CIfA is saddened by the decision of the Sheffield University Council to uphold the closure of the Archaeology Department, which was taken earlier this week. This will be a difficult moment for Sheffield students and staff and for the department’s many alumni. Although the situation facing universities is a complex one, with deep rooted issues relating to marketisation of higher education and wider management, it remains important for us to champion the value of archaeology in higher education and counteract any narrative that suggests that archaeology is not a vibrant, thriving subject.
CIfA is committed to ensuring that there is a sufficient provision of university graduates who are suitably prepared to enter the profession and on a pathway to CIfA accreditation, and that university departments are sufficiently supported to deliver this provision. This starts with refining our understanding of the issues facing archaeology in higher education and current pressures on skills and capacity. We are keen to work with UAUK and others to draw on existing data and commission further work to understand the situation and work to find long term strategies to strengthen the discipline.