Diggers' Forum

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The Diggers’ Forum (DF) is committed to creating a positive, sustainable and financially viable career for all professional archaeologists at all points in their career. The DF is a Special Interest Group of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists representing all archaeologists working out on site at whatever grade. Membership of the DF is open to all.

The DF was formed in 2004 to represent the views, aspirations and professional requirements of its members, in addition to campaigning for improvements in pay and conditions within the profession. The views of those new to a career in archaeology, or who are employed at the lower rungs of the job, are under-represented in the industry. It is a key aim of the Diggers’ Forum to redress this balance and keep the issues and welfare of its membership at the top of the CIfA agenda and publicised to the world beyond.

The Diggers’ Forum will serve as a platform to provide up to date news and information to its members, as well as actively encouraging debate and involvement within the DF and CIfA on the developing roles required of field-staff now and in the decades to come.

Join us and make our voice that bit louder.

Latest edition of Diggers' Forum Dispatch

Campaigns and activities

The Diggers Forum actively campaigns to improve pay and conditions for archaeologists: this work is done by both formal campaigns and by maintaining an active presence on CIfA Advisory Council, committees and working groups. By increasing our presence on Council we can make a positive impact on the profession by influencing votes on issues such as pay minima that directly affect our members. This relies on membership being engaged in CIfA and using their vote where it counts. Please read our latest overview of the minima here as discussed at CIfA Council meeting on 7 November.

Archaeologists shortage: a response from Diggers' Forum

On 3 June Diggers' Forum published a response to a report by Historic England into the ‘Shortage of trained archaeologists’, wishing to contest the validity of the statement and explore the cause of perceived shortages. Since publication the statement has proved popular on social media. You can read the full text here

A commitment to training and professional development is a key requirement of the Registered Organisation Scheme. Both the winner and the runner up in this year's Archaeology Training Forum Award were Registered Organisations and the ‘Training for competence in archaeology’ session organised by the Diggers' Forum at Conference this year also highlighted good practice with some excellent case studies. The video of the session (produced by Landward Research) will be available shortly. We are always very keen to publicise good practice and to work with members and registered organisations to help develop skills development programmes. Please contact kate.geary [at] archaeologists.net to discuss further.

Forthcoming Events

More events coming soon!

Past Events

Diggers’ Forum AGM

The 2016 AGM was held at the CIfA conference on Wednesday 20 April. Paul Riccoboni, who was Acting Chair, was voted in as Chair and Ben Saunders was voted onto the Committee as a general committee member.

CIfA Conference 2016 session

Organisers: Samantha Boyle, Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, and Kelly Madigan, L-P Archaeology

Diggers Forum (DF) took forward the proposal (since agreed by CIfA) that the level of competence of every professional archaeologist shall be Practitioner or above: any archaeologist in the profession who is not working at PCIfA level competence must be working within a structured training programme provided by their employer to take them to at least PCIfA level competence. DF believes in increasing the value of the archaeologist across the profession. Employer, employee, organisation and volunteer must be equally invested in the value of training, skills and best practice. Higher demonstrable competency is beneficial to the profession as a whole. DF invites discussants from vocational, academic, commercial and voluntary sectors to consider the proposal and the implications for future training. The session began with papers from each sector summarising current training challenges, opportunities and some horizon scanning. The second part of the session comprised a series of training examples presented by DF who invited all archaeology practitioners and volunteers to training experiences to be included in our case studies – the good, the bad and the ugly. The abstracts for the presentations plus links to the videos on YouTube and be found here. The discussion which followed will allowed open debate on the policy’s effects and how it could (or might not) be used to strengthen the profession.

Prospect Archaeologists Branch and Diggers’ Forum Joint Day Conference

On 2 November 2013 Diggers' Forum and Prospect held an open conference to discuss the twin issues of pay and training in archaeology. The conference heard papers from a range of perspectives and there was lively discussion of the issues between audience and speakers. These papers are now available to read in the new conference proceedings - further details and the papers can be accessed here

Please read an overview of this event with summaries of each presentation here

CPD Survey

The Diggers’ Forum has recently carried out an online survey into CPD and Training in commercial archaeology in the UK. The survey was primarily designed for fieldworkers, however respondents included managers and specialists. We are currently analysing the data and hope to publish a full report and recommendations soon.

Find out more by following this link.

Southport consultation

The DF committee has responded to the Southport group report, following input from the group. You can read read it here.

Away work, travel and subsistance report 2012

The report on our survey of away work is now finished and has been emailed or posted to all DF members. The report is over 100 pages long and contains two key sets of recommendations, intended to bring much needed clarity to the advertisement of archaeological jobs, and to improve the terms and conditions for employees who travel or work away; the main report can be downloaded here.

Please read through the report, discuss it with your colleagues and let us know what your comments and views are, particularly on the recommendations on advertising archaeological jobs, and on travel and away work.

We are moving on to the next step in our campaign, and are asking CIfA, FAME, Registered Organisations, employers and unions to join the DF in discussions as to how we put the recommendations into practice. Finally, we'd like to thank all the individuals and organisations that took part in the survey.

Please diggers [at] archaeologists.net (contact us) if you are a DF member and have not received your copy, or require a hardcopy.

Join the Diggers’ Forum

Membership of the Diggers’ Forum is open to everyone. Membership is free to CIfA members, for non-members there is an annual fee of £10.

Tel: 0118 378 6446

Email: groups@archaeologists.net

You can also download membership forms and flyers to help spread the word.

Contact us

You can contact us via CIfA by emailing groups@archaeologists.net or at diggers@archaeologists.net. If you would like to talk to us in full confidence then see the newsletter for our individual email addresses.

Social Media

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DiggersForum/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/DiggersForum

Committee members

Paul Riccoboni (Chair)

Cat Gibbs (Secretary)

Samantha Boyle (Treasurer)

Robin Weaver (Newsletter Co-editor)

Richard Bradley
Kelly Madigan
Charlie Enright
Gemma Ward
Ben Saunders

Specialist competence matrix

We have recently introduced specialist competence matrices, which have been compiled by our CIfA special interest groups and are tailored to their specific areas. These are to assist applicants and the Validation committee to see where you demonstrate the grade applied for.

AGM Minutes

September 2013
October 2011

Committee Meeting Minutes

27 November 2013


Latest edition

The Forum Dispatch, the newsletter of the Diggers’ Forum, forms a key medium for communicating within the Forum, and provides membership with a wide range of relevant news, articles and information on the activities of the Diggers’ Forum and the profession. Past issues of the newsletter and other DF articles are archived on this page


The Diggers' Forum is now on Facebook. By 'Liking' the page you will be able to receive regular news updates on DF activities and current and ongoing campaigns. The page will support the existing newsletter, which will still feature in-depth coverage of relevant news and articles. The page is also there for you to give feedback to the DF committee and other members, as well as for everyone to contribute to discussions on DF news and other events.
So if you're on Facebook go to http://www.facebook.com/DiggersForum and click on 'Like'!'

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Miller Building, University of Reading
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AB

0118 378 6446
admin [at] archaeologists.net