The core of this thesis comprises three previous published reports ā Profiling the Profession: a
survey of archaeological jobs in the UK (Aitchison 1999), Archaeology Labour Market Intelligence:
Profiling the Profession 200203
(Aitchison & Edwards 2003) and Archaeology Labour Market
Intelligence: Profiling the Profession 200708
(Aitchison & Edwards 2008). These volumes are
the only comprehensive reviews of the labour market within the archaeological sector in the UK,
examining who works in all sectors of archaeology, what qualifications they hold, how they are
rewarded and how they are trained. These three surveys have established a corpus of time-series
datasets which demonstrate how archaeological practice and employment have evolved
in the UK over the decade to 2008 and the onset of the global economic crisis in that year.
The thesis contextualises these dataārich reports with a historical and analytical account of how
employment in archaeology grew from the late nineteenth century until 1990, and then
examines the drivers of demand for services that lead to archaeological employment in the
United Kingdom over the 20 years from 1990ā2010, and how this demand was met.
Until 1990, archaeology was primarily a stateāprovided or stateāsponsored activity. The sector’s
funding base transformed in the 1990s to become primarily reliant on private sector monies
and the effects upon employment within the sector have been of the sectoral reaction to adopt
an enterpriseāfocussed model for delivery have been considerable.
The number of people employed in archaeology grew very rapidly over this period (by
approximately 4.5% per annum), with the expansion of applied, commercial archaeology
representing the majority of this growth. These individuals are very highly academically
qualified, but not very well rewarded financially.
In order to fully explore the central issues, historical patterns and precedents are examined,
focussing on particular strands of activity in detail, using case studies of organisations and
particular archaeological projects.