According to media coverage, the closure of the Sheffield Univ Archaeology Dept has been confirmed. It seems to have been very badly handled by the university, but nonetheless (and in spite of a huge petition of protest) the Dept appears to have had only ten offers to undergraduates for the next academic year — and there is no way that a full-blown university department can afford to stay open in the face of such student apathy.
Plenty of other “famous” university departments have closed over the years, and the archaeology world cannot really claim that there was anything exceptional or uniquely valuable about Sheffield Archaeology — in spite of the fact that our friend MPP was once on the staff.
We can link this with my last post, and ask whether archaeology really knows what it is or where it is going. It’s sure as eggs not a scientific discipline, and I’m not sure whether it is a humanity either. With its apparent disregard for the value of hard evidence it looks more and more like a story-telling subject — and modern undergraduates want more, I suspect, than myths and bedtime stories.