Archaeologist of the Year 2023 – Nominees

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Below are the three individuals nominated for 2023’s ‘Archaeologist of the Year’, whose achievements reflect the diverse work taking place within our field.

Voting closed on 1 February and all the winners of the Current Archaeology Awards will be announced on 25 February as part of Current Archaeology Live! 2023. Click here to find out more about the event.

Sponsor of Archaeologist of the Year

David Jacques

Since 2005, David has been project director of Blick Mead, the oldest and longest-used occupation site in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. The Blick Mead excavations began as one long weekend dig a year, carried out on a shoestring budget with the help of the local community and other volunteers, but has since become a multi-university research effort, which uses the latest technology to address important new questions about the origins of the Stonehenge landscape. The project continues to value and enable its volunteers, and retains the community of Amesbury at its heart. This connection is symbolised by the building of Amesbury History Centre, which was created as a result of over 90% of locals voting to increase their precept to pay for it. The work has been very much a team effort, but David’s colleagues see him as the lynchpin and catalyst behind the collective strength of the project.

Lilian Ladle

An independent Dorset archaeologist, with no formal qualifications, Lilian directed the 55ha, 13-year excavation at the multi-period site of Bestwall Quarry, near Wareham, publishing monographs in 2009 and 2012. A complex site at Football Field, Worth Matravers was completed and published in 2018. In 2012, she initiated, directed, and has recently published the results of the Druce Farm Roman Villa excavation. Fieldwork on all sites, and much of the post-excavation work, was undertaken by volunteers and the sites were regularly opened to the public. Lilian was awarded the MBE for services to archaeology in 2008 and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2021. She is a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Bournemouth University.

Gabor Thomas

Gabor is one of the UK’s leading experts in early medieval archaeology. He has made key advances in our understanding of early medieval monasticism and elite identity based on the results of his excavations at Bishopstone (Sussex), Lyminge (Kent), and Cookham (Berkshire), which have uncovered lost phases of Anglo-Saxon settlement on an ambitious scale. Conducted within the cores of currently occupied villages, these projects have been delivered in partnership with volunteer groups and local residents as exemplars of research-led community archaeology. His PhD research exploring cultural interaction in Viking Age Britain through Late Saxon dress accessories has become the standard reference in the field, being widely consulted by academics, professional small-find specialists, and metal-detectorists.

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