Current Archaeology LIVE! 2022

Current Archaeology Live! 2022 is coming up quickly, with the event scheduled to run over the weekend of 25-27 February. Like last year, it will be held online, with all the talks going live on our YouTube channel ( on the Friday morning for you to watch in any order, at your leisure. We hope you will join us to hear the latest news on the most important discoveries and leading research projects that have gone on during this past year. Watch this space in our next issue for more information on what the event will involve and how to sign up; you can also find the latest details at

As part of the conference, we will be announcing the winners of our 14th annual Current Archaeology Awards on the night of Friday 25 February. Over the next few pages, you’ll find a reminder of the people, projects, and publications that are up for a prestigious award, while the all-important information on how to cast your vote can be found below. Voting closes on 7 February.

To help you make up your mind, we caught up with our nominees for Archaeologist of the Year 2022; read on to find out what they have to say about what happened in the world of archaeology this year, what they are most proud of in their careers to-date, and what they think the future holds for archaeology.

Our international sister-magazine Current World Archaeology is also running its annual Photo of the Year competition, sponsored by Hidden History Travel, so be sure to send in your submissions. Find more information on p.7 of this issue, and at

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

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Archaeologist of the Year

We spoke to our three nominees for Archaeologist of the Year 2022; answers have been edited for length, but you can read the full versions at

Professor Martin Bell

What is your proudest archaeological achievement?

Developing an understanding of how prehistoric coastal communities used wetland landscapes seasonally and of ways we can use geoarchaeological techniques to understand how these people related and responded to highly dynamic coastal environments.

What was your archaeological moment of 2021?

I retired at the end of July and two friends and former students edited a book of essays to mark my retirement: Catherine Barnett and Thomas Walker (eds) Environment, Archaeology and Landscape (Archaeopress, 2021). It was so kind of people to go to the trouble of writing these essays, many on topics I am passionate about, like coastal archaeology, nature conservation, rewilding, and mobility. We also found some good Mesolithic human and crane footprints in the Severn Estuary.

How do you view the future of archaeology?

We face a number of challenges and need to develop a more unified voice in responding to them by asserting the wider social value of our subject. Archaeology provides a vital time depth perspective for key issues of today (such as climate change, biodiversity, and sustainability) and has a vital role to play in current debates about nature conservation strategy, subsidy (using public money for public good), coastal management, and rewilding, in addition to its contribution to education and wellbeing.

Raksha Dave

What is your proudest archaeological achievement?

I’m very proud of being able to contribute to research as a field archaeologist, and to share human stories through broadcasting, digital media, and running community projects. Public engagement is a long-term commitment and doesn’t always offer immediate outcomes, but I love the little moments: exchanges with people who approach me in the most random of places to talk about a show or project that has inspired them – that’s when I know I’m doing my job right!

What was your archaeological moment of 2021?

Taking on the role of President of the Council for British Archaeology – I never thought I would be asked to represent the archaeological sector in that way. It’s really important to me to democratise archaeology, to cast our net wider and include communities and different people in our processes no matter their identity or experience.

How do you view the future of archaeology?

Exciting, challenging, revealing, connecting… there are things we should celebrate about our sector, and we should focus on things that unite us. I’d like to see more collaboration between universities, community projects, and the commercial sector, to show the world how relevant and meaningful archaeology is – for example, in combating climate change. We have a lot of work to do to dismantle structural obstacles created in the past, but I think we’re in the right place to start making changes and it’s thrilling to be part of that.

Dr Peter Halkon

What is your proudest archaeological achievement?

The discovery of the Hasholme Iron Age logboat – and the graduation of my part-time BA Archaeology students, particularly those who had left school years before with few qualifications.

What was your archaeological moment of 2021?

The discovery of the amazing Iron Age sanctuary associated with a ringfort on the Yorkshire Wolds. After the inner palisade was removed, we could see that the slot had been filled with 40 cattle skulls, red deer bones, and antler.

How do you view the future of archaeology?

With some trepidation, given the recent closure of university departments. A bright spot, however, is the enthusiasm and skill of community-based volunteers, as demonstrated this year during our excavations at Brough-on-Humber as part of the Petuaria ReVisited project exploring Roman settlement in this area.

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Which research project would you like to vote for?

Archaeology on furlough: how volunteers explored the past during lockdown
Rob Wiseman, Cambridge Archaeological Unit, CA 370

Over 100 furloughed archaeologists created a volunteer task force exploring sites nationwide, spanning prehistory to the present day.

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

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

Darkness dispelled: exploring 1,500 years of life and death in 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.

Bridge over troubled water: Roman finds from the Tees at Piercebridge and beyond
Hella Eckardt and Philippa Walton, University of Reading/Birkbeck, University of London, CA 378

Analysis of c.3,600 artefacts from the Tees at Piercebridge may be the key to understanding Roman objects recovered from rivers.

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

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

Living like common people: uncovering medieval peasant perceptions of landscape
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.

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This award recognises projects on sites facing natural/human erosion or development, and conservation efforts.

Building a Roman Villa: a Romano-Celtic temple-mausoleum and evidence of industry at Priors Hall, Corby
Oxford Archaeology, CA 370

Excavation outside Corby has shed vivid light on the construction of a Roman villa, the reuse of an enigmatic religious building, and a bustling array of industrial activity.

Pandemics and public health: cleansing Bath’s ‘Great Unwashed’
Wessex Archaeology, CA 371

The discovery in Bath of one of the earliest Victorian wash houses in Britain has shed light on changing attitudes towards the poor, and on a historic public health emergency.

Mourning in miniature: excavating an infant Beaker burial near Salisbury
Headland Archaeology, CA 373

Archaeological investigations just outside Salisbury in 2018 and 2019 uncovered echoes of early Bronze Age activity, including the burial of an infant with an unusually small beaker.

Carmarthenshire’s missing monument: how one of the biggest excavations in Wales uncovered a long-lost henge
Cotswold Archaeology, CA 376

The installation of the South Wales Gas Pipeline allowed archaeologists to investigate a 317km corridor illuminating more than 10,000 years of human history.

Iron in the time of Anarchy: investigating a smithy site forged in 12th-century civil war
Headland Archaeology, CA 376

Excavations in Cheveley, Cambridgeshire, revealed the remains of a 12th-century smithy with a vivid story to tell about the upheaval of the Anarchy in the Fenlands.

Northampton’s chequered history: uncovering Britain’s first medieval chess workshop
MOLA, CA 377

Excavations in Northampton town centre revealed the remains of a 12th-century carver’s workshop where chess pieces were being manufactured – the first found in Britain.

Road to the past: exploring the prehistoric heart of Galloway
GUARD Archaeology, CA 378

The construction of a new bypass on the A75 near Dunragit uncovered a wealth of archaeological finds, illuminating around 8,000 years of human activity.

CITiZAN’s Climate Emergency: protecting the future by understanding the past

How can studying the past help combat the climate crisis? This community-based research project on Mersea Island in Essex revealed a vivid story of adaptation and change.


Which book deserves special recognition?

The Dissolution of the Monasteries in England and Wales
Hugh Willmott, CA 370

This approach to the Dissolution uses examples from across the country to show how archaeology can elucidate monastic buildings, their grounds, landscapes, and wider trends.

The Tale of the Axe: how the Neolithic revolution transformed Britain
David Miles, CA 373

This new edition spans prehistory from the emergence of Homo sapiens to the dawn of the Iron Age, with a thought-provoking afterword exploring recent discoveries and scientific advances.

Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries: kinship, community, and identity
Duncan Sayer, CA 374

This must-read book for anyone interested in funerary archaeology takes a holistic yet nuanced multi-tiered approach to early medieval cemeteries in England, incorporating new data.

Bog Bodies: face-to-face with the past
Melanie Giles, CA 375

A thought-provoking book exploring how understanding of bog bodies has evolved over time, modern scientific techniques, and ethical questions surrounding our engagement with the dead.

Hadrian’s Wall: creating division
Matthew Symonds, CA 375

This lively and highly readable exploration of the significance of Hadrian’s Wall addresses new topics that have emerged from recent studies and sets the Wall in a wider context.

River Kings: a new history of Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads
Cat Jarman, CA 375

A fascinating book that discusses diverse topics including early medieval seafaring, Viking involvement in the slave trade and its legacy in Icelandic DNA, migration, and mythology.

Silchester Revealed: the Iron Age and Roman town of Calleva
Michael Fulford, CA 377

This lucidly written book sets the Roman town within its national context, delivering the views of one of our leading experts on some of the big issues of Roman Britain.

Belonging and Belongings: portable artefacts and identity in the civitas of the Iceni
Natasha Harlow, CA 379

This powerful synthesis presents an enormous volume of work that challenges traditional Roman historians’ accounts of the Iceni and the area in which they lived, and provides an intriguing analysis of imagery.


Cladh Hallan’s roundhouses
Professor Mike Parker Pearson

Trellyffaint: uncovering dairy farming in Neolithic Wales
Dr George Nash

Iron Age coins in Britain: new advances through Linked Open Data
Dr Courtney Nimura

The Antonine Wall distance stones
Dr Louisa Campbell

Roman Richborough
Tony Wilmott

Bridge over troubled water: the Roman finds from the River Tees at Piercebridge in context
Professor Hella Eckardt and Dr Philippa Walton

Monasteries in the Viking Age: Iona after AD 800
Dr Adrián Maldonado

Rediscovering Fountains Abbey
Mark Newman

Airfields and their potential for study
Dr Robert Clarke

Playing the past: the archaeology of football and its social benefits
Dr Paul Murtagh

Conserving Stonehenge: the most significant works on the sarsen lintels since the 1950s
Dr Heather Sebire

Beginning ‘Beyond Notability’: excavating the archives for women in archaeology, history and heritage in Britain 1870-1950
Dr Amara Thornton

Scientific analysis of textiles collected by anti-slavery activist Thomas Clarkson
Dr Margarita Gleba (with an introduction by Sarah Coleman)

Visualising Iron Age Shetland
Dr Li Sou

Prehistoric diets in the Southern Levant
Dr Shyama Vermeersch

The archaeology of Japan
Professor Simon Kaner

Visualizing Dunhuang
Dr Dora C Y Ching

Roman Libarna
Dr Katherine Huntley

The First Pharaohs
Professor Aidan Dodson