Barbican Research Associates

                    providing an integrated post-excavation service for the archaeological community

 

 

Saving the Birmingham Archaeology Digital Archive

 

When Birmingham University decided to withdraw from commercial archaeology in 2012, the very large archive that Birmingham Archaeology, formerly the Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit (BA/BUFAU), had built up was left behind.  The unit had been the major contractor in the West Midlands and it was acknowledged that a failure to save the archive would result in the loss of a considerable amount of knowledge. Although sometimes only in 'bite-sized' pieces from small excavations, when combined they help build a detailed picture of life in the region. This unpublished and grey literature resource very much embodies the driving force behind PPG16 in forming a data-pool from which future researchers can draw  and synthesise.

 

The archive also included several large and/or important sites both within the region and beyond These include the prehistoric site at Crick, Northants, the prehistoric and medieval site at Longstanton, Cambs, the Roman site of Little Paxton, Cambs, the post-medieval pottery kiln at Wednesbury, and a late Saxon to post-medieval site at Banbury, Oxon. At the time BA closed some of these sites have not been published, some were going through the publication process and there was little information available to the wider public.

 

In 2013 English Heritage invited us to assess the digital component of the archive which dates back to 1991. Following this we were commissioned to run a project which will prepare the archive for publication on the Archaeological Data Service. This is running from March 2014 to November 2016 and is being managed by Stephanie RĂ¡kai who had worked with BA for many years.

 

A number of sites have been identified within the archive which, with a small amount of additional editorial work, could be brought to full publication. We are currently negotiating additional funding to achieve this. Further details will be posted as they become available.

 

Medieval pottery from BA's excavation at Longstanton.

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