The University of Birmingham has decided to close down its archaeology department. Here is a video on the subject:
In all seriousness it looks like a hatchet job. The staff and students are fighting back-
We would like to bring to the archaeology communities attention the imminent closure of The Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity (IAA) at the University of Birmingham, an IfA Registered Organisation which encompasses archaeological research and teaching staff alongside project and grant funded staff under the headings of Birmingham Archaeology, VISTA and Birmingham Archaeo-environmental (BAE). Following a rapid (and staff believe flawed and prejudicial) review of the department it has been recommended that the IAA be dispended. Under the proposals 19+ staff will loose their jobs including all project and research archaeology staff, a group originally formed following the restructuring of Birmingham Archaeology in early 2011 as they wereidentified as a team with a successful and proven track record.
High profile projects in which archaeological project staff have been instrumental include: ‘Dig for Shakespeare’ www.digforshakespeare.com , Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2011/11/25Nov-Discoveries-provide-evidence-of-a-celestial-procession-at-Stonehenge.aspx , www.vista.bham.ac.uk/stories-WoodenHenge.html, the ground breaking Heritage and Cultural learning Hub is supported by VISTA www.birmingham.ac.uk/facilities/hclh/index.aspx , the Eton Myer Collection Virtual Museum Project www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/digitisation/enrichingdigi/myers.aspx, the recovery of the Staffordshire hoard www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk , and the West Coast Palaeolandscapes project www.cambria.org.uk/lostlandscapes/index.html .
All of these projects have been or are currently showcased by the university on their website and display material as examples of exceptional research at the university and many have been in the national press or the subject of documentaries.
However the people who undertake this high level archaeological research alongside a raft of more traditional commercial archaeology work (www.birmingham.ac.uk/facilities/ba/index.aspx) are now under threat of redundancy. NO specific reason has been given for the cessation of archaeological project work despite repeated requests.
When Birmingham Archaeology (including VISTA and BAE) was reviewed by the university back in 2010/2011 support from ex members of staff and those who had read about or visited our projects was substantial and much appreciated (http://www.bajrfed.co.uk/showthread….am+archaeology ). Your support would be once again be appreciated but this time we need it to count where it matters- with the University of Birmingham.
A ‘Save the IAA’ campaign has begun which will include student action and hopefully considerable press coverage. We would ask anyone who studied at Birmingham University, worked for Birmingham archaeology, enjoyed watching Alice Roberts or Tony Robinson visit one of our many excavations, or simply is concerned with higher education bodies commitment to the arts in general, to support this campaign by signing the petition, and more importantly writing to the Vice Chancellor with letters of support specifically related to archaeological teaching, research and project work.
Specific details of our current situation, including the official Birmingham University College Union (BUCU) statement to its members, along with the methods in which individuals can support the ‘save the IAA’ campaign can be found at http://saveiaa.wordpress.com/.
Please sign the Save the IAA campaign petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-iaa/
Write a letter to the Vice Chancellor of the university David Eastwood telling him why it is so important that the IAA remains open and specifically that archaeological research and project activities continue at the University of Birmingham.
To have more of an impact make sure to personalise your letter and if you can send it recorded delivery to:
Aston Webb Building
University of Birmingham
You can also send emails to:
Thank you for your time and for your support
the ‘at risk’ staff of the IAA
The have set up a website to fight the university http://saveiaa.wordpress.com/.