Awards


The John Hurst Award for the best undergraduate dissertation in medieval archaeology

John Gilbert Hurst (1927-2003) was one of the founders of the Society for Medieval Archaeology. He had a long career as an inspector of ancient monuments in what is now Historic England where he was influential in all branches of British archaeology.  He pioneered two key branches of medieval archaeology, the study of pottery and of rural settlements. His typological framework has remained the basis for later analyses of medieval pottery but he is best known for his excavation at the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy, Yorkshire. Here he and Maurice Beresford ran annual field seasons for forty years, establishing the field of medieval settlement research and training many medieval archaeologists. The John Hurst Award will be made annually to the undergraduate dissertation that makes the most original contribution to medieval archaeology (from AD c.400 to c.1600), submitted to a United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland university.

Each institution is invited to submit the dissertation of their best candidate who completed their degree during the current academic year to Dr Michael Shapland by September 1st each year. The dissertations will be read by Dr Michael Shapland and Dr Alex Sanmark, with short-listed dissertations also being read by one of the Society’s Honorary Vice-Presidents. The winner will be offered one of the Society’s recent Monographs (to be chosen by the winner) and £100. The other short-listed candidates will be commended. Submissions should be sent via email as a PDF to m.shapland@ucl.ac.uk.

 

The Philip Rahtz Award for the best postgraduate dissertation in medieval archaeology

Philip Arthur Rahtz (1921-2011) was an influential field archaeologist active throughout the second half of the 20th century. He excavated many sites, mostly in England, many medieval. They included Cannington cemetery, Glastonbury Tor and Beckery chapel, Sewerby Anglo-Saxon cemetery, Cheddar Anglo-Saxon palaces, Tamworth Mill, Bordesley abbey, and many others. In 1978 he became the first professor of archaeology at York, where he created the archaeology department and undergraduate programme. He was a founding member of the SMA. The Philip Rahtz Award, for the best postgraduate dissertation in medieval archaeology, will be made annually to the postgraduate (taught Masters) dissertation that makes the most original contribution to the study of medieval archaeology (from AD c.400 to c.1600), submitted to a United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland university. The prize is intended for students studying for a taught postgraduate Masters qualification, in which a dissertation of no more than c. 20, 000 words is submitted as part of the coursework (NB students studying for a Scottish undergraduate degree that results in an MA qualification should be considered for the John Hurst dissertation prize; this Philip Rahtz Award is not intended for the theses produced during a research Masters (such as MPhil or MRes) in which the bulk of the assessment comprises a single, longer dissertation). If you have any questions about the eligibility of potential candidates please contact Dr Michael Shapland (m.shapland@ucl.ac.uk)

Each year, Institutions will be invited to submit the dissertation of their best candidate who completed their degree in the preceding calendar year by April 1st. The dissertations will be read by a panel made up of the Society’s Council members. The winner will be offered £250 and free attendance at the Society’s annual conference at which the award will be made. The other short-listed candidates will be commended. Submissions should be emailed as a PDF to the  Secretary for Prizes and Grants: m.shapland@ucl.ac.uk

 

The Martyn Jope Award for the best novel interpretation, application of analytical method or presentation of new findings

Edward Martyn Jope (1915-1996) was a pioneering medieval archaeologist who also had a career in WWII as a chemist. His career began in Oxford but he was for many years professor of archaeology at Belfast, where he created the department, inspiring its lasting interest in archaeological science and contributing considerably to medieval and modern Irish archaeology. He had wide ranging research interests, including medieval ceramics, rural settlements, medieval cities and standing buildings and indeed most aspects of medieval archaeology, as well as prehistory and early modern history. In retirement he produced the two volume work “Early Celtic Art in the British Isles”. He could be seen as the founder of modern medieval archaeology in Britain and Ireland. In 2007, with Volume 51, the Society introduced an annual award of £200 for the best novel interpretation, application of analytical method or presentation of new findings published in its journal. The Editorial Committee of the Society considers all articles and notes for eligibility, and the President makes a presentation at the December AGM, shortly after publication of the award-winning paper.

For more information about contributing to the journal, please see the Instructions for Authors on our publisher’s website, particularly the guidance on approaching the Editor with suggestions for publication, and the annual submission deadline of 28 February (unfortunately we cannot guarantee to consider late submissions for the award).