Press Releases

Department of Archaeology awarded Queen's Anniversary Prize – University of Reading

Release Date : 19 November 2009

Queen's Anniversary Prize logo

The University of Reading is delighted to announce that its Department of Archaeology has been awarded a distinguished Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

The official announcement was made at St James's Palace on Wednesday 18 November. The presentations by the Queen will take place during a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February 2010.

The Queen's Anniversary Prizes are awarded for exceptional contributions to the wider community by institutions in the Higher and Further Education sector. Reading's Department of Archaeology is recognised as one of the outstanding departments of its kind in the world, combining ground-breaking research, enterprise and teaching.

The Department's multi-disciplinary character of much of its research integrates humanities and science-based approaches to produce innovatory methodologies and original results. There is also substantial collaborative participation in research and teaching projects with celebrated institutions at home and overseas, such as Cambridge and Durham Universities, Teheran University, Stanford and the University of California.

Archaeology's emphasis on vocational training is unique in the UK, integrating field-based practice into all undergraduate degrees through the Silchester Field School. This provides students with the field-skill set they need to go into professional practice through the experience of working on one of the UK's largest and complicated research excavations. Industry and Government also profit from the Department's expertise through the provision of advice and specialist services, especially in the areas of forensic and environmental reconstruction.

The department has excellent engagement with the local community, through the Silchester Roman Town Project in particular. The project reaches over 5000 people in one open season, including hundreds of young people through visits from local schools, work experience opportunities and the Public Open Days. Staff also conduct a wide range of talks, public lectures and media work.

Professor Gordon Marshall, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "The Department is engaged in the very highest quality of research. It produces supremely gifted graduates thanks to its unique and innovative teaching methods. The expertise within the Department is highly valued and sought after. We are absolutely delighted that Archaeology's exceptional contribution has received such prestigious recognition."

Head of Department, Professor Grenville Astill, is also delighted by the award. He said: "The prize represents a real team effort by all the staff and students in the Department. To have such a major and influential endorsement of all our work in the areas of research, teaching and enterprise is a significant honour for us: it will spur us on to make an even greater contribution to the development and promotion of Archaeology."

This year the University of Reading's Department of Archaeology celebrated becoming the only academic department in Britain to boast five Fellows of the British Academy.

The University has twice previously won a Queen's Anniversary Prize. In 1998 Reading received one for its work on the dynamics of theatre performance in Shakespeare's time, done collaboratively with the Globe Theatre on Bankside in London. In 2005, the Department of Meteorology was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for its training and research in weather, climate and physical oceanography.


For all University of Reading media enquiries please contact James Barr, Press Officer tel. 0118 378 7115 or email

  • The University of Reading is rated as one of the top 200 universities in the world (THE-QS World Rankings 2009).


  • The University of Reading is one of the UK's top research-intensive universities. The University is ranked in the top 20 UK higher education institutions in securing research council grants worth nearly £10 million from EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, AHRC and BBSRC. In the RAE 2008, over 87% of the university's research was deemed to be of international standing. Areas of particular research strength recognised include meteorology and climate change, typography and graphic design, archaeology, philosophy, food biosciences, construction management, real estate and planning, as well as law.


  • Standards of teaching are excellent - the University scored highly in the National Student Survey 2009. 87% of Reading students responding to the survey stated they were satisfied with the quality of their course.


  • The University is estimated to contribute £600 million to the local economy annually.


  • University of Reading is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.



Search Form

Main navigation