Top Awards For For Future Archaeologists

By David Prudames | 12 October 2004
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Shows a photograph of a girl and a boy holding up certificates standing beneath a banner with the initials BAA. There are two men standing either side of the banner.

Top archaeologists Phil Harding (far left) and Francis Pryor were on hand to present awards to the next generation. © Young Archaeologists' Club.

Move over Mick Aston and get ready to hang up your trowel Harding - there’s a couple of new kids on your archaeological block.

At the prestigious British Archaeological Awards in Belfast on October 8, Bethany Smith and Christopher Cannell were declared Young Archaeologists of the Year.

Organised by the Young Archaeologists’ Club, the award is now in its 27th year and aims to promote an understanding and appreciation of archaeology in the British Isles.

This year it was sponsored by English Heritage and entrants were required to design their own prehistoric monuments.

Shows a photograph of a girl and a man in a suit holding the girl's award between them.

CBA President, renowned archaeologist and TV presenter, Francis Pryor congratulates Bethany on her success. © Young Archaeologists' Club.

Despite picking out Bethany, 10, from Upminster in Essex and 13-year-old Christopher from Edinburgh as the winners, competition judge and Time Team expert, Phil Harding said it had been a tough assignment.

"I would extend congratulations to all finalists," he said, "and I genuinely regret that there can’t be more winners."

Far from just producing a simple design for a prehistoric monument, competitors had to plan a structure that could have been built at the time.

Shows a photograph of one of the winning entries. It is a drawing of a hill with lots of buildings scattered over it.

Christopher Cannell's earth mound temple doubles as a watchtower for when his tribe is under attack. To see details of Christopher's work visit our children's site Show Me.

Using only materials available to ancient Britons and building techniques they are known to have used, entrants had to explain the traditions and practical reasons behind them.

Bethany’s wood henge "monument to all the young and newborn" beat off the competition in the eight to 12 category, while Christopher’s earth mound temple took him to the top in the 13-16 age group.

Phil Harding joined the newly-crowned Young Archaeologists of the Year in Belfast, where CBA President Francis Pryor and TV archaeologist Julian Richards were also on hand to offer their congratulations.

As well as receiving prizes donated by York Archaeological Trust and Brighton-based publishers Book House, the young archaeologists took part in a weekend of archaeological events.

Shows a photograph of two men and a girl. She appears to be showing them something she has found. The man in the background is wearing a hat and the one in the foreground has a beard and glasses.

Identifying finds on site in Northern Ireland. © Young Archaeologists' Club.

From visits to local sites like the Giant's Ring, Nendrum Monastery and Grey Abbey, to prehistoric pot making at Ulster Museum they were treated to the full historical works.

They even got to have a go at a spot of television-style archaeology with a role-playing session led by Julian Richards in which they worked with local YAC members to 'make' a documentary called Digging Up Dead People.

For Bethany the best thing about the weekend was "meeting all the famous archaeologists" and being named Young Archaeologist of the Year made her feel "special".

Shows a photograph of one of the winning entries. It is a papier mache construction of a building on a hill.

Bethany's wood henge monument took first prize in the eight to 12 category. For the full lowdown on her work, check out Show Me.

As for Christopher, his aim now is to pursue a career in archaeology and he was spotted doing a bit of 'networking' with archaeologists from Edinburgh to try to get some field excavation experience.

The Young Archaeologists Club is operated by the Council for British Archaeology and caters for young people aged between eight and 16 and currently has over 3,000 members.

It seeks to encourage interest and enthusiasm for local and national heritage and provides a range of activities.

Budding archaeologists with an eye on getting to know their ancestors should take a look at our Show Me guide to some of the most fascinating prehistoric sites around the country.