PRESS RELEASE: Ian Haynes and Tony Wilmott win Current Archaeology’s prestigious Research Project of the Year award for 2015, for their work at Maryport

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Top honours for  Research Project of the Year  at the prestigious Current Archaeology Awards went to Professor Ian Haynes and Tony Wilmott, Newcastle University. They were recognised for their work at Maryport, a  research project initiated and funded by the Senhouse Museum Trust, where ongoing excavations at the 2nd century Roman fort have revealed the enigmatic traces of a huge timber building, whose post holes were packed with reused  Roman altars.

Ian Haynes said: ‘Thank you to everyone who voted for us, we feel extremely privileged — it must have been a difficult choice between the extraordinary research projects that are currently taking place in this country, it would be an honour to work on any of them. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this project over the last four years; those who took part in the current season; and the Senhouse Trust who funded the excavation and have been a reservoir of advice and expertise on which we have drawn.’

Tony Wilmott added: ‘Thanks too to the students at Newcastle University, and to our stalwart volunteers from the local community, who have done so much, learned so much, and contributed so much.’


Accepting the award for  Archaeologist of the Year  (sponsored by Andante Travels) was  Professor Michael Fulford, who has directed excavations at Silchester, a major Roman and Iron Age site in Hampshire, for almost 20 years. The project ended last summer, and has revealed a wealth of information about how the town evolved, and what life was like within its walls.

Michael Fulford is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1994 (currently serving as its Treasurer), and was appointed CBE in the 2011 New Years Honours for Services to Scholarship. He was appointed a Commissioner of English Heritage last May and in that role chairs the English Heritage Advisory Committee. For the past 18 years he has directed the recently-concluded Silchester Town Life Project, and is also director of a five-year Leverhulme Trust-funded project on the Rural Settlement of Roman Britain.

Accepting the award, Michael Fulford said:

‘Thank you for this great award, and I would also like to thank all the students I have taught through Silchester and all the other projects, it is them who make us what we are today. I would also like to thank Amanda Clarke who has been a mainstay of Silchester for about a million years.


The award for Rescue Dig of the Year  (sponsored by Export and General Insurance Services Ltd) was accepted by Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum and Dr Simon Lewis of Queen Mary, University of London, on behalf of the Happisburgh Project team for their work at Happisburgh in Norfolk. Their investigations at this remarkable site has revealed tangible traces of some of Britain’s earliest known human inhabitants, including a series of footprints dating back almost 1 million years.  

Chris Stringer said: ‘There are two of us here tonight, but we are accepting this award on behalf of a much bigger team who have been involved in recording the ancient footprints and getting our findings published. We are also grateful to the ancient humans who left the footprints in the first place!


Winner of the award for Book of the Year  (sponsored by Oxford University Press) was Dr  Paul Bahn who edited The History of Archaeology (published by Routledge). Exploring how archaeology is practised in countries ranging across Europe, the Far East, Africa, and Latin America — often prompting surprising comparisons — this thought-provoking book examines how archaeology is not always politically neutral, and closes with a look to the future.

Paul Bahn said:  ‘The award says “by Paul Bahn”, but in fact I edited this book and wrote only a small part of it.  So this award really goes to the remarkable international team of specialists  that I first put together nearly a quarter of a century ago and have worked with ever since. They are tremendously good at what they do, producing books that are not only popular but also rigorously scholarly, and together we have published not just histories but also dictionaries, atlases, encyclopedias and volumes on specific themes.  I would like to pay particular tribute here to those who have been with the team since the very first project —  Caroline Bird for Oceania, Peter Bogucki for prehistoric Europe, Phil Duke for North America, David Gill for the Classical World, and Joyce Tyldesley for Egypt. I am delighted that their work has achieved such recognition. With this particular volume we tried to do something different —  our previous History of Archaeology (published by Cambridge University Press in 1996) was structured in a traditional chronological way, so this time we decided to approach the subject regionally, with —  I think for the first time —  individual chapters on Russia and the Far East. I am delighted that it has proved so popular, and I would like to thank you on behalf of the team and myself for giving us this award — thank you very much.’


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Notes for Editors: Current Archaeology Awards

  • Current Archaeology, the UK’s leading archaeology magazine, announced the winners of their 2015 awards, presented by archaeologist and TV personality Julian Richards (of Meet the Ancestors fame) on February 27, as part of the   annual Current Archaeology Live! 2015 conference, held at the University of London’s Senate House.
  • Voted for by subscribers and members of the public, the awards recognise the outstanding contributions to our understanding of the past made by the people, projects, and publications featured in the pages of Current Archaeology over the previous 12 months.
  • This is not the first time Tony Wilmott has taken away a Current Archaeology Award, having won Archaeologist of the Year in 2012.
  • The research project at Maryport was initiated and funded by the Senhouse Museum Trust.
  • The 2015 Current Archaeology Award for Research Project of the Year was sponsored by Oxbow Books.
  • ‘Maryport’s mystery monuments: investigating gigantic timber structures from the imperial twilight’, containing findings from the team’s latest work at Maryport, were published in Current Archaeology 289.
  • Launched in 1967,  Current Archaeology magazine recently celebrated its 300th issue.

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