Social and economical factors have recently had a significant impact upon archaeology and its practice in Europe. This is definitely the case apropos of the last global economic crisis which consequences have been multiple and far-reaching. Accordingly, attempts have recently been made to provide an in-depth analysis of the situation of archaeology as a discipline in contemporary Europe.
The first one was a project called Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe 2014. The basic assumption of the research was to understand the consequences of the global economic crisis for archaeology as a professional discipline and work out solutions that enable archaeologists to improve their capabilities and skills in a new economic situation. The project had three crucial aims: 1) to promote better anticipation of future skills needs in the sector of professional archaeology, 2) to develop better matching between skills and labour market needs in this sector, 3) to bridge the gap between the worlds of education and work for this sector. The main method of gathering the data was a mailing list and calling list as forms of probability sampling on closed populations (the total number of archaeologists practising their profession in each country). To reach the aims, each participatory country had to applied a slightly different methodology. Data obtained from 21 countries enabled to analyse, compare, evaluate in depth the condition of archaeology as a discipline and relations between archaeological profession and labour market. Manifold aspects of archaeology were elaborated. Among them were these that concerned employment, growth of the sector, nature of the workforce, countries of origin, qualifications, salaries, nature of the work, structures, skills and training needs, trends and developments. The idea behind the project was to prepare two kinds of reports. The first one was a transnational report which gathered and compared data from 21 countries. The second one was a national report which discussed archaeology in each country included in the research (see e.g. the reports concerning the condition of Polish archaeology). The weak points of applied methodology were overcome during the next research that aimed at understanding the current situation of archaeology as a professional discipline in contemporary Europe.
This second attempt to gain a deeper insight into the condition of European archaeology was a survey „Image of archaeology in Europe – 2015” that was carried out by Harris Interactive, a professional research market firm. The basic assumption behind the study was to analyse the social meaning of archaeology and archaeological heritage on a larger, European scale. This survey aimed at detecting of how European citizens perceive archaeology and how archaeology can be promoted in a better way to strengthen its links with citizens. This wide-scale study offers the first opportunity to comparatively address the issues of the meaning of archaeology and archaeological heritage in a quantitatively reliable way.The survey was an online study based on the Harris Interactive panel and Toluna. It consisted of 28 questions of open and closed type. The study was conducted in nine European countries: Germany, Greece, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In the study participated 4,516 adults, age 18 or older across the nine European countries. For each country, a population of 500 people was interviewed (except 516 people in Greece to reach a representative sample of the population). The representativeness of the sample used for the study is determined according to socio-demographic criteria, such as: gender, age, and various socio-professional categories. One of the report’s results will be an article published in a scientific journal. The article will analyse the three main points of the survey: 1) the image of archaeology and its definition in the general public’s opinion, 2) the importance of archaeology to the society and values that it represents, and 3) the expectations that are put on archaeologists and archaeology by the society.