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Bradford archaeologist receives MBE

Published: Fri 8 June 2018
Bradford archaeologist receives MBE

The University of Bradford is delighted and proud that Professor Vince Gaffney, Anniversary Chair in Landscape Archaeology, has been made MBE in the Birthday 2018 Honours list, for services to Archaeology.

Professor Gaffney is a world-renowned expert in archaeological landscape studies who, over the last 40 years, has engaged with young and old, passionately presenting his subject matter as an exciting and thought-provoking study of people and their environments in the present and the past. He continues to attract tremendous international media interest and to inspire the next generation of aspiring archaeologists. 

Vince has received many national and international awards. In 2017 his work in the Stonehenge landscape was awarded the “Research Project of the Year “, and he was recently shortlisted for Archaeologist of the Year by Current Archaeology. In 2013 he received the European Archaeological Heritage Prize and his work also received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Higher Education, for use of novel technology within the Wroxeter Hinterland Project, providing the first comprehensive geophysical survey of a major Roman town in Britain.

Professor Gaffney has pioneered the application of computing in archaeology.  His work on the Croatian Adriatic Islands provided the first substantial use of geographical information systems (GIS) in Europe. More recently, he has led the UK team creating 3D and virtual imaging of the ‘Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes', from an extensive programme of geophysical surveys of the largely unmapped landscape, and which will change our understanding of Stonehenge and shape history as well as inform student teaching and learning. 

His work on archaeological landscapes lost to the sea after the last glaciation received the 2007 award for Heritage Presentation at the British Association for the Advancement of Science. This research was also selected by Research Councils UK as one of 100 ground-breaking UK research projects as part of its ‘Big Ideas for the Future’ publication. In 2010, his book on this subject, ‘Europe’s Lost World’, was awarded the ‘Best Publication’ prize at the British Archaeological Awards.  Gaffney and his team were also invited to exhibit their work on underwater landscapes in the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition, and also to host a prestigious Theo Murphy international scientific meeting conference on these mysterious archaeological landscapes

Most recently, Vince was awarded €2.5 million for the European Research Council “Advanced Research Grant” project “Europe’s Lost Frontiers”. One of Europe's premier research grants, this provided funding to map the submerged landscapes of the southern North Sea basin, probably the largest continuous area of geophysical data ever used for archaeology purposes, and to reveal evidence for the societies that had lived there for tens of thousands of years before sea level rise. His marine research has produced startling results: uncovering evidence of early wheat at a submerged archaeological site off the south coast of England, 2,000 years before the introduction of farming in the UK.

Professor Gaffney said: “It is both a surprise, and a great pleasure, to learn that I have been selected to receive an MBE for services to Archaeology.  When receiving such an honour within Higher Education it is, of course, completely appropriate to recognise that an individual’s career is actually a result of the labours of numerous students, researchers and the many colleagues one works with over the years – and I would like to think that I am accepting this honour for them all.

“It is also important to note the value of such awards to universities and their communities.  Archaeology may be associated with Stonehenge and many glamorous monuments but to us the archaeology of Bradford Park Avenue is equally important and our work there, and elsewhere in Bradford and Yorkshire, links the University and the town and is the basis for future, globally important research.”

Professor Gaffney holds a BA Archaeology and PhD in Archaeology, both from the University of Reading. He was recruited to Bradford by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor, from the University of Birmingham, where he was Director of the Visual and Spatial Technology Centre.

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