When local government "savings" are meaning cuts to everything from frontline social services and home care to street lighting and pot-hole mending, it is hard to get people worked up about archaeology. But even some of the less headline-grabbing austerity measures are likely to have an impact for years to come.
One of our great archaeological success stories of recent years (and it is much admired abroad) has been the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Among other things, this has brought the "metal detecting community" into a much closer relationship with professional archaeologists, after a good few years of more or less open warfare. The idea is a very simple one. People who find things with their detectors on a Sunday afternoon's detectoring are encouraged (not forced) to report what they have discovered and get it properly identified -- and so to enable the professional archaeologists to plot what is coming up where, with all insights that brings into archaeological history of the region concerned.
Detectors have, of course, been responsible for some of the most glamorous finds over the last couple of decades (including the Staffordshire Hoard in 2009), But much more of what turns up, and often just as important for the big historical picture, is in the form of far less "wow" things (individual coins, the occasional Roman brooch... that kind of thing).
It goes without saying that, for the scheme to work, it needs the specialist staff locally to look at the finds and do the identifications.