Contract Archaeology in Scotland

By Carter, Stephen | Antiquity, September 2002 | Go to article overview

Contract Archaeology in Scotland


Carter, Stephen, Antiquity


Introduction

The subject matter for this article is a large one and could be approached in a number of different ways. I have chosen to focus on some of the more distinctive characteristics of contract archaeology as it is currently practised in Scotland. This may encourage comparison with the situation elsewhere but it is not my intention to `compare and contrast'. I will leave it up to the reader, if they wish, to set their own experiences against the Scottish situation. I define contract archaeology as all types of archaeological work undertaken through a commercial contract. Scotland is a small country with a small economy and it has a commercial archaeological sector to scale. The number of commercial archaeological organizations working regularly in Scotland is somewhere between 10 and 20 depending on your point of view. Only five of these organizations have permanent staff numbers in double figures; some of the others are effectively sole traders who may take on staff with project-specific contracts. It is inevitable, therefore, that any aspect of contract archaeology in Scotland can easily become a discussion of individual organizations or even individual archaeologists. This is an important point, because individual events have significantly influenced the development of contract archaeology in Scotland. The role of contingency (chance) provides a useful foil to what can be called environmental and economic determinism and I will return to it later in this article.

A short history of contract archaeology in Scotland

Contract archaeology in Scotland may be small-scale but it has expanded significantly in the past decade and is still growing. This rapid growth lies behind one characteristic of the sector--immaturity; contract archaeology is young and still developing. Very few organizations can be traced back more than 10 years, even if some of the individual players have a longer track record in archaeology. Comparative statistics for 1990 and 2000 (derived from Discovery & Excavation in Scotland, the annual survey of Scottish archaeological fieldwork published by the Council for Scottish Archaeology), can be used to illustrate some these points (TABLE 1). It is important to remember that fieldwork is only one aspect of commercial archaeological work, but it is one area that can be readily quantified.

The figures for 1990 show Scotland at the start of commercial contract archaeology as we know it today. Funding was dominated by the national heritage agency (now named Historic Scotland) and it issued over 70% of the commercial fieldwork contracts. Only two organizations undertook significant numbers of projects, accounting for over 50% of contracts between them, Both of these organizations had their origins in the rise of government-funded rescue archaeology in the 1970s. AOC (then an abbreviation for Archaeological Operations and Conservation) had started life in 1977 as the Central Excavation Unit and in 1990 was still a field archaeological unit within what was to become Historic Scotland. SUAT (the Scottish Urban Archaeological Trust) was actually founded in 1982 but can trace its origins to urban rescue initiatives in the 1970s, including the short-lived Urban Archaeology Unit and the Scottish Burgh Survey project. SUAT was largely funded by national government money through the 1980s but this included a large volume of under-resourced Manpower Services Commission (MSC) Scheme work in Scotland's larger towns. The other contractors in 1990 included a mix of freelance archaeologists and fledgling commercial organizations.

By 2000 commercial contracting was well-established and the number of reported field projects had grown more than three-fold. Almost all of this increase was accounted for by commercial (non-government) clients and Historic Scotland's share had declined to 25% of the total. 80% of contracts were shared between eight organizations, most of which had been founded or at least evolved significantly within the previous decade. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Contract Archaeology in Scotland
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.