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1 Introduction

1.1

This is the latest in a series of documents dealing with archaeological project management. Its contents have been substantially influenced by the documents which preceded it. In particular Principles of Publication in Rescue Archaeology a report by a working party of the Ancient Monuments Board for England Committee for Rescue Archaeology (1975), commonly referred to as the Frere report after the working party chairman, and The Publication of Archaeological Excavations a report of a joint working party of the Council for British Archaeology and the Department of the Environment (1982), referred to as the Cunliffe report, have been of fundamental importance in developing approaches to the management of projects and the dissemination of their results. These two reports have given rise to a set of archaeological management concepts and terms which have achieved a wide currency. It is appropriate briefly to review these reports to put the present document in context.

1.2

The Frere report was particularly concerned to address the problem of how to publish an ever-increasing quantity of archaeological data. The report put forward a model for archaeological projects which saw data managed at a series of levels. With hindsight the principal problem with the model was with the concept of the Level 3 report: this was to contain all the data recovered, prepared to a standard equal to that required for publication. Although the report stated that 'refined' publication at Level 4 should be the objective in the future, the need for the prior preparation of a Level 3 report separate from the production of a report text for publication, meant that achieving publication was still time-consuming and expensive.

1.3

In addressing this problem the Cunliffe report stressed the need for the critical selection of data. Particular emphasis was put on the research design as a means of exercising this selectivity. The need for 'well defined thresholds for review and forward planning' was identified as an appropriate mechanism for implementing this. Although the model put forward in the Cunliffe report has been of great value, putting it into practice has been difficult. One of the principal purposes of the present document is to develop the concept of regular critical review as the key to successful archaeological project management, and to suggest how this might be achieved.

1.4

A previous version of this document has been issued (Management of Archaeology Projects 1989 - subsequently referred to as MAP 1989). This addressed two aspects of project documentation: first it gave a fuller definition of the terms set out in the Frere and Cunliffe reports; it also set out the role that documentation should play in an archaeological project. The purpose of the present document is to revise and expand MAP 1989, as a result of experience gained through using it, and in particular to re-examine and define more fully the management process which leads to the production of project documentation, which was not covered in MAP 1989.

1.5

This revised document puts forward and describes in detail a model for the management of archaeological projects. The most innovative part of this model is identified as 'assessment of potential for analysis' (phase 3, figure 1) and this has received detailed treatment because the importance of a formal post-excavation review phase has become evident. It is intended that this management framework will operate side by side with a framework of academic priorities which will help to estimate archaeological value. These priorities will of necessity change as the successful completion of well planned projects contributes to the growth of the academic database.

1.6

The opportunity has also been taken to revise the definitions made in MAP 1989, and to produce sample specifications of key project documents (appendices 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 and 6 ). There is currently a need for the standardisation of terms in use within the profession, and it is hoped that this document will contribute to this.

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Last updated: Thu Oct 8 1998