The Council for British Archaeology's Annual Archaeology Day held on 22 November included the presentation ceremony for the Marsh Archaeology Awards, an annual opportunity to recognise outstanding work in archaeology.
As part of the awards, the CBA was pleased to have the chance to meet and honour the work of Dani Bradford (@anthroqveer) in the Early Career Researcher category for her pioneering research and campaigning on the issue of sexual harassment, assault and rape amongst students undertaking archaeological fieldwork. This work reveals a deeply concerning problem at the heart of archaeology.
During CBA Executive Director Mike Heyworth's introduction to Dani’s work, there was an initial audible outbreak of laughter amongst some individuals in the audience. Although they were immediately rebuked by Mike from the stage, this disgraceful reaction left Dani understandably very upset at what should have been a deserved moment of recognition.
Immediately after the ceremony, several CBA staff and trustees spoke with Dani to apologise for the reaction of some members of the audience. We are committed to fully supporting Dani in presenting her important research and tackling a crucial issue in archaeology. Mike Heyworth responded on Twitter that evening to call out the laughter:
“I was particularly pleased that @archaeologyuk was able to recognise the important work of @anthroqveer in #archaeology and related fields through the Marsh Archaeology Awards today. The appalling reaction of a few people in the audience to her deserved citation was a disgrace.”
The CBA is shocked at the reaction to Dani’s award and condemns anyone who treats these issues lightly and does not give researchers in this area the respect they fully deserve. We offer our sincere apologies to Dani and anyone who has suffered from sexual harassment in archaeology. We are committed to working in partnership with other organisations and individuals in our sector to change behaviour and stamp out any form of discrimination and abuse in the discipline.
We have not yet been able to identify the source of the laughter in the audience, which was made up of both CBA members and members of the public. However, the CBA is writing to everyone who was in attendance to make clear our condemnation of the completely inappropriate reaction and to ask those present who may have been part of the laughter to reflect on their own behaviour and apologise to Dani and everyone else present at the event. They have brought the CBA and our entire discipline into disrepute.
All attendees will be reminded of their duty to behave appropriately at CBA events in line with the CBA’s Code of Conduct which was agreed by CBA trustees earlier in 2019. We will prominently display this Code at all future CBA events and draw it to the attention of all attendees.
The CBA stands with Dani. Her research shines a light on serious issues within archaeology that cannot be ignored and must be addressed openly with respect. We hope to publish the results of her research in our British Archaeology magazine in the new year and we will work with Dani and others, including members of the Equality & Diversity Special Interest Group of the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists, to bring these important issues to the attention of our entire membership – as was our initial intention in giving the award to Dani.
Archaeology matters - it should be accessible and safe for everybody.
Dr Mike Heyworth MBE
Council for British Archaeology