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Archaeology Matters

Supporting Archaeology in the UK: results of recent research

Volunteers Excavating

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) brings together the interests of a wide range of people and organisations involved with archaeology in the UK. This includes commercial archaeologists, those working in local authorities, museums or other parts of the archaeological heritage sector; universities; community archaeologists and volunteers.

Nearly 10 years after the publication of research funded by the Headley Trust, which examined the scale, nature and needs of Community Archaeology in the UK, the CBA wanted to establish how the Sector had progressed, if at all. We wanted to find out who was involved in community archaeology and what they were doing, and were the community requirements still the same? Most importantly, we wanted to know about the additional support the CBA and others could provide.

The results of the 2018 research (available online in our Research Bulletin 6) shows that there is still a considerable amount of activity taking place, from lectures to excavation, publication and exhibitions with very few of those participating receiving formal or informal training. We had over 3,000 requests for a broader understanding of archaeological good practice in organisational management, health and wellbeing, planning, excavation, survey, research, recording, archiving, publication and dissemination and sound financial planning.

Conclusion: demand at present is outstripping supply


  1. Create a central digital platform which gives clear advice, signposting and guidance for community groups with a local and national collaborative space.
  2. Establish a learning and development provision at county level.
  3. Assess the logistics and viability of a bespoke accreditation scheme.
  4. Actively engage in partnerships which encourage diverse participation.
  5. Create a survey to provide comparable relevant data of younger age groups.

Initially, the CBA can signpost to resources which already exist, such as basic artefact identification, but the additional training resource requires a significant investment. The CBA has the experience to deliver, with partners, what the archaeological community has requested, and there is the potential to create a ripple effect for groups and individuals to influence them in best practice and provide a cohesive community experience by involving and guiding them in a variety of schemes for all ages and abilities.

To see the CBA’s full list of Research Bulletins click here: CBA Research Bulletins


Bulletin 6 Report
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