UCL News


Archaeology: It's not just about digging!

11 September 2006

A quick glance at the television schedules reveals the growing public appetite for all things historical.

'Time Team', among the most popular of the TV series, has created a huge surge of interest in archaeology in particular - with applications to study it at university having risen significantly since the series began. …

Sarah Dhanjal, a widening participation and diversity officer at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, agrees. "Working in this field definitely feels special," she says. "And as my job - which is about bringing archaeology together with education and promotion - shows the very varied opportunities within the sector."

As part of her aim of raising awareness, she organises excavations with school children and talks on what it's like to work as an archaeologist. "Archaeology has an appeal that's quite different to anything else and that's one of the things we try to get across," she says. …

Ethnic minorities are extremely under-represented within archaeology. It's a problem that they are trying desperately to turn around. …

Emma Greenway, undergraduate admissions administrator at UCL, has a similar approach. "We have someone who is involved in taking boxes of artefacts to schools and trying to get them interested in archaeology. The feedback is usually very good, but the problem remains that many ethnic minority students say there is no way their parents would let them go into it as a career. So we are also focusing our efforts on educating the wider ethnic communities about the subject and its career opportunities."

Nathalie Thomas, who is a black undergraduate archaeological student at UCL, says her passion for archaeology stemmed from a project on the ancient Greeks and Romans in primary school. "Ever since, I've been fascinated with the past. Studying archaeology means I can pursue that interest and I really enjoy it." …

Kate Hilpern, 'The Independent'