Mike Pitts

Archaeologists lose their jobs as recession bites

By Stephen Adams

By the end of the year around one in five of the country's 7,000 archaeologists are expected to have lost their jobs, experts believe.

The profession has expanded rapidly in recent years thanks to legislation that forced developers to pay for digs. But now jobs are going because so many construction projects are being put on hold.

In the last quarter of 2008, 345 lost their jobs, according to to the Institute for Archaeologists. This year another thousand are likely to go, according to Mike Pitts, editor of British Archaeology magazine.

He said: "Our industry is in serious crisis, which is something that should concern anyone interested in our nation's rich history and heritage.

"The shrinking economy is threatening to cut the heart out of commercial fieldwork.