Research Project of the Year 2022 – Nominees

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This has been another exceptional year for archaeological research. The following are some of the most exciting projects to have featured in CA over the last 12 months the nominees for Research Project of the Year. Once you’ve made your choice, click here to cast your vote!

Voting closes on 7 February 2022, and all the winners of the Current Archaeology Awards will then be announced on 25 February as part of our virtual Current Archaeology Live! 2022. More details of the event to come.


Archaeology on furlough: how volunteers explored the past during lockdown

Rob Wiseman, Cambridge Archaeological Unit, CA 370

This initiative brought together more than 100 furloughed archaeologists to create a volunteer task force that shed light on sites all over the country, spanning prehistory to the present day.

Read the full article here.


Rise of the mega-henges: unpicking the evolution of Mount Pleasant’s monuments

Unlike southern England’s other ‘mega-henges’, which have all undergone recent archaeological investigation, Mount Pleasant was only excavated in 1970-1971. This aerial photograph shows one of the monument’s more enigmatic elements, Site IV, under excavation in 1971.

Susan Greaney, University of Cardiff/English Heritage, CA 371

It was long thought that huge, complex monuments like Mount Pleasant in Dorset had developed over many centuries – but new dating evidence suggests otherwise, with intriguing implications.

Read the full article here.


From mounds to monasteries: examining burials in late Iron Age and early medieval Ireland

An aerial photograph of the Neolithic passage grave and satellite tombs at Knowth, Co. Meath. The image numbers the 14 Iron Age crouched inhumation burials around the main monument.

Elizabeth O’Brien, FSA, FSA Scot, and MIAI, CA 374

Elizabeth O’Brien has studied every excavated Irish burial dating from the period c.200 BC to c.AD 800, exploring over 250 sites.

Read the full article here.


Darkness dispelled: exploring 1,500 years of life and death in the Sculptor’s Cave

A photograph showing a silhouette of a person in the entrance of the Sculptor's Cave

Ian Armit and Lindsey Büster, University of York/Canterbury Christ Church University, CA 375

The Sculptor’s Cave, on Scotland’s north-east coast, is best known for its Pictish carvings, but recent research has drawn together evidence of enigmatic prehistoric funerary practices.

Read the full article here.


Bridge over troubled water: Roman finds from the Tees at Piercebridge and beyond

Photograph of the sun setting over the River Tees at Piercebridge, near Darlington.

Hella Eckardt and Philippa Walton, University of Reading/Birkbeck, University of London, CA 378

How should we interpret objects that ended their days in rivers during the Roman period? Analysis of over 3,600 artefacts from the Tees at Piercebridge may hold the key.

Read the full article here.


A lost monastery revealed? Investigating an Anglo-Saxon community at Cookham

Looking north-east over recent excavations led by the University of Reading in the grounds of Holy Trinity Church, Cookham

Gabor Thomas, University of Reading, CA 380

Cookham minster was the focus of a long early medieval power struggle but the religious community’s location became lost –until recent excavations revealed vital clues.

Read the full article here.


Iona in the Viking Age: laying a ‘zombie narrative’ to rest

Three fragments of gold and silver from the Iona Hoard a cache of Viking Age character deposited c.986 and excavated in 1950.

Adrián Maldonado, Ewan Campbell, Thomas Owen Clancy, and Katherine Forsyth, National Museums Scotland/University of Glasgow, CA 381

Illuminating interdisciplinary research presents an intriguingly nuanced story of Iona’s early medieval monastery.

Read the full article here.


Living like common people: uncovering medieval peasant perceptions of landscape

Sunset over the Sinodun Hills near Dorchester. This was the location of an Iron Age hillfort and may have been an important landscape marker in the medieval period, creating a sense of place and belonging for the local people an important factor given that the area lay in a contested border zone claimed by Wessex and Mercia. A numinous sunset over the Sinodun Hills near Dorchester. This was the location of an Iron Age hillfort and may have been an important landscape marker in the medieval period

Stephen Mileson and Stuart Brookes, University of Oxford/UCL, CA 381

This wide-ranging and imaginative research project set out to explore ideas of identity in strikingly innovative ways.

Read the full article here.


Voting closes on 7 February

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Butser Plus shares the story of Butser Ancient Farm through a series of mini-documentaries. Watch experimental archaeology projects alongside ancient skills and academic discussions to learn more about the ancient past. Donate to access professional behind-the-scenes video content whilst supporting future archaeological projects and safeguarding the farm’s future. To find out more, please visit www.butserancientfarm.co.uk/butser-plus

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