CIfA welcomes the publication of the report Reflections on Archaeology, by the British Academy on 29 March. The report calls for ‘action to safeguard the future of UK archaeology, so it can continue to lead the way in groundbreaking discoveries … [and address] the biggest challenges facing archaeological research and study today’.
We endorse the report’s lucid analysis of the important role archaeology has to play in informing responses to some of the great challenges facing the world today. CIfA concurs with many of the report’s findings on the challenges we face, especially, in some UK countries the potential demise of planning-led archaeology through weakening policy and the loss of expert advice to planning authorities. We are encouraged by the proposal by the British Academy to engage with other stakeholders in the sector in a shared endeavour to present the value of archaeology more effectively to potential students, governments, media and other opinion-formers and decision-makers.
We are less convinced that there is a clear path to structural reorganisation which will necessarily improve the sector’s marketing and advocacy success, and we are troubled by the report’s categorisation of archaeology into ‘academic’ and ‘professional’, which risks reinforcing the divisions that elsewhere it rightly seeks to overcome. But we agree wholeheartedly that archaeologists must work together in the pursuit of our discipline, and CIfA stands ready to work with the Academy to promote a stronger culture of collaboration in the sector.