Individual – Winner: Prof. Fedir Androshchuk
Since the Russian aggression to Ukraine in February 2022, protecting archaeological heritage has been a challenge in the context of a major humanitarian crisis within Europe. The conflict is still open and we take a moment to remind the statement adopted by several archaeological societies this April, including ours, in support of our Ukrainian colleagues. The efforts joint during the first weeks to protect and evacuate artefacts allowed for the safeguard of dozens of thousands of archaeological materials in danger, only in the National Museum of the History of Ukraine, almost 120.000. Its team not only rushed to protect archaeological heritage in the first moments of the attack, helping other regional museums to do so, but as soon as it was safer, it has continued to conduct research, to open new exhibitions and to organise outreach activities, while monitoring looting cases. For his leadership in the protection of Ukrainian archaeological heritage during the war, for his commitment to raise awareness about the importance of archaeological heritage in these difficult moments and for his overall professional and scientific profile, Prof. Fedir Androshchuk is awarded the 2023 Individual Archaeological Heritage Prize of the European Association of Archaeologists.
Fedir Androshchuk with EAA Hertiage Prize. Courtesy of F. Androshchuk
Institutional – Winner: Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi
During the excavations in Irulegi archaeological site two summers ago an interesting object was dug. Its study uncovered one of the most significant findings in Europe of the last years for its social and political impact. The Hand of Irulegi represented the oldest inscription in proto-Basque language, and it was not in Latin characters. Since the announcement, in a matter of weeks, the Hand has become one of the most iconic elements for Basque culture, fostering all kinds of manifestations from music to urban art, as well as a deep academic and political interest that reached millions of people in national and international media. All this is part of the great work of a Society that becomes 75 years old now and has been working with great success for the research, protection and dissemination of archaeological heritage. For its commitment to archaeological heritage and historical memory, for the deep social and political impact of its work and, specially, the outstanding discovery of the Hand of Irulegi, the Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi is awarded the 2023 Institutional Archaeological Heritage Prize of the European Association of Archaeologists.
Juantxo Agirre Mauleon and Mikel Edeso Egia, Aranzadi Society at the EAA 2023 Opening Ceremony © Joe Warden photography
Individual – Honorary Mention: Prof. Arturo Ruiz Rodríguez
Some achievements can only be valued in the perspective of a long career. Over three decades of daily work in the configuration of a modern discipline from the periphery, helping to develop the current models of archaeological heritage management in his region, pushing for an open science that makes archaeological heritage available to people and devoting a life to the Iberian Culture from research and management. For his trajectory and his impact in Andalusian, Spanish and European archaeology, we want to award a special mention to Prof. Arturo Ruiz Rodríguez.
Institutional – Honorary Mention: International Organising Team of the First Kings of Europe exhibition
Along the last few years a group of researchers, museum workers, as well as other community and political stakeholders from a dozen countries drove an initiative to showcase the largest international exhibition about the recent prehistory of Southeast Europe. On tour in the USA from 2022 to 2025 it is already receiving thousands of visits. For the efforts in the organisation of such a great venture, for the impact and relevance it is having and for the precedent in cooperation between different countries, overcoming conflict with archaeological heritage, we want to award a special mention to the International Organising Team of the First Kings of Europe exhibition.