Europe’s most prestigious cultural heritage award goes to… DigVentures!

  • DigVentures
  • 25 May, 2021

DigVentures has been awarded Europe’s top honour for education, training and awareness-raising in the field of cultural heritage!

The Europa Nostra European Heritage Awards are Europe’s top honour for contibutions to the field of cultural heritage. Each year, these annual awards recognise outstanding conservation projects, innovative research, and exceptional initiatives in awareness-raising, training and education.

This year, DigVentures is one of eight award winners in the category of awareness-raising, training, and education. In total, 24 award winners from 18 countries have been selected by independent juries composed of heritage experts from across Europe.

Founded in 2012, DigVentures champions public engagement in archaeology, organising top-quality, research-driven archaeological work in collaboration with citizens, communities, and local councils which help places to thrive, prosper and sustain distinct local identities.

Why DigVentures is an award-winner

In March 2020, DigVentures launched Archaeology at Home as an instant response to the conditions imposed on the practice of public archaeology by the COVID-19 lockdown.

When in-person engagement became impossible, DigVentures changed gears and invited people all over the world to embark on an extremely successful experiment in technology-enabled participation in archaeology.

Over 11,000 people from 90 countries took part in a Virtual Fieldschool, and attended DigNation Festival. DigNation Festival brought the latest discoveries from over 20 countries – including Albania, Bulgaria, India, Jordan, Mali, and the UK – directly into people’s homes.

Meanwhile, thousands of people connected through Virtual Fieldschool, helping eachother to research their local history, carry out test excavations in their own back gardens, and make their own heritage discoveries. Thousands more also attended interactive workshops, and virtual tours throughout the year.

Vote for DigVentures in the Public Choice Award

This year, Europa Nostra’s European Heritage Awards have honoured 24 exemplary achievements from 18 countries, but only one will also receive the Public Choice Award following an online vote. We’d love to win it!

And it wasn’t just adults. In addition, nearly 2,000 families with children from 11 different countries took part in a Virtual Fieldschool for kids, introducing children to the practical role of the archaeologist and sparking excitement for archaeology.

“When we looked back over the work we had done online, and the phenomenal response we got from audiences around the world, we realised something quite profound had happened: our online efforts had united citizens and archaeologists on an entirely new scale, bringing thousands of new people to archaeology who had never previously engaged with it directly” said Lisa Westcott Wilkins, Co-founder of DigVentures.

“This award is the result of thousands of people coming together during the darkest times of last year, placing their energy in our hands, and letting us put archaeology in theirs” she added.

What the jury said about Archaeology at Home

“Archaeology at Home did not just increase the accessibility of archaeology and act as a much needed social network during the pandemic, it also had a direct positive impact on cultural heritage.

“Offering connection during the lockdowns… the diverse audience extended far beyond the traditional demographics normally associated with public archaeology activities.

“This kind of community archaeology… ultimately contributes to the social embeddedness of cultural heritage” the Jury’s official statement read.

Vote for DigVentures in the Public Choice Award!

This year, Europa Nostra’s European Heritage Awards have honoured 24 exemplary achievements from 18 countries, but only one will also receive the Public Choice Award following an online vote.

To us, winning would be one more chance to promote the ideals of collaborative public archaeology, and show the world what happens when professionals whole-heartedly welcome real people into their work. And we will continue doing everything we can to push the boundaries of public engagement in archaeology and make it a discipline that everyone can contribute to, and enjoy.

This award is not just about what we did – it’s about what more than 11,000 people from over 90 different countries did. So, we hope that you will feel good about casting your vote for Archaeology At Home – after all, it’s YOUR project too!