Variations in the national format of archaeological employment become most evident at the level of central government. In federal systems such as those of the US, Australia, and Canada, organizations such as these nations' respective national park services (the National Park Service [NPS], Parks Australia, and Parks Canada) are part of a distinct system with many responsibilities, a clear legal remit, central and regional hierarchy, and a large budget. In comparison, centralized but not federalized nations such as the UK have broadly comparable organizations to the NPS, but the responsibilities, legal remit, organizational structure, and budgets involved are much less clear. The situation in the UK is further complicated by the decentralization of government there, particularly the varying responsibilities of the Regional Assemblies of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Notwithstanding the above, central governments around the world employ archaeologists alongside allied heritage professionals, and employment in these organizations can be an extremely rewarding career path for those who choose to pursue it, offering a unique vantage point at the intersection of commercial, academic, and local government archaeology (Figure 25).
Central Heritage Organizations in the UK
In Britain (i.e., the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), working in central government archaeology primarily (but not exclusively) means working for one of four organizations, known in government parlance as executive nondepartmental public bodies – part of (and primarily, but not exclusively, funded by) the government and operating on its behalf, but effectively run as independent organizations:
England: English Heritage (EH), sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS).