Staff and Students on the streets to campaign to save archaeology at Sheffield University.
[Courtesy of the Campaign to Save Sheffield Archaeology]
On 10 September 2021 a remote meeting took place between Neil Redfern, the director of the influential archaeological charity, the Council for British Archaeology and teacher and political activist Chris Whitwood. A few weeks earlier Mr Whitwood had launched the Campaign to Save British Archaeology, which was designed to develop political and media contacts for a public campaign offering support to British academic archaeologists, especially those at two well-respected, long-established, but now beleaguered, academic archaeology units at Sheffield University and the University of Worcester. Both were under threat of closure by their respective University managements, with the loss of dozens of jobs and student places. From Mr Whitwood’s point of view the meeting did not end well, with, he claims, the whole affair leaving him emotionally shattered and questioning a love for archaeology which stretched back into his childhood. While research shows that, Archaeology is a 97% graduate profession, and that there is a shortage of archaeologists to deliver development projects which is recognised by the UK Government, Mr Whitwood claims, that he gained the strong impression current policy was the CBA would not campaign more widely against cuts to university departments, because such a fight would be unhelpful in maintaining access to Government and the wider positive image of archaeology which the CBA, and other organisations, including University Archaeology UK, wished to put forward. A claim perhaps borne out by the failure to mention university cuts to academic archaeology on the CBA’s campaign webpage and the apparent failure of UAUK to campaign at all for its threatened members.
This account of how Mr Chris Whitwood and Mr Neil Redfern came to meet, and the fallout from that meeting, is based on extensive research by thePipeLine and our partner, the YouTube channel Archaeosoup’s “Watching Brief”.
It is based on conversations and exchanges of emails and other information with a number of the principal witnesses to these events, including Chris Whitwood and academic archaeologists, as well as background research into documents in the public domain.
We are publishing it because, while thePipeLine and Archaeosoup Watching Brief endorse neither #Dig4Archaeology, nor the Campaign to Save British Archaeology, we do believe discussing responses to the threat to jobs and courses in academic archaeology is too important to be left to decisions made by a small group of people behind closed doors.
We also believe that professional archaeologists, and the people in our communities who respect and enjoy archaeology, deserve transparency and accountability in matters which represent, if not life and death, the health of UK Archaeology.
To place this story in context there are two essential truths about Archaeology as it is practiced currently in the United Kingdom and they underpin all which follows.
One of those truths is practical.
According to the most recent figures published by Landward Research in the 2019-2020 report “Profiling the Profession”; of the approximately seven thousand people working professionally in UK archaeology the number of those who hold university qualifications is reminiscent of the winning margin in a North Korean election, with 99% of those reporting educated to BA level or higher and almost a quarter holding PhD’s. That compares with figures from the Office for National Statistics [ONS] of 45% of the active work force aged 21-65 who are educated to BA level or higher.
The second truth goes to the root of what archaeology is and does.
Archaeology as practiced in the twenty first century is about as far from the image of a [usually] male, tweed-clad, pipe-smoking don who sometimes has difficulty remembering which century they are living in, let alone a certain whip wielding, swashbuckling, indigenous culture appropriating archaeologist of that film franchise. Instead, it is a thoroughly professional, intellectually challenging, technically glorious mash up of the humanities coupled with cutting edge Science.
Directly and Indirectly, the heritage sector, of which archaeology is a key part, also contributes billions to the UK economy; £36.6 bn in Gross Value Added and 563,509 jobs, according to the most recent pre-covid figures from Historic England.
While archaeology is also embedded in the planning system with every planning application submitted to a local planning authority, from a new semi, to a new international runway, [not to mention a tunnel and dual carriageway past a certain prehistoric stone circle in Wiltshire], required to include heritage and archaeological impact assessments, ranging from a short desktop study to massive excavations, all funded by the developer under the “polluter pays” principle. This is because our buried heritage and historic standing buildings are seen as a common good, which should be preserved, either in situ, or by the records produced through diligent archaeology.
The two essential truths, the graduates undertaking the work and the work itself, mandated by the planning system, support the capstone of academic archaeology as practiced in the universities, the discussion and publication of synthesised data.
In what should be a virtuous circle, excavations, like those on the site of that semi, or on the route of the proposed new national infrastructure project like the A303 upgrade at Stonehenge, provide library shelves worth of reports and gigabytes of electronic data, not to mention a material archive of finds from a pottery cooking pot, to the ancient DNA of the animal fats extracted from the bottom of that same cooking pot.
This data is reported routinely as part of the rubric of a developer funded project, but its real value, most archaeologists would say, lies in its existence as a resource to be searched, edited, synthesised and published as new theories and narratives of the past.
Then the whole process repeats as those theories are challenged, and the archives of data are interrogated again. Perhaps taking account of a new tranche of data from another excavation which has just been published in turn.
The key point to remember in what follows is that developer funded archaeology does not generally undertake the wider synthesis and research into entire cultures and landscapes, such as the prehistoric landscape around Stonehenge.
However, academic archaeologists at universities do undertake that level of research routinely, and they do it while turning out the students, many of whom will go on to work in that 97% graduate archaeological profession which provides the bulk of the new archaeological data.
Cuts, Culture Wars, and Unprecedented Threats
However, in the first half of 2021 the first pillar supporting those two truths, university based academic archaeology, seemed to be under an almost unprecedented threat.
Against the background of the Johnson Government’s so-called “culture war” against the humanities, particularly colonial history, the then Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, announced in January that the higher level [C1] funding subsidy for Archaeology courses in Higher Education would be withdrawn along with that for other subjects in the humanities, including the performing arts and media studies.
According to Williamson, archaeology was no longer a strategic priority for the Government, which would instead concentrate such funding on medicine and STEM subjects.
Then, in a move the impact of which could be measured on the Richter scale, the senior management of Sheffield University announced that it had been reviewing the future of the university’s internationally renowned archaeology department, with closure of the department a distinct possibility.
With a reputation built up over half a century, and with its graduates working all over the world, the sense in the archaeological community was that if the department at Sheffield could face being discarded, apparently so casually, then nobody, in any university archaeology department anywhere in the UK, was safe.
This was an unprecedented and demoralising crisis in a sector already feeling unwanted and under threat after Williamson’s announcement on funding, and surely it begged a powerful and co-ordinated response from archaeologists and particularly from their representative bodies?
In the event strongly worded letters were indeed sent, but in the grass roots of the archaeology sector there seemed to be the sense something different and more activist based was required.
Feelers were put out to see if a there was support for a new grass roots campaigning body to deal with what was being perceived as a “crisis” across the archaeology sector.
The growing sense of threat to university archaeology and the archaeological sector’s response to it, was also being watched by Chris Whitwood, a Yorkshire-based teacher, graphic designer and political activist, who, he says, had loved archaeology since childhood.
According to Mr Whitwood the genesis of what would become the “Save British Archaeology” campaign lay in an article responding to Sheffield’s shock announcement, published in the Guardian newspaper on 21 May 2021.
Headlined, “Stonehenge research at risk if Sheffield archaeology unit closes, say experts”, the article, by staff reporter Steven Morris, outlined the response of the archaeology sector to the news that the Executive Board of Sheffield University was about to vote on whether to close the world famous and highly regarded archaeology department at the south Yorkshire university.
As a measure of what might be lost if the closure went ahead Morris quoted former leading member of the Archaeology Department at Sheffield, Mike Parker Pearson, who was now leading high profile investigations within the Stonehenge landscape.
Parker Pearson told the Guardian,
“Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading departments of archaeology, known and respected throughout the world. I suspect the vice-chancellor has no idea of the international outrage that closing the department is going to cause. Sheffield seems about to shoot itself in the foot.”
“Colleagues at Sheffield are working right now on material from my project at Stonehenge and if they lose their jobs it jeopardises completion of this project which has grabbed the world media’s attention over the last 15 years.”
On the same day, 21 May, the leading educational charity, the Council for British Archaeology, repeated the action they had taken the previous month in support of threatened archaeology posts at the University of Chester in the north west of England and issued a strongly worded open letter to the senior management of Sheffield University, signed by the CBA’s new director Neil Redfern.
Previously in senior roles at heritage regulator Historic England, Redfern had taken up his post at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and with the slow relaxation of pandemic rules, he was only now able to begin stamp his own authority on the work of the charity and begin to re-establish the CBA’s identity and role as an umbrella organisation promoting archaeology as a discipline across professional and vocational communities, including among young people through its Young Archaeologists Club.
Mr Redfern’s letter to Sheffield Vice Chancellor Professor Koen Lamberts noted assertively,
“The importance of trained skilled graduate archaeologists to the development and infrastructure sectors has been recognised by Government with archaeologists being added to the shortage occupation list. Reducing the ability of our university archaeology departments will further increase the strains on the development sector to source skilled graduates.”
And Mr Redfern concluded,
“We would welcome your assurance that any decision will be robustly tested against an open business plan and a clear understanding of the wider impact of this small but highly regarded department.”
The letter from the CBA was followed on 24 May by a similar letter from the leading professional body, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, the UK organisation which, among other things, sets out to monitor and regulate professional standards and ethics among archaeologists.
Sent over the signature of CIfA’s Chief Executive, Professor Peter Hinton, the letter concluded,
“We urge you to find a solution to the problem which does not throw away the proud history, and future potential, of archaeology at Sheffield.”
However, after the initial flurry of letters in support of the archaeology department at Sheffield there was no apparent follow up and amid accusations of the misleading of students, and the destruction of key documents against university policy, the process leading to the closure of all but a small, and yet to be defined, “centre of excellence”, went ahead.
In particular there were no reports of either the CBA or CIfA requesting formal meetings with either the University management at Sheffield. Neither did the bodies, or the umbrella organisation for University Archaeology, University Archaeology UK appear to approach the Government departments whose work might be impacted most by the loss of archaeological capacity brought about by the closures at Sheffield and elsewhere; the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport with its responsibility for the tourist and cultural economy; the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government which needs archaeologists within the planning system to help deliver the Government’s promise of a massively increased housebuilding, and the Department for Transport whose ability to deliver large infrastructure projects might be affected for the same reason.
Such an apparent silence would seem to be inconsistent with the CBA’s view set out in a response to the Office for Students consultation on Education Secretary Williamson’s proposal to cut the higher tier [C1] funding for archaeology courses.
In its formal response to the OfS consultation on the funding cut the CBA had said of the proposed cut,
“It will undermine the delivery of subject teaching [in universities] and have a knock-on effect on the discipline and sector as a whole.”
There again, neither was there any apparent response from organisations in the Archaeology sector to two political bombshells which dropped on the heritage sector in the middle of June.
On 10 June  the report of the House of Commons, Housing, Communities and Local Government [HCLG] Committee into the future of the planning system laid out a number of conclusions which were highly supportive of positions taken by the archaeological sector including by CIfA and the CBA.
In particular the cross-party committee recommended that local Historic Environment Records [HERs], the archive of local spatial data about all known archaeology and heritage in a particular local authority area, should became a statutory responsibility. If adopted by Government this would have been a win which archaeologists have been arguing in favour of for decades.
Then on 18 June the governing Conservative Party was stunned by the loss to the Liberal Democrats of a previously safe parliamentary seat in the by-election at Chesham and Amersham. Political analysts, and by all accounts many backbench Conservative MPs who were concerned about the safety of their bottoms on their own seats, were swift to blame two planning issues to which archaeology is central, the HS2 railway project and the proposed diluting of local involvement in planning, proposed under then Secretary of State Robert Jenrick’s Planning Bill.
The two events seemed to offer open goals to the archaeology sector, with the chance to reinforce the sense in Government and Whitehall that local people wanted a voice and a role in environmental planning, including heritage, and that failure to allow that voice to be heard could have sub-optimal results for the Government in political terms and that, going forward, archaeologists were perfectly placed to deliver that voice in a responsible way for the public good.
However, no comments relating to the two issues were made, at least in public, and in particular, while archaeological bodies including the CBA invited members to write to their member of parliament about the planning bill, no wider, more high profile campaigns or petitions were launched, either in support of the conclusions of the HCLG Committee, or opposing the removal of environmental checks and balances from planning in the Planning Bill as the Government seemed to be proposing.
In the last case in particular the archaeology sector seems to be missing the chance to set up more public strategic alliances with the broader environmental movement which was also campaigning hard on the issue of the controversial Planning Bill.
Other people were however responding to the threats using all the techniques of modern social media based campaigning.
At both Chester and Sheffield public petitions against their contrasting and respective circumstances, was supported by union backing in their individual disputes (from the University and College Union) but crucially also by an increasingly vocal social media presences drawing widespread support from the public, including almost fifty thousand signatures on Sheffield’s petition against the cut, set up by student Liam Hand and coverage in their local print and broadcast media.
Key academics, heritage and media professionals, professional organisations and societies, as well as other public figures wrote directly to the Vice Chancellors and senior managements of both institutions, often publishing their contacts and the responses in an exercise in open campaigning and forced accountability.
Effectively, by the end of June, while the situation at Chester had been resolved with managers rescinding the threat of compulsory redundancies, the situation at Sheffield persisted and had grown more serious with the university’s governing bodies close to ratifying the closure of all but a rump of the department, with an as yet unspecified impact on existing students and post graduate degree candidates.
Meanwhile, CIfA, and CBA appeared to be simply carrying passive requests for supporters to write in to their MP in support of archaeology and were sharing the Sheffield petition, encouraging supporters to sign and share it in turn. While University Archaeology UK seemed to be running silent and deep, reportedly asking at least one academic at a threatened department to draft their own protest letter for UAUK to send the Vice Chancellor.
Effectively, the staff and students at Sheffield seem to have also been left to their own devices to organise their campaign, with support on technical and legal issues mostly coming from the University and College Union [UCU].
This experience of feeling left to sink or swim without the offer of a lifeboat provided by any of the archaeological sector’s representative bodies echoed exactly that of staff at the University of Chester where archaeology lecturers, as well as academics in several other disciplines and support roles had been placed under threat of redundancy as part of a cost cutting exercise by the university. The planned cuts came after a series of financially disastrous ventures by Chester’s management, including the opening of a science campus, next door to an oil refinery, without asking for planning permission first, leading to a sense of injustice that staff and students were literally going to pay for the mistakes of a few senior managers.
Against this background Mr Whitwood says he had begun reaching out to existing campaigns in the archaeology sector.
In particular on 26 June he states he contacted Dr Chloe Duckworth of Newcastle University who was then the public face of the new grass roots #Dig4Archaeology campaign which had been launched earlier in June with the support of David Connolly, director of the influential British Archaeological Jobs Resource website and Facebook group.
#Dig4Archaeology [but play nicely and don’t get too political]
#Dig4Archaeology had set out to mobilise the professional archaeological community, setting out an optomistic manifesto for the future and there was considerable support, even excitement, for the new initiative on archaeological social media, with many archaeologists adding #Dig4Arch, to their Twitter handles.
The sense was something complementary to, but perhaps more assertive than what was being provided already by existing organisations like CIfA and the CBA, was needed and wanted and that #Dig4Archaeology might have been in a position to provide it.
Adding to that sense, the previous week, on 21 June, Dr Duckworth had been a keynote speaker at the rally organised by Sheffield’s archaeology staff and students, where in an allusion to a much derided comment made by the university’s deputy Vice Chancellor, who had told a meeting of Sheffield students that reducing grades for entry to the University’s archaeology course to boost numbers might lead to Aldi quality candidates in a Marks and Spencer university, she told the crowd and audience following the rally online, that while Marks and Spencer had made a loss the previous year, Aldi’s profits had risen!
Dr Duckworth concluded by engaging directly with the politics of the issue at Government level, stating that, while the Government seemed to be saying archaeology degrees don’t matter, this was hypocritical coming from a cabinet largely made up of humanities graduates and she then urged supporters to think of all the stories which would not be told if the archaeology department was closed.
Mr Whitwood says he offered his support to #Dig4Archaeology, but Dr Duckworth responded, thanking him for his offer, but saying that his help was not currently needed as the group was already working with lobbyists.
Certainly in its early days #Dig4Archaeology had success in gaining media coverage, including in the Guardian, and on 4 July on Radio 4’s Sunday evening political discussion programme, the Westminster Hour.
#Dig4Archaeology also obtained a spread in pages of British Archaeology, the house magazine of UK archaeology published by the CBA. The article described archaeology as being “in crisis”.
However, it is possible to question how effective or experienced those lobbyists were because Mr Whitwood might have advised the #Dig4Archaeology campaign that its main slogan, #WeAreNotRedTape breaks a number of campaigning rules.
Principally it asks supporters to campaign on an inward facing negative message which concedes ground to the opposition in politics and the development sector, parts of which certainly see archaeology as “Red Tape”.
More effective might have been an outward facing slogan such as, for example, #WeSaveYourPast, or, if the campaign were aimed at the development sector, #ConnectingYouToCommunities.
In any case, what Mr Whitwood did not know, but what this investigation can now reveal, is that #Dig4Archaeology itself was in the process of being hobbled by established organisations in the archaeology sector.
While it is denied by CIfA and the CBA, information gathered during this investigation suggests that, as #Dig4Archaeology was launching, the organisers came under pressure from existing representative bodies in archaeology not to position itself as an independent campaigning grass roots body concerned with specific issues, but instead to align its stance exactly with CIfA, the CBA and others and to confine its activities to public relations, presenting a positive view of archaeology to the public.
In other words it would not be a new independent voice, but effectively a PR mouth piece for the archaeological world view of existing organisations.
This suggestion is supported by this statement placed on #Dig4Archaeology’s website,
“Our manifesto was drawn up in consultation with the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, the Council for British Archaeology, and University Archaeology UK. We regularly consult with these and other key industry stakeholders, such as the Heritage Alliance, to ensure that we are speaking with a united voice.”
Of course while laudable in some senses, a united voice is, to put it mildly, counterproductive if what that voice states is wrong, yet #Dig4Archaeology gave itself no room for manoeuvre.
Then there is the curious wording of a statement issued by the Council for British Archaeology on 10 June .
While stating that the CBA was,
“…supportive of #Dig4Archaeology”
as a means of raising the profile of archaeology, the CBA made that support conditional on #Dig4Archaeology being,
“…a campaign which seeks to increase media coverage of these issues.”
The statement continued,
“In the past few weeks this has led to a groundswell of archaeological campaigning and activism.”
However, this observation was followed by what looks suspiciously like a less than subtle hint for rank-and-file archaeologists, not to mention members of the public who might feel the need to campaign directly in support of archaeology, to back off and leave things to the professionals.
The statement read [our italics],
“The CBA is actively involved in advocacy work with our partners at CIFA, ALGAO, UAUK and The Heritage Alliance.
Whilst much of this work takes place out of sight of the public, we do need the wider archaeological community and public to get involved and actively canvas their own MPs to support our advocacy work.”
Of course, in terms of accountability, what the public, politicians and even other archaeologists, cannot see they cannot ask questions about, perhaps awkward questions if the advocacy does not work, or does not address issues the wider public, or even those archaeologists, think it should address.
Additionally, while the statement concluded with an apparently inclusive call suggesting that,
“We need to meet the challenges archaeology is facing today together, through active campaigning, contacting MPs, raising awareness, and promoting the benefits archaeology has to our future.”
It seems clear from the statements and events that the “active campaigning” which the CBA promoted was to be that originated and directed by the CBA and its “partners”, CIfA, ALGOA, UAUK and the Heritage Alliance.
It was not to be the active campaigning from a grass roots network of the kind pioneered by, for example, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.
Further supporting this impression of a coordinated attempt by sector bodies to control who campaigns on policy issues in archaeology, six days earlier on 4 June  Rob Lennox, the policy advisor to CIfA, had written a post on that organisations website using almost identical language to that now used by the CBA.
Mr Lennox had written [our italics],
”CIfA is also pleased to support wider efforts to champion archaeology in the media and wider public. To this end, we are working with the CBA, under our Memorandum of Understanding, to support public advocacy and positive news about the profession through the Festival of Archaeology, and we are supportive of the ‘Dig for Archaeology’ campaign which seeks to increase media coverage of these issues.”
Prefiguring the CBA’s statement Dr Lennox also observed,
“CIfA is engaged with these and other issues 52 weeks per year, building networks and establishing trust with politicians, civil servants, sector bodies and key bodies beyond the sector, developing policy positions and responding to opportunities, events, and consultations.
Much of this work takes place out of the public eye, but thrives when it is supported by the archaeological community & public.”
The post concluded in a manner which might seem condescending to CIfA’s highly qualified professional membership,
“We occasionally ask CIfA members to help support our advocacy.”
What is clear from these publicly taken positions is that, even when faced with a situation where unelected, local university managements were taking decisions which could have a highly negative strategic impact on the ability of British Archaeology to deliver its projects, both the Council for British Archaeology and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists were apparently so concerned that their channels to the corridors of power might be compromised that they were prepared to shut their own members out of information about what policy issues they were discussing with the Government, when, with who, and with what success.
In so doing they had forgotten the first rule of trying to influence Government and Whitehall from the outside.
That is that while cooperation can take you so far [especially if the Government sort of agrees with you already], a meeting with a junior minister with coffee and biscuits [or on Zoom if Covid-19 Rules still apply] can still be ignored as soon as said minister has said goodbye.
Campaigning of the kind environmental pressure groups practice, which Whitwood had experience of, and now proposed to initiate, which leads the same Minister to have to deal with probing, even awkward parliamentary questions, negative headlines in the Daily Mail and the nagging doubt their own seat might be at risk, cannot be so easily ignored.
“This would be a campaign solely about changing the political narrative around closing university departments.”
Faced with the apparent failure of CIfA, the CBA, UAUK, #Dig4Archaeology and the rest of the archaeology sector to initiate any kind of coordinated campaign for university archaeology in particular, and there were clearly no successes to communicate, Chris Whitwood decided to employ his own communications skills, and the connections and campaigning experience gained in regional politics with the Yorkshire Party, and deploy them to the cause.
To that end Whitwood also did what any professional campaigner does and tried to develop media coverage, placing a letter with the magazine “Current Archaeology” which was published on 1 July and which set out his stall. The letter concluded,
“ The University of Sheffield’s decision to close a highly esteemed department is not only an act of grotesque academic self-harm that has already caused international outrage. It underlines a hubris that we have nothing to learn from our past.”
Responding to the publication on his Twitter account, and to CA’s headline, “Shutting Sheffield Is A Shame“ Whitwood alluded to his enthusiasm for archaeology writing,
“Truly delighted to see my letter published in the latest edition of @CurrentArchaeo!
I would probably have used a stronger term than “A Shame” to describe the proposed cuts to Sheffield Archaeology Department but my seven year old, archaeology-obsessed self is still thrilled!”
The next week, on 7 July , the campaign website for the Campaign to Save British Archaeology was registered on godaddy.com and in the following weeks Whitwood says he consulted archaeologists he had contacted over the wording to use on the website.
Overall Whitwood says that he felt, as of mid-August, with news breaking that the archaeology course at Worcester was also under threat of imminent closure,
“#Dig4Archaeology were doing some good stuff, especially on planning. This [the Campaign to Save British Archaeology] would be a campaign solely about changing the political narrative around closing university departments.”
However, the next few weeks would show that not only was the “Campaign to Save British Archaeology” not welcome in the corridors of the organisations which seek to influence government and industry, the Council for British Archaeology and University Archaeology UK actively set out to undermine the new campaign before they had even talked to its organiser.
“I want to…voice some concerns.”
Alongside his public facing activity Whitwood was quietly networking, gathering support from a number of archaeologists, primarily at departments which had been or were still under threat, including Chester ( where the situation there had been resolved without compulsory redundancies in mid-June), Worcester and Sheffield.
Among those whose endorsements would be included on the Save British Archaeology campaign website were leading Zooarchaeologist and Green Party activist Professor Umberto Albarella of Sheffield University who would also meet Whitwood to discuss the campaign over coffee and Professor Howard Williams of the University of Chester.
Back in April, Professor Williams had been in touch with the Council for British Archaeology discussing the threatened redundancies at Chester. Now on 28 July a senior member of the administrative team at the CBA in York contacted Williams by Twitter Direct Message.
Professor Williams was told that the CBA’s director, Neil Redfern, had asked for Williams to be contacted to ask about
“…the new campaign led by Chris Whittard [sic]”
and to check whether the campaign was “legit” and that Williams was actually involved.
Professor Williams responded that Whitwood had first been in contact with him the previous month [June] and that,
“I agreed to have my name, image and quote attached to his timely campaign.”
Williams points out that at the time this dialogue took place the threat to archaeological posts at Chester had been thwarted by the work of the University and College Union and directed campaigning, coupled with wider support, including from CBA and CIfA, which he appreciated.
However, now he was concerned that there appeared to have been no follow up from sector bodies such as CBA and UAUK, to debrief on lessons learned, and how such lessons might be applied to current and future campaigns, including that over the cuts at Sheffield and Worcester.
As the dialogue continued the CBA office added,
“More the campaign. It’s just no-one knows who he [Whitwood] is, so the comms team are just trying to verify his background and that of the campaign before doing anything with it.”
It is notable that, while the CBA was arguably doing due diligence at that point by talking to Professor Williams, Chris Whitwood says nobody at the organisation did the obvious thing to simply pick up the phone and talk to him directly, even though Williams had given the CBA office the address of Whitwood’s Twitter account and pointed out that the Save British Archaeology press release contained Whitwood’s contact phone number and an e-mail address.
It is also important to point out that in these days of search engines, social media and LinkedIn, it is not hard to produce a biography of an individual. Especially one who has developed a profile as a Yorkshire based political activist, who works in educational publishing and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts as Mr Whitwood has been since 2018.
Things then went quiet until 26 August when Professor Williams was contacted again by the CBA, this time by CBA Director Neil Redfern himself.
Mr Redfern asked if Professor Willliams had time to talk about the campaign to Save British Archaeology, saying [our italics],
“I am keen to understand what you know about it and how legitimate it is.”
Here it is important to stress that there was, and is, no evidence that Whitwood’s campaign is in any way not a legitimate response by a concerned individual to the threat posed to university archaeology by cuts and senior university managers who find the discipline challenging compared to other, perhaps less complicated and more lucrative elements of the higher education portfolio..
However, even as the dialogue between Neil Redfern and Howard Williams was ongoing, Redfern was also talking to the Chair of the representative body for academic departments, University Archaeology UK, Professor Chris Gerrard of Durham University.
Indeed, Professor Gerrard now authored an email on the subject of the Campaign to Save British Archaeology based on the concerns of Redfern, and perhaps others.
The e-mail would be sent to the thirty eight members of UAUK and had the potential to be cascaded to potentially hundreds of university academics in the UAUK network.
The content was provocative to put it mildly.
On the morning of 27 August Professor Gerrard wrote,
“I want to draw your attention to this website and to voice some concerns:
More details about the person behind it can be found here:
Having just spoken to Neil Redfern at CBA, we want to reassure you that the author has not been in touch with either of us. As far as we know, he has no archaeological background. No governance details are provided and yet, as you will see, donations are being asked for. I know he has been in contact with some archaeologists through social media and some of your staff may well be included.”
Objectively, there are a number of issues to highlight within this section of the Gerrard email.
The first is that the message can hardly be said to be due diligence, as the CBA has claimed in a response to this article, because, the CBA at least had been aware of Chris Whitwood’s campaign for at least a month.
Professor Williams had been asked about it on 28 July, and CBA was clearly in communication with Gerrard’s University Archaeology UK about Whitwood’s campaign, Gerrards e-mail says as much.
Nonetheless, there had clearly still been no attempt by either organisation to contact Chris Whitwood and address directly any issues they might have with what he was doing.
Indeed, somewhat absurdly, Professor Gerrard seems to suggest that it was somehow Whitwood’s fault that there had been no contact because he had not contacted CBA/UAUK!
Secondly it is necessary to point out that not having an obvious background in archaeology does not disqualify someone from running a campaign in support of archaeology.
To make an analogy, while going into hospital you might want to be seen by a trained doctor rather than someone who has watched a few episodes of Holby City, a lay person can still read around a medical subject, hold legitimate views about medical ethics and the way the NHS should be run, and help to raise money for medical research, even joining a local medical council.
In fact, as he suggested in his 1 July article in Current Archaeology, Chris Whitwood says he has been fascinated by archaeology since his childhood and he claims one of the enjoyable things about his campaign is that he found himself dealing with people whose work he has known about, and respected, for years.
Third, Gerrard mentions pointedly that, while there are no details of governance on the Save British Archaeology website, there is a request for donations. This is a clear inuendo that the campaign might be a money-making scam, but no evidence is offered that there is somehow something not “legit” about the campaign. That suggestion first made by the CBA almost a month previously.
Here it is worth noting that the inclusion of a donate button on a website in now routine, usually in an attempt to cover costs, our partner in this investigation Archeosoup has a Patreon account to this end, and while the essential phrase caveat emptor always applies, the presence of such a button is not the indicator of a scam site.
Summing up, for Neil Redfern of the CBA to use a private Direct Message on Twitter on 26 August to question if Whitwood’s campaign was “legitimate” could be argued to be due diligence.
However, for Professor Gerrard to make a similar suggestion, without supporting evidence, in an e-mail sent to University Archaeology UK’s member institutions, which was capable of being shared with all its members and their faculties, can be argued to be legally reckless and calls into question Professor Gerrard’s judgement in including that line in his e-mail.
Responding to the innuendo in the Gerrard e-mail, insinuating financial malpractice, Mr Whitwood, and others, point out that #Dig4Archaeology, which was of course being supported by the CBA, had been also soliciting donations through its website since at least 15 June, while offering a similar level of information about governance to that of Mr Whitwood.
Perhaps more pertinently, Chris Whitwood points out that if you really wanted to scam some money online you would not do it by setting up a campaign to support University Archaeology!
Professor Gerrard’s e-mail continued, that “we”, certainly UAUK, and, it is reasonable to assume, Neil Redfern of the CBA who Gerrard states he had had been talking to, were concerned about the tone of the campaign.
Gerrard observed that,
“While we perceive archaeology as being under threat, I feel strongly that we must not talk up a ‘crisis’ – we need to continue to stress the good things we all do and the contributions that we make.”
Gerrard added that he,
“…feared the sector was in danger of providing a fragmented picture of lobbying and advocacy which, in my limited experience, will win no arguments at all.”
Overall Professor Gerrards email was a clear restatement of the position of the major archaeology bodies that campaigning should be their department and nobody else’s, with Neil Redfern’s CBA perhaps the driving force in going after Mr Whitwood’s campaign through the mechanism of UAUK.
The existence of Professor Gerrard’s e-mail was discussed in a long thread by Professor Howard Williams of the University of Chester, with Williams concluding that, while not a professional or academic archaeologist, Chris Whitwood deserved the courtesy, respect and gratitude of the archaeology sector for his initiative and endeavours.
Professor Williams also went on the record hoping that a formal apology to Whitwood would be forthcoming from University Archaeology UK.
Chris Whitwood himself published Professor Gerrard’s UAUK email with his own response, including this comment,
“The Campaign to Save British Archaeology was only established in the absence of a unified approach from within the profession. Our sole aim (as I am sure you will have read from the values page of our website: www.savearchaeology.co.uk/values) is highlighting the wider benefits of archaeology to those outside the profession – in particular those in the political sphere – in order to halt further department closures.”
In fact, as we can now demonstrate, Whitwood was wrong in saying there was no unified approach from within the profession.
There was such a unified approach, but unfortunately for Chris Whitwood it was a unified approach to prevent any independent campaigning voices establishing themselves in case they damaged access to Government on the part of the leading players in the sector.
As Dr Rob Lennox the Advocacy Advisor of CIfA admitted in a response to questions put to the organisation by thePipeLine in the course of researching this article,
“…we would be concerned about any campaign that we felt was misinformed about issues or which adopted a tone that could distract from or even undermine CIfA’s work with decision-makers or our shared audiences.”
Of course, in one thing Professor Gerrard and Dr Lennox had a point. It is a truism in politics that divided parties don’t win elections, and, if that view is adopted, the problem with the “Save British Archaeology” campaign was not just that it was a distraction, campaigning assertively for University Archaeology which simply was not a priority for the CBA at least.
The problem was it existed at all and by existing was demonstrating what the rest of the organisations in the archaeology sector were not doing by way of campaigning.
“Departments come and go I’m often told.”
In its formal response to the Office for Students consultation on the proposed cut to C1 funding of archaeology in universities, submitted on 6 May, the CBA had written that commercial archaeology and heritage management, as practiced in the UK, is dependent on a workforce holding university degrees adding,
“Degree qualified archaeologists help underpin the heritage industry, which, through tourism and development generates £31 billion a year towards our economy.”
In other words, the clear suggestion is that any diminution of provision for training archaeologists at university level could have a knock on impact on the wider economy.
However, in perhaps the most explosive allegation regarding the attempt to side-line his campaign Chris Whitwood alleges that in the course of their conversations in early September it became clear that Neil Redfern of the CBA would not let the organisation campaign proactively in favour of academic archaeology.
In his contentious e-mail on behalf of UAUK, Professor Gerrard had perhaps reflected Dr Lennox’s fears about tone of campaigning, stating that,
“I feel strongly that we must not talk up a ‘crisis’”
and indeed, Professor Williams told thePipeLine that he has heard variations on the phrase.
“[Archaeology] departments come and go,”
for years, as individuals, usually at departments which are not under threat, seek to portray what is happening to the sector as somehow routine churn, rather than a suggestion some areas of university archaeology have the lifespan of a drummer with Spinal Tap.
However, research for this article indicates that following closures at Lancaster, Trinity College Carmarthen and Newport all at various times prior to 2010, there was a break until programme closures in Archaeology and Heritage took place at the University of Gloucestershire in 2020, the Universities of Hull and Sheffield in 2021, with the archaeology programmes at Worcester to go in July 2022.
Summing up, Professor Williams told us that, contrary to the idea that what is happening in parts of academic archaeology is routine and to be expected,
“My personal impression is that in terms of closures and cuts the last 24 months have been exceptional.”
The initial tone of the #Dig4Archaeology campaign, not mention even the most basic trawl through conversations on archaeological social media, seem to show that much of the archaeological profession, particularly those more remote from the top table of bodies such as the CBA, CIfA and their partners, take the same view.
Indeed, in an editorial in the September/October 2021 edition of British Archaeology magazine, which is published by the CBA, editor Mike Pitts, had clearly not got Professor Gerrard’s memo about not talking up a crisis.
Instead he seemed to capture the archaeological zeitgeist, outside of the upper echelons of the archaeological establishment when he wrote,
“A sense of doom has been spreading over archaeology like a plague. Covid-19 is an important factor, but it is not the root cause. That lies rather in the profession’s traditional homes-universities, museums, industry and the media- all of which face loss of income, potentially damaging legislation and the impact of Brexit. There is a feeling of not being valued.”
This begs the question that if the cuts taking place currently are indeed exceptional, and are taking place in a profession which feels as Pitts, who is a shrewd observer of the archaeological scene, wrote, feels under threat and undervalued, should that not prompt exceptional action on the part of those who set themselves up to represent the archaeology sector?
Certainly it should be expected to prompt more action than simply writing a letter and asking supporters to write to their MP?
However, the inward looking row over Professor Gerrard’s email was about to be overshadowed by a much more public row played out on Twitter in the following days.
On 28 August Chris Whitwood appeared on presenter Neil Oliver’s programme on the then relatively new right of centre news channel GB News.
“Who the hell is Chris Whitwood, and who appointed him the saviour of British Archaeology?”
If anything turned the wider archaeological world on Social Media against the Campaign to Save British Archaeology it was the decision of Chris Whitwood to appear on Neil Oliver’s Saturday evening talk show on GB News on 28 August.
Given what transpired, it is ironic that Whitwood may not even have been the first choice to appear on the programme, certainly not the sole choice. The highly respected archaeologist, TV presenter and President of the CBA, Raksha Dave tweeted that in the middle of the week prior to the programme she too had been asked to take part. However, in spite of misgivings about who would replace her, Dave turned down the invitation tweeting the day after the interview was broadcast,
“Ultimately it was hard line for me to cross because it’s not what I or the archaeologists who work in our sector stand for #itsanoo”
As Ms Dave’s tweet suggests, appearing the right of centre news outlet, many of whose presenters, including Nigel Farage and Dan Wootten, were leading on the so called “culture war”, was a publicity step too far for many in a profession which is, broadly speaking, internationalist, left of centre, anti-racist, and anti-Brexit.
The fact that the interview would be conducted by Neil Oliver which was also a major issue for many archaeologists.
Having made his name as a history presenter, first on the seminal conflict archaeology series “Two Men in a Trench” partnered with Professor Tony Pollard of Glasgow University, and then on the long running history and environmental magazine Coast, Neil Oliver was still a go-to presenter for historical documentaries on the BBC.
However, having aligned himself with the anti-independence side of the argument during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum Oliver had begun to take on other outspoken positions on matters of public debate, ultimately landing a weekend slot on the often deliberately provocative GB News, where he appeared on the station’s chaotic first night on 13 June.
However, what really angered archaeology Twitter was the fact that Oliver was conducting an interview discussing saving university archaeology when a year previously he had told his own followers on Twitter,
“Don’t go to University.
Find an honest way of earing a living.
When following the GB News interview Whitwood tweeted,
“Fantastic to talk to Neil Oliver on GB News about the Campaign to Save British Archaeology and delighted by his support.”
The anti-Whitwood cohort of Archaeology Twitter took that as the green light for an aggressive push back.
With hindsight Chris Whitwood himself acknowledges that, while any campaign must try to talk to audiences across the political spectrum, especially those aligned with the political party in power, agreeing to be interviewed by Oliver on GB News was more contentious than he expected, and handed ammunition to those who already opposed his campaign.
Among other allegations Whitwood was accused of plagiarising images on the “Save British Archaeology” website. A claim he denies, pointing out that attributions and creative commons licences are clearly shown and had been since at least 29 July when the relevant page appears in an archived version of the website.
His success in gaining media coverage, most recently in the Times Higher Educational on 24 August, also led to accusations that he was piggy backing on the work of #Dig4Archaeology for his own aggrandisement. Of course, in media terms, this is nonsense, as the story was in the public domain already, and, while some in archaeology might think the CBA, UAUK, CIfA and even #Dig4Archaeology have sole rights to speak for the sector, the media does not see it that way.
Nonetheless, such was the pressure of the sometimes aggressive and abusive pile on that Whitwood changed his Twitter account settings to private.
Even a supporter of the Campaign to Save British Archaeology, Professor Williams, states that, while he feels Whitwood performed well as an advocate for archaeology in the interview, the timing and nature of the broadcast was an error and, in parallel with the Twitter storm, support for the website, and thus for the “Campaign to Save British Archaeology” itself, was draining away.
While unable to offer any evidence to the effect, Whitwood states that he had the impression that pressure was being exerted on individuals who had agreed to be named on his website as supporters, because people were withdrawing support for the campaign citing similar reasons, in a similar order.
“By this time,“ Whitwood told thePipeLine, “I was feeling emotionally shattered. I had reached out to archaeologists, some of whom I had looked up to for years, but it had just been torpedoed from within.
I was left wondering is this the end of my love for archaeology?”
With that, still hoping for some form of accommodation with the CBA, Whitwood went on holiday.
Finally on 3 September, almost five weeks after he had first asked his office to contact Professor Williams about Mr Whitwood, Neil Redfern of the CBA contacted Chris Whitwood directly and asked if he could discuss some concerns.
A meeting finally took place on 10 September.
By Chris Whitwood’s account he went into the 10 September meeting with Neil Redfern hoping that he would get an explanation as to why Redfern and Chris Gerrard of University Archaeology UK had not reached out first, before sending the incendiary e-mail questioning Whitwood’s motives.
However, Whitwood was left with the distinct impression that, to Neil Redfern, the only issue was that campaigning to save specific university departments like Sheffield was “not helpful” to the wider cause of archaeology.
Mr Whitwood also recalls that Redfern echoed Dr Lennox of CIfA and referred to the need to preserve “established channels”.
However, Whitwood maintains there was no meaningful answer when he asked Mr Redfern precisely what were those established channels, and what had they achieved?
Whitwood also recalls that the meeting as being, in his word, “antagonistic”, adding that everything which had happened reinforced the conclusion about campaigning by the archaeology sector which he had drawn when responding to Professor Gerrard two weeks earlier [Our Italics],
“I was hoping that the CBA would acknowledge that departments don’t close on a regular basis, but it became apparent there was no cooperation to be had because there was no campaign.”
“Archaeologists are not better than other people“
Where does this unhappy story of suspicion instead of support, and rejection instead of inclusion, leave the role of advocacy in the archaeological sector when it comes to advocacy from parties outside of established organisations?
Although the Campaign to Save British Archaeology is still attracting support from politicians and even major archaeological bodies internationally, for the time being at least Chris Whitwood has withdrawn from active campaigning for university archaeology.
Meanwhile, the CBA has launched a new campaign web page [which does not mention cuts to University Archaeology as an issue] and, it has to be acknowledged, that there have been apparent wins for the archaeology sector in the course of 2021.
The Government has restored the higher-level [C1] funding to archaeology courses in higher education, while the controversial Planning Bill is delayed and is apparently undergoing a major rethink, to the extent that it is likely to emerge in a form which is far less likely to frighten the horses, and, more importantly, the voters, in shire Conservative seats.
However, such is the unaccountable secrecy under which the archaeology lobby operates it is impossible to judge what impact the sector has had on these arguments and how much is down to Whitehall calling out the myopic, short termism of the former education secretary, and the actions of voters of Amersham and Chesham.
Perhaps then it is sensible to step back and look at the bigger, strategic picture, which, it must be said, remains grim for archaeology.
A critical report, “The Future of Archaeology in England”, published by the Society of Antiquaries in November 2020 observed that, while there was,
“…well-documented wide public interest in and engagement with the past across the UK.”
as currently practiced, archaeology was process driven and under resourced, to the detriment of benefits to the public.“
While CIfA’s five-year review of its, so-called, Southport Project, published in 2017, argued that across the archaeology sector,
“…collaboration is not the norm, and the default position for the majority of archaeological projects initiated through the planning process is for research to be tightly scoped within predefined budgets. There remains a disconnect between the cost of archaeological work and the value of the research it might generate.”
This view was reinforced by the Society of Antiquaries report which observed that within the system of developer funded archaeology as currently operated,
“There is also worrying evidence of the negative impact of the ‘silo’ structure of the archaeology sector that does not prioritise research or encourage innovation and collaboration.”
It can be suggested that the response to the “Campaign to Save British Archaeology” is just such an exercise in silo thinking on the part of an archaeological establishment rooted deeply in a planning archaeology, which is afraid to frighten developers [and Government?] by addressing the hard truths identified by independent expert researchers in its own sector.
Truths which might require, among other things, better [or even any] integration between developer funded projects and academic archaeologists who have room to think and synthesise, not just discharge a planning condition quickly via the most competitive tender.
But there is another essential fact, which was expressed by CIfA policy advisor Rob Lennox in an interview with the organisation’s website published in January 2020.
Dr Lennox told interviewer Ed Ardill,
“We are a small organisation in a small sector, and therefore we do not command the scale of influence that bodies like the National Trust with their 4 million members can, and we are limited by resources and therefore cannot engage in some of the expensive methods that big businesses or industries can to obtain access.”
While perhaps overly pessimistic, and lacking in ambition to at least try, the same statement might be reasonably applied to other organisations in the heritage sector such as the CBA, which can be said to be still recovering from the loss of all its core funding from the British Academy, inflicted by then Business Secretary Vince Cable under the Cameron Government starting in 2011.
It might be suggested also that it is in the way of things that the big fish, [CBA, CIfA, FAME and the rest] swimming in a relatively small pool [ the UK archaeology sector], would seek to run that pool to their own advantage, to the extent that, if an effective and rival grass roots fishy voice were to develop, the big fish would endeavour to silence then devour that voice out of a sense of self protection, for fear they might no longer be fed the coffee and biscuits when they venture upriver to Whitehall, Westminster and Holyrood.
It is perhaps this human factor which is deepest truth in the matter. A truth expressed in the words of Professor Albarella, who told thePipeLine,
“I told Chris [Whitwood] archaeologists are not better than other people. There are patterns of control and power in archaeology as there are in any other world.”
Professor Albarella then added in a tone of regret rather than anger,
“I am not sure he [Chris Whitwood] would have had that big an impact, but people should have supported his willingness to help.
Anybody could be a complete crook, but he committed two “crimes” [in the eyes of some archaeologists].
He was not an archaeologist.
He was an outsider.”
While there will be those who believe that sector bodies like the CBA, FAME, UAUK and CIfA acted entirely properly in this case to protect and promote a united voice for archaeology and to protect their access to Goverment, our research has shown that there are other archaeologists, and doubtless those in the wider public who support and even love archaeology, who might legitimately question that judgement and then ask this question.
If CIfA and the CBA are stepping back from for supporting and advocating for University Archaeology, offering minimal interventions and statements and with UAUK clearly averse to any public intervention; short of all claiming to support #Dig4Archeology as a public relations operation, what is the plan or strategy for campaigning for archaeology in universities moving forward and is there even a plan?
As the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit continue to play out in all sectors of the UK economy, what might happen next year in the UK HE archaeology sector?
Who will be campaigning if Leicester, Cardiff, Reading, Bristol, Newcastle, Glasgow or Aberdeen (say) decide to reduce, or end, their own their archaeology teaching and research?
Is the self-appointed, self-selecting establishment voice of archaeology too narrow in range, too entitled, and perhaps too afraid to seek proactive alliances, as archaeologists and those who are not professional archaeologists but who value what those archaeologists do, confront the very real issues facing UK archaeology today?
Failure to address this issue may lead to another, perhaps terminally corrosive, threat to the archaeology sector, cynicism.
An experienced archaeologist who works across high level academic research and fieldwork confirmed to us that as a result of the events of the Summer they had withdrawn their support from both “the Campaign to Save British Archaeology” and #Dig4Archaeology.
“They are therefore all as bad as each other and this, for me, was another classic example of how as a sector we could not organise a piss up in a brewery.”
In compliance with standard editorial guidelines thePipeLine approached all the principal players in this story with a series of questions about their involvement with #Dig4Archaeology and the apparent attempt to shut down the “Campaign to Save British Archaeology”, including insinuations about director Chris Whitwood’s integrity and intentions.
This is what we were told, and readers will draw their own conclusions.
The Durham University media office responded,
“Neither the University nor Professor Gerrard wish to comment in response to your questions.”
A spokesperson for the Council for British Archaeology [CBA] stated that, regarding conversations with Professor Gerrard of University Archaeology UK, CBA director Neil Redfern had,
“…discussed with Chris Gerrard the Campaign. UAUK had not been contacted by Mr Whitwood and we agreed Chris Gerrard should ask UAUK members what contact they had received from Save British Archaeology.”
Asked if Neil Redfern knew that Professor Gerrard was going to insinuate that Mr Whitwood’s campaign was somehow not legitimate and that he might be soliciting money under false pretences, while there was no evidence supporting that allegation, the spokesperson said,
“None of us knew who Mr Whitwood was at the time or anything about his campaign – undertaking due diligence on campaign groups is essential for us to know if we should lend our support.“
Regarding the University sector the CBA added,
“We are directly engaged on a number of fronts to support our university sector. Not all of this support is in front of the camera, with much work being done directly with heads of University departments to support their wider advocacy/promotion.
Many 1000s of people undertake archaeological activity outside the commercial/professional sector and we need to equally promote this wider family of archaeological activity. That is not to underplay the importance of our Universities – particularly supporting growth in undergraduate numbers – that needs a very positive message about archaeology and why young people might want to study it.“
Dr Rob Lennox, the Policy Advisor for the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, pointed out that CIfA and the CBA have a memorandum of understanding and co-operate on many areas of mutual interest.
He also pointed to a number of successes the organisations claimed in influencing policy in various branches of Government, adding,
“CIfA worked with Dig for Archaeology to help support their campaign. Our intention was to ensure that their efforts were complementary to the work of CIfA, CBA and others.
CIfA works to regularly brief and meet with ministers and civil servants to discuss a range of issues. CIfA is adept at this work, and has cultivated access and exerted tangible influence over many issues over these years.
This access cannot be taken for granted.
Our messages can be easily confused, and our limited political capital and good will could be burnt if we are not careful how the sector is presented and perceived by Ministers and civil servants. Our advice to D4A reflected this.”
Dr Lennox added,
“It is a huge mistake to assume that the access that CIfA currently has to UK governments is somehow guaranteed.
CIfA has worked for years to cultivate the reputation needed to open doors in Whitehall, Westminster, Cardiff Bay and Holyrood.
Your insinuation, it seems, is that CIfA is acting as a gatekeeper, and this is a misreading of the reality.
Our political access is delicately balanced. The wrong type of ‘campaign’ if seeking to enter these spaces is likely to find doors closed to them and could threaten the access of organisations like CIfA. While we cannot stop people trying, we will try to share our experience as appropriate, but accept that we may not always be able to agree.”
Turning to higher education, Dr Lennox told us that CIfA was working to ensure University departments are supported to ensure students are properly prepared to enter the profession and receive CIfA accreditation, adding,
“We are in regular discussion with UAUK about how to respond strategically to the various threats, market forces and government policy implications that may affect archaeology in higher education and we are seeking to develop strategies to help secure the above objective.”
Adding a personal note Dr Lennox told us,
“I personally believe that strong grass roots demonstration of the care that people have for archaeology is crucial to the future of our sector’s influence. I strongly believe that we need to work to build relationships between organisations, and grow trust in these organisations among supporters of the causes of archaeology. We need to work productively together to make best use of our various advocacy strategies and opportunities.”
The CBA echoed this ambition saying,
“We are open to developing new ways to speak up for our members and community archaeology groups and the wider sector. We welcome anyone talking to us on these issues. We have offered support to Dig4Arch who also invite opinions/contributions from the public and across the sector.“
The Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers [FAME] and its director Dr Kenneth Aitchison, has made no response to our questions.