Marsh Award for Community Archaeology Project of the Year

This Award is run in partnership with the Council for British Archaeology and celebrates volunteer projects who carry out exceptional archaeological work within their communities and help to sustain our cultural heritage for future generations.

The Award recognises and promotes the results of research and/or fieldwork led by community groups which have made a substantial contribution to knowledge and wellbeing in their local area.

Small Pits, Big Ideas 2023

Small Pits, Big Ideas took place across 6 locations in Worcestershire. Local residents opened up their gardens and supplied encouragement and participation in unearthing the past. Over 30 people took place in each location over separate weekends, along with experienced archaeologists. Whilst the project was impacted by lock-down, everyone took advantage of the fresh air, opportunities to mingle and to be active together. The presence of mentors helped to ensure that everyone from young people to older people could both learn and participant and share their experiences. New friendships were formed within the communities and beyond. The project engaged with university students, amateur archaeologists and local archaeology groups to guide and support the participants through the process from locating, excavating, recording and finds identification. These skills were enhanced amongst the more experienced. Follow-up Zoom talks helped to re-engage with participants. Following the project a roadshow exhibition of the finds started at local libraries, as well as a series of lectures to various local history groups.  

Previous Winners

Uncovering Roman Carlisle

Uncovering Roman Carlisle is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is led by a partnership between Carlisle Cricket Club, Wardell Armstrong LLP, Carlisle City Council and Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery. The project centred around the excavation of an internationally significant site at Carlisle Cricket Club, a suspected Roman bathhouse that was discovered in 2017. This is an important excavation site as there is no other tangible Roman heritage visible in the city and there has been no recent opportunity for local community involvement in archaeology on this scale, or any other accessible way for residents to learn about the region’s Roman history. The project also intended to support wellbeing and skills development that was important after the various lockdowns. 288 individuals from a range of ages and backgrounds were able to take part in the project and they experienced a sense of discovery and enjoyment from meeting new people and contributing to their local area. Taking part in the excavation introduced and reinforced knowledge about Roman Carlisle to residents. The dig has created a cohort of enthusiastic and newly experienced volunteers who are interested in contributing to similar projects and sharing their skills in the future.