Professor Michael Fulford pictured with his award and with fellow lecturer, Amanda Clarke and archaeologist/television presenter, Julian Richards and Oliver Gilkes from Andante Travels - award sponsor
A READING university professor who oversaw a £5m archaeological project at Silchester’s Roman site for almost two decades has been named Archaeologist of the Year 2015.
Professor Michael Fulford, of the University of Reading’s archaeology department, who returns to Silchester tomorrow evening (Friday) to give his annual talk in the village, was recently awarded the top honour by the publication Current Archaeology Live! 2015.
Presented at the University of London’s Senate House, at a ceremony hosted by archaeologist Julian Richards, presenter of the BBC4 TV programme Meet The Ancestors, the awards paid homage to those judged to have made outstanding contributions to archaeology, with votes registered online by members of the public, rather than a panel of judges.
Professor Fulford has directed excavations at Calleva Atrebatum, Silchester’s Roman town, for the last 18 years, until the project ended last summer.
During that time, he and his colleagues unearthed artefacts and evidence of how life was lived in Roman times – and centuries before that during the Iron Age.
Accepting the award from Oliver Gilkes, of sponsor Andante Travels, Prof Fulford paid tribute to all the archeology students who had taken part in the dig.
He said: “They made us what we are today. I would also like to thank Amanda Clarke [archeology lecturer, University of Reading] who has been a mainstay of Silchester for about a million years.”
He added that it was a particular pleasure to see Mr Richards, a former University of Reading student.
Prof Fulford, a fellow and treasurer of the British Academy was appointed a CBE in 2011 for services to scholarship.
He said the dig had ended simply because: “There is no more archeology to be excavated within our trench in Insula IX.”
The aim of the project had been to explore a sample of the history of the town, from its origins in the Iron Age in the First century BC, to its abandonment between the Fifth and the Seventh centuries AD.
Plans are in the pipeline to excavate a new, smaller site at the Roman town in the village, while the priority was now to fund publication of the results and the research on all finds at the site.
Prof Fulford will give a talk at 7.30pm at Silchester Village Hall tomorrow about the culmination of the Insula IX Town Life Project in Silchester, hosted by Silchester Association. All are welcome to attend.