Rally to take place at University of Sheffield over Department of Archaeology decision

There has been mounting pressure on the University of Sheffield to keep its Department of Archaeology as its fate will be decided in a highly-anticipated meeting tomorrow.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 3:30 pm

The globally recognised department is currently undergoing an institutional review, putting it in danger of closure and ultimately an untimely demise of a renowned institution.

An online petition had also been launched as soon as the word got out that the university was "inclined" to shut it down, garnering over 30,000 signatures from existing students, former alumni and supporters from all over the world and counting.

And a rally has also been planned ahead of the meeting tomorrow morning, which will be attended by affected members of staff and the members of the University Executive Board.

Archaeology staff and students outside Sheffield University's Ella Armitage building. Picture Scott Merrylees

Professor Umberto Albarella, who has been with the university since 2004, told the Telegraph last week: “Concerned is an understatement. We are concerned on many levels, concerned for our jobs and livelihoods and salaries, but even more importantly we are concerned that all the work that has been done for decades is going to be destroyed by this decision taken by managers that don’t really understand much of what we do.

The three options that are being considered are to invest in the department with new posts and the development of new programmes and second, to close the department but to honour commitments to existing students.

The third option is to retain Archaeology as a discipline but not as a department where key programmes will be retained but realigned to other departments in the university along with associated staff while commitments to existing students would still be honoured.

A University of Sheffield spokesperson said: “The University of Sheffield has undertaken a review of its Department of Archaeology. Staff and student representatives participated in the review, and no decisions have been taken.”

Sheffield University's Ella Armitage building where the Department of Archaelogy is located. Picture Scott Merrylees

The rally is to take place from 9am-1pm tomorrow under Covid-19 restrictions including wearing a mask and being tested.

See this week’s Telegraph for a full report on the decision.