Thursday, 14 February 2013

Wessex Archaeology issues statement on Archaeological Archive Storage

A different perspective on the crisis facing archaeology is provided in the statement by Wessex Archaeology. As an archaeological contractor, they are left holding substantial archives that cannot be transferred to a museum as their stores are full. Wessex Archaeology is now forced to turn to its contractual relationship with its clients to seek to recover the costs of storing finds. This is a national problem, extending far beyond Wiltshire. Wessex Archaeology is just one of the contractors that are carrying the costs of the failure in the planning system to recognise that 'preservation by record' only works if developers carry the full cost of storing the archives. The current system is unsustainable in the terms of the National Planning Policy Framework. The development of Core Strategies and the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy provide a way of unblocking this logjam. Salisbury and Wiltshire Museums have worked closely with Wiltshire Council to provide an innovative solution to the problem of storing archaeological archives in the longer term. In the short term, our stores are full.