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Marsh Archaeology Award winners 2016

We are proud to announce this year’s winners of the Marsh Community Archaeology awards. The Marsh Community Archaeology Awards, supported by the Marsh Christian Trust, celebrate excellence in community archaeology and recognise the passion and dedication of the many people working so hard to protect and understand British Archaeology. There are three categories of award:
  • Marsh Archaeology Award for Young Archaeologist of the Year
    For a young person or group of young people under the age of 18 who have made an outstanding contribution to community archaeology.
  • Marsh Archaeology Award for Community Archaeologist of the Year
    For an individual who has inspired others to share their love of archaeology
  • Marsh Archaeology Award for Community Archaeology
    This Award recognises and promotes the results of research and/or fieldwork led by community groups which have made a substantial contribution to knowledge and wellbeing.
Nathaniel Tegg, Young Archaeologist of the Year, receives his Award certificate from Brian Marsh of the Marsh Christian Trust

Marsh Archaeology Award for Young Archaeologist of the Year 2016: Nathaniel Tegg

Nathaniel has an intense enthusiasm towards Archaeology, especially Roman History. Since he was 8 years old, he has been fascinated with the Roman world. He was taught and helped by his father to identify Roman artefacts including coins and pottery. Now at the age of 17, he has a vast collection of artefacts that have been found at Calleva Atrebatum in Hampshire. Some of his most prestigious and fascinating finds include Samian Ware fragments, detailed black burnish ware fragments, hypocaust tiles, Roman glass, tesserae and finally painted wall plaster. He has individually identified each item using his own knowledge but also research and comparison with other finds found there. By using a map of the town plans of Calleva, he was able to research one of the temples found on the site, as it correlates to where he found some interesting and, some of his favourite finds.

He has developed his skills now through being able to identify Roman pottery and he is able to apply these skills to help identify any finds his friends pick up telling them whether it is of any archaeological interest or not, and also understands the preservation and cleaning of items to avoid damage.

His classics and ancient history tutor at college reports that he has proven himself to be a dedicated and unfailingly enthusiastic Classicist and Ancient Historian. He is inquisitive, intelligent, friendly and funny. Nathaniel displays a genuine passion for the ancient world and natural talent for understanding both its history and culture.

Liz Caldwell, Community Archaeologist of the Year receives her Certificate from Brian Marsh of the Marsh Christian Trust.

Community Archaeologist of the Year 2016: Liz Caldwell

Liz has been a driving force in community archaeology in south west England for almost 20 years now. In the late 1990s she joined the Bristol-university led South Cadbury Environs Project as a volunteer and then part time Research Technician, a project which gave many volunteers archaeological experience and training. When the project ended, she was instrumental in setting up its successor, South Somerset Archaeological Research Group, and spent four years as its Chair. Since its inception, the Group has investigated numerous sites in South Somerset, all involving local residents. Members are able to participate in the full archaeological process, from initial research of a site and geophysical survey, through test pitting and excavation, to finds and sample processing and analysis. Her knowledge and patience have been key to the group’s ongoing success. In 2015, the group were joint winners of the Dorset Archaeological Awards. 

Over the past year, she has expanded her volunteer contribution by taking the lead in setting up a new Young Archaeologists Club, named Mick Aston’s Young Archaeologists (Somerset), which fulfils the late Professor Mick Aston’s desire to see a YAC group serving the county. The branch launched in Spring 2016 and currently has 31 members aged between 8 and 16. 

This year’s winner also serves as a Trustee of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society, and is Secretary of the Society’s Archaeology Branch. In addition to her extensive volunteering, she runs a business, GeoFlo, which processes archaeological samples and carries out geophysical surveys. 

Liz is an inspiring example of a volunteer archaeologist who has worked tirelessly not only to further our understanding of cultural heritage in the south west, but more importantly to create opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with archaeology with a high professional standard. 

Members of the Roman Aylsham Project with Brian Marsh of the Marsh Christian Trust

Marsh Archaeology Award for Community Archaeology 2016: The Roman Aylsham Project

This project finished its first field season in August. The landowner, Peter Purdy, had collected thousands of Roman artefacts from his property over forty years, indicating the site of a villa. Wanting to find out more about the extent of the archaeology present, and ensure its protection for future generations, Peter commissioned a geophysical survey on one of his fields. The survey revealed extensive features including two kilns. In consultation with local professionals, Peter gathered a small team of volunteers to take the project forward. After holding numerous public talks and open days at the site, the team has been able to hold its first community excavation.

The excavation took place over two weeks, with upwards of 175 individuals of all ages registering to take part in the excavation and finds processing, and hundreds more visiting for guided tours of the site. With training and supervision from Britannia Archaeology, volunteers excavated two Roman kilns with four associated rake out pits, three rubbish pits, a ditch and numerous Iron Age post holes. Historic England’s science advisor believes that the kilns may be the best preserved examples in Britain. In addition, a small excavation area was opened specifically to allow children and young people to take part in the digging. Some 12,000 sherds of pottery have been recovered during the excavations, all of which have been washed and sorted by volunteers. 

In the coming months finds processing and archiving will continue, with input from the relevant specialists. Training in geophysical survey is being organised for the volunteers, an interim project report will be produced for the Historic Environment Record, a pamphlet detailing the results will be disseminated to interested parties, and a talk will be given for the local community. It is hoped that the project will continue for many years to come, and plans are being put in place to build an archive and visitors centre at the site, with the results displayed in Aylsham Heritage Centre in the meantime.

The project has been the friendliest and most inclusive of excavations, and the enthusiasm of everyone involved has been overwhelming. Despite the huge number of volunteers who were new to archaeology, the work has been carried out to an extremely high standard, and everyone has gained new archaeological knowledge. A huge number of people have been positively affected by the experience, and cannot wait to come back next year.

You can find out more about their work on the project website.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

If these success stories inspire you to nominate an outstanding archaeologist or group of archaeologists next year, check back in early May for details on how you can nominate someone for the 2017 awards.

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