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Archaeology Matters

Marsh Archaeology Award 2014

The annual CBA Marsh Awards celebrate excellence in community archaeology.

Winners have just been announced for the 2014 CBA Marsh Awards for Community Archaeology.

The annual Awards, supported by the Marsh Christian Trust, celebrate projects, groups and individuals actively involved in researching the archaeological heritage of the UK. In 2014, the Council for British Archaeology announced two new awards to recognise individual archaeologists both under and over the age of 18.

The Young Archaeologist of the Year Award is for a young person or group of young people under the age of 18 who have made an outstanding contribution to community archaeology.

The Community Archaeologist of the Year Award is for an individual who has inspired others to share their love of archaeology.

The original Marsh Award for Community Archaeology recognises and promotes innovation and quality in the dissemination of the results of research and/or fieldwork through publication, communication and archiving.

The first Young Archaeologist of the Year is Lynda Walker. Lynda, aged 16, is the longest-serving member of Canterbury Young Archaeologists’ Club. She was nominated by her Branch Leader, Abby Found. Abby said, “Lynda’s first meeting was on a very wet and windy day, field-walking for Bronze Age finds in Thanet. From the start she has been avidly interested in archaeology and is an extremely enthusiastic member of the Branch.” Lynda hopes to become an Archaeological Conservator and is working hard to get the skills and knowledge she needs, for example by arranging her year 10 school work experience with Pre-Construct Archaeology.

The first Community Archaeologist of the Year Award has been presented to Viv Samuelson. Viv has been involved with excavations at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall since the 1990s and was nominated by Nick Hodgson of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums. Nick said, “I want to nominate Viv as an outstanding community archaeologist because her persistence and inspiration to others had led directly to one of the most important discoveries on Hadrian’s Wall in recent years.” Over the past three years Viv has been one of the leaders of a community-led initiative to find out more about Wallsend in Roman times. Through her leadership, the team were able to identify and excavate the long-lost bath house which once stood outside the Roman fort of Segedunum.     

The 2014 Award for Community Archaeology has been given to the Restoration of Carwynnen Quoit project in Cornwall. This project, led by The Sustainable Trust, related to the community space being developed at Frying Pan Field: the site of Carwynnen Quoit, a neolithic monument which collapsed following a reported earthquake in the 1960s. Careful research and a series of community events led to the restoration of the monument, captured in the re-enactment of an historic photograph taken in the 1920s when the monument still stood. The nomination was made by community archaeologist Richard Mikulski, who said, “the project brought together a wide variety of individuals of all ages and backgrounds, ranging from innovative young photography students to Julian Richards and his experimental archaeology team to schoolchildren from all over mid-Cornwall. The final capping of the quoit on midsummer’s day was a truly once in a lifetime event which brought hundreds of people to the site to share in this special experience.”

Lynda, Viv, and Pip Richards of the Sustainable Trust, were presented with their Awards at the CBA Annual General Meeting and Beatrice de Cardi Lecture in November.

The winners were chosen by Brian Marsh, of the Marsh Christian Trust, from among a fantastic range of nominations. Among those highly commended were: in the individual adult category, David Johnson of the Ingelborough Archaeology Group, Phil Andrews of Wessex Archaeology, Phillipa Nabb-Osborne of Community Archaeology on the Mendip Plateau, National Trust Archaeologist Nathalie Cohen, James Gossip and Richard Mikulski of the Cornwall Archaeological Unit. In the under-18 category: Naomi Cooper of the Leicestershire Young Archaeologists’ Club and Jessica Wilkins of the Yorkshire Dales Young Archaeologists’ Club. And in the community archaeology project category: the Museum of London’s Unearthing Barnet project, the Merseyside Archaeological Society’s Rainford’s Roots project, the Arrochar and Tarbet Community Development Trust’s Hidden Heritage project and Coquetdale Community Archaeology’s Barrowburn: the rediscovery of a medieval fulling mill.

The CBA are really delighted to be able to celebrate and share the incredible range of community archaeology happening throughout the UK, and particularly to recognise the passion and dedication of the many people working so hard to protect and understand British Archaeology. You’re an inspiration to us all!

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

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."

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.'

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