Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Staffordshire Hoard nominated Best Archaeological Discovery in Great Britain

The Staffordshire Hoard is among three nominees for Best Archaeological Discovery in the British Archaeological Awards. The nominees in six categories were announced last week with the awards ceremony taking place next month at the British Museum.

The Staffordshire Hoard discovery was made in July 2009 by Terry Herbert, a metal detector enthusiast, near Lichfield, Staffordshire. The items he discovered – over 1,500 pieces of beautifully crafted gold and silver from the 7th century Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia - amount to the most valuable treasure hoard ever discovered in the UK, worth £3.3 million.

The other two nominees in this category are a Neolithic carving of a face, found in the Orkney Islands, and Late Bronze Age Copper and Tin Ingots from Moor Sand, off the south coast of Devon.

The Chairman of the British Archaeological Awards trustees, Dr Mike Heyworth MBE, said “The wide-ranging nominations for the 2010 British Archaeological Awards demonstrate the high standard of work going on in archaeology across the United Kingdom. There is huge public interest in archaeology and increasing opportunities for everyone to get involved in archaeological projects in their area. We congratulate all the nominated projects and look forward to a lively ceremony in July when the winners of the Awards will be announced.”

The archaeological dig at another medieval site - Wisbech Castle in Cambridgeshire, has been nominated for Best Community Archaeology Project, while the new Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) website has been shortlisted in the 'archaeological innovation' category. The PAS website includes the scheme's database of almost 600,000 archaeological objects found and registered by members of the public across England and Wales.

“Making the shortlist in this year’s awards is a fitting tribute for the work that our regional FLOs and the public of England and Wales have put in to making the Scheme’s database such an essential resource for studying the archaeology of this country," explained Roger Bland, Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum.

"Hopefully, this news and the story of the Staffordshire Hoard, will make people more aware about the potential uses of these data and raise public awareness of their local archaeology.”

Established in 1976, the British Archaeological Awards are a showcase for the best in British archaeology and a central event in the archaeological calendar. The awards are handed out every two years.

The winners of the six Awards will be announced at the 2010 Awards ceremony which will take place on 19 July at the British Museum, hosted by historian and broadcaster Michael Wood. The ceremony will be a major event within the Council for British Archaeology's Festival of British Archaeology, a huge UK-wide celebration of archaeology with more than 650 events attended by more than 250,000 people, which will attract huge national TV, radio, newspaper and magazine coverage.

Here is the full list of nominees:

Best Archaeological Project:
1) Archaeology of Inchmarnock Research Project
2) Mellor Heritage Project 2007-9
3) The Tarbat Discovery Programme

Best Community Archaeology Project:
1) 'Discover the Lost Bishop's Palace' - Wisbech Castle Community Archaeology Project
2) Fin Cop - Solving a Derbyshire Mystery
3) Mellor Heritage Project 2007-9

Best Archaeological Book:
1) Britain's Oldest Art: The Ice Age Cave Art of Creswell Crags by Paul Bahn and Paul Pettitt
2) Europe's Lost World: the re-discovery of Doggerland by Vince Gaffney, Simon Fitch and David Smith
3) The Rose and The Globe, playhouses of Shakespeare's Bankside, Southwark: Excavations 1988-1991 by Julian Bowsher and Pat Miller

Best Representation of Archaeology in the Media:
1) Tinderbox Productions for BBC Radio 4: In Pursuit of Treasure and The Voices Who Dug Up The Past
2) Time Team Series 16, Episode 5: Blood, Sweat and Beers - Risehill, North Yorks
3) The Thames Discovery Programme web site

Best Archaeological Innovation:
1) Integrated Archaeological Database
2) Lindow Man: a Bog Body Mystery Exhibition at the Manchester Museum
3) The Portable Antiquities Scheme web site

Best Archaeological Discovery:
1) Late Bronze Age Copper and Tin Ingots from Moor Sand
2) Links of Noltland excavations - discovery of Orkney Venus figurine
3) The Staffordshire Hoard

Click here to see our special Feature on the Staffordshire Hoard

Sources: British Archaeology Awards, British Museum