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Profiling the Profession 2020: Introduction

A volunteer digs at an archaeology site uncovered by the Crossrail construction

Profiling the Profession 2020 is a survey of employment and training in professional archaeology in the United Kingdom. This is the fifth in a series of surveys that began in 1997-98, which has allowed for longitudinal, time-series datasets to be built up that describe the changing nature of professional archaeology over the past quarter-century.

Data were gathered that applied to archaeological employers and individuals working in archaeology in March 2020 – immediately before the Covid-19 pandemic began to seriously affect working practices and immediately after the UK left the European Union. The project has captured the time-sensitive critical data required to understand how these events have impacted upon the sector, including data on employment conditions, staff qualifications, diversity and training issues.

Changes in 2020 survey

The project has been undertaken in a different way from previous iterations. Employers were asked for information about their organisation, not about the individuals working for them.That information about individual archaeologists has come from the individuals themselves. In some areas, the scope of the information collected has broadened – to allow archaeologists as a sector to be compared with broader, national datasets on health and wellbeing, for example.


This project has been funded by Historic England under a COVID 19 Emergency Response Funding Agreement, with support from Historic Environment Scotland, FAME and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

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Image Credit

Archaeology at Crossrail by rich_pickler from Flickr CC BY 2.0


Title: Profiling the Profession

2020 Authors: Kenneth Aitchison, Poppy German and Doug Rocks-Macqueen

Published by: Landward Research Ltd

Version Date: 2021

ISBN: 978-0-9572452-8-0


License: CC BY SA 4.0 for all text and figures. Header images are from different sources check image credits for their specific licensing.

2020 funders: Historic England, with support from Historic Environment Scotland, CIfA and FAME.

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