[Lead Image: Jonas Pereira/Agência Senado CC by 2.0]

The three leading organisations in UK archaeology, the Council for British Archaeology, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers, today issued an unprecedented joint statement announcing the launch of an integrated media operation to generate good news stories about archaeology and comment on issues of the moment, as they affect the UK’s archaeologists.

The new venture is to be called the Media Archaeology Department.

Speaking from the new high tech media centre in the CBA’s York HQ, the newly appointed head of the Media Archaeology Department, April Ryba, told reporters,

“In the past the UK archaeology scene has been accused of being slow off the mark and even of ignoring world events. Thanks to this new initiative, and the brilliant team we have assembled from archaeology social media influencers such as BAJR, and Dig4Archaeology, from now on, the CBA, CIfA and FAME will be ahead of the game, shaping the archaeological news, driving policy in Whitehall and engaging the public with the fantastic work of our world beating archaeological sector.”

Ms Ryba added,

“Whether it is a good news archaeology story about a metal detectorist winning a life changing amount of money under the Treasure Act, or details of the latest collaboration with the construction industry to find out more about unique and irreplaceable World Heritage Sites, like the Stonehenge landscape, ahead of the bulldozers moving in, we will be there, enthusing the public and engaging the next generation of archaeologists.”

Asked whether the new Media Archaeology Department would offer support to university archaeology departments, especially those facing cuts such as Sheffield, Ms Ryba said,

“There is only so much the sector can do and there is more than one way for young people to get into archaeology.
For example there are many competitively priced community dig experiences where a would be Mortimer Wheeler or Peggy Piggott can obtain the thrill of washing pots for only a few hundred pounds, not to mention getting involved in the archaeological media by helping crowd fund the reboot of “Time Team”.

Ms Ryba also used the launch of the MAD to announce a new community archaeology project for Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.

Drawing on the experience gained from the ground breaking Defence of Britain project in the 1990’s, and inspired by Her Majesties love of equestrianism, the new project, “Door Horse”, is funded by a partnership between Historic England, Paddy Power and Bet Victor, and will link a nationwide network of volunteers in undertaking detailed photogrammetric surveys of the entrances to Britain’s historic stables.

Ms Ryba said,

“We are delighted to be taking part in this fantastic community based project to celebrate Her Majesty’s seventy years on the throne, particularly as the CBA, CIfA and FAME have such a long track record in closing stable doors.”

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