Visiting Professor awarded the prestigious Presidents Medal from the British Academy

A Visiting Professor at our University has been honoured with one of the highest awards for humanities and social sciences.

Professor Roger Bland OBE (pictured), a former British Museum keeper, has been working with the University's School of Archaeology and Ancient History, contributing to research involving coin hoards, such as the Hallaton Treasure – a collection of more than 5,000 silver and gold Iron Age coins found in Leicestershire.

But it was for his work establishing a hugely successful online database for archaeologists and others to share information about new finds which secured him the British Academy’s President’s Medal – awarded annually for “outstanding academic-related activity”.

The Portable Antiques Network scheme comprises a website and an archaeological database, supported by a nationwide network of finds liaison officers who identify artefacts brought in by the public. Since its launch in 1997, it has amassed information about some 1.2 million objects in England and Wales, recorded by 45 dedicated archaeologists, as well as members of the public.

Professor Bland said: “It has proved to be a very rich resource for archaeological research. The website details more than 500 academic projects, which are using the data.

“I am humbled to have been honoured with this prestigious award. Mainly because it recognises the success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in harnessing the efforts of amateur searchers for archaeological objects who use metal detectors in transforming our knowledge of our archaeological heritage.”

The President’s Medal will be presented to Professor Bland on Tuesday 27 September, at the British Academy headquarters, in St James's, London.