Marsh Community Archaeology Awards

12 February, 2024

On Saturday 10th, at the Council for British Archaeology’s AGM, we launched the 2024 Marsh Community Archaeology Awards and opened up the call for nominations. You can nominate in 4 categories, for individuals, young people and community archaeology projects, and you can find out how to nominate here: https://www.archaeologyuk.org/what-we-do/archaeology-awards/the-marsh-community-archaeology-awards.html

Each Award comes with a financial prize, which the winners are welcome to use in any way that they wish. Some choose to go on a team day out, some choose to use the funds to purchase equipment they need for their project, some even donate their prize to charity. Some winners put their Award directly towards advancing their project, and we wanted to share one such example with you. 

In 2022, Uncovering Roman Carlisle won the Marsh Award for Community Archaeology Project of the Year, receiving an Award of £1,000. Uncovering Roman Carlisle is an ongoing community excavation of Carlisle’s Roman Bathhouse, led by a partnership between Carlisle Cricket Club, Wardell Armstrong LLP, Cumberland Council (formerly Carlisle City Council) and Tullie. They were presented with their Award in July 2022, and just a month later in August, they were able to fund a ‘Mini-Dig’. 

The ‘Mini-Dig’ was an excavation for volunteers, but also provided on-site visitor engagement including guided tours, object handling sessions, sandpits for children’s excavations and Roman Soldier School sessions. Volunteers were able to be on-site for 4 additional days thanks to the Award, 3 trenches were opened to answer important archaeological questions and over 90 volunteer places were offered, with over 200 visitors to the site 

The project received incredible media coverage around the ‘Mini-Dig’, which has only helped to boost their reputation and encourage more public engagement, thus cementing the importance of the work they are doing. The Award has helped Uncovering Roman Carlisle demonstrate to a variety of stakeholders the value of community archaeology, which in turn has helped to secure support and funding from a variety of sources. Currently the project is ongoing to 2025 with UK Shared Prosperity Funding. They have an active Facebook group which provides updates and shares upcoming events with those interested in being involved in future activities with the project. 

Uncovering Roman Carlisle are just one of the over 30 winners of Awards that we have presented with the Council for British Archaeology since the partnership began in 2008. We are proud to be able to highlight the contributions of volunteers in archaeological projects around the country through these Awards, celebrating the important discoveries they are making to help uncover more of our history.