The project management model described begins to operate at the point when a decision has been taken to initiate a project (see figure 1). Large archaeological field projects, however, may have been preceded by one or more preliminary phases of evaluation. These evaluations may have formed projects in their own right and will have followed the cycle of activities described at 3.6. The results of these evaluation projects will be critical in defining the objectives of any subsequent field project and in estimating the resources necessary to achieve the objectives once defined. It should be appreciated that evaluation may produce results of sufficient significance to merit assessment, analysis and publication in their own right (see section 6, section 7, and section 8), even if the result of evaluation is a decision not to initiate a further project.
Evaluation will almost invariably commence with a desk top study. In those cases where such study yields insufficient information, rapid and limited fieldwork may follow. The purpose of such fieldwork is to define, as far as possible, the likely nature and extent of the archaeological deposits under consideration.
The evaluation report produced will present a digest of information on the character and significance of the deposits under review. This report will form the basis of the proposal on appropriate further action.
A copy of the evaluation report must be lodged with the commissioning body (eg developer) and an entry made in the relevant sites and monuments record (SMR hereafter). It is also important that a note be published recording that an evaluation has taken place, summarising its results, and stating where the archive can be consulted. This is also necessary where the evaluation results are negative, or when there is to be a time lag between the completion of the evaluation and the start of any resultant project. Material collected during evaluation should be accessible in the interim to archaeologists and other related professionals.
The end-product of the initial planning stage is the project design, a specification for which is given in appendix 2. This defines the objectives of the whole project and outlines the overall resources likely to be necessary to achieve them. The project design will provide the framework for the execution of the project through to completion. Even if the funding is agreed in phase-related blocks (see section 3.10) it is necessary to have an overview of the aims and anticipated costs at the outset. The project design will also give more specific details of the strategies and resources appropriate to the fieldwork phase.
Work on the project design can only begin when the project manager and core team have been assigned to the project. This core team will include representatives of all relevant specialisms (eg environmentalists, technologists, conservators, illustrators, surveying/dating specialists, documentary historians, artefact specialists, etc). The project manager and core team will together formulate the project designs, although it is the project manager's responsibility to ensure that all potential areas of enquiry are considered and appropriate resources allocated.
Once the composition of the project team has been established team members will wish to ensure that contact has been made with those other organisations which have an interest in the project, including the museum or other body which will become the eventual recipient of the project archive. Consideration should also be given at this stage to seeking any additional academic guidance needed.
The compilation of a project design is essentially a four stage process and should be carried out in the following sequence:
The aim in undertaking a programme of fieldwork should be to produce a comprehensive site archive as defined in appendix 3. This can only be properly achieved if the resources needed for fieldwork are correctly estimated and deployed. Where this is done time will not be wasted at a later stage attempting to solve problems which were not properly addressed during excavation. An appropriate level of resourcing will ensure maximum efficiency and allow the subsequent assessment phase to go ahead with the minimum of delay. Particular attention should be paid to the following areas:
The site archive is a primary resource and must be properly curated and stored so that it can be consulted in the future. The project manager should ensure that appropriate advice on conservation needs is available to the project team. Long term storage is a museum responsibility, and it is essential that contact with a museum professional is made at a sufficiently early stage. Museum requirements must be established and appropriate resources allocated. The United Kingdom Institute for Conservation (UK IC)'s Guidelines for the preparation of excavation archives for long term storage (Walker 1990) and the Museums and Galleries Commission's Standards in the museum care of archaeological collections (in prep), in particular the section headed 'Standards for the preparation and transfer of archaeological archives' should be referred to when planning for curation.
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