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Kent Archaeological Review extract

New Regional Developments in Rescue Archaeology.
by Wendy Williams.

It seems likely that by now most people directly involved in archaeology will have heard of the new regional Archaeology Advisory Committees which are currently being formed in England. The function of these Committees is basically to advise the Department of the Environment on aspects of local rescue archaeology including the allocation of grants, policies for surveys and excavation and facilities in the area to ensure the completion and publication of archaeological reports. The members of these Committees will (we hope) have a thorough knowledge of the archaeology in their own areas. This year the Committees will be discussing plans for work in 1975-6.

The government is making available a total of 1,063,000 for grants for rescue excavation and post-excavation work in Great Britain during 1974-5 -- an increase of 250,000 over the amount for 1973-4.

There will be 13 of these regional Advisory Committees covering the following areas:

  1. Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.
  2. Humberside, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire.
  3. Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside.
  4. Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire.
  5. Hereford and Worcester, Salop, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands.
  6. Norfolk, Suffolk.
  7. Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire.
  8. Greater London.
  9. Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire.
  10. Avon, Gloucestershire, Somerset.
  11. Kent, Surrey, East Sussex West Sussex.
  12. Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Wiltshire.
  13. Cornwall, Devon.

The scheme sounds like a substantial improvement over existing conditions in areas where archaeological destruction is taking place on an increasingly large scale and where there are no adequate rescue facilities. We all welcome informed and well-founded advice. But in the county of Kent there are now disconcerting rumours that yet another committee, besides the regional one, is to be set up. This seems likely to be on a county basis and it too, if formed, would advise on the allocation of grants, the policies for surveys and excavation and, it seems, co-ordinate rescue work in the county. It would appear that ten years of rescue work, led and co-ordinated by the CKA, is to be ignored and that now another committee will be there to slow down and make less effective our system of rescue archaeology.

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