Earthwatch Institute, the international environmental charity, is celebrating this week after winning a prestigious British Archaeological Award. Earthwatch was recognised as "best sponsor of archaeology" for its unceasing 12 years of support for the Roman Fort on Tyne excavation project which operates in South Shields, on the river Tyne in Northeast England.
The ‘Oscars' of British archaeology, were presented on Friday 8 October at an award ceremony at the Elmwood Hall, Belfast, where Nathaniel Spring, Science and Research Manager for Earthwatch (Europe), proudly accepted the sponsorship award.
Nathaniel says, ‘Accepting this award on behalf of Earthwatch is a great privilege. The Arbeia Roman Fort project has allowed Earthwatch volunteers from all over the world to play a hands on role in the largest ever investigation of a Roman military site, and we hope that it will continue long into the future.'
‘The success of the project can be attributed to the dedication of the research team and I would like to thank them, on behalf of Earthwatch, for nominating us for this award. Our archaeology projects in Europe are consistently popular and we would be interested in considering applications for additional research projects.'
Earthwatch supported archaeologists Paul Bidwell, Dr. Nick Hodgson, and Graeme Stobbs (all from Tyne and Wear Museums), aided by teams of international Earthwatch volunteers, have made discoveries at Arbeia that exceeded all expectations.
The discovery of a multi-period prehistoric site, in particular Neolithic evidence and the well-preserved Iron Age round house interior, is of international importance, while the excavation of a series of third century Roman Barrack buildings produced some of the most complete and best preserved plans ever recovered by archaeologists.
The teams have mapped more than 1,000 square meters of pre-Roman settlement and have excavated large areas of the Roman Fort, meanwhile turning up jewellery, armour, game boards, and ceramics. Their extraordinary finds have shown that Arbeia went through several periods of building and abandonment to meet the needs of Rome's rulers.
Dr Nick Hodgson nominated Earthwatch for the award. He made this comment, ‘Earthwatch's unflagging support has underpinned the long-term conservation of the site and its accessibility to visitors. In a climate where funds to carry out long term research excavation are difficult to come by, and with fewer and fewer opportunities for students and volunteers to experience field archaeology, Earthwatch sponsorship has been decisive in allowing socially inclusive research excavations in South Shields to continue.'
Dr Alison Sheridan, Honorary Secretary of the British Archaeological Award says, ‘This is a very important award because sponsorship for archaeology is very rare and therefore extremely valuable. We are delighted that Earthwatch have won this award and that Wedgwood continues to sponsor it.'
The ground breaking project Roman Fort of Tyne is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to get involved. No archaeological experience or special skills are required. For information about dates and prices please call Earthwatch on (0) 44 1865 318831 or visit www.earthwatch.org/europe
If you would like to talk to Earthwatch about potential sponsorship opportunities please call the Research and Science department at Earthwatch on 01865 318824
For press information, interviews and images, contact:
Zoe Gamble, Press Officer, Earthwatch, on + 44 (0) 1865 318813/
Photo credit: ©Doug Peters/EWE