Professor Koen Lamberts
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Sheffield
21st May 2021
Dear Professor Lamberts,
I write to you as CEO and Founder of Landward Research Ltd to express my dismay at reports of the potential closure of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield.
Research my company has published shows that while not every archaeology graduate seeks to work in professional archaeology, everyone who does work in professional archaeology is a graduate. And that industry returns a value of £225m, nearly a quarter of a billion pounds, to the UK economy every year.
I urge you, and the University Executive Board at its forthcoming meeting, to invest in the Department of Archaeology, to expand its commercial side and to recruit new academic staff in order to secure the Department’s significant role in contributing to and supporting professional archaeology in the UK and beyond.
I established the company Landward Research Ltd (then Landward Archaeology) in 1998, when I was a postgraduate student in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield.
Starting with the company’s first significant project, Profiling the Profession, undertaken in 1997-98 while I was still a Sheffield student, we have gone on to deliver research and consultancy advice for archaeology and heritage in five continents. The company is still officially based in Sheffield, and now has wholly owned subsidiaries in Ireland, the United States and Scotland. We have become the recognised providers of archaeological labour market intelligence – tracking the development of professional archaeology as a sector that now employs 6,300 people in the UK and over 40,000 across Europe.
None of this would have happened without the experience the University of Sheffield provided; it was the teaching of applied archaeological heritage management and relevance to wider professional practice that inspired me to start my company.
As the Departmental website says (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/archaeology/about/alumni), many of your archaeology graduates remain in archaeology, either in a commercial or academic role, directly using their archaeological skills all over the world. Please do not underestimate the impact of losing the Department’s significant contribution and support for professional archaeology in the UK and beyond.
I urge you again to invest in the Department of Archaeology, to expand its commercial side and to recruit new academic staff.