Correspondence between Campaign to Save British Archaeology and University Archaeology UK

The Campaign to Save British Archaeology has been made aware of an email circulated this morning from Chris Gerrard, Head of University Archaeology UK, to archaeology departments across the country.


University Archaeology UK had not been in touch with the Campaign to Save British Archaeology prior to the email being distributed. Please see both the text of the original correspondence and reply from Chris Whitwood, Director of the Campaign to Save British Archaeology.


The Campaign to Save British Archaeology remains committed to cooperating with academics, professionals, members of the public and those in the political sphere in order to halt the closure of university archaeology departments.


Update: University Archaeology UK has since responded to the email below and both organisation are now in communication about how best to cooperate on this important issue.

Message from Chris Gerrard - Head of University Archaeology UK
I want to draw your attention to this website and to voice some concerns:https://www.savearchaeology.co.uk/
More details about the person behind it can be found here:https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/politics/yorkshire-party-leader-incredibly-proud-he-steps-down-after-year-2605838
We want to reassure you that the author has not been in touch with 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.
Leaving the governance issues to one side for a moment, we clearly cannot prevent people from setting up websites of this kind, nor ask our colleagues from supporting any cause which they think worthy. However, we are concerned about the tone here. 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. That is surely the way to get enthusiastic undergraduates and postgraduates onto our courses. Secondly, we are in danger of providing a fragmented picture of lobbying and advocacy which, in my limited experience, will win no arguments at all.
best wishes
Chris
Reply from Chris Whitwood - Director of the Campaign to Save British Archaeology
Dear Chris,
I was deeply disappointed to read of your message distributed to archaeology departments today - a number of supporters have been in touch about it.
If you had any concern regarding the Campaign to Save British Archaeology, I would have been more than happy to discuss them with you - and am still willing to talk if you wish to contact me directly.
We have no intention of portraying archaeology as being in crisis. However, the closure of three departments in as many months, combined with cuts at other universities, highlights a challenge to be overcome.
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.
After all, it is not just the academics who are losing their jobs and the students who are being denied the opportunity to study who are losing out. The wider community are also affected by these closures.
It is my intention to publish this letter on the campaign’s website, and share it with our supporters. I am more than happy to discuss how we may cooperate and look forward to receiving your reply.
Best regards,Chris Whitwood.

Update: University Archaeology UK has since responded to the email above and both organisation are now in communication about how best to cooperate on this important issue.