Historic England



                                               ARCHAEOLOGY IN ENGLAND

Commercial and planning archaeology in England appears to be mainly organised to achieve site clearance and the smooth operation of the property development process without delays caused by public concern at what is being destroyed.

No-one appears to have considered how large the UK economy should be and the 'bigger is better' view does not necessarily enhance the quality of life - probably the opposite. Many good people work in the archaeology industry but few in positions of authority seem to question how large an industry which excavates away historic remains should be.

One problem is that the press like reporting discoveries, whilst leaving remains undisturbed is not newsworthy. The Time Team approach appears to have influenced public expectations, which may not be that good for protecting remains.

Another is that property developers are able to select who carries out the archaeological work.

A third is that any quality control appears to be by way of a complaints-based system. As developers usually don't want much to be found, they are unlikely to complain when things are missed.

Placebo organisations, which make you feel reassured because they exist but don't in fact do much good, may be fairly widespread in many fields of life. Those which claim to do a job whilst knowing that they fail to do it may find the Fraud Act 2006 makes interesting reading. This could be summarised as: A fraud is committed if someone makes a representation knowing that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading and intends, by making the representation to make a gain for himself or his employers or loss to others.