Author Vince Gaffney and the CBA’s Publications Officer, Catrina Appleby, collected the prize at the Awards ceremony held at the British Museum in London.
The book presents the results of the work carried out by a team from VISTA at the University of Birmingham to explore the land underneath the North Sea that was inundated at the end of the last Ice Age approximately 10,000 years ago. Using data collected for petroleum exploration, the project has been able to map the rivers, lakes and hill of this so-called ‘Doggerland’, an area the size of a small European country, that once linked us to the continent.
An Anzac soldier killed in the First World War is to be reburied with his fallen comrades almost a century after he died on a Belgian battlefield, after archaeologists from the University of Birmingham helped to identify his remains.
Kirsty Nichol, of Birmingham Archaeology and member of the University’s Centre for First World War Studies and No Man’s Land - The European Group for Great War Archaeology), was part of the team that, in August 2008, recovered the body of an unknown Australian soldier missing since the Battle of Messines at St Yvon, on June 8, 1917.
Painstaking detective work by academic colleagues in the group, professional partners and the Australian Army since then has led to his identity: 1983 Private Alan James Mather.
The soldier will be formally buried by the Australian Army on July 22nd at Prowse Point Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery. His name will be removed from the panel at the Menin Gate in due course.
Pte Mather’s remains were discovered when archaeologists were working on The Plugstreet Project, which is currently investigating a section of the Belgian battlefields of the First World War.
Items alongside him, such as rifle, ammunition, Corps badges and the contents of his pockets and haversack, and a corroded identification disc were also recovered.
Kirsty said that they had used the most up to date scientific techniques to study the remains, which helped to identify the unknown soldier.
“All those involved in the project worked meticulously in an effort to reveal his identity,” she explained.
“Identifications are often difficult to obtain for these men so every effort has to be made to collect as much evidence as possible and ensure that there is a robust recording strategy from the recovery of the body through to post mortem.
“From the moment we found him he was never alone, with members of the team watching over the grave site by night to protect it from being robbed. I am pleased that he has his name back, and I am very much looking forwards to meeting his family.”
Project co-director Martin Brown, Hon Research Associate at the University of Birmingham said: “We were able to build up quite a picture of the man, and this led us a long way to his identity. The badges gave us his nationality. His location in the field gave us his unit – 33 Battalion – and that tells us when he was killed because they didn’t spend long there. The fact he was wearing all his ammunition and grenades show that he was in the main attacking force and gave us his Company.”
Colleagues at Bradford University cleaned and conserved the objects, while scientific investigation into the composition of his bones by academics at the Universities of Leuven, Cranfield and Oxford enabled archaeologists to narrow down Pte Mather’s place of birth to a few locations in New South Wales.
The examination of casualty lists reduced further the number of possible identities to five men.
1983 Private Alan James Mather, who joined the Army in 1916, was a grazier from Inverell in New South Wales, where his father had been mayor. He was survived by his parents, older twin sisters, Flora and Marion, a younger sister, Elsie, a half brother Doug and a half sister, Jessie. He was 37 years old when he was killed.
Project co-director Richard Osgood said: “With such a low number of candidates the Australian Army commissioned DNA testing of the surviving relatives of all the casualties fitting the profile, which resulted in a positive match with one of the next of kin donors. This match provided the final proof in identifying Private Mather.
“This result shows how integration of the fieldwork, use of historical documents and cutting edge science can produce very satisfying outcomes.”
The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project will bring together the most sophisticated geophysics team ever gathered for a single archaeological project alongside specialists in British prehistory and landscape archaeology. The outstanding geophysical survey capabilities of the team has been made possible only because of the unique expertise and combined resources of the project partners, the IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (VISTA) at the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, University of Birmingham, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection & Virtual Archaeology (LBI) in Vienna and its European partners from Austria, Germany, Norway and Sweden, and the Division of Archaeological, Geographical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Bradford.
The Hidden Landscapes Project is a collaborative project and gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Trust and English Heritage
For more information please contact Professor Vince Gaffney (Project Lead)
The British Archaeological Awards are a showcase for the best in UK archaeology and a central event in the archaeological calendar. Established in 1976, they now encompass six Awards, covering every aspect of UK archaeology. The purpose of the Awards is to advance public education in the study and practice of archaeology in all its aspects in the United Kingdom, and in particular by the granting of awards for excellence and/or initiative. The Awards are committed to recognising significant contributions to knowledge and the importance of research, professional standards and excellence, involvement of local communities in the study of archaeology, effective dissemination and presentation of archaeological knowledge, and innovation and originality of approach.
The 43rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies Byzantium behind the Scenes: Power and Subversion took place at the University of Birmingham in March 2010 and attracted more than 130 delegates and guests from universities across the UK and from 15 other countries. As always, members of the local Birmingham community were a welcome addition to this large event. A culmination of the academic programme of the symposium, consisting of 18 main papers and 34 communications, was the keynote address by Professor Margaret Alexiou, formerly of the University of Birmingham and Emerita Professor of Harvard University.
Download the podcast: The power of poverty and pain: Theodore Prodromos (.wav 47mins)
From 26 March 2010 until the end of October visitors to Stratford will be able to watch as archaeologists unearth the foundations – and hopefully, rubbish tips – of Shakespeare’s House, which was demolished in 1759. A special viewing platform has been constructed so that visitors will be able to peek over the shoulders of a team of archaeologists and volunteers as they excavate the area where Shakespeare’s house and courtyard stood – an up-close view that will enable them to feel as though they are part of the dig team.
‘We’re excavating three areas in total – one large trench will run from the Chapel Street end of the property up to the end of the inner courtyard, a second will investigate the area currently occupied by the herb garden, and the final area will involve the excavation of one quarter of the knot garden at the rear of the building,’ explains Dr Diana Owen, Director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. ‘We do not know if the knot garden was an area used by Shakespeare – it may have been a yard simply used by his servants, but this could actually yield some fantastic results, especially if it was an area where rubbish was thrown or the cess pit was located.’
The excavation is being undertaken by archaeologists, who will be working on the dig seven days a week. Kevin Colls, from Birmingham Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, says, ‘Through documentary evidence we know Shakespeare lived at New Place but we have very little information regarding the layout of the house and gardens at this time. Through archaeological fieldwork, in particular the excavation of structural remains and the recovery of artefacts, we hope to fill in the blanks. Even the smallest shard of broken pottery has the potential for giving us tantalising glimpses into the life of Shakespeare such as what he liked to eat and drink’.
To help visitors understand why the Trust is undertaking such an extensive excavation, Nash’s House – the building that adjoined New Place, and which was owned by the husband of Shakespeare’s granddaughter – will feature a new exhibition focusing on what is known of Shakespeare’s life when he returned from London to Stratford and explaining what archaeologists are hoping to find buried beneath the soil.
Visitors will also take a different route around the property, walking through from the front to the rear of the house and exiting through the former education room, which will be relocated to the first floor. They will be guided around the perimeter of the knot garden, where archaeologists and interpretation staff will explain the current position of the dig, before returning to the front of the property along a raised platform, which takes them right between the two other trenches for an unrivalled view of the largest excavation.
See also: Leventis Studentships
Open across IAA’s disciplines (Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology, Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies):
Scholarships for specific subject areas:
Classics, Ancient History, and Byzantine Studies:
Archaeology and Heritage Management:
See also: Leventis Studentships
Application forms may be downloaded from http://www.as.bham.ac.uk/study/support/admin/pgr/PGScholarships-CAL.shtml
Completed applications are due by 4 p.m. (16.00), Friday, 26 February 2010 to email@example.com
Applicants must have submitted their application to study at Birmingham before applying for the funding competition.
Archaeologists at the University of Birmingham have begun preparations for an archaeological excavation at the site of Shakespeare’s final home ‘New Place’ in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he lived out his final years and in which he died in 1616. Initial work to test the feasibility of an excavation project is underway and will inform plans for a wider archaeological project by Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust at New Place next year. Learn More...
Archaeologists from Birmingham Archaeology have been participating in the recovery of the UK’s largest haul of Anglo Saxon gold, amounting to over 1,500 items. The find, initially discovered by detectorist Terry Herbert, was recovered from a field near Lichfield, Staffordshire. The hoard includes a minimum of 84 pommel caps and 71 sword hilt collars, items inlaid with previous stones and folded crosses.
Leslie Webster, former keeper at the British Museum’s Department of Prehistory and Europe said ‘This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England as radically, if not more so than the Sutton Hoo discoveries’ ‘(It is) absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells’.
The hoard may have been buried around AD 700, perhaps between the rules of the powerful Mercian kings Aethelred and Aethelbald.
Archaeologists from Birmingham Archaeology have been working with Staffordshire County Council and Duncan Slarke (Portable Antiquities Scheme). Work was funded by English Heritage and Staffordshire County Council.
A selection of the finds will be on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery from Friday 24th September to 13th October.
See www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk for further details of the finds.
Visit Birmingham Archaeology for More Information
8 July 2009
Everyone interested in postgraduate study in archaeology is welcome to attend. It's not too late to apply!
29 April 2009
Abstracts to be submitted to Diana Spencer by 20th March.
Booking forms to be submitted to the IAA office by 27th March.
ALL IAA postgraduates must attend.
ALL 2nd year IAA PhD students must present a paper.
Free lunch provided!
10th Postgraduate Research Colloquium 2009
Saturday 30 May 2009
Contributions may be in any area of Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, including archaeology, history, literature, art history etc., or they may be of an interdisciplinary nature.
Wednesday 4th February 2009
For students interested in postgraduate programmes in Archaeology 2009-10
The results of the latest Research and Assessment Exercise for 2008 were published on 18th December.
A Day-School to be held at Burlington House
Friday 6th February 2009
On 3rd February 1859, Thomas Wright’s workmen began to excavate beneath the arch of the Old Work at Wroxeter. By the end of April, when Charles Dickens visited the site, the monument as we know it today was largely exposed and thronged with visitors. Such was the excitement that Lord Barnard generously donated the site to the newly founded Shropshire Archaeological Society to open as a visitor attraction. February 2009 thus marks the 150th anniversary of a momentous event in British archaeology: the re-discovery of Wroxeter Roman city, and the opening of one of the earliest archaeological visitor attractions in the country. February 2009 also marks the completion of work on the last results of the modern phase of work at Wroxeter enabling for the first time a full overview of the site.
The partnership with IBM and the Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (VISTA) aims to promote high performance computing in the Arts and to promote the Centre as an international hub for computer-based research and education. The partnership will assist in the development of the new "Virtual Worlds" laboratory at the Centre and its most recent flagship project - the 3D digitisation of the Eton Myers collection of Egyptian fine art. This is one of the finest private collections of such material outside the Egypt or national museums and VISTA will be working with Eton to provide a web accessible 3D museum using this fabulous collection. The programme is supported by JISC.