Research Project of the Year 2012

3 mins read

This year the Research Project of the Year 2012 awards went to  Massacre at Fin Cop, featured in CA 255.

Iron Age hillforts are commonly viewed as peaceful — if monumental — settlements, statements of prestige and power rather than military fortifications. But harrowing evidence from a Derbyshire site suggests these communities could come to a tragic end, with women and children massacred during the settlement’s destruction.

Clive Waddington, of Archaeological Research Services, accepted the award:

‘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.’


This has been another  great year for archaeological research, with fascinating projects going on all over the country. We have really enjoyed following the latest advances in theory, technology and methodology — and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them in CA. The following are the projects which particularly captured the imagination of readers and editors alike in the last 12 months, and were nominated in this category:

Silchester: how it all began

(CA 250 — University of Reading)

Rejoining the long-running excavations at Silchester 8 years after our last report, CA learned the investigations had reached a crucial point and the site still had secrets to reveal. Recent investigations have uncovered tantalising clues about the settlement’s pre-Roman past, adding substantially to our picture of how Iron Age Britain became Britannia.

Settlement under the sand

(CA 253 — Oxford University)

Orkney’s Bay of Skaill is best known for being the location of Skara Brae, a Neolithic settlement stunningly-preserved beneath a thick layer of windblown sand. But this is not the only archaeological treasure hidden by the weather; excavations have recently uncovered a massive Norse longhouse 2m below the sand, granting rare insight into the life and death of a major Viking settlement.

Roman rings and the cult of Toutatis

(CA 254 — Adam Daubney, Lincs FLO)

Best known to us from the Asterix comics, Toutatis was a Gaulish god and favourite patron of Roman soldiers who identified him with their war deity Mars. Evidence of Toutatis-worship is seen across the Roman Empire, but strangely limited inBritain. Now a new study of 68 finger-rings inscribed with the god’s name seems set to change all this.

The second radiocarbon revolution

(CA 259 — Alasdair Whittle, Alex Bayliss, and Frances Healy/EH)

In October we covered a breakthrough in dating methodology that promised to rewrite our understanding of the early Neolithic. Exciting advances in radiocarbon dating, permitting more secure chronologies and more precise dates than ever before, allowed a fascinating new research project on causewayed enclosures to be carried out.