PRESS RELEASE: Tony Wilmott of English Heritage wins prestigious award as Archaeologist of the Year, despite 32% funding cuts to the organisation.

5 mins read

Top honours for Archaeologist of the Year at the prestigious Current Archaeology Awards went to Tony Wilmott, Senior Archaeologist for English Heritage. Renowned for his trailblazing excavations at Birdoswald and Maryport forts, Chester amphitheatre and Richborough, Tony Wilmott is internationally renowned as one of our leading experts on Hadrian’s Wall. Coming on the back of a difficult year for English Heritage, following savage funding cuts, Tony reflected on a trying 12 months in his acceptance speech:

Thank you, Current Archaeology, for nominating me for this award – it was a bright spot at the end of a very difficult year during which English Heritage had funding cut by 32%. I’m accepting this award on behalf of all people working in public service archaeology.

I have been in this game for a long time — it has been over 40 years since I first lifted a trowel. My school history teacher first introduced me to Current Archaeology magazine and it was them that got me into archaeology in the first place.

Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, added: One of our best — well done Tony, you had my vote.


Accepting the award of Research Excavation of the Year was Dr Clive Waddington for Archaeological Research Services’ work on the Iron Age massacre at Fin Cop hillfort. This fascinating site is casting new light on brutality and murder in what is sometimes held up as a peaceful, egalitarian society. Dr Waddington responded with:

We are delighted to win this award — I feel really honoured, particularly because this was a community project and the award highlights that really great research can be carried out with the help of local communities.


The award for Rescue Dig of the Year was accepted by Tom Dawson on behalf of Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion (SCAPE). Working tireless with local societies to record unique archaeology before it is lost forever to the sea, this project has recorded numerous endangered sites. Tom Dawson said:

There are so many sites at risk and this award will help show people that protecting them is really worthwhile work.  


Winner of the award for Book of the Year was Joe Flatman for Becoming an Archaeologist: a guide to professional pathways (Cambridge University Press). Offering candid advice for anyone seeking employment in the sector, this book was described as ‘almost uncomfortably blunt’ by one reviewer. Refreshingly honest, it is a must read for any budding archaeologist. Joe Flatman said:

My firm belief is that if you can’t write a book that appeals to the readers of Current Archaeology, then you might as well not have written a book at all. Part of doing good archaeology should be about doing good writing, by which I mean writing that is clear and engaging and that appeals to a wide audience. Current Archaeology consistently achieves those aims itself, and so to be recognised as having met the same high standards in my book is a very great honour indeed.


Current Archaeology Awards

Current Archaeology, the UK’s leading archaeology magazine, announced the winners of their 2012 awards, presented by archaeologist and TV personality Julian Richards on March 2, as part of the Archaeology Live 2012 conference. Voted for by subscribers and members of the public, over 5,500 votes were cast. Julian Richards summed up the awards and the conference:

Thank you, Current Archaeology — I have enjoyed coming to these conferences for many years and there is always such a celebratory atmosphere. People leave inspired that our heritage is wonderful and should be protected and explored.


Click here for photos of the Archaeology Awards, and of Current Archaeology Live! 2012




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.