4.1 Training in Professional Archaeology: a preliminary review

The preliminary review of training in professional archaeology commissioned by English Heritage on behalf of the ATF in November 1998 from Gill Chitty of Hawkshead Archaeology and Conservation was published as Chitty 1999. It is now widely known as 'the Chitty report'.

The first aim of the review was to provide an outline of the current state of training in professional archaeology and to gather views on future provision and organisation of training. The second aim was to formulate an outline framework of proposals for further research and development projects which will foster the development of a co-ordinated and integrated approach to archaeological training within the broader sectors of historic environment and heritage management work.

To summarise the findings of the review on the first point, the review found that:

"Overall, vocational training provision in archaeology is unregulated, either for content or quality ... It is extremely diverse in subject and scope and is not related in any formal way to the requirements of different professional roles and training needs across the sector or in relation to the core competencies required for professional work .... Training provision is unevenly distributed in relation to the market among professionals and access to it is hampered by a lack of good quality, comprehensive information about course availability and content."
(Chitty 1999, para 6.15).

As an agenda to remedy this confused position, the suite of proposals that Chitty set out (the second aim) have formed the framework for the ATF's subsequent agenda. Thirteen recommendations were made in that document, all of which have relevance to this article and the current state and future direction of training in UK professional archaeology. The recommendations relate to the ATF itself as the co-ordinating body; to standards; to professional qualifications; to information and access to training; to work experience; to training policies and plans in archaeology; to the skills base; and to the voluntary sector. The recommendations related to standards in archaeological training and professional qualifications have been addressed by the ATF as key issues.

Recommendation 2 states: "That the ATF commission IFA to undertake on its behalf the design and implementation of a project to define professional roles and functions across the archaeological sector". This is seen as vital work to create reference points for defining training provision - once it is known what archaeologists do, what training they need can be established. The work that has been carried out here - Defining professional functions and standards in archaeology - has been an extended analysis of occupational roles and functions.

In terms of information and access to training, Recommendation 7, "That the ATF work with CBA, in collaboration with the IFA, SCACE and SCUPHA, to develop and maintain a comprehensive on-line information service providing career advice and details of the availability of archaeology education and training courses, as a service to the interested public and to independent and professional archaeologists" has led to the establishment of a dedicated online training information service, TORC. Professional Training courses and TORC have become key elements in the delivery of skills in areas where a shortfall has been identified.


Last updated: Tue Sep 10 2002

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