Red River Archaeology became an accredited Living Wage Employer in 2020 and we are proud to be supporting the Living Wage movement in Cardiff from our local office and across the UK. We are committed to ensure every member of staff in our organisation earns not just the minimum wage but the real Living Wage, that is independently set as an hourly rate and updated annually, based on the real cost of living in the UK.
What this means in real terms
There are now over 160 accredited Living Wage employers in Cardiff, employing 64,000 workers. Almost 8,000 people have been uplifted to the real Living Wage as a direct result of accreditation.
Unlike the Government minimum wage (‘National Living Wage’ for over 23s - £8.91 rising to £9.50 in April) the real Living Wage is the only wage rate independently calculated based on rising living costs – including fuel, energy, rent and food. The real Living Wage is paid to all workers over the age of 18.
A full-time worker earning the real Living Wage would earn £1,930 a year more than a worker earning the current government minimum (NLW). For a worker today that’s the equivalent of seven months of food bills and more than five months' rent based on average household spending in the UK. Even on next April’s higher NLW rate of £9.50, a full-time worker on the real Living Wage would earn £780 more.
You can find out more about the Living Wage by visiting www.livingwage.org.uk
by Dave Gilbert
December 3 is the International Day of People with Disabilities and the 2021 theme is ‘Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.” If anything, the pandemic has highlighted alternative ways of conducting business and operations, taken just a little further these have the potential to reduce the barriers faced by people with disabilities.
As a Disability Confident organisation Red River Archaeology is committed to play a role in changing attitudes for the better and committed to equality in the workplace. We have implemented changes to the traditional practices in the workplace and our offices are adapted for easy access with disabled facilities and friendly workspaces.
We encourage other businesses to sign up to the Disability Confident scheme, they might be surprised by the contributions that can be made by people that might otherwise have been overlooked.
#disabilityconfident #archaeology #peoplewithdisabilities
We would like to take this opportunity to share our advert from this years’ Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) Yearbook Directory. If you like puzzles, this is for you - if not, please send it on to the puzzle fans in your life!
In June, we had the opportunity to conduct an archaeological walkover survey in the Scottish Highlands. The site was remote, and our role was to ensure that sites of archaeological potential would not be damaged during a major construction project.
By Sam Wilson (@conflictarchaeo on Twitter and Instagram)
In August 2021 I was privileged to be part of a collaborative project in the beautiful county of Northumberland as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Project ‘Revitalising Redesdale’. Led by Northumberland National Park Authority it also included archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology, battlefield specialist Dr Glenn Foard, landscape archaeologist Dr Tracey Partida as well as a small army of local volunteers. My role as a battlefield archaeologist was to lead a systematic metal detector survey to search for unstratified artefacts from the battle.
Our recent excavations at Sedgeberrow, Worcestershire were commissioned by Orion Heritage on behalf of Kendrick Homes. We unearthed two Roman-era burials near a contemporary corn-drying kiln, within a multi-phase archaeological landscape. Works were undertaken ahead of a proposed housing development. The younger of the two males buried at the site was wearing hobnail boots and had had his severed head placed between his feet.
By Dave Gilbert
For over twenty-five years, the UN’s annual World Water Day has been raising awareness of the importance of water.
“Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. It is vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, welfare, and productivity of populations. It is central to the production and preservation of a host of benefits and services for people. Water is also at the heart of adaptation to climate change, serving as the crucial link between the climate system, human society and the environment.” - The United Nations Department for Social and Economic Affairs
Agriculture currently accounts for 70% of the worlds water demands and it is estimated that by 2050, world agriculture will need to produce 60% more food globally. Industry and energy accounts for 20% of the water demands, with domestic use the final 10%. Analysts have indicated that in order to feed the world’s population the needed water saving must come from industry.
The heritage sector is not exempt from these concerns. For Red River Archaeology our single largest use of water comes from processing palaeoenvironmental samples. Traditionally such processing was undertaken using a free flow system that is still very common across the sector. This involves a continual water supply flowing through soils samples to float organic remains through a system of graded sieves, with the water that had passed through lost as waste. There were also associated problems with silt discharge and management.
In order to alleviate this waste, the decision was made to trial an enclosed system where water was filtered through silt traps and settling tanks before being recycled with minimum loss. There was no loss of productivity and the initial trial was so successful in saving water that further units were ordered increasing company capacity by 300%.
The move to an enclosed water unit has seen an estimated* reduction of 7000% on water use compared to the more traditional free flowing systems. Also, the associated silt traps ensure that there is next to zero silt emission in the wastewater, with certification in place for discharge. We believe this goes to show how relatively small innovations and changes to procedures can have a far-reaching impact. By simply introducing innovative systems the company is able to use water far more efficiently.
* based on figures supplied by the local water company.
By Dave Gilbert
During the Covid-19 pandemic it has been encouraging to hear that there is still the determination and political will of governments across the world to maintain their climate ambitions. The clear message that accelerating the move to a low-carbon economy can both drive economic recovery and build resilience for the future has popular support.
The UK Government’s “Build Back Greener” announcement places wind firmly at the centre of the UK’s green recovery and 2050 net zero target. The Prime Minister’s pledge that wind will be the backbone of the UK’s electricity system by 2030, is not only a boost to curbing climate change, but will also see an estimated £50 billion of investment.
The infrastructural necessary to push the UK’s wind energy capacity also brings with it a requirement to address a number of environmental issues including a need for archaeological investigation. Such investigations are not restricted to concerns of buried remains, but also impacts to historic buildings and standing monuments.
Due to issues of noise and visual amenity, a wind farm’s location is often in remote, open areas of land or sited offshore. Such environments are areas where Red River Archaeology have considerable expertise, having worked on the UK’s largest onshore and second largest offshore complexes as well as numerous smaller facilities across the country as well as the first electricity interconnector built between Britain and Ireland.
Getting the right expert advice during initial planning is critical. Red River Archaeology have worked closely with clients, planners, and statutory bodies to ensure that the design avoided and mitigated any heritage impact. The Red River team are experienced in identifying alternative approaches that can lead to improvements in the planning and design of development proposals so that they maximise the benefits of the scheme, while also closely cooperating with other project teams to enhance visual impact studies and avoid environmental damage from archaeological activities.
the answer my friend is blowing in the wind … so see Red for a Green future
By Dave Gilbert
Red River Archaeology Ltd is very proud to be a signatory of the Placemaking Wales Charter. Our expert, multi-disciplinary team based in Cardiff provide heritage planning and design consultation and advice spanning the whole of the built environment in Wales.
The Placemaking Wales Charter has been developed by Welsh Government and the Design Commission for Wales in collaboration with the Placemaking Wales Partnership and was launched on the 24th September 2020 by Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government. The Charter builds on the strengthening focus on Placemaking in policy and practice in Wales and aims to provide a common understanding of the range of considerations that go into placemaking.
The charter outlines six placemaking principles that cover the range of considerations in designing place that have key heritage factors and implications for developers. These inter linked principles include people and community, location, movement, identity, mixed use, and the public realm. Our work can have a significant positive influence on many of these factors.
Identity of place looks at the positive and unique qualities of existing places and the importance of highlighting these in the development. Every place is unique, and it is important to highlight this, showing the layers of history and the cultural heritage that differ from one location to another.
Location within an already established historic landscape should not be seen as an obstacle to development, correctly handled this can be a positive factor. Historically many areas were mixed-use and the ambition to move to a less car dependant society is an ambition that fit with more historic townscapes.
By considering the events and industries that have taken place there to create and develop places that give people a sense of identity and community for the people that live there. This feeds into the public realm principle which is about creating public spaces with a distinct identity, something that a shared heritage and history can deliver.
The commissioned work comprised archaeological evaluation of the proposed route of the new road, including the excavation of machine dug trenches, hand dug test pits and extensive geophysical survey in advance of the road scheme. The Cross Tay Link Road will link up the A93, A94 and A9 roads by way of a dual carriageway realignment, a grade separation junction and a new bridge crossing the River Tay and adjacent Railway.