HC Deb 21 July 1959 vol 609 cc1039-40
3. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Minister of Works how many reports on excavations arranged by his Department are now in course of production; and what steps he is taking to ensure the speedier publication of reports after the work of excavation has been completed.

Mr. H. Nicholls

At 31st March, 1959, the reports of 198 completed excavations were still outstanding. Of these, 49 were in the Press or placed with journals for publication, 30 were nearly ready for publication, 39 were being written, and 80 were in various early stages of preparation.

On the second part of the Question, since a special fee was recently introduced for the production of reports, they are now being completed more speedily. In addition the improvements to the Ancient Monuments Laboratory mentioned by my right hon. Friend on 14th July will expedite the treatment of finds.

Mr. Fletcher

I am obliged for that Answer, but may I ask the hon. Member to bear in mind, in the interests of scholarship, that if there are 198 reports still outstanding it is really of paramount importance that steps should be taken to expedite them and to abbreviate as far as possible the time taken to make them available to the public?

Mr. Nicholls

We accept the hon. Gentleman's views on that.