Northern Ireland shines at UK Heritage Finals

Date published: 14 July 2016

For the first time ever, two Northern Ireland archaeological projects made it to the finals of the prestigious British Archaeological Awards, in London, with one project winning and another being highly commended.

The highly regarded British Archaeology Awards took place at the British Museum in London on Monday 11 July.

The Cleenish Community Association and Killesher Community Development Association won the award for “Best Community Engagement Project in the UK” with a project entitled Battles, Bricks and Bridges based along the Arney river in Co Fermanagh.  The project was community driven and enabled local people to participate in hands-on activities bringing the history, archaeology and culture of their villages to life.

The second finalist which gained a “Highly Commended” award in the “Best Archaeological Project in the UK” category, was the Ulster Scots Archaeological Services Project, a partnership between the Department for Communities and the private sector companies of AECOM and The Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd. The purpose of the project was to identify and document key sites and monuments of historical and archaeological significance from the Plantation era across Northern Ireland and, through a small number of site excavations, to provide detailed information on the daily lives, habitats, culture and traditions of the Lowland Scots in Ulster and their interaction with the native people.

Minister for Communities, Paul Givan said: “I am delighted that two Northern Ireland projects made it to the finals, a first for us. I am even more delighted that we have been recognised as being the best in the United Kingdom at undertaking Community Engagement through archaeology.

“Both projects involved archaeologists and other staff from my Department, a great thing for us as we aim to help our communities explore their heritage and get engaged by finding out more about where they live and who they are. I would like to send my congratulations to The Cleenish Community Association and Killesher Community Development Association and the Ulster Scots Archaeological Services Project for their achievements.”

Deborah Williams, Chair of the British Archaeological Awards, said: “The entries this year reflect the incredible wealth and range of archaeology that is going on across the United Kingdom, the quality and expertise of our world-leading archaeologists, and the ever increasing fascination of the public with the history and archaeology of their local area. Increasingly archaeologists are responding to this interest by developing new ways to help people to take part in research and excavations, start up their own projects, and share and understand new discoveries - and this shone through in our shortlisted entries. All the finalists have a common theme – involving and enthusing young people and the public in their archaeological heritage.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The British Archaeological Awards take place every two years and are managed by an independent charity, chaired by Deborah Williams of Historic England, and trustees from across the archaeology profession. For more information about the awards and the winners, please visit the British Archaeological Awards website 
  2. For media enquiries please contact the DfC Press Office on 028 9082 9267 or email Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

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