Welcome to the Urban Archaeology blog. Freelance archaeologist Chiz Harward provides a range of on and offsite services to the archaeological profession, including running and working on excavations, post-excavation services, training and development work, and illustration work. This weblog will carry news of projects as and when they happen as well as wider thoughts on archaeological issues, especially recording, stratigraphy and training.

21st Century Archaeologists

Chiz Harward presented a paper on training and reskilling at the recent 21st Century Archaeologists day-conference at the University of Winchester on the 19th June. His paper continues the themes set out in Chiz's recent article in The Archaeologist, and sets out the need to put training at the heart of everything we do on site. Chiz argues that there is a need for clear and logical methodologies on site in order to provide an adaptive framework within which we can excavate and record. These methodologies also need to be integrated with Post-excavation procedures and the boundaries between site and post-ex, and supervisor and archaeologist roles need to be blurred.

Training must be given space in which to be provided, but we also must give staff the time to do their job properly. It is no good training staff in stratigraphic excavation techniques if they are ordered to 'just hack it out' when they return to site.

Short-notice, short-term site cover on the Isle of Wight

Urban Archaeology has just finished providing watching brief cover for a national archaeological contractor and IfA Registered Organisation. Work involved  the monitoring of construction works on a major housing development on the Isle of Wight. The experience of many years working on construction sites means that following a client  briefing Chiz Harward can be trusted to 'read' the situation on site quickly, and to respond effectively with minimal need for the client to manage the situation.

Urban Archaeology can mobilise quickly and can be relied upon to provide flexible and professional cover on the full range of archaeological fieldwork projects from watching briefs to full excavation. The ability to engage a highly experienced archaeologist, who can be trusted to make the right decisions on site, is a major advantage to any archaeological employer. Urban Archaeology's services are of benefit to any archaeological organisation that finds themselves short-staffed, or in need of specialist site knowledge, such as for urban excavations.

Thames Discovery Programme Foreshore Factsheets

Looking through my past projects I came across the factsheets I prepared for the fantastic Thames Discovery Programme. The brief was to prepare a series of double-sided A4 factsheets presenting information on a range of common structures found on the Thames foreshore: causeways, fishtraps, gridirions and bargebeds, jetties and wharves and vessels. The finished factsheets were designed to be downloaded and printed out for use on the foreshore by the FROGS and can be viewed at http://www.thamesdiscovery.org/discover/foreshore-factsheets-vessels.

Upcoming training papers

I'll be presenting a new paper on training archaeologists at the upcoming 21st Century Archaeologists conference in Winchester on the 19th June. I'll also be talking on training at the FAME Forum in York on the 13th July, and on both the Diggers' Forum Away Work and Travel Survey, and training for archaeologists, at the Diggers' Forum/Prospect conference in York the next day .