Discovering the Archaeologists of the World
Kenneth Aitchison, York Archaeological Trust and Landward
Research Ltd, 312 Baltic Quay, 1 Sweden Gate, London, SE16 7TJ, UK
Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe 2014 has shown that measuring
archaeologists’ capabilities is a tool that can be used to plan for the
development of the profession, development that is necessary to enhance
to protection and interpretation of the global archaeological resource.
´:Le projet A
´couverte des arche
´ologues en Europe 2014 a montre
´valuation du potentiel des arche
´ologues peut permettre de pre
´volution de la profession, e
´volution qui est ne
´cessaire pour ame
protection et l’interpre
´tation des ressources arche
Resumen: Descubriendo a los arqueo
´logos de Europa 2014 ha mostrado que
medir las capacidades de los arqueo
´logos es una herramienta que puede
ser utilizada para planificar el desarrollo de la profesio
´n, desarrollo que es
necesario para mejorar la proteccio
´n e interpretacio
´n de los recursos
Capacity building,Professional archaeology,Practice,Education
This special issue of Archaeologies contains a series of articles that have all
been written by contributors to the Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe
2014 project, a two-year transnational exercise that involved 23 organisa-
tions across 21 European countries. These organisations—university
archaeology departments, national museums, state heritage agencies, private
companies, professional associations, research institutes and charitable
non-governmental organisations—worked together to map professional
archaeology and its needs in the aftermath of the global economic crisis.
Part-funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the York
Archaeological Trust, this project (the results of which are published as
Aitchison et al. 2014) has been a massive exercise, aiming to collect data
ARCHAEOLOGIES Volume 10 Number 3 December 2014
Ó2014 World Archaeological Congress 207
Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress (Ó2014)
from the employers of the estimated 25,000 professional archaeologists
working in those countries.
The project reports (there are national reports for each of the 21 coun-
tries, published in English and in national languages at www.discovering-
archaeologists.eu) focus on issues relating to skills losses and training, but
also cover workforce size, the profession’s distribution between private and
public sectors, academia and cultural resource management, qualifications
The papers given here either draw upon data produced by that project,
combining and comparing it with other datasets to explore economically
and politically sensitive issues, beginning with the response to the eco-
nomic crash of 2008 that eliminated a third or more archaeological jobs in
countries like Ireland or Spain (Cleary et al.), or the future of a profession
in which the majority of workers are now women (Lazar et al.).
Andrew Lawler enters into the depth of how archaeological practice can
be undertaken in the post-modern state of Bosnia & Herzegovina, where
competing ethnic, linguistic and cultural identities in the present day affect
the interpretation of human life in the past, while Katharina Mo
whether archaeologists can freely move from country to country to live
and work, as Article 45 of the Consolidated Version of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union (European Union 2012) should allow
archaeologists from the 27 EU states to do?
And, partly inspired by his work on the UK national component of the
Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe 2014, Doug Rocks-Macqueen has
undertaken a time-series analysis of advertisements for archaeological posts
to explore the changing nature of the labour market in commercial, cul-
tural resource management archaeology in the United States.
The Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe project emerged from a
lengthy history of archaeology labour market intelligence projects in the
UK and elsewhere in Europe, a sociology of professional archaeology that
has coincided with political and economic developments across the disci-
pline since the 1990s.
But what are the reasons for doing this kind of work? Is it just stamp
collecting, an introspective epistemology of ourselves which has no value
to the outside world? To take that attitude would be to devalue archaeol-
ogy as a whole; knowing about the professionals who identify, interpret,
curate and manage the physical remains of the human past allows those
professionals to be supported, their needs to be identified and nurtured to
lead to better protection for the archaeological heritage in the future.
This is more than a social science, this is capacity building—establishing
and reinforcing an archaeological sector that can record, curate and so pro-
tect a dwindling cultural and environmental resource in the face of ongo-
ing global economic and environmental changes. ICOMOS (2013) sees the
208 KENNETH AITCHISON
development of people as a tool that enhances protection of the historic
environment: ‘‘Capacity Building through education and training refers to
strengthening the knowledge, abilities, skills, and attitudes of people with
direct or indirect responsibilities for heritage conservation and management.’’,
while to the United Nations’ agencies, skills, experience and knowledge are
the building blocks of individual performance, which can be acquired for-
mally through education and training, and informally through doing and
observing and which lead to social and economic change.
The United Nations Development Programme defines capacity building
as ‘‘The process through which individuals, organisations and societies
obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their
own development objectives over time’’ (UNDP 2009:5)
The UNDP model sees this process as best carried out through a five stage
capacity development process, which includes measurement both before and
after capacity development programmes are implemented. The predecessor Dis-
covering the Archaeologists of Europe project collected data in twelve countries in
2008, just before the onset of the global financial crisis, and the cycle has now
recorded what the crisis has done—giving individual archaeologists, employers,
educators and policy-makers data to work with as they plan for the future.
The value of this model has led to discussion of a potential Discovering the
Archaeologists of the Americas project, collecting and sharing information for
professional archaeology in every country in South, Central, Caribbean and
North America (Majewski 2014), and this could all combine with further
cycles of national or regional projects to be part of an ongoing macro-project,
aDiscovering the Archaeologists of the World that can identify and support
professional archaeological practice and education globally.
Aitchison, K., R, Alphas., V, Ameels., M, Bentz., C, Bors., E, Cella., K, Cleary., C,
Costa., P, Damian., M, Diniz., C, Duarte., J, Frolı
´k., C, Grilo., Initiative for Her-
itage Conservancy., N, Kangert., R, Karl., A, Kjærulf Andersen., V, Kobrusepp.,
T, Kompare., E, Krekovic
ˇ., M, Lago da Silva., A, Lawler., I, Lazar., K, Liibert., A,
Lima., G, MacGregor., N, McCullagh., M, Ma
´., A, Ma
¨esalu., M, Malin
A, Marciniak., M, Mintaurs., K, Mo
¨ller., U, Odgaard., E, Parga-Dans., D, Pav-
lov., V, Pintaric
ˇKocuvan., D, Rocks-Macqueen., J, Rostock., J, Pedro Tereso., A,
Pintucci., E.S, Prokopiou., J, Raposo., K, Scharringhausen., T, Schenck., M, Schl-
aman., J, Skaarup., A, S
e., D, Stas
´., I, Ulst., M, van den Dries.,
H, van Londen., R, Varela-Pousa., C, Viegas., A, Vijups., N, Vossen., T, Wach-
ter., and L, Wachowicz.
2014. Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe 2012–2014: Transnational
transnational_report.pdf. Accessed 19th October 2014.
Discovering the Archaeologists of the World 209
EU (European Union).
2012. Consolidated Versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty
on the Functioning of the European Union. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-
content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:12012E/TXT&from=EN. Accessed 15th
ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).
2013. Principles for Capacity Building through Education and Training in Safe-
guarding and Integrated Conservation of Cultural Heritage. http://cif.
Capacity_EN_20130930.pdf. Accessed 19th October 2014.
2014. The Discovering the Archaeologists of the Americas Initiative. Paper pre-
sented at European Association of Archaeologists Annual Meeting, Istan-
bul, 11 September 2014.
UNDP (United Nations Development Programme).
2009. Capacity Development: a UNDP Primer. www.undp.org/content/dam/aplaws/
a-undp-primer/CDG_PrimerReport_final_web.pdf. Accessed 19th October
210 KENNETH AITCHISON