Amateur archaeological endeavour in the post 1990 PPG16 world has to some degree been conditioned by developer funded archaeology into the mindset that useful amateur archaeology can only be undertaken either as a subset of a funded project, or by establishing an independent funding stream before a trowel is dusted off. With archaeology now subject to the same austerity as everybody else, we have to relearn the art of making do and mending.
Having spent many years acquiring the techniques of geophysical survey, I had developed a certain level of expertise, especially in the use of open source software to carry out analysis of survey data.
A couple of years ago I was approached by a community archaeological project at Hinderwell, nr Whitby. They had acquired a magnetometer and resistivity meter through grant funding, but despite paying substantial sums for training, had been unable to get consistent and ongoing support in the techniques of geophysical survey. Now with their funding ending, they were between a rock and a hard place, instruments worth £20,000, and a lack of expertise in how to use them, or process the data.
After an initial paid series of workshops, getting them upto speed on survey techniques, and introducing them to Snuffler the open source software, I came to an informal arrangement to offer my ongoing services for free, in return they would allow me the use of their instruments to carry out work on my own site.
The Mid Tees Research Project is a direct result of the generosity of Anthea Ellis and the management team at the Jet Coast Development Trust, in agreeing me extended use of their equipment, whilst in return I would ensure that their fieldwork group is fully supported in carrying out their own geophysical research and analysis.
A classic example of quid pro quo, and in my opinion, the only way forward for research archaeology, namely the sharing of scarce resources, whether human or technical.