The biennial British Archaeological Awards are the most prestigious awards in British archaeology. Since their foundation in 1976, they have grown till they now encompass 12 awards covering every aspect of British archaeology.


BELFAST, 8 October, 2004

The biennial British Archaeological Awards are the most prestigious awards in British archaeology.

The Awards reward good practice and acknowledge the help which archaeologists have received from others. The Awards are given for the sponsorship of archaeology, the discovery of artefacts, the presentation of archaeological projects to the public, the best re-use of a historic building, the reporting of archaeology by the media, the best film or video, the best book, the best field project, and the ‘Silver Trowel’ for the most innovative project in British archaeology. Many of these Awards are sponsored by business.

They acknowledge the role of the professional and the valuable contribution of the independent archaeologist. They encourage the archaeologists of the future and recognize the wide and growing interest in archeaology and the past.


Each year the Young Archaeologists’ Club, part of the Council for British Archaeology, organises the Young Archaeologist of the Year Award. Now in its 27th year, the Award aims to encourage young people to engage with their national heritage and to undertake an archaeological project. This year’s entrants designed prehistoric monuments to rival Stonehenge or Maes Howe.

Our young designers put their archaeological imaginations to work and considered the types of monuments built in prehistoric Britain. They also thought about the building materials and techniques that they would use to construct their monuments, bearing in mind, of course, that JCBs and cranes weren’t yet invented!

The Award, which this year was sponsored by English Heritage, was judged in two age-group categories by Phil Harding from Time Team.

10 year old Esther Green from Bingley in West Yorkshire and Ronald Henderson, aged 9, from Kirriemuir in Angus.

Bethany Smith, aged 10, from Upminster in Essex. Bethany’s woodhenge design combined two rooms for feasting and ritual. Her entry stood out due to the research and thought behind it. She had considered how the materials could be transported to her site – itself carefully chosen due to its proximity to a forest and a river. Phil Harding described it as ‘a really original design of a traditional monument’. But what sold it to him was the photograph of the model that Bethany made of her monument. ‘It really shows what it would look like’, he said, ‘and demonstrates that it will stand up!’ Well done Bethany!

Clare Rainsford, aged 16, from West Sussex and 13-year old Charlotte Francis from Kent.

Christopher Cannell, aged 13, from Edinburgh. Christopher’s design for an earth mound temple was unique. He located it atop ‘the mountain that looks like a sleeping lion’ – now known as Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh! He combined a hillfort with a temple and added an obelisk decorated with ‘beaten sheets of bronze, tin and silver in patterns of the sun, moon and the great belt of the hunter in the sky’. Phil Harding praised Christopher’s monument as ‘totally original’ and ‘impressive’ and suggested that archaeologists should consider looking on Silbury Hill for a ‘missing obelisk!’

For further information contact:
Nicky Milsted,
YAC Co-ordinator
Council for British Archaeology
St Mary’s House
66 Bootham
York, YO30 7BZ
Tel: 01904 671417
Email: yac @


The Finders Award, sponsored by Tarmac Group, is for the best non-archaeologist who by exercising intelligent alertness in the course of his/her routine, non-archaeological employment or activity accidentally chances upon archaeological artefacts/remains and causes them to be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Both entries this year, concerned the discovery by construction company employees of finds that were of either regional or national significance, and where the individuals involved went beyond their work remit in reporting their discoveries to the appropriate archaeological authorities in exemplary fashion.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – John Williams, a clerk of works with the Welsh Development Agency. John recognised and reported three ring ditches revealed during topsoil stripping at Cwm Meudwy on the site of a new Welsh Development Agency business park. The discovery was reported to Ken Murphy at Cambria Archaeology, resulting in the archaeological monitoring of further topsoil removal and the eventual excavation of two prehistoric sites, which turned out to be one of the largest ever excavations in west Wales. The first site consisted of three Bronze Age ring ditches. The second site was a palisaded enclosure of later Iron Age date, a type of site virtually non-existent in south-west Wales. The enclosure partially overlay a series of pits and post holes containing early neolithic pottery, charcoal from which produced radiocarbon dates ranging from 3970 to 3510 BC.

WINNERS – Andrew Whaley and Mick Walmsley of Mowlem plc for alerting archaeologists in March 2004 to the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon wooden boat and hurdle trackway that were embedded in peat on the south side of the river Foulness at Welham Bridge, East Yorkshire. When East Riding of Yorkshire Council put forward plans for a new bridge at Welham Bridge, Humber Archaeology Partnership, which advises the local authority on archaeology, recommended a watching brief during construction for which York Archaeological Trust was named as contractor. On 4th March 2004, some unscheduled works took place without an archaeologist being on site. While mechanically clearing a deposit of peat by the river a large timber came to light and some fragments of a wooden object. Prompt intervention by Andrew Whaley and Mick Walmsley prevented further clearance work taking place and Gareth Dean of the York Archaeological Trust was called in. Archaeological excavation revealed a trackway made of wooden hurdles laid down on the peat leading to the river and a substantial part of a small boat. The boat was made from a hollowed-out tree trunk with internal ribs, suggesting a late Anglo-Saxon date; radiocarbon dating subsequently confirmed a 7th century date for both the boat and the trackway, making them both very rare discoveries. Thanks to Andrew and Mick’s interest in and appreciation of the local heritage and their quick thinking on the day, the boat and trackway have, with generous support of East Riding Council, been fully recorded and conserved, and it is hoped that the boat will go on display soon in the local museum.


The AIA Award seeks to encourage the retention of significant buildings from any period, through appropriate and sensible adaptive re-use, and looks out particularly for innovative solutions to difficult problems and for evidence of economic sustainability.

This year the panel has chosen two projects for special consideration.

CERTIFICATE OF COMMENDATION – The first project concerned the huge transformation which is taking place in the former Bute Docks in Cardiff. Remnants of the former dock, including the imposing terracotta Dock Offices and the entrance basin – now decked over – survive but the emphasis is firmly on the new. In this area, therefore, it is rather surprising to find that one of the humblest and simplest buildings, a single storey transit shed, has been carefully dismantled, moved a few hundred metres and the frame carefully re-erected and extended to form a craft studio, exhibition and retail centre. The project was designed by Noel Architects, with particular care to draw the attention of visitors to the cast iron frame and wrought iron roof trusses; and the building now provides a lively home for Craft on the Bay, the exhibition, retailing and educational centre for the Makers’ Guild in Wales. The Panel is happy to award a Certificate of Commendation. Certificate accepted on behalf of the Makers’ Guild in Wales by Richard Brewer

WINNER – The second project stands in another port whose past prosperity was based on coal. Sunderland’s nineteenth-century heyday has left a legacy of late Georgian and early Victorian buildings, many of which are in need of tender loving care. Amongst them was the former Exchange built by subscription in 1814 and the city’s first Town Hall, which had been marooned as the town spread westwards and condemned it to eventual dereliction. First the local Council and later the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation tried and failed to restore the building. Now the North East Civic Trust has completed a scheme which brings both the Exchange Building and its neighbour, the former Eagle Tavern, back into economic re-use. Both buildings have been carefully researched and recorded, and great care has been taken in their restoration to retain features of historic interest. Modern facilities have been fitted into a new link building so that the original internal spaces could be retained, with excellent attention to detail and quality. The buildings have already achieved a high level of usage, promising to become a leader for the regeneration of this part of the city. We are delighted to present the AIA Award to the North East Civic Trust for its successful adaptive re-use of the Eagle Tavern and Exchange Buildings in Sunderland. Award accepted by Graham Bell.


To be awarded for the best private sector sponsorship of archaeology by an individual, company, organization or charity in the United Kingdom during the last two years.

RUNNER UP – Launched in February 2000, Local Heritage Initiative is a partnership administered by the Countryside Agency, which distributes grants provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional funding from the Nationwide Building Society. Grants range between £3,000 and £25,000.

The initiative encourages the involvement of communities in the research and recording of their own local heritage, a development that, in the case of archaeology, can help solve the problem of too many sites and too few archaeologists. In this case, volunteers are mobilised to work with an archaeologist on a regular basis over a period of years.

The Local Heritage Initiative thus offers enormous scope and potential.One of the schemes cited – the Great Ayton Community Archaeology Project – demonstrates the value of the sort of work undertaken. Great Ayton, some 10 miles south of Middlesborough, is famous as the boyhood home of the 18th explorer and navigator, Captain James Cook.

There are now over 20 members involved working on a range of topics that includes investigation of a Mesolithic site by the River Leven, research into ironstone mining and its associated transport systems and examination of Defence of Britain sites and how World War II affected the individual localities. The Project has been recently awarded a second Local Heritage Initiative grant to cover new work over the period 2004-2007.

Highly commended certificate awarded to The Local Heritage Initiative. Recieved by Suzanne Alcorn from the Yorkshire & Humber Region of the Countryside Agency.

WINNER – The judges consider that the Earthwatch Institute should receive the award for its support over a period of 12 years of excavations and conservation at the Arbeia Roman fort, supply base and civil settlement at South Shields and for helping make the site accessible to visitors. The amount received by the Arbeia project has ranged from £25,000 to £50,000 per annum.

The fort, located in an urban area at the east end of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, is cared for by the Tyne and Wear Museums – the body that also carries out the excavations. Arbeia now has a high public profile: considerable areas of the fort have been excavated, finds put on display, while, since 1988, 3 Roman buildings have been reconstructed. Arbeia is one of the most extensively researched and published sites in the Hadrian’s Wall area.

The provision of support by one body on this scale for such a length of time is in itself a remarkable achievement. In this instance, the Institute has provided support where it was most needed, and contributed significantly to the greater understanding of Roman archaeology in the north of England and indeed beyond. The funding has had wider significance. The Earthwatch sponsorship has also been used as match funding to attract a European Social Fund grant to involve unemployed people from what are called “target” wards in South Shields.

The Earthwatch Institute is a charitable foundation first established in the USA in 1971, its reach global and many-sided. But the work arising from this sponsorship has taken place continuously over a considerable time at a key site in the UK and has thus made an important contribution to British archaeology.

Wedgwood Sponsorship Award received by Nat Spring of Earthwatch


The Heritage in Britain Award – sponsored by English Heritage, Historic Scotland and Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments – is for the best project securing the long term preservation of a site or monument.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – The royal castle at Bedford achieved national fame during the great siege of 1224. It was then deliberately wrecked to prevent its ever being used again. So thoroughly was this done that by 2001 the oldest visible element of Bedford’s historic fabric had been reduced to “an ugly blemish … in an urban wasteland.”

The imaginative regeneration of this area by Bedford Borough Council, who commissioned Albion Archaeology, the Bedford Design Group and DSD Contracting to do the job, focused on the remains of the castle mound. Their scheme opened up the area, linked it to the nearby museum and galleries, and created an attractive park close to the river embankment. As a result, the former wasteland has been reclaimed and the castle mound has re-emerged as a recognisable historic feature within as an amenity area. The scheme has restored to the area more of its original character and now presents to the people of Bedford a lost part of their history.

Highly commended certificate awarded to Bedford Borough Council, Albion Archaeology, the Bedford Design Group and DSD Contracting. Received by Jeremy Oetgen from Albion Archaeology and a representative from Bedford Borough Council.

RUNNER UP – The Long Water, with its two flanking lime-tree avenues, was the central element of a great garden scheme begun by Charles II and embellished by William & Mary. This scheme still survives at Hampton Court: it was, and is, one of the most important garden landscapes of the period.

Three years ago, the 544 trees in the avenues had declined to just 300, of which only 18 were original. Worse, the rate of loss was quickening. Encouraged by their success in replanting trees in adjoining parts of the garden, Historic Royal Palaces took the bold decision to clear-fell the surviving trees beside the Long Water and plant 544 trees of the correct species on the original spacing.

This heroic task was carried out with great sensitivity as regards the temporary loss of habitat for wildlife, fungus and lichen. Moreover, a clonal stock of the original lime trees has been secured to allow authentic re-plantings to take place whenever necessary in the future.

‘Highly Commended’ certificate accepted by Dr Robert Carr

WINNER – We may be thankful that the back-to-back courtyards once characteristic of workers’ housing in Birmingham are a thing of the past in every sense. However, while there has been a growing interest in the great functional monuments of the world’s first Industrial Revolution in recent decades, there has been much less concern to preserve the physical evidence for the domestic life of those who worked the machines.

The Birmingham Conservation Trust, aware that the last remaining courtyard of back-to-back houses in the city was under threat from structural collapse and redevelopment, decided to rescue this group of buildings and to conserve it.

In this it was brilliantly successful. With the help of the National Trust, these buildings are now safe and fully accessible to the public. Public presentation – provided in an imaginative way using modern computer techniques and based on sound historical research – examines the ways in which the buildings have been used by their diverse human inhabitants across two centuries. In addition, the local community is being encouraged to provide guides who are then given a thorough professional training in order to be able to lead the capacity audiences now being attracted to this new display of social history in the region.

This was a remarkable piece of work for a small organisation. The study, recording, conservation and restoration of these buildings have been exemplary and the end-product is admirable.

We therefore award the trophy and prize for the Heritage in Britain Award for 2004 to the Birmingham Conservation Trust with the National Trust. Award received by Elizabeth Perkins of the BCT and Simon Cleaver of the National Trust.


Professor Mick Aston, of Bristol University, will need no introduction. He is one of Britain’s best-known and best-loved archaeologists, as star of Time Team, and he has most generously taken up the sponsorship of this very popular award in the wake of Virgin Holidays’ cessation as sponsors.

It was a strong and varied field, and three entries stood out as being of particular note.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – An interactive ICT presentation by Philip Clark, called ‘Meeting the Gypsey’, was an imaginative and meticulously-researched piece of work, beautifully presented, and it will be of interest to a wide audience. It receives a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate. Certificate accepted by Rod Mackey.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – The reconstructed Roman buildings at Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields have already been mentioned in the Wedgwood Sponsorship citation. They are rightly heralded as an exciting, visually stimulating and above all accessible means of getting across an important archaeological message to the public, and for this reason the judges decided that they would be a worthy winner of our second ‘Highly Commended’ certificate. Certificate accepted by Alexandra Croom.

WINNER – The winner is a runaway success story which just goes to show how very much can be achieved through partnership between a vibrant local archaeology society, professional archaeologists and a public body. The Myers Wood Project started in 1988 when a chance find of iron slag by a member of the Huddersfield & District Archaeology Society led to a major investigation of this medieval iron-working site by Bradford University’s Department of Archaeological Sciences, with funding through the Local Heritage Initiative. The site has since been adopted as a National Heritage Site, and thanks to the heroic efforts of the HDAS, its presentation to the public has been vigorous, professional, and widely praised. Award and cheque accepted by Sandra Harling on behalf of the Huddersfield and District Archaeology Society, and Dr Gerry McDonnell for Bradford University.


Sponsored by The Ancient & Medieval History Book Club, the Award recognizes the most outstanding book which brings British archaeology to the widest audience.

The competition was tough, with over 250 nominations for this and the Scholarly Publication Award. The standards were extremely high and it was almost impossible to select final winners. 10 publications were short listed for each of these two Awards.

RUNNER UP – Celts: Origins and Re-inventions by Professor John Collis, published by Tempus. The judges were impressed by its exceptional European coverage. Celts is a major work of synthesis written in an accessible, personal style while being stimulating in its analysis of the archaeological debate and its modern political dimension. Certificate received by Professor John Collis.

WINNER – In an increasingly secular age monasteries may be more difficult to understand. Some balance is being provided through landscape studies of the people who helped form the medieval countryside. Monastic Landscapes by Dr James Bond – another Tempus publication – is very wide in its coverage and ground-breaking in bringing this huge topic in a digestible form to a new audience, in a highly accessible language. Award collected by Dr James Bond.


A new Award in the publications field is the Scholarly Publication Award – the brainchild of our Committee member Dr David Gaimster. It is sponsored by a consortium of British archaeological societies and celebrates excellence in the dissemination of archaeological information to a specialist audience.

RUNNER UP – The Catalogue of the Mesolithic and Neolithic Collections in the National Museums and Galleries of Wales by Dr Steve Burrow, published by the NMGW. This sets standards as an illustrated catalogue of archaeological collections. It offers an extensive synthetic introduction combined with comprehensive catalogue information, and the drawings by Jackie Chadwick are of an exceptionally high standard.. It will be a mine of information for early British prehistory and will act as a stimulus for further work in this field, not to mention research on other museum collections. Certificate accepted by Jackie Chadwick.

WINNER – The winner of the Scholarly Book Award is Markets in Early Medieval Europe. Trading and Productive Sites. 650-850, edited by Drs Tim Pestell and Katharina Ulmschneider and published by Windgather Press.

This is a model of a conference proceedings publication. It is timely, combining the latest information from field excavation and the portable antiquities record. It places English data into its European context, using an impressive style and quality of presentation for this traditionally utilitarian medium.

Accepted on behalf of the editors by Richard Purslow, Director of Windgather Press.


The Press Award, sponsored by Transco, is given for the best archaeological reporting in a newspaper, magazine or on the radio.

Joint Winners

WINNER – The Transco Press Award encompasses the radio as a medium for disseminating archaeological information in addition to newspapers and journals. In spite of that we have rarely received entries for radio programmes. This year the judges were delighted to receive Caroline Wickham-Jones’ entry from Orkney, a monthly radio magazine programme called Orky-ology, that is produced and broadcast by BBC Radio Orkney. They were impressed by the BBC’s commitment to archaeology in Orkney and by the spirited approach to the reporting of archaeology which the programme displays. Accordingly we award Orky-ology joint first place. Certificate and cheque accepted Caroline Wickham-Jones

WINNER – The Award is shared this time round, and the second winner is an excellent example of newspaper coverage at the regional level. The bed-rock of reporting in the press lies with local newspapers, though the honours so often go to the big names. This time round, even the red-tops have got in on the act of archaeological reporting, with the Sun’s memorable headline ‘Steinhenge’ appearing in response to the discovery of a central European Bronze Age skeleton near Stonehenge – of which more anon. The judging panel was most impressed by the consistent coverage of archaeology by the Eastern Daily Press, the Norfolk regional newspaper. While some of you may consider that the task of this newspaper has been helped by the spectacular nature of archaeological discoveries in Norfolk over recent years, the Award is for the regular and accurate reporting of archaeology. Award and certificate accepted by Chris Fisher of the Eastern Daily Press.


Sponsored by Channel Four Television for the best made film, video and ICT presentation on an archaeological subject.

This year there was a strong field of entries for all three categories.


This year the judges found it relatively easy to select a short list of three good films in the broadcast category. However, of these three, none stood out from the short list in the way that most past winners have done. The judges, therefore, have taken the unusual step of awarding certificates to all three short-listed films.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – The King of Stonehenge, made by Topical Television for BBC2, and I invite Mike Fuller to come and accept his Highly Commended certificate.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – First Olympians, made by the BBC Horizon team.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – BBC Scotland’s programme, transmitted on BBC2, on the ill-fated attempt by Scots to make their own Eldorado in the New World: Darien: Disaster in Paradise. Certificates accepted by the producer/director Andrew Thompson and the programme’s star, Dr Mark Horton.


The short-listed films were both linked to community projects.

RUNNER UP – Ancient Mellor Revealed, produced by Chris Mann of Manmade Productions for the Mellor Archaeological Trust, relates the discovery of a hitherto unknown Iron Age Hillfort in Derbyshire and includes some explanations of archaeological stratigraphy which are above those offered on many more lavish productions. The judges enjoyed watching this video. Runner up certificate accepted by John Hearle, Chairman of the Mellor Archaeological Trust.

WINNER – The Roman Mosaic – Lopen tells of a Roman mosaic and its accompanying villa in Somerset but goes on to show a community led reconstruction of a panel from the mosaic and also to deal with matters relating to the preservation of the remains. This video was produced by Justin Owen for the Lopen History Group. The judges were most impressed by this film, and hereby award it the Channel Four Award in the non-broadcast category. Winners certicate and cheque received by Angela Naunton Davies of the Lopen History Group, and Justin Owen.


The emerging importance of the New Media in presenting archaeology to practitioners, students and members of the public alike has been celebrated for the third time by the Channel 4 Information and Communication Technology award, and again we thank our sponsors for their continued support in this important area. As with the previous two awards, the panel received entries that admirably reflect the diversity of the discipline, including submissions from academic institutions, local authorities, national bodies, local history groups and dedicated individuals. Also as with previous year’s awards, the panel received both “stand-alone” and web based entries, and with 14 submissions in total, it was the largest field of competitors the panel has had to judge so far.

Of the 14 entries, the panel nominated two joint runners up and one winner.

RUNNER UP – The Whitehall Roman Villa and Landscape Project website, designed and authored by Jeremy Cooper and produced by Oliomedia. Certificate received by Nick Adams, Chairman of the Project.

RUNNER UP – The Vindolanda Writing Tablets Database website, by John Pearce & Jessica Ratcliff and designed by Paul Groves and Joseph Talbot, made for the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents in Oxford University. Certificate received by Professor Alan Bowman of that centre.

WINNER – “The Host of Henllys and the Defeat of Carn Alw”, an interactive multimedia CD-ROM by Philip Bennett and Rhonwen Owen, made for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Pembrokeshire County Council. This provides a guide to this remarkable reconstructed Iron Age Farm. The package makes great use of video, sound and interactive virtual reality, to present a highly personalised and engaging description of Iron Age life. The panel were particularly impressed with the way the package was educationally designed, with excellent opportunities for teachers to use in an open-ended fashion. Award received by Philip Bennett of the Park Authority and Duncan Whitehurst of the County Council.


The IFA Award is sponsored by the Institute of Field Archaeologists for the best archaeological project undertaken by a professional team or mixed professional/voluntary partnership demonstrating a commitment to recognised professional standards and ethics.

COMMENDED – The Marine Aggregate Dredging and the Historic Environment: Guidance Note recognises the wealth of marine heritage around our shores. It provides welcome guidance for aggregate developers who work in an important area of the UK economy to collaborate with marine archaeologists to record and protect heritage sites on the seabed. Such a partnership between developers and archaeologists presents a positive template for the future and is commended.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – The Myer’s Wood Project was a remarkable collaboration between the Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society and the Department of Archaeological Science at the University of Bradford. The judges were very impressed with the high standard of this example of professional/voluntary partnership in investigating a medieval iron industrial site. Generous local funding was obtained and while the excavation and scientific analysis was undertaken by leading experts, the public outreach and presentation of the results was ably managed by the voluntary members of the group. This important site at Myer’s Wood has now been identified and protected and is available for future investigation. This entry is to be highly commended.

WINNER – The Caithness Archaeological Trust is an umbrella organisation developing, managing and promoting the Caithness archaeological resource. It acts as a bridge in bringing voluntary and professional groups together and making archaeological heritage important and relevant to the modern world. The Trust has been successful in accessing funding and appointing professional staff. It has successfully harnessed the activities of a range of regional voluntary organisations together with professional bodies such as Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

The involvement of community with professional archaeologists to study the historic environment has to be the way forward. The panel of judges regards this project as an important development in Scottish archaeology and one that may be used as a model throughout the UK. It is with great pleasure that they judge The Caithness Archaeological Trust as the winner of the IFA Award. Trophy received by Islay Macleod


The Current Archaeology Award for Developer Funded Archaeology is a new award for the project which best demonstrates the value of developer-funded archaeology.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – At the Harts Hill Quarry in Berkshire, Cotswold Archaeology excavated an extensive Middle Bronze Age settlement. The trouble was in the middle of it, they found extensive evidence for iron working, which gave radiocarbon dates of around 1000 BC – half a millennium earlier than the beginning of the Iron Age.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – Two excellent entries from Pre-Construct Archaeology looked at Roman sites in the suburbs of London. At the Tabard Square, Southwark, they found one of the most extensive Roman temple precincts yet found in London, And at Shadwell in the East End, they found the second largest set of baths from Roman London.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – Gayhurst in Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire Archaeology excavated a barrow where the original ceremonies appear to have been accompanied by a feast which involved the slaughter of some 600 cows.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – In Leominster, Archenfield Archaeology have excavated an extensive area of the Medieval town in advance of a new store for the Focus DIY Group.

RUNNER UP – Hadrian’s Wall. Following the 1745 rebellion, the government built a military road across northern Britain, for part of the route on top of Hadrian’s Wall. The military road still forms a major thoroughfare and along side it runs service trenches. Recently, it has become necessary to renew the water pipe-line, and after numerous alternatives had been discussed, it was decided to dig a new trench for 2½ miles along the berm in the front of Hadrian’s Wall. This, it was thought, would probably find nothing, but how mistaken this was! The berm in front of Hadrian’s Wall was occupied by a series of pits holding a thicket of stakes and hedges and other obstacles, and, as a result, every reconstruction drawing of the appearance of Hadrian’s Wall must now be redrawn. Highly Commended certificate received by Paul Bidwell of the Tyne and Wear museums service

RUNNER UP – Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd, of Drogheda, County Louth. At Corrstown, near Portrush in County Derry, a very extensive late Bronze Age settlement was excavated in advance of a housing development on behalf of the Kennedy Group. Some 52 round-houses were uncovered. What was particularly interesting was that many of them were paired, suggesting a domestic unit that was double the size of the standard round-house. This is an arrangement which has often been suspected, but rarely so clearly demonstrated as at Correstown. Award accepted by Deidre Murray of the Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd together with a representative of the developers, the Kennedy Group.

WINNER – The excavation that has perhaps received the most wide-spread publicity of all in archaeology over the past couple of years, and which looks like re-writing a substantial part of the prehistory of this country. This is the Amesbury Archer, discovered not two miles from Stonehenge. This is not only the richest Beaker Burial yet discovered in this country, but scientific analysis has also shown that the person buried was almost certainly an immigrant, who according to the chemical composition of his teeth, was probably brought up in central Europe. Was he perhaps the leader of the Beaker Invaders who conquered the ancient regime in the Amesbury area, and set in train the building of a magnificent new monument which we now know as Stonehenge? Award accepted by Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology, with a certificate for the developers and funders, Bloor Homes.


The Keith Muckelroy Award, a newcomer to the BAA although it had previously been awarded 5 times during the 1980s, is sponsored by the Keith Muckelroy Trust along with the IFA Maritime Affairs Group, the Maritime Committee of the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers and the Nautical Archaeology Society. It is given for the best published work on the subject of British maritime, nautical or underwater archaeology that best reflects the pioneering ideas and scholarly standards of the late Keith Muckelroy.

This award is given for any publication within the last two years that relates to maritime, nautical or underwater work within Britain, the Isle of Man, and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey and their territorial waters, as well as British sites in international waters.

Four entries were short listed, coincidently representing the geographical scope of the award, covering work in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They are diverse in length and method of publication: a collection of journal papers, a site monograph, a hardback book, and a CD-ROM. The judging panel recognises these contrasting solutions, each an example in different ways of the standards Keith encouraged others to achieve, and recommends three for highly commended awards.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – The Earl of Abergavenny – Historical Record and Wreck Excavation, by Edward M Cumming and published by MIBEC Enterprises, is an interactive CD-ROM on the investigation of an outward-bound East Indiaman which sank in Weymouth Bay in 1805 with major loss of life including the captain, John Wordsworth, the poet’s brother.

The pre-disturbance survey, excavation and recording of this wreck was started in 1979 as an amateur project by members of the Chelmsford Sub Aqua Club, and over the years a great amount of information has been gathered on both the hull structure, and the ship contents. The CD-ROM provides an excellent example of an economical method of publishing text and illustrations resulting from the underwater excavation of this site and subsequent research. While not a formal publication, the Earl of Abergavenny provides a valuable example of what can be achieved to make project data and research by an amateur group available to others.
‘Highly Commended’ certificate collected by Ed Cumming.

HIGHLY COMMENDED – In May 1997, members of RAF Lossiemouth Sub-Aqua Club, led by Roy Hemming, discovered ceramics, anchors and cast iron guns, scattered among boulders, near Kinlochbervie, on the remote north-west coast of Scotland. This led to a collaborative project to record and research the site involving the RAF Lossiemouth team, Martin Dean and the Archaeological Diving Unit, Historic Scotland, the National Museums of Scotland, and specialists from numerous universities and other organisations. The results have been published in two papers in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. The panel felt that these two reports provide an exemplary example of prompt publication, within an established journal with an international reputation, on work on an important site which has produced the largest group of Italian Renaissance pottery ever recovered from an archaeological site in Scotland. The two papers are noteworthy for the way in which they bring together the co-ordinated efforts of amateurs, professionals, subject specialists and heritage agencies. As a result of this partnership, the results of the investigation have appeared in less than a year after the final site dive.
‘Highly Commended’ certificate collected by Colin Martin

HIGHLY COMMENDED – Over the last ten years, the Gwent levels have proved to be an extraordinarily rich archaeological resource, producing discoveries ranging from Mesolithic footprints to early medieval fish-traps. Boat finds include Bronze Age and medieval examples, and in November 1993 boat timbers were discovered during the recording by the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust of a substantial abutment besides a watercourse of Roman date. The Barland’s Farm Romano-Celtic Boat, by Nigel Nayling and Seán McGrail, published as CBA Research Report 138, is a substantial publication of the excavation, recovery, analysis and conservation of this important boat, which exhibits many features characteristic of what has come to be known as the ‘Romano-Celtic’ boatbuilding tradition. The report presents a series of thorough, in-depth studies by numerous specialists on this rare find – a well-preserved Roman boat of the early 4th century – and provides an excellent example of how such boat remains can be studied and presented. The comprehensive illustration of all the ship timbers and associated artefacts is commended as an example of best practice. The panel felt that its investigation of the wider context of the find, its environment, and topics such as the Roman settlement and economy of the area, and the maritime environment of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary, enhance the significance of the discovery, and its place in the boatbuilding traditions of Britain in the late Roman period.
‘Highly Commended’ certificate collected by Nigel Nayling.

WINNER – Strangford Lough an Archaeological Survey of the Maritime Cultural Landscape, by Thomas McErlean, Rosemary McConkey and Wes Forsythe, and published by Blackstaff Press, richly deserved this accolade. Strangford Lough is one of only three statutory Marine Nature Reserves in the UK, and is officially designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. What’s more, it holds evidence for some 8,000 years of human activity, a ‘mini-Mediterranean’ for those around its shore. In 1995, four archaeologists embarked on a survey of the archaeology around the lough, after an initiative by the Environment and Heritage Service and the Institute of Irish Studies here at the Queen’s University, Belfast, had obtained funding for Northern Ireland’s first foreshore survey. The remit embraced all the heritage aspects of maritime culture, both on land and on the bed of the lough. The panel were impressed by the bold, imaginative and ambitious scope of the survey, the results of which were published only 2 years after the end of fieldwork, and presented in a clear manner, beautifully illustrated in full colour, in an impressive and yet modestly priced publication at £25.

This substantial work now provides an important benchmark in maritime studies, both for future research, but also for the heritage management of the area. The decision to produce what conventionally might be considered to be a lavish book is lauded. It properly reflects the quality of the results – which have reached beyond the dedicated archaeological world to a wider community and broadened the way in which people look at Ireland’s maritime heritage.
Award accepted by Tom McErlean, Rosemary McConkey and Wes Forsythe, and also Patsy Horton, Director of the Blackstaff Press.


The Pitt Rivers Award is for the best amateur project, however in this world of ever changing technology and science we must accept the necessity for Societies and individuals to buy in some expertise. The availability of grants and the conditions imposed is changing the way excavations are planned and this has become very apparent in several submissions this year. We have taken these factors into account in our judging, taking as our basic requirement that amateurs are in the driving seat.

SPECIAL AWARD AND CERTIFICATE – A Young Archaeologist Club has submitted an excellent project for building a reconstruction of an Iron Age hut. Currently, the Young Archaeologist of the Year Award has no category for a Group Entry and so this submission was placed before the Judges of the Award for amateurs. With the generous support of the Robert Kiln Trust, and for this year only, we are making a Special Award. A Special Award and Certificate therefore rewarded to The Newark & District Young Archaeologist Club.

CERTIFICATE – A “just in time” industrial archaeology intervention, saving in working condition and as a museum, the last Gasworks in Northern Ireland by The Carrickfergus Preservation Society.

CERTIFICATE – A small but effective excavation of a pottery kiln, furthering our knowledge of glazed mediaeval pottery in Wales:- The Monmouth Archaeological Society.

CERTIFICATE – For a well presented excavation of a Barrow and a Neolithic Occupation Site in Yorkshire:- The East Riding Archaeological Society.

CERTIFICATE – For the identification and excavation of a previously unknown Iron Age Hill Fort near Stockport. This project is a good example of a local group, who recognised the site and formed a Trust to raise money for an excavation. Assistance was obtained from their Local Authorities and the Manchester University Archaeology Unit. We hope that the training of volunteers will reduce their dependence on professional assistance in future. The Mellor Archaeological Trust

RUNNER UP – The trophy for the Pitt Rivers Runners-Up goes to a training excavation, involving the help of a professional site director. We were impressed by their training programme, together with the leadership and example set by the volunteer organizers, who will hopefully soon progress to directing the work themselves. Trophy awarded to The Kent Archaeological Society.

WINNER – The Pitt Rivers Award goes to a Group who have been excavating a Roman site adjacent to the Watling Street, since the early sixties. Over the years, there have been three interim reports plus numerous specialist reports. During that time many of their diggers have gone on to University and employment within archaeology. They have provided the material for an impressive exhibition in the Rugby Museum, and a smaller museum in Lutterworth. Since 1990, the Society has concentrated on a bath house site. The care taken has borne fruit in the last two years, when the full story became apparent, with some ground breaking conclusions. The Final Report is in an advanced stage, ready for publication. The Pitt Rivers Award for 2004 for their work at Tripontium goes to:- The Rugby Archaeological Society.


This award may be given at the discretion of the Judges for work by amateurs containing a substantial educational element.

WINNER – This year the Laurels have been awarded for the development of a unique Mesolithic site on Portland Bill. This project has been undertaken over many years by volunteers under the direction of Susann Palmer. Following the excavation report, time has been spent preserving a Mesolithic floor in situ, with an accompanying exhibition. In addition the group has assisted the local Council by producing a booklet describing the known sites on the island.

We believe it is a project of National importance, in the middle of the Jurassic Coast of Dorset- A World Heritage Site. Where else in Britain could you see an original Mesolithic shell midden section with a stone floor and evidence of a hut surrounded by chert artefacts? It needs our help to preserve it. The Graham Webster Laurels go to:- The Association for Portland Archaeology.


The Silver Trowel is awarded for a person or an institution which has shown the greatest initiative in archaeology.

Six entries were considered

  • The Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, which has benefited a large number of excellent archaeology projects
  • The Portable Antiquities Scheme, a previous BAA winner and one of the most important initiatives in British archaeology in recent years
  • The Caithness Archaeology Project, which has just won the IFA Award
  • Community Archaeology Ltd, an imaginative project for guiding and training 7 community groups of volunteers investigating archaeology in North Yorkshire, the Great Ayton group already having won some reflected glory earlier this afternoon as part of the Local Heritage Initiative
  • The Postgraduate Forum, established within the University of Newcastle as a means of publishing peer- reviewed postgraduate research.

WINNER – the Shorewatch project. This was established to deal with a very specific and very large problem, the erosion of Scotland’s coast line, which, I may say, is longer than England’s. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Carnegie Trust, the Council for Scottish Archaeology and my own organisation Historic Scotland, the project is a collaborative venture involving volunteers and individuals, adults and children, schools and youth groups, monitoring the state of the archaeological remains along the coast with a view to aiding decisions to be taken on where to undertake more detailed work, be it survey or excavation.

The judges were impressed by the inclusivity of the project as well as the practical approach to an urgent and enormous problem. Silver Trowel received by Tom Dawson of the Scottish Archaeological and Palaeo-Environment Trust.

RT @InstituteArch: We'd like to congratulate all the winners and runners up at yesterdays British Archaeological Awards ceremony @BAAWARDSUK
RT @AmandaFeath: Wonderful people make great archaeological projects. A great celebration of both today with @CarenzaLewis @BAAWARDSUK http…
RT @Nathalie_Cohen: Very excited for @KnoleNT to have won Best Archaeological Project @BAAWARDSUK!
RT @ThamesDiscovery: Congratulations to our colleagues at @CITiZAN1 and @MOLArchaeology for winning @BAAWARDSUK, and to our friends @KnoleN
RT @MOLArchaeology: We are so excited that #LondonMithraeum @Bloomberg SPACE has has been recognised with the British Archaeological Award…
Congratulations to all the winners at this evening’s .⁦@BAAWARDSUK⁩ from the Trustees & compère .⁦@CarenzaLewis⁩. T…
We have every reason to be optimistic says Carenza Lewis our compère for the awards this evening
Well done everyone. You are all amazing!
RT @allisonl: @BAAWARDSUK winners for best public display of Archeology is the London Mithreaum Bloomberg SPACE #baawards…
RT @CoastArch: Wow... Joint winners, with @CITiZAN1 of the BAA best community project award!!!