128 BARNSBURY RD., LONDON, N.l. TEL. 01-278 2632 No. 10. SEPTEMBER, 1968
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There are two schools of thought in regard to archaeological policy today. On the one hand there are the proponents of research excavation who believe that we should concentrate on selective excavation to answer certain specific questions, and that the excavations should be done very slowly and to the highest possible standards.
On the other hand there are those who point to the rapid destruction caused by modern industry and who argue that the present generation of archaeologists should devote itself to extracting as much information as is feasible from ancient remains before they are lost for ever. Pure research excavation, they argue, is wrong because new scientific advances are going to make present-day methods look hopelessly old-fashioned to the next generation, just as C14 and pollen analysis have now opened up possibilities unknown in the past.
Between these two extremes lies a Golden Mean, a compromise between the needs of rescue and research. We cannot rescue all threatened sites, so let us select those for excavation that are likely to contribute to current research. And when funds are available for pure research, let us choose sites which, though not faced with a specific threat are nevertheless continually at risk due to annual ploughing. In this way we could get the best of both worlds and both further the cause of pure research and rescue something of our heritage before it is too late.
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