Below are the three individuals nominated for 2022’s ‘Archaeologist of the Year’, whose achievements reflect the diverse work taking place within our field.
Voting has now closed, and all the winners of the Current Archaeology Awards will be announced on 25 February as part of our virtual Current Archaeology Live! 2022. Click here to find out more about the event.
Professor Martin Bell
Martin is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Reading University where he taught MSc Geoarchaeology and Coastal and Maritime Archaeology. Having retired in July 2021, he intends to remain research busy.
A focus of Martin’s research since 1983 has been the prehistory of the Severn Estuary, on which he has published four monographs. With Mike Walker he wrote Late Quaternary Environmental Change (2005), and his most recent book is Making One’s Way in the World: the footprints and trackways of prehistoric people (Oxbow, 2020, see CA 367).
He believes experimental archaeology has a key role to play in understanding how the archaeological record forms. Martin leads the Experimental Earthwork Project and is currently writing this up as a Leverhulme Research Fellow. Currently he is President of the Sussex Archaeological Society where he began archaeology as a schoolboy. He sees today’s challenge as developing the contribution of archaeology to sustainable nature conservation.
Raksha is a field archaeologist, public archaeologist, and broadcaster who recently began a three-year term as President of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA). After graduating from UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, she worked on some of London’s most iconic multi-period archaeological sites, and has since excavated sites spanning prehistory to the Second World War.
During ten years with Channel 4’s Time Team she excavated over 100 sites including Westminster Abbey, Holyrood Palace, and the D-Day defences. She has since worked on numerous documentaries and primetime TV programmes including Countdown to War, Tutankhamun with Dan Snow, The Great Plague, The Bone Detectives, and Pompeii’s Final Hours: New Evidence (all Channel 5), and Digging up Britain’s Past (BBC 4).
Raksha’s heritage work reflects her passion for community and the public, developing and managing various National Lottery Heritage-funded community projects, sitting on the CBA (London) board of trustees, and as an advocate and patron for the Young Archaeologists Club.
Dr Peter Halkon
Inspired by childhood discoveries of Roman pottery on his father’s East Yorkshire farm, Peter dug as a teenager with the East Riding Archaeological Society (ERAS) on Roman pottery kilns. He read History and Archaeology at Liverpool University, returning to teach in East Yorkshire. He instigated a 30-year project in the Foulness Valley with Martin Millett, discoveries including the Iron Age Hasholme logboat, one of Britain’s largest prehistoric Iron industries, and Roman settlements at Shiptonthorpe and Hayton.
Peter’s recent projects include the Arras Iron Age cemetery, the Nunburnholme Community Heritage project, excavations (2018-2021) on a ringfort and Iron Age sanctuary on the Yorkshire Wolds, and ‘Petuaria ReVisited’, a community-based project which is transforming knowledge of Roman Brough. His most recent books are The Parisi: Britons and Romans in Eastern Yorkshire (2013) and The Arras Culture of Eastern Yorkshire (2020).
In September 2021 he retired as a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Hull University, where he had established a BA (p/t) in Archaeology and BA in History and Archaeology. He has published many articles and presented papers at conferences and other events all over Europe. Previously he taught Archaeology at schools and Colleges in Hull and ran popular evening classes for the WEA and Leeds and Hull Universities. Formerly CBA Education Officer (1991-1994), he is actively involved in many archaeological societies and heritage organisations.