The Times, Radio 4 and The Daily Mail report that Britain has a serious shortage of archaeologists to handle the expected wealth of artefacts uncovered during the HS2 project. Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said that the project could be delayed unless hundreds of archaeologists are trained to deal with this unprecedented opportunity to explore the countryside, adding that Crossrail 2 would also contribute to further prospects. He noted that excavations ‘through the planning system’ would take time and hold up the ‘development of infrastructure’.

Wilson’s warning comes on the back of research carried out by Historic England that shows a need to grow the sector by up to 25% over the next six years.

Nick Shepherd, ampoule chief executive of the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers, said: ‘The delivery of new UK housing and infrastructure depends not only on engineers and bricklayers, but also on archaeologists.
‘Archaeological investigation is now a core part of the development process’. And commenting on a report to be published by Historic England this Monday, ‘This report makes clear that the government infrastructure plans over the next decade present a challenge to ensure sufficient archaeological capacity is in place to support construction of the new roads, rail and energy projects vital to economic growth.’

FAME will be working with HE and other partners to identify and action responses to this challenge. The results of the report and initial discussions will be presented at this years FAME Forum in York (June 24th) together with a review of market opportunities across the UK and Ireland.

To read the report produced by HE in consultation with FAME and others click here.