Save Sheffield Archaeology Resources

ONLINE RALLY - 11am, Friday 9th July 2021

Join us online on the 9th of July to support our fight to save the Arts and Humanities and bring back The University of Sheffield to the people who care for it: its students, staff and the City of Sheffield. It is time to say no to the small group of managers who think a University is a disposable commodity and want to dictate their own agendas without listening and without caring for the people and broader communities they affect. It is time to stop this cultural vandalism.

To join us, please watch the livestream via Facebook (account not required), where you will be able to write comments and messages of support during the stream. A link to the event is available here:

URGENT UPDATE - Decision by the University Executive Board to close the department

On the 26th of May staff and students were separately emailed by the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Gill Valentine, informing them that the UEB had made the decision to recommend closing the department and retaining certain areas of research and teaching, including cultural heritage and osteoarchaeology, by moving them elsewhere in the University. The proposal will be considered by University Senate on 23 June before a final decision is taken by University Council on 12 July.

Obviously this is a devastating outcome of an exhausting process. Rest assured, however, that the campaign will not end here. Please keep an eye out here and on our Facebook page for further updates.

What is going on with archaeology at the University of Sheffield?

Good question! In 2020 four new full-time posts were approved for the department of archaeology at Sheffield, but then scrapped due to the pandemic. When the department asked if these could be reinstated for the upcoming academic year, as it was understaffed…

...the University Executive Board (UEB) responded by putting the department under review. After two exhaustive rounds of interviews, full of enthusiastic feedback from staff and students, the board has decided to organise a vote on the 25th of May.

Three options are on the table:

(A) support and invest in the department to ensure the future of archaeology at Sheffield

(B) discontinue archaeology as a subject as Sheffield and make all the staff redundant

(C) discontinue archaeology as a coherent and core subject, but retain aspects of archaeological research and education (human osteology and cultural heritage specifically to be merged into other departments), and make remaining staff redundant.

Two out of these three options would dissolve the Department of Archaeology at Sheffield.

As of 26th May, the UEB is recommending option C. The proposal will be considered by University Senate on 23 June before a final decision is taken by University Council on 12 July.

Why should I care?

First and foremost, jobs and livelihoods are at risk for current staff: academics, postdocs and administrative staff are all under threat. Even during a global pandemic, staff have gone above and beyond to make students at Sheffield feel welcomed and supported during one of the most difficult periods in their lives.

Beyond the University of Sheffield, the department is regularly involved in outreach projects like the student-run Archaeology in the City, providing free public talks, free workshops at local primary schools, and demonstrations for the local community; Roots of Iron, in collaboration with Sheffield City Council; and the Sheffield Castle Project, working with groups like the National Videogame Museum to bring a long-lost monument back to life.

It's not just the local community either. Research groups like the Zooarchaeology Lab and Sheffield Archaeomaterials have contacts, friends and alumni all over the world, from university lecturers to independent contractors and everyone in between.

All this is happening at a time when UK archaeology is under threat. By some estimates, there is a 100% increase in the need for trained archaeologists (FAME) and increasing demand for heritage professionals generally. As discussions regarding decolonisation and the relationship between the past and the present are coming to the front of the public sphere, there is a need for archaeology now more than ever.

The Department of Archaeology at Sheffield has existed for over 50 years and had a bright future ahead - with your help, it still could.

How can I help?

  1. Email the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and Executive Board.

Urge the board to rethink this, choose option A, and support the future of archaeology. You can take inspiration from or modify the following letter template, but please do add your personal experience of the Department of Archaeology at Sheffield: .

Feel free to write in languages other than English! One of the reasons that make Sheffield such a special place is the connections it fosters all over the globe, and the international support we've received already means the world to us (pun intended).

Please cc in the department so we can keep track of letters and show them to the University Senate:

VC - Professor Koen Lamberts: Deputy VC - Professor Gill Valentine - Executive board in general -

  1. Sign the petition.

A petition is available on - find it here.

  1. Kick up a fuss on social media - spread the word.

Use the hashtag #savesheffieldarchaeology (archaeology with an ae!) and direct people to this page ( and our Facebook and Instagram pages so they know what's going on.

You can use the QR code for this website at the bottom of this page to make posters, stickers etc.

  1. Keep an eye out for updates.

As above, we will keep our Facebook Page and this website updated with the latest information. You can also follow the hashtags #savesheffieldarchaeology and #archaeologistmadeinsheffield on Twitter.

  1. Support other colleagues in trouble!

Unfortunately, Sheffield is not the only archaeology department in trouble: colleagues and friends at the University of Worcester are facing compulsory redundancies. While the archaeology department of the University of Leicester specifically is safe, other departments are at risk. The fight at Sheffield is part of a wider context in which archaeology and heritage throughout the UK are at risk, especially at universities which prioritise high student numbers at the cost of all else. Read up and support our colleagues everywhere!

Petition to save Worcester Archaeology:

@ArchaeologyChe1 is providing up to date information on twitter. You can also follow the hashtag #noredundancieschester.

Information regarding the global boycott of the University of Leicester:

Thank you for your support!

There are tough days ahead, but the fight's not over yet - the board makes its decision on 25th of May, and we'll keep going for as long as it takes.