In support of its aims the Society makes the following grants and awards

Grant to support the study of Portable Antiquities Scheme finds from Cheshire

The Society wishes to encourage the study and publication of objects (or groups/types of object) reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme from Cheshire and adjoining areas, to ensure that their potential contribution to the understanding of the archaeology and history of the county is realised. It is therefore offering a grant of £700 every two years to help suitable persons to undertake such research. It is a condition of the grant that the results of the research shall be offered for first publication as an article in the Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society. The video below explains more about the PAS and the grant, presented by Heather Beeton, Cheshire’s Finds Liaison Officer.

Download the CAS PAS Finds Study Grant Application Form and Details

Our first grant, in 2016, went to Carl Savage and Matthew Ball for a study of unpublished Roman, medieval and post-medieval coin hoards in Cheshire. Their work is published in Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society vol 87 for 2017. Our second grant, in 2018, was to Pauline Clarke for a review of early medieval finds from the county, and the results of her work have now been published in Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society vol 90 for 2020. Pauline also presented her research at the 2021 AGM and you can watch the recording below.

Undergraduate Dissertation Prize

The Chester Archaeological Society offers an annual prize of £100 to the best final year dissertation in the Department of History and Archaeology at Chester University, preferably on a local subject.

Click here to download further details

For more information, please contact Dr Caroline Pudney

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the Chester Archaeology Society Dissertation prize for 2024 is Scarlett Cuthbertson-Beet.

Scarlett’s winning dissertation, submitted for her undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the University of Chester, was entitled: ‘A Comprehensive Categorisation of the Cutting II Wooden Assemblage from the No Name Hill (Yorkshire) 2022 Excavation in Comparison in Form and Character to the 2018/2019 Test Pit Assemblage to determine Natural Debris vs Anthropological Wooden Production.

Scarlett’s work focused on a knotty problem for the study of prehistory – in a culture which used flint tools to work wood, is it possible to distinguish natural wood remains from those worked by humans using flint? To investigate this problem, Scarlett used the extraordinary remains from the No Name Hill site near Flixton in the Vale of Pickering, where Mesolithic hunter-gatherers exploited a range of wetland resources at the edge of what was then a proglacial lake; the conditions of the peatbog have subsequently preserved wood to a very high degree. Using the University of Chester’s Keith McLay Laboratory, Scarlett devised new scientific methods for analysing the wood and produced results of wide significance, suggesting that we can indeed recognise wood remains worked by humans.

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the Chester Archaeology Society Dissertation prize for 2023 is Elsa Heebner.

Elsa’s winning dissertation, submitted for her undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the University of Chester, was entitled: ‘Analysing Hat Production Techniques at the Bronze Age Cemetery of Xiaohe, Xinjiang; an Experimental Approach’.

Elsa’s work focused on a spectacular Bronze Age cemetery at Xiaohe in the Xinjiang province of China, a region associated over the longue duree with interregional trade on what we know as the Silk Roads.

Amongst the costume in which the dead were laid to rest were distinctive felt hats. To understand better the society and culture of the people who buried their dead in this cemetery, Elsa undertook to discover the technology and production processes available to them at the time, and experiment in the reproduction of the hats. The result was a fascinating investigation into the techniques and practices of felting, dying, and shaping, which revealed insights into labour, gender norms, social and individual identification, and landscape.

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the Chester Archaeology Society Dissertation prize for 2021 is Robyn Andrews for her research on the Langcliffe Scar complex: an unexplored upland settlement.

Robyn’s study examines the landscape features within the Langcliffe Scar complex, with an emphasis on understanding the Prehistoric origins of the settlement activity through remote sensing and field survey. Her specific objectives were to record and map the different types of known Prehistoric features in the complex in detail, and to use remote sensing survey and field visits to identify both known and unknown Prehistoric features within the study area.

Overall, Robyn’s study of the Langcliffe scar complex proved successful, achieving all her objectives and adding a total of 67 new features to the record. These include a long mound, a round mound, complete and semi-circular earthworks, square earthworks, cairns, linear coaxial boundaries and a small area of Post Medieval disused mine shafts, all previously not recorded by the HER. Not only have the results expanded the knowledge of the different types of features found in the Langcliffe Scar complex and extent of activity but they have suggested an earlier occupational phase in the development of settlement.

Robyn’ thorough and extensive research, using all available HER, mapping, survey and her successful field trips put together so clearly, concisely and confidently led the panel to award her this years’ CAS dissertation prize.


We are pleased to announce that the winner of the Chester Archaeology Society Dissertation prize for 2020 is Kelly Griffiths
Kelly’s winning dissertation at the University of Chester entitled: Horse sense: An investigation into Human-Horse relationships in the Iron Age

British Iron Age studies have concentrated on the special status of the horse in Iron Age society, not only its importance for chariot driving, riding and warfare but also its significance as an animal with huge symbolic importance. This can be seen in deposition of horse remains but also the special ritual deposition of items associated with the horse such as bridle bits, horse gear and chariots.
A move in archaeology towards a social approach has the archaeologist consider the non-unidirectional relationship between humans and animals, whereby the animal is not merely seen as an object, but also as a subject with its own agency. This research has integrated this approach with animal behaviour and psychology to investigate how the qualities of the horse depicted on coins demonstrates how the physiology and behaviour of the horse was understood, and how this horse was intrinsic, not only to the treatment of the animal in breaking and training, but also to how the horse viewed Iron Age society

This is a well deserved award. It is original, well conceived and presented. Kelly was thorough in her methodology and analysis, and brought genuine new insights into a topic in prehistory which is under-researched.
We wish Kelly much future success!

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the Chester Archaeology Society Dissertation prize for 2019 is Rowena Young
Rowena’s winning dissertation at the University of Chester entitled: Practices of Wetland Deposition in the Vale of Pickering with Reference to New Material from No Name Hill

This dissertation aims to question how representative the famous site of Star Carr in the Vale of Pickering, Yorkshire, is of the Mesolithic in its immediate landscape. To do this it analyses, and presents macrofossil plant remains from nearby site ‘No Name Hill’ also in the Vale of Pickering, to establish the local environment and the context into which this assemblage was deposited. In doing so it draws conclusions about practices of deposition, comparing the findings to other known Mesolithic sites. The findings demonstrate that Star Carr is still unique within its landscape, however, the forms of deposition occurring are a wider trend throughout the Mesolithic.

We extend our well deserved congratulations on what is considered to be an outstanding piece of work, which has particularly impressed the review panel in demonstrating innovative knowledge and novel perspective, and an exceptionally high demonstration of relevant background knowledge—all of which Rowena communicated and argued to an extremely high standard.
We wish Rowena well with her career!

Rowena was able to join us for our 2021 AGM where she presented an overview of her research for CAS members. You can watch Rowena’s presentation below.

St John’s House Fund

The Society invites applications for grants from its St John’s House Fund to support archaeological work in and around Chester. Applications may be made at any time of year but grants will not normally exceed £500 per annum in total. Grants may be used for: archaeological fieldwork and other research; the acquisition, preservation, restoration and reconstruction of archaeological sites, monuments and objects; archaeological publication; other allied activities.
Click here to download information about St John’s House Fund grants.