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SHARP Charity Governance

"The first principle is that archaeology is there to be dug, and anyone willing to learn how is entitled to participate. The notion that we should save it for the future when techniques will be better is a transparent absurdity, since the future, by definition, can never come.


Our second principle is that we do archaeology on a minimal budget. We have no choice: very few research projects can happen if they depend upon professional levels of funding or anything like it. So, it is low-budget research or no research at all.


Our third principle - We encourage active participation at all levels.


Finally, and crucially, we have a democratic internal structure. This is not a matter of formal arrangements - such as a rigid decision-making procedure. Rather, it means refusing to mimic the restrictive work hierarchies of the factory and office, where talent is bottled up and creativity frustrated, and instead offering the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities which will maximise people's enthusiasm, self-development and contribution.


Here, we return to our starting point. The professional rescue unit has to work fast. We do not. We can accommodate large numbers of unskilled people, take time out for on-site training, and slow the pace while expertise develops. Equally, we can allow ourselves time to think and discuss, to modify method in relation to changing interpretation, to interrogate our site far more comprehensively than we could if the bulldozers were waiting to get in. Archaeological fieldwork has hundreds of questions to answer and thousands of would-be volunteers willing to help. The case for more community-based, volunteer-run, democratically-organised research projects like Sedgeford is unanswerable."

- Dr Neil Faulkner, SHARP's founding director (on Democratic Archaeology, 1997)

SHARP was set up as an experiment in democratic archaeology and over the years it has changed and developed into the organisation it is today. As a charity we still ensure that we provide access to archaeology for all, no matter their background and financial situation, by keeping costs as low as possible and providing bursaries.

This webpage provides information about SHARP's governance:


Charity Objective:

The advancement of education and conservation by promoting, undertaking and making public historical research and archaeological investigation into the landscape of the Parish of Sedgeford in the county of Norfolk and of adjoining and neighbouring Parishes. The results of the work will be disseminated by publications, exhibitions, public lectures and other means.

Current Constitution

Our current SHARP Constitution is the original 1997 version, see our blog for the reasons for this. A copy of this Constitution be downloaded hereA new constitution is being worked on by a SHARP sub-committee. There will be an opportunity for SHARP members to contribute to this.

SHARP Past Constitutions Archive

The first ever SHARP excavation season was in 1996 and it was the following year that the1997 constitution was written, ratified, and then sent to the Charity Commission. In the book ‘Digging Sedgeford – a people’s archaeology’ (2014) there is a description of the journey SHARP’s founder, Dr Neil Faulkner, went through to establish the principle of ‘democratic archaeology’. This discussed a ‘first crisis’ in 1996/7 where hierarchical principles were challenged.


The constitution from 1997 is available here, names and addresses have however been redacted.


Traditionally SHARP has usually held the AGM during the summer excavation season. With the developments in technology SHARP is now able to also offer an online participation in the AGM, hopefully opening it to even more of our members.


Our next AGM will be held on Wednesday 31st July 2024 in Sedgeford.


Members of SHARP under the 1997 constitution are those that have participated in SHARP's activities. There is no time limit in this constitution so all that attend the AGM will be eligible to vote if they have volunteered for SHARP.


If you would like to be sent the papers related to this AGM please email

Past AGM Records

Held on Wednesday 26th July 2023 at Sedgeford Village Hall (and via Zoom), you can access the minutes from the 2023 EGM and AGM here.


There were several papers related to this which can be found below:

SHARP's Governing Body

SHARP Committee and Trustees


As a charity most decisions are made via the SHARP committee. The committee is formed of trustees and committee members who have been voted in to position by the membership. We hold several meetings throughout the year, often using zoom. Many members of the committee do more than one role or sit on multiple sub-committees.


If you are completely new to SHARP we suggest that you consider joining us as a volunteer during a season, so that you can learn more about us, and we can get to know you.


To become a member of the committee you need to be a member of SHARP. However, anyone can nominate a trustee or committee member if they are a SHARP member. The SHARP committee may provide their recommendations to the membership at the AGM, based on what skills we feel are needed. If you would like to nominate someone or would like to be nominated, please fill in the following form and submit it to If there are more nominations than positions on committee then there will be an opportunity to present your case for nomination before the membership vote.


You can download the trustee/committee member nomination form here. Trustee responsibilities information can be found on the Charity Commission site.

Our Policies and Other Information

This is a list of SHARP's current policies and procedures, as well as other information such as Risk Assessments. These are continuously reviewed on a regular basis to ensure we stay up to date. When they were last reviewed, an indication of when they are likely to be reviewed next, or if they are currently waiting for committee approval is shown here.

Finance Procedure Policy created late 2023 (to be approved by committee). 

Reserves Policy - created late 2023 (to be reviewed late 2024).

Anti-Fraud Policy - created late 2023 (to be approved by committee).

Safeguarding Policy - reviewed early 2023 (new version to be approved by committee).

Behaviour Policy for volunteers, team members, and committee members - reviewed late 2023 (to be reviewed late 2024).

Social Media Policy - currently being written.

Data Protection Policy - created early 2024 (to be reviewed early 2025).

Risk Assessment - reviewed early 2024 (to be reviewed early 2025).

Risk Assessment for Group Visits and the Festival of Archaeology - reviewed early 2024 (to be reviewed early 2025).

Fire Risk Assessment - reviewed 2022 (currently under review).

Health and Safety Policy - reviewed early 2024 (to be reviewed early 2025).



  • Faulkner, N. (2000) Archaeology from below, Public Archaeology 1(1) pgs 21-33. Read here

  • Faulkner, N. (2001) The Sedgeford project, Norfolk: an experiment in popular participation and dialectical method, Archaeology International 5, pgs16-20. Read here.

  • Faulkner, N. (2013) The Sedgeford Crisis, Public Archaeology 8(1) pgs 51-61. Read here.

  • Faulkner, N. (2014) Preface, in Faulkner, N. Rossin, G. and Robinson, K. Digging Sedgeford: A People's Archaeology (Poppyland Press), pgs IX-XIV.


Resource Links

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