EUROPEAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE PRIZE 2018
The 20th European Archaeological Heritage Prize has been awarded to Ivan Pavlů
in recognition of his long-lasting European-wide contributions to the study of Neolithic settlements, with particularly important achievements in terms of scientific methodology and heritage management, and to Francisco Javier Sánchez-Palencia Ramos
in recognition of his international expertise in the study of Roman mining activities and industrial landscapes, as notably evidenced at the World Heritage Site of Las Médulas.
The past half-century has seen tremendous developments in the aims, methodologies, scope and achievements of European archaeology. Professor Ivan Pavlů, from his vantage point at the very centre of the continent, has been at the forefront of these developments. His contributions to the problematisation and study of the Neolithic period across Europe, his prescient development of quantitative methods for the characterisation and interpretation of large-scale ceramic assemblages, his commitment to the long-term study and valorisation of the major site complex of Bylany in Bohemia, and indeed his insistence on the sharing of skills and insights both across generations of scholarship and across national borders, especially at times of political divides and restrictions – have all contributed to the unanimous decision of the EAA Heritage Prize Committee to award the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2018 to Ivan Pavlů.
Born in 1938 in Prague, Ivan Pavlů joined the excavation team at the site of Bylany in the late 1950. The site was one of the very first systematic studies of a Neolithic settlement in Europe. Under the leadership of Bohumil Soudský, the Bylany team developed excavation methodologies for what was to become a major large-scale and long-lasting project about early farming communities in Central Europe. The several hectares excavated, including hundreds of long houses and pits, resulted in a wealth of archaeological finds, which were interpreted in relation to cyclical or periodic settlement phases. To study the numerous small finds, and especially the ceramic assemblages, Ivan Pavlů developed a uniform codification and recording system for statistical analysis – a pioneering approach to archaeological computing, at a time of manual punch-cards and giant cumbersome computing machines.
Over the following decades – and notwithstanding the difficulties generated by the Iron curtain –Ivan Pavlů and his colleagues developed a coherent multifaceted archaeological perspective that was to have lasting repercussions in several European countries: this was the case in France, where the example of Bylany crucially influenced the multidisciplinary professionalization of prehistoric studies, and also in The Netherlands (Limburg) and in Germany (Rhineland). Moreover, from the 1990s onwards, Ivan Pavlů himself was able to practice this approach in Turkey, when he directed and collaborated in a number of key excavations.
Over the past decades, Ivan Pavlů has participated in the developments of new approaches to large scale excavations, including the use of machine stripping and sampling strategies in order to emphasise broader perspectives over narrow 'telephone both' excavations, and he has also pioneered the statistical handling of large data sets (ceramics, lithics, finds) for an open ended and sophisticated understanding of early agricultural dynamics. Through his publications, his students and his organising activities, Ivan Pavlů together with his colleagues has laid the groundwork for the current European-wide expansion of preventive archaeology, which reconciles the needs of development, of scientific knowledge and of social outreach. His is an outstanding achievement which we gratefully recognise.
Of all the ancient civilisations studied by archaeology, the Roman Empire is probably the one whose technological achievements and infrastructure works have left their deepest and longest lasting marks on the landscape. Professor Francisco Javier Sánchez-Palencia Ramos has gained internationally recognised expertise in the study and reconstruction of a range of Roman mining activities. Moreover, Javier Sánchez-Palencia has been able to enrich these perspectives on ancient mining landscapes with a highly successful approach to contemporary heritage landscapes, drawing links between archaeological remains and sustainable socio-economic concerns at local, regional and international levels.
In their quest for precious metals, the Romans undertook massive investments across the ore-bearing regions of the Iberian Peninsula. As Javier Sánchez-Palencia and his team were able to demonstrate at the site of Las Médulas in the province of León in Northwest Spain, Roman engineers from the time of Augustus onwards deployed the technique called "ruina montium" (by Pliny the Elder), in which large quantities of water was forced into the mountain slope, causing landslides which then exposed and sorted the ore-bearing deposits. Going beyond the ancient textual accounts, Javier Sánchez-Palencia and his team drew on a range of archaeological sources, topographical surveys and geo-archaeological analyses in order to reconstruct precisely these practices and show their spectacular scale: over 300 kilometres of aqueducts bringing water to exploit dozen of hectares and produce more than 1,500 tons of gold during the three centuries of their use. Traces of all these activities are still very visible today, and it is by considering this whole undertaking as a cultural landscape, affecting the physical features of the region but also the social fabric of the countryside, that Javier Sánchez-Palencia with his scientific and patrimonial expertise contributed so decisively to the inscription of the site of Las Médulas onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.
The impact of the triumphant Roman Empire on local and regional social systems in the past has also been echoed by Javier Sánchez-Palencia's pioneering work in the present. From the onset, he has been concerned with the development of cultural heritage policies in relation to the contemporary landscape, and more specifically with the protection and use of archaeological heritage (at Las Médulas and elsewhere) as a resource for the development of rural areas and for strengthening the social and economic fabric of local communities. It is for this combined contribution – the scientific understanding of the past, and the heritage management of the present – that Javier Sánchez-Palencia is awarded the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2018 of the European Association of Archaeologists.