EUROPEAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE PRIZE 2009
The 11th European Archaeological Heritage Prize has been awarded to doctor Ulrich Ruoff from Switzerland, in recognition of his contributions to archaeological heritage management in wetland and underwater conditions, as well as his contributions to the introduction and development of dendrochronology and computer applications for research and heritage management.
Ulrich Ruoff studied Prehistory, History of Architecture and Historical Sciences at the University of Zürich. He completed his studies with a dissertation published in 1971, supervised by the renowned archaeologist professor Emil Vogt, on the transition from Bronze to Iron-Age in Switzerland, including the surrounding areas.
During his studies he had been abroad especially to learn about other approaches in field-work and he spent some time for example on excavations on wetland settlements on the North Sea coast in Germany and Denmark.
Managing Archaeological Heritage has given him many tasks. Ruoff has always been prepared to take responsibilities and not only for his immediate tasks. He was also prepared to work in NGO´s, governmental and intergovernmental associations.
Ulrich Ruoff has been the president of the association of cantonal archaeologists, the main organization of Heritage Managers in Switzerland. During this period of presidency he has built up the education and training-courses for archaeological field-work on a national scale. Through this intervention he created the background for a higher diploma and therefore higher income for the technicians working on archaeological excavations.
At the European level, his importance is primarily for the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Since the early 1960s Ulrich Ruoff has started to develop methods of surveying, recording, excavating and managing of the underwater cultural heritage in the wetland and underwater environment of the Swiss lakes. Numerous excavations including the famous works at Kleiner Haffner and finally at Mozartstraße in the lake of Zürich have led the Swiss teams to become the most advanced and leading teams in underwater archaeology. There expertise has led to the best examined Neolithic Cultures in the world, as this has lately been stated by leading archaeologists.
Abroad, he has worked among others in Germany, where the Association of State Archaeologists invited him to a special Commission on the management of Underwater Cultural Heritage, to use his knowledge in building up the underwater management within the different German Länder. He has also been a reviewer of archaeological projects, dissertations and manuscripts all over Europe on themes and projects concerning the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Germany are countries were he was asked to give advice. He also worked on panels, review-boards and within steering committees for many European projects and for associations, museums and heritage management bodies in different European States. For some years in the 80s and 90s Ruoff has hosted young scholars especially from Eastern countries as far away as from Novosibirsk, teaching in the field of dendrochronology and building up capacities and delivering laboratory facilities to the eastern countries in times of difficult travel possibilities.
Ulrich Ruoff is one of the founding members of IKUWA: the International Conference on Underwater Archaeology, and it was his personal input that led to the first Conference in 1999 in Sassnitz/Rügen.
Dendrochronology and “Computers in Archaeology” are secondary themes deriving from his investigations of submerged sites and monuments as well as from the history of buildings (Baugeschichte). His numerous works in these fields started with publications of first results as far back as 1979. This revolutionary invention of new applied sciences into the analysis of archaeological sites and monuments as well as into the scientific analysis of the history of buildings (Baugeschichte) has led into a new world of integrated scientific approaches within the disciplines, as we have to remember, that especially in the 70s our disciplines were still based on chrono-typological methods and the history of buildings on art-historic based architectural-analysis.
It was for these achievements and contributions that the Heritage Prize Committee of the EAA came to the decision to award the 2009 European Archaeological Heritage Prize to Ulrich Ruoff.