University of Buckingham professor in running for ‘Archaeology Oscars’

Prof David Jacques has been nominated for ‘Archaeologist of the Year’ Award
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A University of Buckingham archaeologist has been nominated for the ‘Oscars of the archaeology world’ for his achievements at an excavation near Stonehenge which have transformed understanding of the celebrated monument.

Since David Jacques started leading digs at Blick Mead in 2005, volunteers there have unearthed more than 30,000 Mesolithic tools, revealing that there were settlers there earlier than previously thought.

More than half of the animal remains found at the site are from aurochs, a now extinct species of enormous cattle that once dominated the open grasslands of upland southern Britain.

David Jacques at Blick MeadDavid Jacques at Blick Mead
David Jacques at Blick Mead

The University of Buckingham provided some of the funding for the digs.

Current Archaeology editor Carly Hilts has written to Prof Jaques, saying: "I wanted to let you know that we'd like to nominate you as one of the three archaeologists in the running for CA's ‘Archaeologist of the Year’ Award for 2023.

"Blick Mead is such an important site, and you have achieved so much there, both in terms of keeping it running for so long on such a shoestring budget, and in the significance of the finds.

"With the final excavation on the site now concluded and you being the lynchpin, we felt strongly that you would be a very deserving nominee for this year."

Prof Jacques said: "I am very honoured to have been nominated. I am pleased that this important project is getting the recognition it deserves. A lot of volunteers have helped to make Blick Mead such a huge success."

University vice-chancellor James Tooley said: "University of Buckingham archaeology students have loved visiting Blick Mead and had the joy of unearthing Mesloithic flints and other items themselves.

"David had done amazing work which has helped provide the backstory to Stonehenge."

Prof Jaques has also been one of the key campaigners fighting plans for a tunnel at Stonehenge, which would endanger future finds at Blick Mead.

Voting for the awards goes live tomorrow, December 1, at and anyone can vote. Voting will remain open until early February, and the winners will be announced at the Current Archaeology Live! 2023 conference held in London on February 25.