VEMOP is fortunate in having a reference group. A reference group consists of a number of people coming from different institutions that in some way either affect our project or are affected by it. Such institutions are called stakeholders. In our case, this includes the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage Management (RA), the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo (KHM), the University of Bergen, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) and the County Councils of Innlandet, Møre og Romsdal and Viken. The aim is to involve stakeholders early on and in an advisory capacity, so that the project can benefit from their shared expertise and experience.
On March 11, just before the lockdown, VEMOP had its first yearly reference group meeting in Oslo. Unfortunately, the beginning pandemic did not allow for all participants to take part, but we had Sigrid Mannsåker Gundersen (Viken FK), Jostein Gundersen (RA), Steinar Kristensen (KHM), Kristoffer Dahle (Møre og Romsdal FK) as well as Eva Smådahl (NPRA) with us.
This first meeting gave us the chance to get to know each other and bring everyone on the same page regarding the aims and objectives of VEMOP.
Christer, Erich and I gave a thourough introduction to the project, why it is important, how we have planned it and what our next steps are. Each of these points included discussions with and among our reference group members, leading to valuable suggestions we will be following up on. An important point concerned the selection of test sites. For VEMOP, we try to select sites that are representative both of the varying environmental settings as well as the different types of archaeological structures we find across Vestfold. Not an easy endeavour, but more on that in the next blog.