Archaeology for all - Council for British Archaeology

Archaeology Matters

Beatrice de Cardi Lecture 2014

Michael Wood presented the 34th Beatrice de Cardi Annual Lecture at the British Academy on 24 February 2014. The acclaimed historian, writer and broadcaster shared his experiences of the Kibworth Project: Community Archaeology and People's History, drawing on his experiences of working with local communities to explore the everyday lives of the people of England:

'Working with communities, groups and schools, I am struck everywhere by the huge energy and enthusiasm, deep knowledge and high level of skills - and the staggering amount of fresh insight and new knowledge.

The Council for British Archaeology gets people out of their armchairs, out into the open, and experiencing history hands-on through archaeology. What better way to understand the past and our relation to it?'

Michael Wood and Beatrice de Cardi c Adam Stanford

Michael Wood, presenting the 34th CBA Beatrice de Cardi Lecture, described Beatrice de Cardi as “part-Miss Marple and part-Indiana Jones”, reflecting a career spanning decades of archaeological discovery. She started as secretary to legendary archaeologist, Sir Mortimer Wheeler in the 1930s, moving on to travel across the Far East in the 1940s and 50s until tribal unrest led her to “hop across the border to south-eastern Iran only to be pounced on by the Iranian secret police”. She went on to lead the Council for British Archaeology in the aftermath of the Second World War, “The bombing of London had alerted everyone to the need for concerted action to bully the government into allowing time for excavations in historic towns.” An eminent archaeologist in her own right, Beatrice undertook pioneering archaeological fieldwork in areas such as Afghanistan, Beluchistan and the lower Gulf, identifying Indus sites and the remains of civilisations “from the stone age to the oil age”.

Dr Mike Heyworth MBE, Director of the Council for British Archaeology celebrated her contribution to the British Archaeology profession:

“Beatrice was a real inspiration to generations of archaeologists in her role as CBA Secretary for 25 years, putting them in touch with excavations around the country and helping to kickstart their lifelong involvement with archaeology. We set up the lectures in 1974 to honour her contribution and she has attended every one - she’s still an inspiration to us all in archaeology today.”

Heritage sector leaders at the 34th Beatrice de Cardi lecture, marking her 100th year.

From left: Mike Heyworth, Council for British Archaeology; Peter Hinton, Institute for Archaeologists; John Lewis, Society of Antiquaries of London, Peter Wakelin, National Museum of Wales; Stewart Bryant, Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers; Ian Barnes, National Trust; Matthew Slocombe, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings; Roger Bland, British Museum and Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Michael Wood with Matt Champion Marsh Archaeology Award presentation

Matt Champion, project director of the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey was presented with the 2013 Marsh Archaeology Award by Michael Wood and representatives of the Marsh Christian Trust.

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