The committee responsible for the Service met on Thursday 21 July and agreed to recommend to the Leaders of Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster Councils that the proposed 50% cut should be revoked and the previously agreed 15% cut reinstated. The four Council Leaders meet on Friday 22 July and will consider the recommendation. IfA has sent the following appeal to the four Leaders in advance of their meeting.
Dear Council Leaders,
As you may be aware, the Institute for Archaeologists has written to members of the Joint Advisory Committee for South Yorkshire Archaeology Service to convey to you the IfA’s concern, as professional institute for the study and care of the historic environment, about its concern for the future of the service. We are aware of the outcome of the meeting earlier today and the recommendation to you to reject the call for an increased cut of 50%, and to confirm instead to the 15% cut agreed at your meeting last December and approved by the South Yorkshire Leaders’ meeting in January. This reduction in itself has significant consequences for SYAS, but we recognise the difficult financial circumstances faced by local authorities.
As we conveyed to the Joint Committee, we are concerned to ensure that the implications of any further reduction in archaeological capability are understood.
You may find this document, http://www.britarch.ac.uk/archforum/Why_LAs_need_an_archaeologist_Short.pdf, published by The Archaeology Forum, a useful source of guidance on the importance of the service for which you are jointly responsible.
I do hope that, you will recognise how essential it is to confirm your previous decision. The authorities you lead have the privilege of and responsibility for acting as stewards for an archaeological heritage of international importance. Perhaps even more importantly, as I know from personal experience, this valuable yet fragile heritage creates an extraordinary sense of pride and identity for the communities of South Yorkshire that have over generations shaped, worked and lived in a unique pre-industrial, industrial and post-industrial landscape.
Peter Hinton BA FSA FRSA MIfA MIAM Chief Executive, Institute for Archaeologists