Reflections on the 1943 ‘Conference on the Future of Archaeology’

Gabriel Moshenska


At the height of the Second World War the Institute of Archaeology hosted a conference in London to map out the post-war future for archaeology. Over a bank-holiday weekend in August 1943 several hundred archaeologists – amateurs, professionals, academics, civil servants and refugees – debated the future of archaeology. The discussion ranged across fields as diverse as the British Schools of Archaeology abroad, Islamic urban archaeology, licences for excavators, and the need for a national card-index of archaeological sites. Two themes loomed over the event: the question of state funding and control of archaeology caused considerable controversy; whereas the need for greater public engagement and education in archaeology enjoyed near-universal approval. Today the proceedings of the conference are a rich, illuminating and often amusing snapshot of British archaeology at a pivotal moment in its development.

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How to cite: Moshenska, G 2013. Reflections on the 1943 ‘Conference on the Future of Archaeology’. Archaeology International 16:128-139, DOI:

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Published on 24 October 2013.

ISSN: 2048-4194 | Published by Ubiquity Press | Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.