Archaeology rocks- Council for British Archaeology

Marsh Archaeology Award 2013

Open to voluntary groups and individuals actively involved in researching the archaeological heritage of the UK.

Marsh Archaeology Award Winner 2011 Dartmoor Cairn Survey and Repair Project


The Award recognises and promotes innovative and high quality dissemination of the results of research and/or fieldwork through publication, communication and archiving. It is awarded annually to a voluntary group or individual active in the UK.

2013 Award winner

The 2013 Marsh Archaeology Award winner for Community Archaeology was The Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey project

The Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey (NMGS) was set up in 2010 to undertake the very first large scale and systematic survey of pre-reformation graffiti inscriptions in medieval churches and was established as a community archaeology project entirely coordinated and run by volunteers. The project has made a number of nationally important discoveries, including the Binham Priory Architectural inscriptions. However, what has marked out this scheme from others is the engagement of volunteers from outside the traditional boundaries associated with community archaeology and heritage projects. The project has also actively communicated its work through lectures, tours, guides and media activity. Volunteers have been drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, including adults with a history of mental health problems. The success of the project, the positive impact on volunteers and resulting media coverage has led to the expansion of the survey into other areas of the country following the same volunteer model. 

Medieval Ship graffiti from Norwich cathedral. This lovely example dates from the 2nd half of the 15th century and shows a typical trading vessel of the period that would have been a common sight in the ports of the East Anglian coast. Copyright NMGS 2013


The official ceremony for the 2013 Marsh Archaeology Award will be made by Michael Wood at the CBA's annual general meeting during February 2014. The Award winner will receive £1,000.



All voluntary groups and individuals actively involved in researching the archaeological heritage of the UK are eligible for the Award. The work cited in the nomination must have been undertaken during the previous three years, although earlier work can also be cited as additional supporting information. The work must have been carried out within the United Kingdom, including its coastal and offshore waters.


Judging will be made by Brian Marsh OBE, of the Marsh Christian Trust, the sponsor of the award, from a short list drawn up by a selection panel chaired by the Director of the Council for British Archaeology.


The Award will be made on the basis of criteria which are considered to be the hallmarks of the dissemination of high quality voluntary research of the archaeological heritage:

  • The work was led by a voluntary group, but with the engagement of various interested parties (such as landowners, local authorities, statutory bodies, heritage agencies), as appropriate
  • The work made a contribution to knowledge and enhances public education and understanding in relation to archaeology
  • The work was presented in a clear and stimulating style with high production, presentation, editorial and design standards using various media, as appropriate
  • The work was accessible to wide audiences
  • The material on which the work was based has been appropriately archived, or arrangements have been made for archiving in due course

Useful guidance on the standards expected for the publication, dissemination and archiving of archaeological work is available on the Introduction to Standards and Guidance for Archaeological Practice website:

Entry procedure

Nominations are now closed.

Any questions?

If you have any queries about the Marsh Archaeology Award please get in touch with the Director, Council for British Archaeology, St Mary’s House, 66 Bootham, York YO30 7BZ, email

2011 Marsh Archaeology Award winner

Dartmoor Cairn Survey and Repair Project was crowned the winner of the 2011 Marsh Archaeology Award.

The award was presented at the CBA’s Winter General Meeting in London. The two runner up groups, Northwick Manor Community Heritage Project from Worcestershire and the Gloucester City Council Heritage Service & Clutch Clinic Community Group partnership, also received their certificates of commendation, after all three groups gave short presentations about their work. The award was presented by Brian Marsh of the Marsh Christian Trust.

CBA Director Dr Mike Heyworth commented:

'Everybody was amazed by the quality and the diversity of the three finalists - they were all fantastic and deserved to be shortlisted. It’s extremely encouraging to heritage stewardship being used to engage such a wide variety of audiences with their local environment.'

Marsh Archaeology Award winner 2011 Dartmoor Cairn Survey and Repair Project

2009 Marsh Archaeology Award winner

The 2009 award recognised and promoted high quality and engaging education work carried out in the UK with people under the age of 18. The winner was Sarah Dhanjal from London. Sarah is currently undertaking PhD research at UCL Institute of Archaeology, exploring attitudes to heritage, and particularly archaeology, in Southall, west London.

Sarah worked for three years at UCL from 2005–2008 as a widening participation and diversity officer, running programmes to encourage the participation of underrepresented groups in archaeology and other subjects. This work included the organisation of ‘taster days’ in archaeology, of school archaeology excavation projects (with the help of the Hendon and District Archaeological Society), participation in the Discover Archaeology Live event at the National History Show (Olympia), providing sessions on archaeology for Hackney primary schools, and participation in Camden Council’s Camden Young Archaeologists’ Project. She also helped to plan events for National Archaeology Week.

During 2008-09 Sarah continued her outreach work in her own time alongside her academic studies, running excavations, teaching sessions and walking tours for local schools. She has also been a volunteer branch leader for the Young Archaeologists’ Club since 2005, and continues to be an outreach worker for UCL Museums and Collections.

Professor Stephen Shennan, Director of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London,  who was one of the people who nominated Sarah for the Award:

'Her dedication to improving the inclusion of all groups in the field of archaeology is apparent from the enthusiasm she has brought, and continues to bring, to her work at UCL. Sarah has made an enormous contribution to making archaeology more inclusive, all the more remarkable for one so young.'

Marsh Archaeology Award Winner 2009 Sarah Dhanjal

2007 Marsh Archaeology Award winners

A range of high quality community archaeology projects from across the UK were celebrated as winners of the Marsh Archaeology Award at the Discover Archaeology Live event at Olympia in 2007.

The judges for the Award were unable to separate the four short-listed entries and with the full support of the award's sponsor, the Marsh Christian Trust, all four projects were declared joint winners and each given a cheque for £500 to support their work.

The winning projects were:

With the North of Scotland the Badsey projects, the judges were particularly impressed by the contribution made to archaeological knowledge and understanding. The Mellor and Royton projects were commended for the high of engagement of the community in their activities.

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