusive, diverse, 24 hour a day operation!