We are delighted to announce Sam Moorhead as our official ‘Archaeologist of the Year 2011’.
Sam Moorhead is the National Finds Advisor for Iron Age and Roman coins in the Department of Portable Antiquities at the British Museum. But he is much more than that: his many achievements and the range of his contributions to archaeology are truly phenomenal. He is a specialist and scholar of the highest standards, yet at the same time a very modest, self-effacing colleague, and also a populariser with a missionary zeal about bringing the prehistoric and ancient worlds alive for the general audience. He has been especially prominent over the last year because of his involvement in the AD 410 commemorations, and in the excavation and analysis of the Frome Hoard — the biggest hoard of Roman coins ever found in Britain.
Sam was central to the major two-day conference at the British Museum in March to debate the end of Roman Britain, which saw the emergence of a new academic consensus that is likely to underpin research for a generation. And, despite his extensive commitments, he also found time to co-author a superb narrative history book, AD 410 — The Year That Shook Rome.
Over the years, we have come to know many fascinating individuals and have been fortunate to share their work in the pages of CA, as well at our conferences. We would like to congratulate all of the 2011 nominees on their past year’s work and their excellent contributions to the field of archaeology:
Philip Crummy has been Director of the Colchester Archaeological Trust since 1971 and has dedicated the his archaeological career to understanding the story of Colchester (Roman Camulodunum).
Philip is much loved and respected by the local community, which was proved by the enthusiastic, and ultimately successful, response to the appeal that he led last year to purchase the land where he had discovered the Colchester Circus — the city’s Roman chariot racing track. Many private citizens, as well as schools and supporters of the local football club, contributed to the appeal. Philip’s discoveries have enriched the lives of the people of Colchester and helped to make it an attractive and interesting town. If Destination Colchester’s recent bid for World Heritage status succeeds, it is because of Philip’s decades of research, and his efforts to share his understanding of the city through his talks and through the pages of The Colchester Archaeologist, which he has edited for the last 20 years. His efforts have put Colchester on a par with such landmarks as Hadrian’s Wall or Bath’s Roman baths.
Tam Ward is known as one of the most dedicated amateur archaeologists in Scotland. As founder and driving force behind the Biggar Archaeology Group, Tam’s dedication, leadership, and commitment have introduced countless people to fieldwork, research, and the importance of publishing archaeological information. Tam discovered archaeology 30 years ago through classes at the Biggar Museum, which eventually led him to active participation with the Lanark and District Archaeology Society, as well as the extra-mural fieldwork certificate at Glasgow University. In the past three decades, he has managed the many activities of the Biggar Archaeology Group on a shoe-string budget and is known for working as hard, and as professionally, as anyone who is paid to do archaeology. As a result, BAG is an active, well-attended and successful local society.
BAG’s discoveries this year at Howburn Farm (CA 243) proved evidence of the earliest Palaeolithic habitation in Scotland — an impressive achievement for an amateur group; it shows how important it is to have someone like Tam lead the way.