Welsh Slate wins Best Book at the British Archaeological Awards 2016

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Archaeologists have announced the winners of this year’s British Archaeological Awards showcasing archaeology discoveries up and down the country that reveal new stories of Britain and its people. To our delight, we are proud to announce that the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales’ publication Welsh Slate – Archaeology and History of an Industry has won the British Archaeological Award for Best Archaeological Book.

Welsh Slate was shortlisted for the award in June alongside St Kilda: The Last and Outmost Isle and Stonehenge: Making Sense of a Prehistoric Mystery. The winners of this year’s British Archaeological Awards were announced at the British Museum on 11 July in association with digital media partner, Culture24, showcasing the very latest discoveries and innovations in UK archaeology.

The book was recognised by the panel of judges as an outstanding contribution to industrial archaeology and social history, and for increasing our understanding of the past and introducing it to new audiences. It marks the perfect end to a publication project which began in 2007.

Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates, who is also responsible for Culture, Tourism and Heritage in Wales, said: “We are immensely proud of our industrial roots and it is great to see our rich cultural heritage explored, explained and promoted in this book. I would also like to congratulate Welsh author and archaeologist, Dr David Gwyn, for winning this prestigious award and helping to raise Wales’ profile and interest in our heritage sites at a national and international level.”

Christopher Catling, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, commented: “This is an eye-opening book on a surprising subject – it is not just the story of how the Welsh slate industry grew in the 19th century into a global industry that roofed the world, from Australia to New York, it is also the story of the survival of the Welsh language and the development of such Welsh characteristics as nonconformity, political culture and self-reliance. Archaeology is defined holistically in this book to embrace the whole culture of the resilient and resourceful slate miners of North Wales and their families.”

David Gwyn, the book’s author, said:I’m delighted to have received this wonderful award, not just for my own sake, but for the recognition it confers on the Slate Industry of North Wales World Heritage Bid, and on those who worked, or who still work, in the industry.”

Since its publication in March 2015, the book has been highly praised: “this thrilling study fills an important gap in our historiography and offers a description and interpretation that cannot be surpassed” (Y Cymro).

This is the second award for Welsh Slate; earlier this year David Gwyn received the Peter Neaverson Award for Outstanding Scholarship. In addition, this book is making an important contribution to the developing Gwynedd Council-led world heritage nomination for the North Wales Slate Industry.

Deborah Williams, Chair of the British Archaeological Awards, commented: “The entries this year reflect the incredible wealth and range of archaeology that is going on across the UK, the quality and expertise of our world-leading archaeologists, and the ever increasing fascination of the British public with the history and archaeology of their local area.”

Alongside Welsh Slate, the 2016 winners included ‘Battles, Bricks and Bridges’ by the Cleenish Community Association and Killesher Community Development Association of Northern Island for Best Community Engagement Archaeology Project; University of York for the Best Archaeological Innovation with the Star Carr shale pendant; National Geographic Magazine for ‘Under London’ in the Best Public Presentation of Archaeology; and Oxford Archaeology South with ‘Westgate Oxford’ for Best Archaeological Project. An Outstanding Achievement Award was also presented to Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, and the Best Archaeological Discovery given to the ‘Must Farm Project’ in Cambridgeshire.

The British Archaeological Awards (http://www.archaeologicalawards.com/) were founded in 1977 and are Britain’s most prestigious independent archaeological awards, celebrating and showcasing the best in British archaeology. They are managed by an independent charity and take place every two years to celebrate the most innovative, accessible and impactful archaeological projects, publications and initiatives. The British Archaeological Awards entries are judged by independent panels made up of leading experts from across the archaeology field in the UK, including Andrew Davidson from Gwynedd Archaeological Trust.

You can see all the winning and shortlisted projects at www.archaeologicalawards.com/2016-winners

About Welsh Slate:

The book is available in both English and Welsh versions:

Welsh Slate: Archaeology and History of an Industry (ISBN: 978-1871184-51-8)

Llechi Cymru: Archaeoleg a Hanes (ISBN: 978-1871184-52-5).

These are large format books of 291 pages with 243 high-quality illustrations and cost £45.

For further details, please contact the Royal Commission on 01970 621200, nmr.wales@rcahmw.gov.uk.

Image Caption The Winners! The Royal Commission and David Gwyn with award presenters Julian Richards (far left) and Bettany Hughes (far right).

 

Notes for editors:

  1. The British Archaeological Awards take place every two years to recognise excellence and innovation in archaeology and are managed by an independent charity, chaired by Deborah Williams of Historic England, and trustees and judges from across the archaeology profession. The 2016 Awards are sponsored by the Robert Kiln Trust, The Society of Antiquaries of London, The British Museum, Portable Antiquities Scheme, Historic England, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, Archaeology Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, and Cadw. archaeologicalawards.org.uk 
  2. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) is the investigation body and national archive for the historic environment of Wales. It has the lead role in ensuring that Wales’s archaeological, built and maritime heritage is authoritatively recorded, and seeks to promote the understanding and appreciation of this heritage nationally and internationally. . Website: www.rcahmw.gov.uk
  1. Winners’ videos are published on the website of the British Archaeological Awards: archaeologicalawards.org.uk/2016-winners twitter @BAAWARDSUK #BAA2016

Images at: https://www.dropbox.com/home/BAA%202016%20ceremony

 

4.  Media contacts:

Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales Nicola Roberts nicola.roberts@rcahmw.gov.uk  01970 621248

 

BAA Louise Ennis 07709 353741 louiseenniscomms@gmail.com               ENDS

07/19/2016

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