Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology receives massive support from Greece

University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology continues to receive international support, this time from Greece, as the final decision to close the world-renowned institution looms.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 2:24 pm

Vice-Mayor of Zagori in northwest Greece, Yiannis Tsaparis wrote a letter to the university, reminding them that the department has played a major role throughout the years to the understanding of Greek archaeology and supported many Greek scholars in their path towards chairs in Greek and international universities.

The Department of Archaeology which is currently ranked 39th in the world according to the 2021 QS rankings, is facing an imminent closure following an institutional review due to the declining numbers of students choosing the field.

The letter read: "Zagori is grateful for the Department's contribution in furthering our knowledge of the Greek past and Zagori in particular.

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University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology faces imminent closure despite protest
University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology faces imminent closure despite protest

"Such a prestigious department is impossible to fail in such a short time and, as a decision maker,

"I believe that the reasons for its decline (if any) should be sought in managerial choices rather than the archaeological academic community.

"I urge you to reconsider and support and invest in the department to ensure the future of archaeology at The University of Sheffield."

Student Union of Postgraduate and PhD candidates of the University of Crete in Greece also wrote a letter of support to their colleagues at the Department of Archaeology.

They said: “From England to Greece and the rest of Europe, the implemented policies on Higher Education and especially on the humanities have led the public universities in systematical underfunding, understaffing and extortionate college tuition fees when those departures do not comply with the private economic interests of their operation.

"Without taking into consideration the scientific contribution and the labour of many people, the threat of closure of the non-profitable university departments appears not only as a disciplinary rule but as a possible outcome which is really connected with the academic community and our societies in general.

"The qualitative public and free education without the financial obligations, which are imposed more and more strictly, is the only way of ensuring that the conditions of producing knowledge would be in favour of the society.

"The student union of Postgraduate students and PhD candidates of the University of Crete supports the following petition for the collection of signatures, an initiative by the students at the University of Sheffield against the closure of the Department of Archaeology, a potential result of the departmental review."

University of Sheffield's Executive Board (UEB) had proposed the closure of the Department of Archaeology following an institutional review late last month, triggering nationwide outrage.

They said, however, they will continue to support the discipline as it is no longer viable to maintain the status quo due to the declining numbers of students choosing the field.

The Senate, which oversees teaching and research and is responsible for academic quality and standards, will meet on June 23 to discuss the proposed closure before being considered by the University Council on July 12.

Affected students and members of staff however vowed to continue to fight for the survival of the department until the final decision is made.

A rally to protest the decision has also been planned on Monday (June 21), two days before the senate meeting.