FSARG Evaluation Meeting

27th March 2007

Present: Pat Reid, Jim Reid (Chair), Marian Spouse, Eve Hurste, Teddy Kempster, Barrie Parkhouse, Joyce Lawless, Pauline Sieben, Mike Tillman, Emma Burford, John Clarkstone, Caroline Clarkstone, Diane Skinner, Lesley Shea, Ron Elsey, Rosemary Cotton, Norman Cotton.

 

Apologies:  Margaret Harding, Nigel Mannouch, Suzanne Miles, Keith Robinson, Pat Wheatley.

 

Firstly, great thanks for such a good turnout.  I hope that those of you unable to attend will read this carefully and let me know your views. This was, I think, a very honest session which is what made it so useful.

 

The report starts with a topic which came from the floor, and is, I think, more important than any of the others.

 

1. Decision making about directions.

 

It was agreed that decision making about directions for the annual programme should be shared more widely, now that the initial ‘introductory’ stage of FSARG is over.  Such over-arching decisions need to be made in the late autumn for the next year, so that early approvals, grants and permissions can be sought.

 

Solution:  to have a Strategic Planning Meeting for any member who wants to participate at the end of November from 2007 onwards.  Date will be posted on the FSARG website after 2nd May.

 

An afterthought: this meeting should also include decisions about funding applications.  Such applications are integrally related to strategic plans.

 

2. Training

 

It was felt that the almost whole range of skills had been covered, and what was needed was consolidation and experience, especially of contextual excavation. The most serious omission was to do with training in archaeological illustration

 

Solutions:

 

  • Aim for larger excavations and a context-based methodology (though we must remember than choice of methods depends on the needs of the research itself.)
  • Ideally do on-site finds processing as at Almshouses last year. Otherwise, more effort to link finds+ excavation work e.g. by daily visits between the two.
  • Stage 2 Handbook needed (Pat to do)
  • No quick answers to illustration problem – but Norman and Teddy showed interest in training in techniques for notebooks and finds sheets.  Pat to make enquiries about training possibilities.

 

3. Community links

 

We identified links already made with householders, Faversham Society members, library users, schools, old people’s homes and the more general public through the Favsoc’s Open House and Open garden Scheme and exhibitions.  These should continue. Agreed that we haven’t really evaluated the effectiveness of these contacts, and that local people need to be encouraged more to investigate their own gardens.

 

Solutions:

 

  • Issue a questionnaire to householders whose gardens were used.  To be done in April – Mike do form, Pat to send it out.
  • Run an ‘Archaeological Antiques Road Show’ at the Medieval Fayre (24th June) at the Faversham Society stall.  Pat to organise with Suzanne.  Lots of publicity needed via local newspapers etc.

 

4. Archaeological standards and skills

 

People found it hard to judge this one, but felt that generally it was OK.  The needs for improving record keeping was acknowledged, also an on-going need for training and support in finds identification.

 

Solutions:

 

  • Take rather fewer photos and give much more supporting info on them in the site notebook.
  • Manage digging to allow more time for section drawing in particular.
  • Start building up reference collections for pottery, clay pipes and brick/tile as soon as possible. (Easter season 07?)
  • Use site notebooks as much as possible.

 

5. Internal communications

 

Generally felt to be good, but some members would like contact details for other members.

 

Solution:

 

  • Use the 2nd May meeting to ask individuals for permission to circulate their details.  Then circulate a list for those who have agreed.

 

6. External communications

 

The main topic here was publication, including the website, in relation to a) FSARG members b) general public, c) archaeological world.   Website much applauded, but Mike felt that we’d lost our deadlines this year and need a more rigorous timetable.  Pat dithering about who are the appropriate audiences for the HSX05/ 06 project summary which are being worked on at the moment.

 

Solutions:

 

  • Pat & Mike to work out a strict deadline for web material for next year – meanwhile to catch up ASAP.
  • Summaries to be ‘bumped up’ for Cantiana   (the KAS annual journal)
  • Pat to talk to Arthur about a Favsoc publication – costs etc - see if something under £5 is possible.  This would be for FSARG members and householders, but could be on sale for the TIC.

 

7. Fun & sense of achievement

 

No problems – no discussion!

 

Finally - this is an on-going process, not a finished product.  I suspect that, like me, you are having afterthoughts.   If so, could you give some practical thought as to how we can share our ideas more effectively and make more joint decisions?  I’m all for it!

 

 

Pat Reid

March 28th 2007

 

 

 

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