25 February 2023
UCL Institute of Education, London


Current Archaeology Live! 2023 is coming up quickly, and tickets are selling fast. This year the conference, in partnership with University College London’s Institute of Archaeology, will be on 25 February (Saturday) at the UCL Institute of Education, a stone’s throw from our previous venue of Senate House, near Russell Square. Join us as we listen to a fantastic line-up of expert speakers sharing the latest discoveries from these shores as well as further afield (and even underwater). Here are the latest details of what we have planned, and everything you need to know to book your place.

Below, you’ll also find a reminder of the people, projects, and publications that are up for a prestigious CA Award and all-important information on how to cast your vote. To help you make up your mind, we caught up with our nominees for Archaeologist of the Year 2023; read on to find out what they have to say.

Tickets for CA Live! 2023 are now on sale

This year we’re offering tickets at an early bird rate of £35 for subscribers and £45 for non-subscribers until 15 January.
To book, visit www.currentpublishing.com/shop or call 020 8819 5580.


Saturday 25 February

Three sessions of talks and a keynote address will run from 9.15am to 4.45pm, with two coffee breaks and a pause for lunch.

Session 1 (9.30-11am)

Dr Campbell Price, Manchester Museum
Egypt’s golden mummies

Dr Corisande Fenwick, UCL
Recent fieldwork in Morocco

Dr Rebecca Roberts and Saltanat Amir, University of Cambridge
Gold of the Iron Age Steppe

Session 2 (11.30am-1pm)

Dr Daniel Pascoe, Bournemouth University
New approaches to shipwreck archaeology; making the invisible visible

Dr Stuart Brookes, UCL
Searching for local assembly places in the English landscape

Dr Sam Leggett, University of Edinburgh
‘Where are you from though?’ Interrogating identity with isotopes in early medieval England

Session 3 (2-3.30pm)

Dr Clare Randall, Cotswold Archaeology
A Roman villa at Dings Crusaders, near Bristol

Scott Vance, Pre-Construct Archaeology
Hadrian’s Wall in urban Tyneside: Excavating the newly discovered Turret 3a

Paul Thompson and Lyn Blackmore, MOLA
The Harpole Treasure

Shahina Farid, former Field Director and Project Coordinator at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey, currently scientific dating coordinator for Historic England

The CA Awards results will be announced at 5pm.

Further details to come: keep an eye on www.archaeology.co.uk/live for the names of the remaining speakers as they are confirmed.

Map showing this year’s conference location:
UCL’s Institute of Education

The nominees for the 14th annual Current Archaeology Awards are below, and voting is now open.

Please vote online at www.archaeology.co.uk/vote.

Archaeologist of the Year

We spoke to our three nominees for Archaeologist of the Year 2023 to find out their highlights of the year and their careers so far, and their thoughts on the future of archaeology.

David Jacques

What is your proudest archaeological achievement?
Blick Mead. Not only is it exciting to be involved in a paradigm-shifting excavation in a World Heritage Site, but it has been so great seeing the way the project has engaged people in Amesbury and elsewhere in a genuinely enabling way. A History Centre has been built in Amesbury out of this interest, and I’m proud that people have been given their head and a real chance to do meaningful work at Blick Mead. Many have gone on to further their careers in the discipline.

What is your archaeological moment of 2022?
I was one of the last two to finish in the trench prior to our work being completed at the site. I hardly get in a trench, as it is so busy on site, and I am slow due to having a congenital problem with my spine. I was moved to be there. I thought about what we had achieved, all those who have supported the project, and the people whose stories we have begun to find – hunter-gatherers who knew this landscape well for millennia. It has been a profound privilege.

How do you view the future of archaeology?
There are tangible public benefits that come from understanding the historic environment and the earlier we can get to excite people about it and get them involved the better. I was a teacher and I think that archaeology should be an integral part of the school curriculum. It really is a subject for all. People find discovering things and being part of a team enabling and empowering (learning about team skills and the different ways teams can be structured is another learning opportunity). I am sure that archaeology in school would vitalise children’s enthusiasm for learning in ways that nothing else can match. It is the ultimate mixed ability subject and it suits and empowers different mentalities. Archaeology has a very big future, we just need to unlock it for everyone!

Lilian Ladle

What is your proudest archaeological achievement?
Despite having no formal qualifications, I planned and directed three long and complex volunteer-led, multi-period excavations (1992-2005, 2008-2011, and 2012-2018). The publication of four associated monographs followed swiftly, involving contributions from many of the volunteers as well as input from relevant academic specialists.

What is your archaeological moment of 2022?
When I saw the peer reviews of the Druce Farm Roman Villa excavations manuscript, I was humbled that my fellow archaeologists acknowledged the significance of the results from this Dorset site. The subsequent delivery of the books was a huge relief, as well as a red letter day.

How do you view the future of archaeology?
We can and should learn from the past – it is, after all, our collective heritage. However, archaeological remains are a finite resource and should be treated with great respect. Local societies are thriving, and academic research, including wide-ranging advances in scientific techniques, are paving the way for future investigations. Our mission must be to encourage young people to direct their talents and enthusiasm into our wonderful discipline.

Gabor Thomas

What is your proudest archaeological achievement?
Working alongside professional archaeologists, volunteers, and students in the discovery and investigation of a series of 7th-century royal feasting halls at Lyminge, Kent. There had been a lengthy archaeological quest to discover such a site from this powerful early medieval kingdom, with several near misses but no success. The uncovering of the first of these halls in 2012 felt like a pioneering moment that reverberated across the excavation team and the local community.

What is your archaeological moment of 2022?
The point of realisation in last summer’s excavations at Cookham, Berkshire, that we were walking on the surface of roads and paths last trodden by Anglo-Saxon nuns in the 8th century AD. Uncovering an early medieval monastic landscape preserved to this exceptional level was truly mind-blowing.

How do you view the future of archaeology?
With general optimism. The results of the Research Assessment Framework 2021 demonstrate that Archaeology punches well above its weight as an academic discipline, out-performing other Humanities subjects in attracting research funding and delivering meaningful social, cultural, and economic benefits. Fantastic results continue to be achieved in professional archaeology, especially in relation to large infrastructure projects such as the A14. Recent years have seen great examples of community archaeology applied to the investigation and interpretation of not just sites, but entire landscapes. However, British archaeology still faces major challenges, not least defining its role in negotiating the UK’s post-colonial legacy. This goes well beyond the much-discussed repatriation of looted artefacts. As highlighted by a current exhibition at London’s Horniman Museum, the contribution of indigenous archaeologists to the discovery and investigation of major archaeological sites represented in our museum collections has been barely acknowledged. We have an obligation to tell their story.


Book of the Year

Many excellent new archaeological books have been featured in CA this year. Below are those that we feel deserve particular recognition.

Landscapes Revealed: geophysical survey in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Area, 2002-2011
Amanda Brend, Nick Card, Jane Downes, Mark Edmonds, and James Moore, CA 382

This book details an ambitious geophysical project that covered 285 hectares of land rich in Neolithic history, from Skara Brae to Maeshowe.

London in the Roman World
Dominic Perring, CA 387

A comprehensive narrative of Roman Londinium and its archaeology, from its origins through fluctuating fortunes to its eventual fall.

Silures: resistance, resilience, revival
Ray Howell, CA 388

This book examines the impact of the Roman conquest through the experiences of one particular tribe: the Silures of south-east Wales.

Barrows at the Core of Bronze Age Communities: Petersfield Heath excavations 2014-2018 in their regional context
Stuart Needham and George Anelay, CA 388

An in-depth look at Bronze Age communities as evidenced through an extensive project excavating 14 of 21 surviving barrows at Petersfield Heath in Hampshire.

Atlas of the Hillforts of Britain and Ireland
Gary Lock and Ian Ralston, CA 390

The most-complete study of British and Irish hillforts to-date, this book explores the possible purposes of these puzzling prehistoric monuments.

The Prehistoric Artefacts of Northern Ireland
Harry and June Welsh, CA 390

A comprehensive catalogue of the finds made over the centuries by archaeologists, antiquarians, and members of the public in Northern Ireland.

Lost Realms: histories of Britain from the Romans to the Vikings
Thomas Williams, CA 392

Tying together all the threads of evidence, Williams tells the stories of some of the lesser-known kingdoms of early medieval Britain.

Homo Sapiens Rediscovered: the scientific revolution rewriting our origins
Paul Pettitt, CA 393

A wide-ranging account of our earliest origins and how, in the last decade, science has been rewriting everything we thought we knew.


Research Project of the Year

This has been another exceptional year for archaeological research. The following are some of the most exciting examples to have featured in CA over the last 12 months.

Cladh Hallan: exploring the roundhouse way of life in South Uist
Sheffield University/UCL/Cardiff University/Bournemouth University, CA 382

Cladh Hallan is known for its prehistoric mummies, but excavations there have also illuminated intriguing Bronze Age and Iron Age domestic activity.

From West Africa to Wisbech: analysing 18th-century textiles in Thomas Clarkson’s campaign chest
Margarita Gleba (University of Padua), Malika Kraamer (MARKK), and Sarah Coleman (formerly Wisbech & Fenland Museum, now National Horseracing Museum), CA 383

Can the study of an abolitionist collection of West African textiles weave new threads into the story of cross-cultural contacts in the era of the Atlantic slave trade?

Artistic obscurity: analysing Britain’s most elusive Roman sculptures
Newcastle University, CA 384

Romano-British remains are often found below ground, but this project has been documenting sculptures hidden in plain sight.

Torksey: from tents to towns
University of York/University of Sheffield, CA 385

What happened at Torksey after the Viking Great Army departed? Excavations have revealed traces of a thriving pottery industry.

Prehistoric pioneers: how female migrants changed the face of Bronze Age Orkney
University of Huddersfield/EASE Archaeology, CA 387

Genetic analysis of human remains excavated at the Links of Noltland has revealed evidence of a female-dominated migration into Bronze Age Orkney.

Reinventing Ratae: exploring Roman and medieval Leicester and Leicester and Roman Africa: exploring ancient multiculturalism in the Midlands
University of Leicester Archaeological Services, CA 387 and CA 388

Investigations in Leicester over the past 20 years have uncovered evidence of the city’s growth and decline over the centuries, as well as intriguing links between Roman Leicester and North Africa.

Designed to enchant: the great dolmens of Neolithic northern Europe
Vicki Cummings (University of Central Lancashire) and Colin Richards (University of the Highlands and Islands), CA 390

This research explored why dolmens were built in the Neolithic period, their possible purpose, and whether they were deliberately designed to impress.

Migration matters: groundbreaking insights into early medieval England
Duncan Sayer (University of Central Lancashire), Stephan Schiffels, and Joscha Gretzinger (both Max Planck Institute), CA 392

New genetic data has shed light on matters of migration and integration, and on family histories in different communities in post-Roman England.


Rescue Project of the Year

Our rescue award highlights the vital importance of archaeology carried out on sites impacted by development or natural forces, and conservation work.

Happy campers? Investigating the experiences of prisoners of war near Oswestry
Wessex Archaeology, CA 386

What was life like for German soldiers interned in England during the Second World War? Excavations at a POW camp outside Oswestry in Shropshire have found evidence of everyday conflict and cooperation.

The archaeology of Black Cat Quarry: farming, flooding, and fighting in the Great Ouse valley
Archaeological Research Services Ltd, CA 388

Excavations at Black Cat Quarry in Bedfordshire have revealed a story of farming communities spanning the Neolithic to the early medieval period, as well as the possible remains of a Viking encampment.

Restoring Marble Hill: how archaeology helped revive a Georgian gem
English Heritage, CA 388

Ongoing restoration work at Marble Hill in Twickenham and recent investigations of its grounds have revealed the fabric of the Georgian building alongside the story of its owner, Henrietta Howard.

HMS Invincible: excavating a Georgian time capsule
Daniel Pascoe/University of Bournemouth, CA 389

Investigations of the wreck of HMS Invincible, which sank off Portsmouth in 1758, have shed illuminating light on what life was like on board this 18th-century warship, and within the Georgian Royal Navy.

Lessons from Canterbury: saving heritage with new approaches to urban development
SAVE Britain’s Heritage, CA 389

SAVE Britain’s Heritage have recommended a more historically sympathetic approach to urban development in response to the scale and height of new buildings proposed for Canterbury’s city centre.

No stone unturned: new insights from community archaeology on Hadrian’s Wall
WallCAP/Newcastle University, CA 390

Having excavated over 15 sites on and around Hadrian’s Wall, what has the WallCAP project revealed about how stone was sourced to construct the fortification, and these materials’ post-Roman afterlife?

From abbey infirmary to academic accommodation: tracing the evolution of Dulverton House
Urban Archaeology, CA 390

In the shadow of Gloucester Cathedral, works at Dulverton House have revealed material traces of a long history, from monastic infirmary and Reformation-era graffiti to Restoration redesigns.

Archaeology adrift? A curious tale of Lego lost at sea
Tracey Williams, CA 391

Since a shipment of Lego went overboard in 1997, millions of plastic bricks have been slowly washing up on beaches. Tracey has painstakingly examined and documented what has come ashore.

How to vote:

As ever, our awards ceremony recognises the best in archaeology, as voted for by you the reader.

Please vote online at www.archaeology.co.uk/vote. Voting is now open!

All the fun of the (archaeo)fair

Since we are finally back in person, an enduringly popular feature of Current Archaeology Live! will be return as well: our Archaeology Fair. It provides a wide range of stalls hosting travel companies, booksellers, institutions, and other archaeological organisations for you to browse in the breaks between sessions.

This time we welcome our partner for the event, UCL Institute of Archaeology, as well as leading archaeological publishers and booksellers, including Archaeopress and Archaeology Plus. For those interested in archaeological travel, you can find out more about expert-led tours and heritage-themed holidays from the likes of Andante Travels, while specialist archaeological services are offered by Wessex Insurance Brokers Ltd, who provide tailored products designed for archaeologists. And even more exhibitors will be added over the coming weeks, so watch this space!