Reversal to Funding Cuts Welcome

The Campaign to Save British Archaeology welcomes the reversal of the proposed funding cuts to archaeology courses.

University archaeology courses had previously been included in the list of subjects facing a 50% cut in the subsidy for higher-cost arts subjects. However, this decision has now been reversed.

However, a letter (dated 19th July 2021) from Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, to the Office for Students states that "considered the consultation responses and the issues they highlighted, I have concluded that archaeology should be included within the OfS’s Price Group C1.1 subject list".

As a result, Archaeology is classed alongside Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacy and Pharmacology; Clinical Dentistry, Dental Hygiene and Therapy; Clinical Medicine; Engineering subjects; Information Technology; Nursing and allied health professions (pre-registration courses); Sciences (Agriculture; Forestry and Food Science; Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences; Biosciences, Chemistry, Physics); and Veterinary Science - subjects which the letter describes as important to supporting "key industries and the delivery of vital public services".

Government recognition of the importance of archaeology make continued threats to course by universities unacceptable.

Whilst the threats facing archaeology departments across the country remains all too real, the acknowledgement by the Government of the importance of archaeology is welcome. Archaeology not only offers tremendous cultural value in understanding our past, it also brings economic benefit through, for example from heritage tourism, and provides a platform for advancements in technology and scientific research.

The decision also sends an important message to university managers that they too should recognise the subject's importance and continued threats to archaeology departments are unacceptable.

Read the letter in full here.