We are delighted to announce that Hella Eckardt is the winner of this year’s prestigious Archaeologist of the Year award.

Top honours for Archaeologist of the Year at the prestigious Current Archaeology Awards for 2018 went to Dr Hella Eckardt of the University of Reading. A specialist in social approaches to Roman archaeology, she explores social and cultural identity in antiquity, and her latest monograph Writing and power in the Roman world: literacies and material culture considers relationships between the material culture of writing and sociocultural identities.

Hella Eckardt is an Associate Professor of Roman archaeology, and her research focuses on the material culture of the north-western provinces. She is particularly interested in the relationship between consumption of Roman objects and expression of social and cultural identities. With colleagues at Reading Hella has also pioneered the large-scale application of isotope and ancestry analysis to late Roman skeletons, showing that towns such as York and Winchester were home to many immigrants, and that women and children were amongst the people who moved across the Empire. She is the third University of Reading academic in the last four

Sponsors of the Archaeologist of the Year 2018

years to win Archaeologist of the Year, following Prof. Michael Fulford in 2015 and Prof. Roberta Gilchrist in 2016.

The prize forms part of the celebrated Current Archaeology Awards, which are given each year by Current Archaeology, the UK’s leading archaeology magazine. TV personality and archaeologist Julian Richards announced the winners of the 2018 awards on 23 February, during the Current Archaeology Live! annual conference, which was held at the University of London’s Senate House.

Accepting the award, Hella Eckardt said:

“Wow, I am astonished, thank you very much. It is a real honour, and a surprise. I would like to thank all my colleagues in the department who work in archaeology, and our students. University Archaeology is so important – thank you to everyone who voted..”

Below are all the nominees in this category:

Timothy Darvill

Timothy is Professor of Archaeology and Director of the Centre for Archaeology and Anthropology at Bournemouth University. He specialises in the Neolithic of northwest Europe and archaeological resource management, and is particularly interested in making archaeology relevant to the modern world. With Geoff Wainwright he excavated at Stonehenge in 2008, and today is the only person alive who has directed an excavation inside the monument’s stones. Outside of the UK, he has also headed projects in Germany, Russia, Greece, Malta, and the Isle of Man, and was recently involved in the pioneering ‘Human Henge’ initiative, which explores how the historic landscape can be harnessed for therapeutic ends, particularly concerning mental ill-health; Timothy co-directed a complimentary research programme running alongside this undertaking (see CA 329). He has published widely on the archaeology of early farming communities in northwest Europe, and on Neolithic monuments, and his band, the Standing Stones, played at a previous CA conference.

Hella Eckardt

Hella Eckardt teaches Roman archaeology at the University of Reading. Her research focuses on the material culture of the north-western provinces and she is particularly interested in the relationship between the consumption of Roman objects and the expression of social and cultural identities. By analysing the contexts of Roman artefacts, we can consider whether certain objects are commonly associated with particular groups, genders or professions. For example, Hella has shown that lamps in Britain are strongly associated with early Roman urban and military communities. Working with colleagues at the University of Reading Hella has pioneered the large scale application of isotope analysis and ancestry assessment to late Roman skeletons, demonstrating that towns such as York and Winchester were home to many immigrants, and that women and children were amongst the people who moved across the Empire. Most recently Hella has worked on objects associated with writing in the Roman world.

Jim Leary

Jim directs the Archaeology Field School in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading. He joined the University in 2013 after more than 15 years of professional experience – with English Heritage, and before that with a commercial archaeological unit. In 2007/8 he directed fieldwork at the huge Neolithic mound of Silbury Hill in the Avebury & Stonehenge World Heritage Site, which involved excavating a tunnel into its centre. Since 2010 he has been investigating the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire, particularly the Neolithic ceremonial arena of Marden henge, as well as Wilsford henge and Cat’s Brain Long Barrow. He also directs the Leverhulme Trust-funded Round Mounds Project; an investigation of large round mounds across England. In 2015 Jim published The Remembered Land; a book looking at the way people experienced and responded to sea-level rise in the past, and is currently writing a book on the way people walked and moved around the landscape in the past. And he was also once in a Bollywood film.

Read interviews with each of the nominees here.