Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Peak District National Park archaeologist is shortlisted for a national award

Friday 28 June 2024

Catherine Parker Heath working with volunteers at Dale Mine, near WarslowCommunity and conservation archaeologist Dr Catherine Parker Heath has been shortlisted for Community Archaeologist of the Year in the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and Marsh Charitable Trust’s annual awards.

The awards recognise people who voluntarily or professionally go above and beyond to make a difference and showcase excellence in archaeology.

They celebrate the passion and dedication of individuals and the outstanding contribution of archaeology projects which create social, cultural and environmental benefit.

Those who work alongside Catherine say she has been nominated because she is passionate about archaeology and enthuses others whilst sharing her knowledge. Her work with volunteers has been particularly noted for ensuring everyone is included in projects, making sure people understand and are happy with their tasks, making them feel valued and their work appreciated whether it is desk-based or in the field.

She has worked for the Peak District National Park since 2018, first as cultural heritage officer for the South West Peak Landscape Partnership, where she delivered the Barns and Buildings Project and the Small Heritage Adoption Project, training and working alongside volunteers carrying out a range of archaeological fieldwork.

Previously, Catherine established her own business focussing on archaeological learning and outreach working with schools and community groups. She also worked for a time as an adult education tutor for Birmingham City Council and later Derbyshire County Council, teaching the Archaeology of Britain and the Peak District.

Her current role is Peak District National Park community and conservation archaeologist.

Catherine said: “I love my work as a community archaeologist. Working with communities and volunteers is so interesting, fulfilling and brings me much happiness. There is such a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience out there that brings real meaning to the work we do. Involving communities and as wide a variety of people as possible in the care and interpretation of the past is really important, listening to different points of view and trying different approaches.

"The past is vast and no one person can know everything, so the contribution of a breadth of knowledge and experience from people of all backgrounds is vital. The past doesn't belong to any one group and it certainly isn't the preserve of the professionals. Archaeology is truly for everyone.

"It was such a surprise to be shortlisted. I had no idea I had even been nominated! What an honour and how humbling. I simply could not do what I do without the volunteers by my side. It is down to them that all the amazing work we do actually gets done."

The winners will be announced on Tuesday 16 July as part of the Archaeology and Community Theme Day for this year's Festival of Archaeology (13 to 28 July). Winners will receive £1,000.

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