Gilly Carr is awarded the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2020 (individual category)

The management of archaeological heritage is a challenge for all societies and often especially so for smaller communities, with answers found deeply rooted in traditions, in social practice and in heritage awareness. It is an even more difficult challenge when the archaeological remains relate to recent historical events, opening up an array of different memories and emotions. Dr Gilly Carr undertook this task when she researched and evaluated the period of Channel Islands history under German occupation (1940-45). The Channel Islands had for long encountered difficulties when attempting to engage with and agree to accounts of this period. The reasons for the resistance against engaging with the islands history had to do with a silence about the victims of Nazism in the islands, and the cooperation with Nazi Germany, as well as the British war narrative that marginalised the fate of the Channel Islands. With a system of fortifications built as part of the Atlantic Wall (with bunkers and forced and slave labour camps), the islands were one of the most important parts of the German World War II defence system.

Prior to Carr’s labour, there were few and poorly preserved memorial sites on the islands referring to this period.  The island Guernsey had no memorial to the resistance, the Jewish memorial (erected 2001) was twice-vandalised, there were no credible commemoration of the labour camps and their victims, and the Holocaust Memorial Day was not really celebrated.  The situation on the island of Jersey was better but even there the main exhibition about the German occupation was outdated and the victims of Nazism marginalised. ­

Carr’s work over the last decade has combined sustained heritage activism and scholarship in this region. Some of the most important results are the erection of monuments, museum exhibitions including a new exhibition gallery replacing the permanent exhibition with more information on Jews and political prisoners, dissemination through media (BBC documentaries, website storytelling, new social media groups, public speeches, newspaper articles, local TV and radio interviews), educational materials, co-organisation of Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies, designing Resistance heritage trails, excavation of a forced labour camp in Jersey,  advocacy both in the islands and in UK. Between 2014-2019, she dedicated and published three monographies on the theme. Carr’s activity has transformed awareness about the Channel Islander victims of Nazi persecution both locally and internationally.

The impact of Carr’s research has changed attitudes and transformed awareness of Channel Islanders towards victims of Nazism within their own community. In setting forth this ‘lost’ history of the Channel Islands, Carr has helped to change understandings internationally as well. The above duly justifies the award of the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2020 of the European Association of Archaeologists to Dr Gilly Carr.

“REMAINS of Greenland program and network” is awarded the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2020 (institutional category)

Preserving the vast but rapidly deteriorating Arctic archaeological heritage has been a front-line focus in contemporary archaeology. The National Museums in Denmark and Greenland have made major contribution to archaeological understandings of the dynamic effects of climate-driven ecological and environmental change affecting Arctic archaeological heritage. The REMAIN project (Research and Management of Archaeological sites in a changing environment and society) investigated between 2016-2019 the short and long term effects of climate change on the preservation of archaeological sites and organic artefacts in Southwest Greenland. During four years of fieldwork and multidisciplinary research, ground-breaking results have been achieved not only on the changing environs of west Greenland, but also on the circum-Arctic as a whole.

Although the project was completed last year, its main objectives were carried forward by the members of the network formed during the project: to continue observation and monitoring how climate change influence the preservation of archaeological heritage, to initiate research based cultural resource management tools for locating sites at risk,  to develop strategies for managing threaten sites in Greenland. Students from several universities also participated in the project, and interdisciplinary research generated the preparation of MA and PHD theses. The researchers have also developed new modelling tools to predict the future loss of archaeological deposits and have carried out the first ever archaeometric regional multi-threat assessment of archaeological sites threatened by climate change.

The leader of the project Jørgen Hollesen and the members of the network were determined to disseminate to the public as well, educating and presenting on the dilemma of climate change to Arctic archaeology. The inclusion of indigenous concerns regarding Greenlandic cultural heritage was also part of the Agenda. The significant scientific publications, professional workshops (like last year EAA Roundtable Climate Change and Heritage) and actions in international forums are examples of attempts to bridge the gap between academic and public audiences.

In view of the above, this network can be considered an outstanding advocate of archaeological heritage preservation in a European region in direct danger of imminent devastation of its archaeological legacy. For all these reasons, “REMAINS of Greenland program and network” is awarded the 2020 institutional European Heritage Prize of the European Association of Archaeologists.

Honorary mention in the institutional category is made to the SARAT (Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey) Project and Splashcos (Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf)