Context 153 - March 2018

50 C O N T E X T 1 5 3 : M A R C H 2 0 1 8 ROB LENNOX Parallel professions: archaeology and conservation Technological advancement and rapid professionalisation, and even entire new branches of the profession, have brought new ways for archaeologists to investigate, analyse and interpret. Last year the IHBC signed a memorandumof understand- ing with the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA), which was introduced to IHBC members in Context 147, November 2016. This agreement states our institutes’ ambition to work more closely together, understand each other better, and advance shared interests and complementary working practices, while supporting mutual recognition of specialist expertise. CIfA is a leading professional body in the archaeological sector, promoting professional standards and strong ethics in archaeological practice, and championing professional- ism in the study and care of the historic environment. It accredits archaeologists and archaeological practices. Archaeology can be defined as the study of physical evidence of the human past, whether buried, built or underwater.This ranges from investigation of landscape, through settlements, building fabric, plan form and space, and features, artefacts and biological remains.The archaeological profession has expanded almost beyond recognition in the past 50 years. The profession’s wide array of technical branches and specialisms include archival work, archaeobiology, collections management, forensic, geophysics, marine, and many more.The majority of archaeologists work for private-sector contractors within the planning system. Others work in research institutions, museums and local authorities (where they provide advice to planners, or maintain historic environment records and other databases, and are subject to many of the same pressures as conservation officers). Many archaeologists work in laboratories, analysing such things as bones, botanical remains,microscopic remains found in soil and the plaque on ancient teeth. Archaeologists working in or withmuseums may employ skills shared across that industry, and they apply specialist approaches to archaeological collections management and interpretation. And, of course, some archaeologists work in the literal ‘field’, with trowel, trench and tape measure as the basic toolkit.They are supported by geophysical and aerial survey techniques, experimental methods to test past technologies, and myriad approaches to interpreting it to the public. Archaeology has a strong history of voluntary and community work, and many archaeologists work in a voluntary capacity through local societies or with community groups. The archaeology of buildings is a well-established and distinct specialism. More than 900 of CIfA’s 3,500 members are in the institute’s buildings archaeology group, being drawn from commercial and public sectors, and national and local heritage organisations. Buildings archaeologists apply archaeological principles of system- atic recording, analysis and interpretation to standing buildings.They may be engaged to establish the character, type, plan form, function and historical development of a building. This work is carried out through a combination of desk- based and visual processes, and a variety of techniques, from scientific methods such as dendrochronological dating, spatial analysis, photographic survey or digital modelling techniques, to the more traditional visual analysis, measuring and drawing, intrusive interventions and excavation.The products of this work include historic building recording reports and photographic surveys produced to compile a lasting record where material is due to be lost, to inform a conservation strategy or to fulfil a planning condition. Having received a royal charter as an institute in 2014, CIfA now intends to petition the Privy Council to enable it to award a ‘chartered archaeologist’ accreditation.The institute is delighted that the IHBChas recorded its formal support for the initiative. Indeed, CIfA welcomes the fact that, through the memorandumof understanding, chartered archaeologists who also work with historic buildings have their archaeo- logical expertise recognised by the IHBC, just as theMoU means that IHBC members have their built and historic environment conservation expertise recognised by CIfA. To develop their relationship, the IHBC and CIfA are each continuing to offer a free one-year taster membership of the other institute to help colleagues experience our respective disciplines and support at first hand. CIfA is also offering discounted attendance to IHBCmembers to its 2018 conference, to be held in Brighton on 25–27April. With the theme of, appropriately, Pulling Together, the conference will explore themes of buildings archaeology, the planning system and wider historic environment management. For details of how to take up the CIfAmembership and conference offers, see and Rob Lennox is policy advisor at the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Yearbook and Directory 2017 A DJI Inspire 2 drone carrying out a microtopographic survey via photogrammetry, while a MALÅ Imaging Radar Array (MIRA) high-density, ground- penetrating radar (GPR) survey is undertaken below (Photo: Richard Fleming/ Sumo Aerial Surveys)