When the project design is complete, approval will have to be sought from the project sponsor and those responsible for the care of the site to be excavated. The fieldwork phase cannot commence until the proper approval has been given. Agreement to proceed may include provision for progress monitoring by the project sponsor.
It is likely to be at this point that the full project team will be brought together. This will consist of the core team (see section 4.6) plus site staff and relevant consultants. It is essential that data-collection does not commence until the project manager has ensured that all involved are thoroughly acquainted with the project design. Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that:
There is a potential danger during data-collection, that funds allocated to creating a high quality ordered site archive may be diverted to intensifying fieldwork. The project design will however have specified the expected level of resourcing needed for different aspects of the fieldwork, and particular attention should be paid to ensuring that resources remain appropriately allocated within that framework. If any area of a project is not conforming to the agreed project design steps should be taken either to bring the project back on course, or where necessary. to revise the project design. Any changes in priorities, methodologies or timetabling should be discussed and agreed with other members of the project team, as they may have implications for other aspects of the project. Any alterations to the project design should be made by authorised staff and should be recorded; they should also be reported to the project sponsors, especially if they have not been involved in their formulation.
The site archive comprises the excavation records and any materials recovered. It should be quantified, ordered, indexed, and internally consistent. It should also contain a site matrix, a site summary (a short report giving a preliminary account of. the discoveries) and brief written observations on the artefactual and environmental data.
Once the site archive has been completed it will be possible to move on to the review stage to see if the original or redirected project objectives have been achieved, and whether it is necessary to proceed to a formal 'assessment of potential for analysis' as the next phase of the project. The speed and efficiency with which this can be done will be directly dependent on the resources given to on-site recording and storage.
In some cases review of the quality. character, and significance of the data-collection may indicate that a formal assessment phase is unnecessary. In such cases a certain level of published information should be regarded as an irreducible minimum (see appendix 7). Steps must be taken to complete an SMR entry. Arrange for the deposition of the archive, and publish a brief report summarising the results of the project.
Where the review indicates that a formal assessment phase is required an interval to plan this assessment work programme will be needed. At this stage steps must be taken to make an initial entry into the SMR.
The project team is responsible for formulating a programme for the assessment phase. Different types of material will require different assessment methods. It is consequently most important that the views of all the relevant specialist contributors as well as team members should be sought when estimating costs and preparing a timetable.
The most time-consuming and costly aspect of the assessment phase is likely to be supplementary data-collection (see section 6.6 and section 6.7). As far as possible the need for supplementary data must be identified and estimated for when planning the assessment phase.
The internal programming of the assessment phase is critical. Most assessments will involve a sequence of events which must be identified and appropriately timetabled. For example, if money and time are not to be wasted bulk sample processing and sorting has to wait for the pottery specialist to decide, in collaboration with the team member assessing the site stratigraphy, which contexts are worthwhile; bone assessment has to wait until the bulk samples have been sorted; work on the fish bones has to wait until they have been extracted from the mammal bones; and integration of assessment results must wait until all the individual specialist assessments are ready. Consequently all relevant staff have to be consulted before a programme for this phase can be finalised.
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