Marsh Community Archaeologist of the Year Award

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

The Award was presented for the first time in 2014 and recognises an individual who has inspired others to share their love of archaeology and promote the ancient heritage of their local area.

Nominations are made via the Council for British Archaeology website and judged in partnership with the MCT.

Pictured: 2015 winners, Dr Jonathan Kenny

Arran Johnson 2023

Arran has been a guiding light in community archaeology since his first outing where he has helped to develop training excavations for over a decade. Arran is responsible for giving many people their first step into an archaeological career, in which they develop from trainees into full-time employees. Arran has fought to keep training costs low as this can be a barrier for some people to participate and so he has worked to create bursaries for lower income trainees to allow them the opportunity to still partake. In addition to training excavations, Arran has also been instrumental in the development and delivery of a ground-breaking programme, ‘Archaeology on Prescription’, which uses archaeology as a social prescribing tool to welcome those with poor mental health, and learning and physical disabilities that would usually prevent people from taking part. He helps trainees to develop new skills, create lasting friendships and aims to improve their overall wellbeing. Many of his participants have gone on to be actively involved in other community excavations expressing that Arran gave them the confidence to try something new. 

Previous Winners

Andrew Mayfield

Andrew’s archaeological career began as a volunteer before he studied the subject at university. Since then, he has sought to encourage and support others who wish to get involved in the field. In 2009, Andrew became a Community Archaeologist with Kent County Council and in 2021 he was recruited to be the first Community Archaeologist for the Royal Parks based in Greenwich. Many people benefit from Andrew’s knowledge and enthusiasm, and he encourages all to get involved by ensuring access, adapting to meet individuals’ needs and actively finding ways to make sure anyone who is interested in archaeology can participate. Andrew has successfully obtained grants for projects developed with and for local volunteers based on their interests and he organises workshops, bringing in specialists on various topics. He is an advocate for CBA’s annual Festival of Archaeology, regularly organising digs and exhibitions, creating opportunities for volunteer diggers, the general public and schools to get involved and inspired by their local history. Andrew is the President of the Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society, a trustee of the Enabled Archaeology Group and runs a local Young Archaeologist Club group.  

Eleanor Kingston

Eleanor is the Lake District National Park (LDNP) archaeologist. Between 2016 and 2018, in addition to supporting her network of 70 volunteers, she actively engaged local communities in ‘hands on’ archaeology which benefitted the historic environment of the park. She has designed and managed a number of Heritage Lottery funded projects in this time, encouraging local communities and schools to get involved and engage with their local historical environment. Eleanor has been responsible for the LDNP Volunteer Network since 2014 which has seen volunteers from local communities undertake an annual programme of surveys, conservation work and archival research. She also organises an annual public conference on archaeology in the Lake District which displays and shares the findings of her community projects. Interest in community archaeology in the LDNP is on the rise and this is largely due to Eleanor’s efforts. Her enthusiasm, leadership, support and encouragement have seen a growing number of people involved in delivering successful community projects.

Barry Mead

 Barry has initiated and been involved with many community archaeology projects over the last 20 years and has made a significant contribution to archaeological research and the involvement of local communities over the last few years. He works tirelessly with volunteer groups, schools, youth groups and local councils to inspire and encourage.

Most recently, Barry has acted as Community Project Manager for the ongoing Cresswell Pele Tower project, which will result in the complete restoration of a Grade II Tower and the removal of it from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. He has successfully raised HLF Heritage Grants, totalling over £770,000, in order to save the Tower, investigate its archaeology and bring it in to free public access. The project has involved over 300 local schoolchildren and 100 volunteers in a range of fieldwork activities, including the discovery of an earlier medieval building situated below the Tower.

Barry has established a real passion and interest for archaeology among all ages in the local community. He is always keen to enthuse, entertain and encourage people and without him the Tower would be ruinous. Since 2016, he has given over 50 talks and presentations to various audiences about the projects he has been involved in.

Vicki Score

Vicki is Project Manager at the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS). As well as her extensive commitment to the commercial sector, Vicki has been involved with the Hallaton Field Work Group in Leicestershire for 15 years.

The group has discovered a large sweep of ritual landscape related to the Roman, Bronze and Neolithic Ages and carried out a number of excavations and geophysical surveys. As a volunteer with the group, Vicki project manages annual excavations and provides expert archaeological knowledge and support with grant applications. She also shares her extensive knowledge with other local archaeological groups and has given over 100 talks across the country.

Vicki also volunteers, along with Professor Simon James from the University of Leicester, on the Ancient Akrotiri Project to train students in Cyprus alongside injured service personnel, as part of Operation Nightingale. She is also responsible post-holder at meetings of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and has created a training scheme for the ULAS’s first work placement, which has been endorsed by the Institute.

Liz Caldwell

Liz has been a driving force in community archaeology in Somerset and South West England for almost 20 years. In the late 1990s she joined the Bristol University led South Cadbury Environs Project as a volunteer and then part time Research Technician, a project which gave many volunteers archaeological experience and training.

Liz was also instrumental in setting up the South Somerset Archaeological Research Group (SSARG), an entirely volunteer-managed group, and spent four years as its Chair. Since its inception, the group has investigated numerous sites where they have encouraged local residents to get involved, and runs an annual academic conference as well as an active programme of meetings and field trips. Members of the group are involved in the full archaeological process, from initial research of a site to processing and analysing samples that are found during the dig.

Liz has expanded her volunteering further to set up a new Young Archaeologists Club (YAC) in 2012 in honour of the late Professor Mike Aston. She also serves as a Trustee of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society and is Secretary of the Society’s Archaeology Branch. As well as her extensive volunteering, Liz runs a business which processes archaeological samples and carries out geophysical surveys, and she also co-authored a paper which was published in the journal Archaeological Prospection in 2015.

Dr Jonathan Kenny

In 2003, Dr Jonathan Kenny became a Community Archaeologist helping to initiate and run a community archaeological research project on a Romano British farm site at Broughton. Dr Kenny has also worked extensively with historical societies who have completed successful community projects. At North Duffield, the community have been inspired to study the archaeological landscape around them, in particular focussing on Iron Age remains, which led to the discovery, excavation and publication of a significant monumental roundhouse. He also worked on the Cawood project which works with the local community to survey and excavate on a medieval manor site in the village and run workshops for the local school teaching historic research methods, literacy and the role of the village in the Victorian period. Dr Kenny also runs a history club with York People First, a self-advocacy group for people with learning difficulties and this is done on an entirely voluntary basis.

Vivien Samuelson

Vivien has been one of the leaders of a community project to find out more about Hadrian’s Wall, in her local community of Wallsend, in Tyneside. She has led a group of volunteers into researching historic maps and records, which revealed an original Roman bath-house. Following this evidence, the site has been opened for excavation by the North Tyneside Council.

Vivien has been on the excavation every day, digging, recording and sharing with less experienced volunteers her skills as a community archaeologist over almost 20 years of digging at Wallsend. She has been a great inspiration to others and her contributions to archaeology have been outstanding.