Project Recommendations

Recommendations from the project, together with detailed reports and guidance documents are published on the Resources page.

Key recommendations are:-

  1. The archaeological sector must champion the value of archaeological archives
  2. The storage and access crisis can be solved at a regional and national level
  3. Effectively manage transfer of title and copyright for both orphan and newly created archives
  4. A standard framework on archaeological archives to be required in all briefs and Written Schemes of Investigations
  5. Improve communications by developing OASIS
  6. Enable preservation of, and access to, digital archaeological archives
  7. Establish Continuing Professional Development training programmes
  8. Ensure that that opportunities to engage communities in accessing archives are maximised

There are two more detailed reports, one on Museums and Public Engagement by Kate Fernie of 2Culture and one on Development Management Archaeology and Archaeological Contractors by Paddy McNulty.

In addition there is guidance on capital funding from Section 106 Agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy. Other sections include cost modelling and promoting research.

Workshop sessions – Exeter and Bristol

Two workshop sessions were held in Exeter and Bristol in early November 2017. Presentations from the sessions are downloadble as PDF documents. Notes from the discussion sessions will be available later,

  1. Seeing the Light of Day: report recommendations – David Dawson, Wiltshire Museum
  2. The true cost of collecting – Lorraine Mepham, Wessex Archaeology
  3. Written Schemes of Investigation: enabling archaeological archiving – Paddy McNulty
  4. Digital archiving – what to do – Kate Fernie, 2Culture
  5. Rationalising collectins: emerging themes – Gail Boyle, Bristol Culture / Society for Museum Archaeology
  6. Improving communications – OASIS – Louisa Matthews, Archaeology Data Service
  7. Sharing Standards: an experience from Gloucestershire – Alexia Clark, Museum in the Park, Stroud
  8. Public Engagement: Royal Albert Memorial Museum – Thomas Cadbury and Jenny Durrant, RAMM
  9. Public Engagement: Swindon Archaeology in context – Stefanie Vincent, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

Seeing the Light of Day workshops: Archaeological Collections & Sustainable Solutions

The Seeing the Light of day project team are organising two workshops this November.  If you work with or care for archaeological objects and collections, and are keen to hear the latest thinking on developing sustainable solutions to the management, accessibility and long-term preservation of archaeological archives in the south west come along!

The workshops will share the latest developments from the Seeing the Light of Day project and discuss the key recommendations for the museum and the wider heritage sector to take forward.  Each workshop will cover:

  • What to charge – the true cost of collecting
  • Written Schemes of Investigation – enabling archiving
  • Digital archiving – what to do
  • Improving communication
  • Shared storage – what to do
  • Public engagement – promoting research and enabling community engagement

Join us on:

Seeing the Light of Day Workshop – Bristol


The project held a very useful workshop in Bristol on 12 May, attended by about 30 people from across the heritage sector, including archaeological contractors, planning archaeologists and museum curators.

The workshop was an opportunity to update colleagues on the results of surveys and on-going policy work and then turned to look at key issues and possible solutions.

Introduction to Seeing the Light of Day project, David Dawson, Wiltshire Museum

Updates: what the research is telling us

Slaughtering the sacred cows: some discussion points, David Dawson

The project team will now be looking at the outcomes of the day and moving towards recommendations for actions. There will be a set of workshops in the Autumn hosted by South West Museum Development that will be outliming the results of the project.

Reporting progress

David Dawson, Paddy McNulty and Kate Fernie all took part in the meeting of the Archaeological Archives group of the Chartered Institute for Archaeology in Birmingham on 22 March.  We presented an overview of the project and outlined some initial results of the survey of development management archaeologists, contracting archaeologists and museum curators.

To find out more please see our presentation: Seeing the Light of Day CIfA AAG 22 03 21


Kate, Paddy and David presenting Seeing the Light of Day at the CiFA meeting on 22nd March


Missed opportunity?

This report in the Daily Mail highlights the opportunities for community engagement in archaeology that are missed through the pressures of development timescales. Can we create the space for community projects within developer-funded archaeology projects that also build meaningful long-term links with the museums where the finds will be stored and (possibly) displayed?

Seeing the Light of Day Project

The aim of the “Seeing the Light of Day” project is to develop sustainable solutions to the management, accessibility and long-term preservation of archaeological archives in the SW. As new housing has been built over the last few years, archaeologists have been busy excavating sites to record archaeological evidence before it is destroyed. Unfortunately, no financial provision has been made for these finds to be looked after by museums. Most museums stores across the SW Region are now full and there is a backlog of some 50 cubic metres of finds waiting to come to museums – the same size as a double-decker bus! The backlog is growing at the rate of 5 cubic metres a year.

The project is looking at how this important evidence of our past can be properly looked after and made available to people in the area where these excavations have taken place. Our museums need to be able to safeguard the paper and digital archives and finds for future generations of researchers.

The project is funded by Arts Council England.  It is led by the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes but is a partnership project intended to engage and benefit museums across the South West, their audiences and the wider heritage sector. The project has the support of the SW Museum Development Partnership, SW Museums Federation, SW Historic Environment Teams / Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers in the SW, Historic England, the Chartered Institute for Archaeology Archives Group, the Society of Museum Archaeologists and the 5 largest archaeological contractors active in the South West.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: ‘This is a great example of how museums working together can move towards developing sustainable solutions to shared issues and we’re delighted to be supporting them.’

David Dawson, Director of the Wiltshire Museum, said ‘This support will help tackle a problem faced by museums not just across the South West, but also across the country.‘

Two consultants have been appointed to work on the project. Kate Fernie is working on issues related to Museums and Paddy McNulty is working on issues relating to planning archaeology and archaeological contractors.