Landscape Archaeology Medal
The Landscape Archaeology Medal is awarded annually for distinguished achievements in landscape archaeology.
History of the prize
The award was created following the decision of Professor John Coles, a Fellow of the Academy since 1978, to establish an academy medal for this field. This medal was awarded for the first time in 2007.
a) Eligible nominations can be for landscape archaeology in any part of the world and in any period, provided that the nominated scholar is based in Britain or Ireland.
How to nominate
Nominations for the Landscape Archaeology Medal are currently are currently closed. Nominations will open again in December 2021.
Professor Keith Branigan for his distinguished and varied career with many notable achievements in the study of Roman Britain and the prehistory of the Aegean.
Alongside excavation of the Romano-British villa at Latimer (Bucks) Keith Branigan developed an interest in the pattern of rural settlement in the Chiltern valleys in the Roman period and expanded this interest to the whole of the area occupied by the civitas of the Catuvellauni.
Alongside this, from 1966 he conducted excavations at the 8ha Romano-British site at Gatcombe (Somerset). Inevitably the study of such a large site which appeared to be not a town but the centre of a farming estate led him to look at its local environs and then at its place in the rural settlement of the whole of south-west England in the Roman period.
At the same time Keith’s doctoral research (into metallurgy in EBA Crete) had drawn him into the fascinating development of complex societies on the island and in 1971 he undertook his first field survey, in the ‘Holy Gorge’ in the Asterousia mountains of south-central Crete. This was the first intensive field survey undertaken in Crete, and the first to employ a soil scientist. Keith became particularly involved in trying to establish the relationship between the landscapes of the living and the dead in the prepalatial period. Subsequently he was able to obtain a permit for a similar intensive survey in upland eastern Crete (Ziros) and a third survey was undertaken north of the Moni Odiyitria in the Asterousia.
By the time the Ziros survey was undertaken, he was already working in the southern islands of the Western Isles. The SEARCH project (Sheffield Environmental and Archaeological Research Campaign in the Hebrides) was planned as a five-year multi-disciplinary project involving, archaeologists, a variety of environmental specialists, and historians. The basic objective was to trace the development of human settlement in these islands from its beginnings up until the mid-19th century AD. But they wanted to understand the impact of humans on the Hebridean landscape, and equally the impact of the Hebridean landscape and environment on human settlers. The field project eventually concluded after fifteen years. By that time, they had worked and intensively surveyed on more than a dozen islands, recording over 2000 previously unknown archaeological locations. The results were published in ten books and a hundred journal papers. The whole project eventually involved over 60 academic staff from ten British universities plus colleagues from Canada and the USA, and over 800 students. Alongside all the archaeological discoveries, fourteen major environmental studies were completed and the results integrated with the archaeological information. SEARCH has provided an enormous database for future landscape archaeology in Barra, South Uist and the Bishop’s Isles.
Keith still regularly visit the islands of Barra and Vatersay.
“This award means a great deal to me. It’s reassuring to know that, however much methods and techniques in landscape archaeology have moved on, my various projects are thought to still have a value and are worthy of recognition. The award has also reminded me how incredibly fortunate I was to have the friendship, encouragement and stimulation of so many outstanding landscape archaeologists working alongside me in Sheffield – Graeme Barker, Mark Edmonds, Andrew Fleming, David Gilbertson, Richard Hodges, Mike Parker Pearson, Derrick Riley, and Jim Symonds.”
– Professor Keith Branigan, July 2020
2019 Professor Dominic Powlesland, Landscape Research Centre
2017 Professor Tom Williamson, University of East Anglia
2015 Dr David Hall, University of Exeter
2013 Mr Christopher Taylor FBA, Formerly Head of Archaeological Survey, Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England
2011 Dr Conor Newman, Senior Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, National University of Ireland
2009 Professor Tony Wilkinson FBA, Professor of Archaeology, Durham University
2007 Professor Andrew Fleming, Emeritus Professor, University of Wales Trinity St David