Students digging at Dorchester-on-Thames
The need to preserve and record cultural heritage is taking on an increasingly global dimension in a rapidly urbanizing and developing world. Over the past century, archaeologists have played a crucial role as excavators, advocates, and preservationists across the globe. Furthermore, the rate of social and cultural interchange is growing dramatically through online media and international travel. As a result, archaeology’s role in helping diverse groups understand and preserve their identities is now of immediate importance. In response to these developments, the School has recently expanded in new directions, notably in Asian Archaeology, Maritime Archaeology, and the study of ancient farming and diet, and now conducts fieldwork across Europe, Asia and Africa. Currently, undergraduates are only able to spend only between 2-5 weeks on an excavation, and graduate students must find their own funding to gain fieldwork experience. With increased philanthropic support, we envision an expansion of our training programme and greater access for all of our students to on-site training.
It is essential to secure both public and private funding to further the important work being carried out by Oxford’s archaeologists. Whether working with local governments to preserve sites, educating the public about our past, or presenting groundbreaking research at academic conferences, the School’s faculty, students, and alumni act as global ambassadors for our field. It is imperative that we not only replace dwindling government support, but also grow our endowment to ensure that the School of Archaeology maintains its position as a premier department at Oxford, but also continues to be a leader in research, education, and preservation around the world.