In 2009 the NAS took over the administration of the Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award for published work on maritime archaeology which best reflects the pioneering ideas and scholarly aspirations of the late Keith Muckelroy from the Council for British Archaeology.
The Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award 2015
In 2009 there were six entries - three books and three articles. In 2011 there were three nominations, two books and one article. In 2013 four nominations were received, all monographs. This year there were 11, all monographs, varying in length from under 100 pages to over 750.
As ever, these books covered a wide range of topics, which made assessment more difficult. One of them was co-authored by Dave Parham, so he had to stand down from the judging panel this year, leaving Colin Martin, Paula Martin, Mark Redknap and Alison Sheridan. Without this reduction to four it would have been almost impossible for the judges to read and circulate all the nominated books in the time available.
The number of nominations prompted the judges to look closely at the criteria. Nominated books should reflect the interests, aspirations, and high scholarly standards of Keith Muckelroy. This implies, in our judgement, nautical or maritime archaeology (interests), reaching testable archaeological conclusions by the systematic acquisition, processing, and analysis of data (aspirations), and the highest scholarly standards.
Given the quality of many of the nominations, it was clear that the winner was going to be among the works of primary research rather than more general publications. It is recommended that the wording of the announcement for the 2017 award should be re-drafted to explain more precisely the criteria expected. We don’t want to be so prescriptive as to exclude the innovative and original, but ‘nautical’, 'maritime' and above all ‘archaeology’ should be leading elements in all submissions.
For details of all of the books and the judges’ decision can be found here.
And finally we come to this year's Winner
The judges were unanimous in their choice of Claimed by the Sea, by Stuart Needham, Dave Parham and Catherine Frieman. This book is successfully edited to produce one clear, seamless narrative. It brings to fruition the major contributions made by Keith Muckelroy to the study of the Salcombe and Langdon Bay artefact assemblages and their relevance both to site-formation studies (addressing the question of whether they originated from wrecks, and if not, how can they be explained?), and to wider issues of maritime trade in the Bronze Age.
Keith undoubtedly saw these sites as bridges between underwater and terrestrial archaeology, crossing the artificial and unhealthy perceptual divide which then existed and to some extent still does. Archaeology is archaeology irrespective of the environment in which it is conducted, as this submission makes abundantly clear. It is beyond question that without Keith’s pioneering input these supremely important investigations would not have developed in the exemplary manner that has resulted in this publication.
Most of us were not aware of just how much effort and personal sacrifice Keith invested in ensuring the proper treatment of these initially unprotected sites, often in the face of legal and bureaucratic obstructions, so the detailed chronicling of the evolution of the two projects is an important and hitherto unpublished aspect of the early days of nautical archaeology in Britain. Top-quality scholarship is done justice by a beautifully produced book, demonstrating how a detailed consideration of all aspects of these sites, from discovery and site methodologies to geomorphology, artefact analysis, and modelling site-formation processes, creates new understandings of a very remote period. A significant contribution to knowledge through nautical archaeology, and a model report many would do well to emulate.
Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award 2013
This was awarded for a work published after 1 January 2011 which, in the opinion of the judges, best reflects the interests, aspirations and high scholarly standards of Keith Muckelroy.
The joint winner of the 2013 Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award:
Britain Begins, by Barry Cunliffe, published by Oxford University Press.
Judges comments:Britain Begins is perhaps the most general work among recent nominations. Initially some judges thought that it might not fit the criteria for the award. However, all the judges were impressed by how a maritime perspective pervades the argument as a whole, and is not simply confined to discrete "boxes". This is just the sort of approach that would have appealed to Keith. An impressive volume, full of high-quality and relevant illustrations, it follows on from the holistic blending of terrestrial and maritime evidence in Cunliffe's Facing the Ocean (2001), and Europe Between the Oceans 9000BC to AD 1000 (2011), and follows a very similar format. It offers a holistic view of the origins of the British and Irish peoples, blending all aspects of archaeology, and much of its maritime interest comes from its mapping of evidence, often linking terrestrial and maritime routes and contacts. As such it forms a very accessible introduction to the story of Britain, and the narratives in the Guide to Further Reading are useful. A great strength is the interweaving of all types of evidence to create a well-balanced and authoritative narrative of a complex story. The centrality of things maritime, so well conveyed, will therefore find a wide readership.
The joint winner of the 2013 Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award:
The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and its Mediterranean Context, by Shelley Wachsmann, published by Texas A&M University Press.
Judges comments: The Gurob Ship-Cart Model is an impressive and attractive piece of scholarship which we all felt that Keith would have enjoyed. It is tightly focused on an unusual and very narrow subject which the author considers with great originality and rigour. Wachsmann uses this discovery and his expertise on Bronze and Iron Age ships and seafaring to provide a thorough survey of the historical situation in the late second millennium BC, and the available evidence for early Mediterranean shipping, thereby giving the ship-model its wider context. It is also a very enjoyable read. In many ways this is maritime archaeology at its best.
Highly Commended - 2013 Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award:
Submerged Prehistory, edited by Jonathan Benjamin, Clive Bonsall, Catriona Pickard and Anders Fischer, published by Oxbow Books.
Judges comments: Submerged Prehistory brings together 25 peer-reviewed contributions from leading authors, highlighting significant advances in our understanding of submerged prehistoric sites and landscapes. A must for all interested in archaeology, it provides a salutary reminder of our hidden landscapes, often omitted from archaeological surveys. Thirteen of the papers were presented at the European Association of Archaeologists’ annual meeting in 2009, so the volume is 50% conference proceedings, and has the inevitable uneven quality of any book of collected essays. While there is much interesting and useful material, it does not have the space to develop some subjects as much as the reader would like. It does not, therefore, have the necessary star quality, either as a whole or in any individual part.
Highly Commended - 2013 Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award:
Weapons of Warre: the armaments of the Mary Rose, by Alexzandra Hildred, with 39 contributors, published by the Mary Rose Trust.
Judges comments: Weapons of Warre, volume 3 of the series of final thematic publications on the Mary Rose, is a valuable and comprehensive work, of higher quality than some of its sister volumes. It is one of the most detailed studies of its type ,with contributions from nine major contributors and 30 other specialists. It is a tremendous piece of work – competent, detailed and comprehensive, despite being completed under trying conditions. But it is straight archaeological reporting rather than a research document, and leaves you wanting more.
Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award 2011
This was awarded for a work published after 1 January 2009 which, in the opinion of the judges, best reflects the interests, aspirations and high scholarly standards of Keith Muckelroy.
The winner of the 2011 Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award:
Carpow in Context: a Late Bronze Age Logboat from the Tay by David Strachan (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh, 2010).
Runner-up - 2011 Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award:
Crumlin-Pedersen, Ole, Archaeology and the Sea in Scandinavia and Britain: a personal account (Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 2010).
Highly Commended - 2011 Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award:
Benjamin, Jonathan, 'Submerged Prehistoric Landscapes and Underwater Site Discovery: Reevaluating the "Danish Model" for International Practice', Journal of Island and Coastal
Archaeology, October 2010.
Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award 2009
In 2009 six works were nominated. All were of a high standard, and the breadth and depth of their subject matter made them hard to compare. Three journal articles were nominated along with three longer monographs and for the next award the judges may be considering whether there should be two awards, one for a monograph and one for a journal article.
In ranking the submissions the judges followed the criterion that the winning entry should be the one that ‘best reflects the interests, aspirations of Keith Muckelroy’. In other words, which would Keith himself have chosen?
The Winner of the 2009 Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award:
The Underwater Archaeology of Red Bay: Basque Shipbuilding and Whaling in the 16th Century, edited byRobert Grenier, Marc-André Bernier and Willis Stevens, with numerous contributors and an editorial team. The five-volumes set, in either English or French, was published by Parks Canada in 2007.
The judges were unanimous in declaring this is the winner of the Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award 2009.
Runners Up - Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award 2009:
The Solutrean Atlantic Hypothesis: a View from the Ocean, by Kieran Westley and Justin Dix, was published in the Journal of the North Atlantic in 2008.
The Use of a High-Resolution 3D Chirp Sub-Bottom Profiler for the Reconstruction of the Shallow Water Archaeological Site of the Grace Dieu (1439), River Hamble, UK, by Ruth Plets, Justin Dix, Jon Adams, Jonathan Bull, Timothy Henstock, Martin Gutowski and Angus Best, was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science in 2009.
Rigorous Reasoning, Reflexive Research and the Space for 'alternative Archaeologies'. Questions for Maritime Archaeological Heritage Management, by Jesse Ransley,
published in IJNA in 2007.
Highly Commended 2009 - Keith Muckelroy Memorial Award 2009:
Old Ships of the New Gate. Volume 1, edited by Ufuk Kocabas, was published by Istanbul University Yenikapi Shipwrecks Project in 2008.
Classic Ships of Islam: from Mesopotamia to the Indian Ocean, by Dionysius Agius, published in 2007 by Brill.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question - Does my proposed work fit the criteria?
Answer - the criteria have been deliberately made broad, and if you think a work fits the definition set out in the first sentence of the call for nominations, then please go ahead with it.
Question - Why is there an overlap between the periods of nomination?
Answer - simply to allow time for new publications to come to the attention of proposers. The period is two calendar years plus the first four months of the year in which nomination calls are made (usually every second year). Otherwise something published close to the close of nominations might not be noticed until it was too late.
Question - Who are the judges for the Award?
Dr Colin Martin (University of St Andrews), Dr Paula Martin (former Editor, IJNA), Dave Parham (University of Bournemouth), Dr Mark Redknap (National Museum of Wales) and Dr Alison Sheridan (National Museums of Scotland).
Question - What is the first prize?
Answer - a very heavy trophy. There is no money involved, just the publicity, and a certificate.