Thursday, July 29, 2010

Staffordshire Hoard and Lindow Man Bog Body Mystery win British Archaeological Awards

The Manchester Museum’s investigation into a preserved Iron Age body found in a Cheshire bog 26 years ago and the discovery of the epochal Staffordshire Hoard last year have been announced among six winners in this year’s British Archaeological Awards.

Lindow Man: A Bog Body Mystery Exhibition unravelled the story of the gristly corpse, discovered on Lindow Moss in 1984, in a year-long display of revelations from forensic archaeologists, archaeology digs experts, druid priests and humble curators.

“There are few moments in life when you can look into the face of someone who is 2,000 years old and ask questions about them,” Bryan Sitch, the Head of Humanities at Manchester University, said at the time.

“This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to do just that.”

The show drew widespread acclaim between April 2008 and April 2009, including recognition in the 2009 Design Week awards and an accompanying photographic exhibition by Stephen Vaughan documenting the mythical status and physical changes bestowed upon the bog during the four-year archaeology excavation process.

The Staffordshire Hoard became the most lucrative stash of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found in the UK when it was unearthed by amateur metal detector Terry Herbert in fields near Lichfield – at the heart of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia – in September 2009.

Later saved for the nation at a cost of £3.285 million following an impassioned campaign by museums and councils in Birmingham and the Potteries and The Art Fund, the Hoard drew record crowds to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum between September 2009 and April 2010.

Other winners include York University’s Tarbat Discovery Programme, which won Best Archaeological Project for a 16 year campaign of investigation of the large 6th-8th century Pictish Monastic settlement at Portmahomack, and the Thames Discovery Programme in the Best Representation of Archaeology in the Media category.

Fin Cop Hillfort, a pit archaeology excavation in the Derbyshire region of the Peak District, was named Best Community Archaeology Project.

“These awards have gone to the very best of British archaeology from the last two years,” said Awards Chairman Dr Mike Heyworth, congratulating the nominees in a ceremony at the British Museum.

“We congratulate all the winners and are hugely encouraged by the public interest in archaeology and the enthusiasm shown across the UK for our archaeological heritage, as we have seen in particular with The Staffordshire Hoard.”

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