The investigation of an Iron Age hillfort at Fin Cop in the Peak District has won top honours as Research Excavation of the Year at the prestigious Current Archaeology Awards 2012.
The Heritage Lottery-funded community excavation at the site overlooking Monsal Dale by Longstone Local History Group and Bakewell-based Archaeological Research Services revealed unexpected evidence of a massacre of women and children 2,000 years ago.
Members of the public and subscribers to Current Archaeology magazine voted for Fin Cop after an article appeared in the magazine written by Dr Clive Waddington of Archaeological Research Services.
The awards’ organisers said the project “cast new light on brutality and murder in what is sometimes held up as a peaceful, egalitarian society.”
Dr Waddington, who was presented with the award at the Archaeology Live 2012 conference, said: “We are delighted to win this award – I feel really honoured, particularly because this was a community project and the award highlights that really great research can be carried out with the help of local communities.”
Ann Hall, of Longstone Local History Group, said: “I would like to pass on my thanks to all the people from the Peak District and beyond who responded to my January call to vote for our project.
“Clive’s article deservedly won the award because he wrote a comprehensive report of our results. It was informative and easily understood so I feel he really did the project proud.”
The Fin Cop excavations involved hundreds of young people and adult volunteers in practical work between 2009-2010, followed by extensive laboratory analysis and research.
The project rose to national importance when the skeletal remains of several Iron Age women and children were found in a ditch with the ramparts pushed over them as the fort was systematically destroyed.
The Fin Cop excavation, which also won a British Archaeology Award for best community project in 2010, was supported by the Peak District National Park Authority, English Heritage, the landowner and farmer as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The awards were presented by archaeologist and broadcaster Julian Richards.
For more information about the Fin Cop project, visit: www.archaeologicalresearchservices.com/projects/fincop