David Connolly is the founder of the British Archaeological Jobs and Resources (BAJR) website and runs, along with archaeologist Maggie Struckmeier, the Past Horizons website, a web portal specialising in the reporting of archaeological news and projects from around the globe. Formerly a guitarist and key member of punk band Oi Polloi, David left to pursue a career in archaeology and worked the British field circuit for a number of years. He has also excavated and surveyed sites in far-flung places such as Croatia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates and Jordan. His experiences at York helped him form a keystone in his belief of the use of methodologies in archaeological practice. Currently residing in Scotland, David specialises in archaeological surveys and regularly partakes in community archaeology projects.
Part 1 in this series, detailing David’s background and the inception of BAJR, can be found here.
BAJR was founded on the same campaigning and irreverent principles as that of the Digger newsletter, but with added radical bite.
Alongside advertising job opportunities, it was also an important part of that founding principal that BAJR stood up for field archaeologists whose conditions of employment were at that point pretty dire, with most wages just above the poverty line. This sometimes meant that BAJR had to face an aggressive attitude from various companies, as they tended to perceive they were being forced to change against their will by a somewhat dictatorial individual.
BAJR was and still is prepared to put ethics over income and therefore refuses to accept job adverts that pay below the 9 minima grades. This was set up around 10 years ago to try to institute a fairer system that recognised skills over job titles.
Along with the issue of pay and conditions, BAJR is willing to phone up any company and negotiate a way forward, and to discuss perceived or real issues. BAJR often intervenes informally on behalf of an individual or group in an effort to resolve a situation.
BAJR is also an important source of accurate information directories that can be accessed by all. Currently there are details of circa 650 archaeological contractors across Europe, with full contact details, allowing the possibility for anyone to get in touch with a company without having to search through individual websites.
The same is true of the lists of active archaeology societies, Portable Antiquities services, re-enactment groups and archaeological curators. Universities, courses and training are all integrated into a fully searchable or accessible resource.
It is true to say that information is power, and BAJR is always driving to keep that information up to date and as accurate as possible for the benefit of everyone.
There are many rumours and half-truths about the relationship between BAJR and the IfA, and it is fair to say that we have had our differences in the past. However, we are now developing a more positive attitude towards one another and this new-found spirit of co-operation may enable some very positive future benefits for the industry as a whole, so watch this space.
One thing for sure is that BAJR is not going anywhere and will always be there for anyone who needs advice on any level along with access to good quality information.
The forum has been strengthened with a Facebook and Twitter presence, so discussion has become even more interesting and far-reaching. What is black and white and read all over? Why BAJR of course…
Stay tuned for Part III which deals with snapping trowel crisis of 2006 and the binary budding of BAJR into the butterfly that is Past Horizons…