Our next BABAO meeting has been postponed to September 2021. The sections on the conference and association finances in this FAQ have been updated to reflect this decision. You may read more in our BABAO President's letter to the membership.
April 17, 2020
Not much to update this Friday, but a new course at the University of York focusing on Star Carr has been added to the resources section. Keep keeping safe out there, members, friends and colleagues!
April 10, 2020
Members - our Outreach Officer, Claire, has added a bit more information to our questions regarding BABAO's outreach activities. Do have a look!
April 3, 2020
We have edited the section on grants just to highlight we are extending the deadlines for grant applications to July 3, 2020. Please read below for more information.
March 27, 2020
To all colleagues and BABAO members,
We hope you and your family are keeping safe and healthy during these times. The Board of Trustees are closely monitoring the coronavirus infection (COVID-19) situation within the UK and beyond, and noting the government's advisories and directives. As this is a rapidly evolving and complicated situation, the Trustees would like to keep you informed of our latest thoughts regarding the implications of COVID-19 for our association and activities. We thank you for your support and understanding in the weeks to come.
Please find below sections on:
- our annual conference
- commercial archaeology
- museums and collections
- general information
We hope you will bookmark this page to check back for updates in due course.
OUR ANNUAL CONFERENCE (Tim Thompson, Amber Collings, David Errickson)
Will we still hold the annual conference in September 2020?
The next conference at Teeside University has been postponed and is forecast to take place in September 2021 instead. Please read our letter to the membership explaining what that means for our next conference and events even further into the future.
The team at Teesside University will work in collaboration with the BABAO Board to keep you updated at regular intervals as to the our next conference.
OUR FINANCES (Lizzy Craig-Atkins)
What is BABAO's financial situation currently?
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BABAO Treasurer has reviewed the security of our financial position against potential loss of income, restrictions in the extent to which we can deliver our charitable objectives in the short term, and the impact of postponing large events such as our annual conference.
BABAO is a financially secure organisation - we have good reserves for emergencies and a healthy membership income. At the current point in the year, our members have already paid their annual subscriptions, so our income is secure.
Will the COVID-19 situation impact BABAO financially now our annual conference is postponed?
A financial commitment we have been considering carefully is our conference. As the next event has now been postponed to September 2021, we are working on the basis it will take place then. BABAO are liaising with the conference team at Teesside University regularly in this planning process, with careful consideration of our financial commitments. In any case, our reserves would ensure BABAO remains solvent, and we will always ensure we avoid too much financial risk.
What about BABAO's non-conference-related expenditure?
In addition to the loss of income, we have also considered the loss of opportunities to spend. The majority of our charitable expenditure as an organisation relates to activities that are currently impossible, for example, in-person public outreach and support for member research activities (travel, lab work, etc.). If restrictions on these activities remain in place for some time, our expenditure this year will be lower than normal. This is potentially problematic for the organisation because, as a charity, it is our aim to spend substantial amounts of our income per year in the delivery of our charitable objectives, and not to amass savings. We are making changes, for example, to the terms of research grants and how we perform outreach activities, to ensure BABAO's funds can still be used effectively.
GRANTS (Sophie Newman)
How will this affect my BABAO grant? Should I still apply for a BABAO grant this year?
We appreciate that with uncertainty surrounding the timescale of travel restrictions and access to collections that current BABAO grant holders may be concerned about their ability to complete their BABAO funded research within the stipulated time frame. Those considering applying in the current grants round may have similar concerns, which may be influencing their decision as to whether to apply. As such we are making the following temporary changes:
- All current BABAO grant holders have a year's extension for when they must present at a BABAO annual conference if they wish to use it (i.e., grant holders for 2018 now have until 2021, and grant holders for 2019 now have until 2022). If you are still happy to present within the original agreed timeframe, this is also not a problem.
- Successful applicants for the BABAO Grants 2020 round will have until 2023 to present their research outcomes, to allow an extra year for data collection should restrictions to travel and collections access continue. However, we still require you to have a letter of permission for access to collections at the time of application.
Can BABAO support the creation of online events/educational resources?
At a time where online resources are becoming increasingly important, we would like to highlight the newly instated BABAO symposia/workshop grant as a potential means for supporting the formation of virtual events and resources where applicable (see this page for more information). Please contact the Grants Secretary (grants[at]babao.org.uk) if you have any queries regarding this.
Will the deadlines for BABAO grant applications be extended this year? What will be involved in these circumstances?
The deadline of Friday, May 1, 2020 for BABAO grant applications has now been extended to Friday, July 3, 2020.
One of the key requirements for applications is that if you are hoping to use collections housed in external institutions to your own, you must have a letter of permission at the time of application. We appreciate at present this may be difficult due to closures, so if you can provide evidence of some form of written communication with external institutions that demonstrates ability to access collections once they have reopened, this will fulfil this requirement for the current round of applications.
COMMERCIAL ARCHAEOLOGY (Lauren McIntyre)
Have our industry representatives met to discuss the COVID-19 situation?
As of March 24, 2020, government advice dictates that construction sites should keep working if staff can meet 'social distancing' and other safe working requirements.
An emergency Industry Working Group (IWG) meeting took place, also on March 24, 2020, with representatives from CIfA, Prospect and the Federation of Archaeological Managers, Employers (FAME) and the Diggers Forum to discuss the industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with particular focus on site work. Since March 24, Prospect has held further discussions and exchanges with FAME, CIfA, the Diggers Forum and other industry bodies to try to find a way through the confused position with respect to safe working on site.
What recommendations have been put forward for commercial archaeologists?
The advice from these meetings was that site work should only continue where it is clear that the standards for social distancing, cleaning and welfare published by Public Health England (PHE) can be adhered to. Where this is not possible, sites should close down as they are putting site staff at risk. Prospect have drawn up additional guidance on safe site working, with representatives from Oxford Archaeology and Prospect's national health and safety specialists. This guidance is under constant review and has been issued to all union members. Key points include:
- No site work should resume operations until a competent and trained person (such as a senior supervisor, manager or H&S manager) has completed a new Risk Assessment, and this has been signed off by senior management in a company.
- No away work should be completed unless individual accommodation can be provided.
- No travel should involve public transport.
- Only 1 person per vehicle unless it can be proven by measuring that a 2m distance can be maintained between individuals. This may only be relaxed with those who live together
- All vehicles should be cleaned before and after use.
- All employees must keep 2m away at all times. This includes in the compound, in the cabins, in changing rooms and on site.
- Keep staff, welfare, tools and equipment clean.
CIfA have made it clear that all Registered Organisations (ROs) should be following PHE standards. They have stated that they will follow up any reports of ROs and accredited members who may be failing to follow Government’s social distancing advice. Principle 5 of CIfA's Code of Conduct sets out accredited professionals' responsibilities to health, safety & welfare of employees, colleagues or helpers.
Although no specific advice has been issued concerning specialists (e.g., osteoarchaeologists), it is advised as per government guidance, that people work at home where possible. If this is not practicable, specialists may work in the office/laboratory, but only if the above standards regarding social distancing, cleaning, travel to work, etc. are adhered to.
Where can we follow more information on how COVID-19 affects commercial archaeology and the construction industry?
Up-to-date coronavirus advice and information concerning ongoing actions by CIfA to support members and Registered Organisations during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on their website.
Further, more detailed advice can be found through the Prospect Archaeologists’ Branch Facebook page.
OUTREACH (Claire Hodson)
Which outreach/engagement events have been cancelled?
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic a number of outreach events, which BABAO was hoping to attend in person, have had to be cancelled. These events included London Anthropology Day, the York Festival of Ideas and a STEM Saturday Club. London Anthropology Day, hosted at the British Museum, and York Festival of Ideas are both hoping to be back in 2021. The STEM Saturday Club session is currently postponed, with the potential to rearrange this session, depending on the wider restrictions and pandemic circumstances. Other events that the outreach officer was currently working to deliver have also been postponed and development of these delayed.
What outreach/engagement activities is BABAO proposing instead?
In light of the ongoing situation, BABAO is hoping to deliver a number of distanced and online outreach and engagement sessions and activities, for both members, professionals within the field, and the general public. These activities have the potential to include online activities/tutorials, work-packs, twitter threads, Q&A sessions, interviews and lectures. A number of trustees are currently exploring the options for these and will be in touch with members as soon as possible regarding a proposed programme of outreach/engagement.
How can I still be involved in outreach?
Despite all face-to-face outreach being cancelled BABAO are still keen for their members to be involved and support outreach and engagement opportunities. Therefore, by delivering activities (such as those proposed above) we hope that as many of you as possible will take part and develop, lead or contribute to these. Whilst we are still exploring options and ironing out the details of these events/activities, we hope to provide as many opportunities as possible for our members to engage, interact and participate with our community and the general public during this difficult time.
Who should I contact to let them know I’d be interested in supporting distance/online outreach events?
If you are interested please email the outreach officer (c.m.hodson[at]durham.ac.uk) who will be able to discuss forthcoming opportunities with you. Alternatively, if you have an idea for outreach/engagement during this time then please do also get in touch
MUSEUMS AND COLLECTIONS (Trish Biers)
How does COVID-19 affect museums and curated collections?
As many museums and institutional collections are shutting or have shut, there will be some uncertainty about collections care, future research projects, and access. Please do reach out if you have information you would like to share about your institution’s plans, concerns about museum-related issues, or want to share ideas for digital museum projects for online.
GENERAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES (Michael Rivera)
How can I help BABAO?
Share your ideas, worries and experiences with us. Our Board are all very happy and willing to listen to your concerns and thoughts, and you can reach us via e-mail any time. BABAO is a community first and foremost and we want to listen to you, whether you are a student, forensics practitioner, heritage manager, museum curator, licensed archaeologist or academic researcher. We are grateful for your help in navigating the next few months, and we, the Board, will keep working hard to make sure our decisions serve your best interests.
I am struggling with finding archaeology and anthropology-related resources for my coursework / research / teaching. Help!
Lewis Borck (Missouri University) has assembled a fantastic list of archaeology online content and resources (with over 200 entries so far!), suitable for teachers and students.
The Teaching and Learning Anthropology group have assembled an 'Anthropology Syllabus' for teaching on COVID-19, complete with class activity suggestions, journal papers, popular articles, blog posts, podcast links, and much, much more.
The Prehistoric Society has a compilation of teaching and learning resources, including PowerPoint presentations, lesson plans and information sheets on methods and dozens of prehistoric sites.
DigVentures are hosting a free six-week course for archaeology students and fans to learn about excavations online. The University of York has a new course titled, 'Exploring Stone Age Archaeology: The Mysteries of Star Carr'. Prof Rebecca Gowland and Prof Tim Thompson launched a Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology course running online on FutureLearn too.
Check out this page by Kevin Flaherty (Augustana College) for free online anatomy resources.
If anybody has more reputable and useful resources to link here, please don't hesitate to forward them to the Board (mbcr2[at]alumni.cam.ac.uk).
Where can I find updated information about the COVID-19 infection and government responses to the pandemic?
As a first source of information concerning COVID-19, please defer to information provided by the NHS. The UK governmental website also provides useful travel advice and health and hygiene guidelines.
Information for universities can be found on the Universities UK webpage. If you are a non-UK student studying in the UK, Study UK and the British Council have put together a page for you with information on visas, accommodations and health advice.
Up-to-date coronavirus advice and information concerning ongoing actions by CIfA to support members and Registered Organisations during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on their website. Further, more advice can be found through the Prospect Archaeologists’ Branch Facebook page.
For more on the global outbreak, please refer to information from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ars Technica have compiled a list of frequently asked questions themselves, with information updated daily.
Who can I contact if I need help? / How can I help others if I am in a position to?
COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK is a group of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK. They focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need.
Nextdoor is a website for easily creating private online communities for their neighbourhood to facilitate communication. Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, Nextdoor has been increasingly facilitating members who offer help or request assistance. Those needing or offering help can look at their Neighbourhood Help Map to view and message nearby volunteers and people in need.
You may choose to donate to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Respond Fund.
How often should I check this page for updated information?
Our Communications Officer will note at the top when changes have been made (with timestamps). You may bookmark this page. We aim to re-evaluate what's in this FAQ every week for as long as the COVID-19 situation continues.
If you have a new question that hasn't been answered so far, please do get in touch.