Equality and Diversity

Steve Ashby Bill Ostia Antica

The Department of Archaeology strives to provide a professional and educational environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. We also affirm the importance of the equal participation of women, LGBTQ, minority ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities in both academic and commercial archaeology, and throughout the heritage sector.

The Department is committed to the Athena SWAN Charter, an initiative for the advancement of women's careers in higher education and research. We seek to be a pioneering department in the 2015 expansion of the charter to the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and are currently preparing our submission for a Bronze Award.

The department's key aims surrounding equality and diversity are:

  • within the Department, to ensure that there is a supportive and egalitarian culture at all levels and across all staff and student groups
  • within the Athena SWAN framework, to tackle the challenges particularly faced by women in archaeology by changing cultures, attitudes, and practice
  • internally and externally, to promulgate good practice and to promote a culture of equality in higher education and professional archaeology


The Department of Archaeology supports a number of formal and informal groups which meet regularly to discuss and address issues of equality and diversity in the department and the disicpline as a whole. 

Athena SWAN Working Group

The Department of Archaeology subscribes to the principles of gender equality enshrined in the Athena SWAN guidelines. We have a departmental Self-Assessment Team (SAT) responsible for overseeing gender issues in all aspects of departmental work, including teaching, assessment and the student experience. The SAT meets twice per term and has representatives from the undergraduate and postgraduate student communities. If there is an issue you want to raise for discussion or if you would like to become involved with the work of the SAT, contact the Athena SWAN chair, currently Dr Stephanie Wynne-Jones.

Current SAT composition (MS Word  , 15kb)


Archaeology Women's Group

The departmental women's group is organized by Claire McNamara, and it meets once per term. Meetings are open to all staff and students in the department, and are announced in the departmental newsletter. It is an informal forum for the discussion of gender issues in the department and the university specifically, and archaeology and higher education more generally. The women's group reports regularly on its discussions to the Athena SWAN working group.


Archaeology Dyslexia Network

The departmental dyslexia network is an informal support network staff and students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and specific learning difficulties. Meetings are announced in the departmental newsletter. Contact Penny Spikins (Equality and Diversity champion) for more information.


Archaeology LGBT Network

The departmental LGBT network is an informal support and advocacy network of staff and students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans, or who wish to act as allies. Meetings are announced in the departmental newsletter. Contact Penny Spikins (Equality and Diversity champion) for more information.


Archaeology Ethnic Diversity Network

The Ethnic Diversity in Archaeology Network is working to provide a platform for people from differing ethnic backgrounds within the department to come together and communicate with one another. The aims of the group are to provide a forum to share our experiences, and a means to communicate those experiences to the wider archaeological community. We also aim to spark potential collaborations and dialogues amongst each otehr and in the department as a whole. All staff and students are welcome, from people of colour, to cultural/ethnic minorities, to allies. The group is coordinated by Paul Edward Montgomery (pem507@york.ac.uk)--please email for more information or to be added to the mailing list.


Feb 2016 -- 'Documenting the Female Experience of Fieldwork', Anne Teather, UCL and British Women Archaeologists

A talk hosted by the Archaeology Department Women's group, in which Anne Teather explores who the women are that work in British archaeology, and what motivates them. She addresses questions about gendered expectations, and how they constrain both men and women, as well as a plan of action for what we can do to address the current situtation and improve the experience of fieldwork for all.

Feb 2016 -- 'LGBT Lives and Leadership in Archaeology', Alan Greaves, Unviersity of Liverpool

This public lecture addresses both the challneges to writing LGBT histories of past societies using archaeological materials, and the professional contexts within which LGBT archaeologists have to operate. Speaking from personal experience as an archaeologist and an LGBT activist, Dr Greaves' lecture will provide examples and insights in to the tensions and opportuniites that still remain when trying to create a balanced picture of world history and a modern, inclusive archaeological profession for the 21st century. http://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/news-and-events/events/external/lgbt-archaeology/

October 2015 -- Unconscious Bias Training for Staff

Staff in the Archaeology department undertook Unconscious Bias training offered by XXX. The training consisted of a general session outlining what bias is, why we have it, and what we can do to mitigate it as teachers, employers, and colleagues. That was followed by a specialist session for staff involved in recruitment and hiring, focusing on interview techniques and decision making.

If you want to find out more about your own unconscious biases, you can take the test here offered by Project Implicit at Harvard: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

March 2015 -- Blue Plaque for pioneering female Egyptologist

Dr Jo Fletcher was invited to speak at the unveiling of a new English Heritage blue plaque in honour of Amelia Edwards, a Victorian Egyptologist and supporter of the women's suffrage movement. Find out more about Amelia Edwards and the ceremony here: http://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/news-and-events/news/external/2015/amelia-edwards/

Case studies

Info coming soon