Excavation expert celebrated for digs up and down the UK
01 December 2022
A Reading archaeologist who helped to discover a 1,200-year-old monastery has been nominated for a top award.
Dr Gabor Thomas, Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading, was nominated for the Current Archaeology accolade for his sustained track record in leading major research excavations that have transformed understanding of early medieval monastic landscapes.
These nationwide projects, including his current excavations at Cookham, Berkshire, have all been conducted within the core of currently inhabited villages in partnership with local communities and stakeholders.
Dr Thomas said: “I’ve been tremendously privileged in being able to excavate amazing early medieval monastic archaeology at a succession of sites and being recognised for my work fills me with pride.
“My personal highlight for 2022 was the point of realisation during last summer’s excavations at Cookham, Berkshire, that we were walking on the surface of roads and paths last trodden by Anglo-Saxon nuns in the 8th century AD.
“Uncovering an early medieval monastic landscape preserved to this exceptional level was truly mind-blowing.”
In 2021, Dr Thomas was part of the original team that unearthed the Cookham site of a monastery led by the powerful Queen Cynethryth, who ruled the kingdom of Mercia with her husband King Offa in the late 8th century.
The University of Reading’s school of archaeology returned to the site in 2022 to uncover more secrets from the mysterious monastery. Dr Thomas, alongside archaeology students and local volunteers, will return to Cookham again in 2023 and 2024 to learn more about the nationally-significant abbey.
Dr Thomas’s proudest moment in archaeology was his discovery of 7th century royal feasting halls at Lyminge in Kent in 2012 which brought to an end decades of speculation and uncertainty on whether such sites existed in this region of Anglo-Saxon England. He describes the find as a ‘pioneering moment that reverberated across the excavation team and the local community.’
The Current Archaeology award nominations for 2023 were announced today (1 December) and voting is now open. Voting closes on 1 February, 2023 and the winners will be announced at a ceremony on 25 February, 2023.
Vote for Dr Gabor Thomas here.