EUROPEAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE PRIZE 2021
Laurajane Smith is awarded the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2021 in the individual category on the
Critical Heritage Studies is a very important field of interest that promotes the idea of heritage
as a relational, social and substantially political phenomenon.
Laurajane Smith has played a pioneering role in Critical Heritage Studies and made
innovative and fundamental contributions to research in this field, turning her interest to
heritage as a performative practice. This has led us to go beyond simple questions related to
the conservation and management of heritage and instead to question its use, and sometimes
abuse, by segments of society, and its re-formulation in order to claim new meanings for
the past and to propose new visions for the future. Through the exercise of hegemony over
heritage (what Laurajane Smith labelled the ‘Authorised Heritage Discourse’), social groups
and entire communities are being discriminated against, marginalized and even excluded
from the official recognition of heritage. More recently, Laurajane Smith has investigated the
role of emotions in the approach to heritage, and she has worked with indigenous, female and
Afro-Caribbean communities as well as industrial and working-class heritage.
In addition to her research activity, Laurajane Smith has also played a fundamental role
in creating a new network of scholars and activists in the field of heritage, founding the
Association of Critical Heritage Studies to which she has brought her commitment and her
undisputed leadership and going on to edit the high-profile International Journal of Heritage
For having created the foundations for a new approach to research and dissemination of
cultural heritage, for her fundamental and lasting contribution to the development of Critical
Heritage Studies, and for having founded the Association of Critical Heritage Studies,
Laurajane Smith is awarded the 2021 individual European Heritage Prize of the European
Association of Archaeologists.
Citizens’ Committee of Ierapetra is awarded the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2021 in the institutional category on the following
The construction of wind power facilities can have a devastating impact on the archaeological
landscape. In seeking to prevent the destruction of sites and monuments, joint action is
required by those institutions that have the task of protecting the cultural heritage and by
those citizens who care about the protection of the place where they live and who recognise its
historical complexity and cultural wealth.
The island of Crete, as well as being the place that gave rise to the myth of a Europe that
unites different cultures and experiences, is also a region rich in important archaeological
The Citizens’ Committee of the city of Ierapetra, located on the south-eastern coast of the
island, has a long history of conserving its cultural and natural heritage. Over the last few
years, the Committee has engaged in a difficult fight against the destruction of a historic
landscape which includes a large archaeological area. This popular campaign to save the
historical evidence present in the local landscape has mobilised a sense of community, the
direct participation of citizens and the commitment of local and foreign experts, and has led
to the organization of public meetings, conferences, seminars, workshops and excursions
in the affected landscape. This was all done on a voluntary basis and without any external
The Committee has demonstrated what it means to be a “resilient community” in a country
that has been devastated by economic crisis, the collapse of tourism and the pressure of major
It is for having demonstrated the real value of active civic participation in safeguarding their
own cultural and natural heritage, that the Citizens’ Committee of Ierapetra is awarded the
2021 institutional European Heritage Prize of the European Association of Archaeologists.
SITAR project is awarded the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2021 in the institutional category on the following
The city of Rome is an enormous open-air museum, in which the monuments that bear
witness to the splendour of its Roman, Renaissance and modern culture coexist in a
complex, and often conflictual, relationship with today’s city. The protection, management
and dissemination of data concerning the heritage of this enormous urban and suburban
archaeological reality, are fundamental to guaranteeing the successful coexistence of the
ancient with the contemporary; this task presupposes that this deep scientific knowledge is
made accessible not only to a specialized public but also to ordinary citizens and to all other
SITAR (Rome Archaeological Geographical Information System) is a public and open
archaeology project promoted and led by the Special Superintendency for the Archaeology,
Fine Arts and Landscape of Rome. It consists of a shared digital archive, a management
system for the enormous quantity of data derived from archaeological research conducted
in the territory of Rome, and it guarantees the availability, visibility and dissemination of the
data, so it can be used in an informed way.
SITAR is a "meeting and mediation point" between Government, citizens and other users
aimed at raising awareness of the cultural importance and social value of the urban and
suburban landscapes of the city of Rome. These can be made usable and habitable only
through a shared vision about the opportunities for social development while also considering
the risks to their preservation.
For its work in democratizing Rome’s cultural heritage through policies of sharing and social
participation, to ensure that the archaeological heritage is perceived as a living element of
the urban landscape and not as an obstacle to development, the 2021 institutional European
Heritage Prize of the European Association of Archaeologists is awarded to the SITAR project.
Honorary mention in the institutional category is made to the West Dunbartonshire Council.