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John digs deep to win top archaeology award

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 14 November 2006

14 November 2006

John digs deep to win top archaeology award

The top award in British archaeology has gone to the Peak District National Park Authority’s senior survey archaeologist Dr John Barnatt.

John, 53, of Buxton, was presented with the Silver Trowel Award at the British Archaeology Awards ceremony in Birmingham, by Professor Mick Aston, the technicolour-jumpered expert on Channel 4’s “Time Team.”

The Silver Trowel, sponsored by Spear and Jackson, is the profession’s “award of awards” made for the greatest initiative in British archaeology, and is presented only every two years.

John was nominated for a range of National Park projects in conjunction with English Heritage.

They included: “The Lead Legacy” – a study of the historic importance of the Peak District’s lead industry; “Chatsworth – a Landscape History” – which is now being used by the estate for its land management and education projects; “Lathkill Dale National Nature Reserve archaeological survey,” and an update of his popular book, “The Peak District: Landscapes through Time.”

The nomination also included his own private research and voluntary work with the Peak District Mines Historical Society, and with local archaeological groups and history societies.

John was up against stiff competition from four large trusts on the short-list for the award.

“My colleagues had kept the nomination a secret from me,” he said, “so I was greatly surprised, and honoured when my name was called. It’s gratifying that the hard work I do for the National Park Authority, partner organisations and my own professional research, has been recognised.”

John was nominated by the National Park’s cultural heritage manager Ken Smith, and English Heritage regional Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Jon Humble.

Mr Humble said: “As an archaeologist, John quite literally has the X-factor in spades. Armed with a passion for the past, an infectious enthusiasm and ability in bucket-loads, the contribution he has made to archaeology and conservation in the Peak District is outstanding.

“His important work on English Heritage-funded research and surveys, such as the study of the Chatsworth landscape and work on the lead-mining industry, have helped provide a fuller picture of archaeology across the Peak District, helping areas to be sensitively managed and conserved for future generations and encouraging a wider appreciation of the area.

“It is always a privilege – and fun – to work with John. I could not think of a more deserving winner of this prestigious national award."

Chair of the British Archaeology Awards Prof David Breeze said John had “quite literally undertaken a one-man show to bring the archaeology of the area to the attention of as wide a public as possible, in as many ways as possible.

“In making the award we are recognising his achievement, and unusual and innovatory actions in publishing at so many different levels in order to raise the profile of archaeology in the Peak District.”

John, originally from Rotherham, spent eight years teaching fine art before changing careers, gaining a PhD in archaeology from Sheffield University. He joined the National Park Authority in 1989 and became its senior survey archaeologist in 1995.

He is currently working on more surveys relating to the lead-mining industry.

This is an archived press release

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