Accessibility statement

Archaeology and Infrastructure: public money and public benefit?

Sadie Watson YSS image

Monday 11 November 2019, 12.00PM to 13:00

Speaker(s): Dr Sadie Watson


In the UK alone over £200m will be spent by government on archaeology within infrastructure projects during the period 2018-2022. The money invested in development-led archaeology is audited as part of the construction process, but the question of public benefit and value is not. Additionally, the processes and controls of the construction sector do not readily lend themselves to open access and rapid dissemination, which has resulted in archaeology being brought further away from the general public. Crucial to the sustainability of our fragmented profession is the effective and relevant communication of results to a variety of audiences, but appropriate methods and innovative solutions are often instigated on an ad hoc basis and their relative success are not evaluated.  This UKRI Future Leader Fellowship project designed and led by Dr Sadie Watson aims to develop systems that allow benefit to be measured across infrastructure schemes and in doing so to transform the outputs from this archaeological work, helping to deliver knowledge that is relevant, creative and digitally accessible to a wider range of audiences.


Dr Sadie Watson is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow undertaking a four-year Fellowship ‘Measuring, maximising and transforming public benefit from UK Government infrastructure investment in archaeology’ focusing on ensuring that public spending on archaeology for infrastructure projects leads to meaningful and relevant research and genuine community participation. Sadie has been a leading practitioner in field archaeology for two decades and has in-depth knowledge of the profession and its pressures. From 2008-2019 she worked as a MOLA Project Officer and was responsible for major sites with large field teams. She has extensive experience excavating and supervising complex urban sites and was responsible for leading excavations at Bloomberg London. She has combined her technical expertise with continued academic enquiry, having maintained a research focus on the development of the archaeology profession. She has a PhD and was Archaeologist in Residence at the MacDonald Institute, University of Cambridge, focussing her research on current challenges to archaeological practice, the need to increase the knowledge contribution made by development-led archaeology and for the sector to revolutionise its offering.


Location: Kings Manor K/133

Admission: Free