That he is to be awarded a prestigious British
archaeology medal took him completely by surprise, Dunedin
archaeologist Prof Charles Higham, of the University of Otago,
Prof Higham (72) has been awarded the Grahame Clark medal for
2012 by the British Academy.
Awarded for the first time in 1993, it is handed out every
two years by the national academy for the humanities and
Prof Higham said the medal recognised his excavation work
innortheast Thailand, and northern Cambodia, where for the
past 20 years he has sought to understand the origins of the
civilisations of Southeast Asia, in particular Angkor.
He is principal author of six volumes detailing the
excavations, the last of which is yet to be published.
He acknowledged the work of many other academics who assisted
him to understand what was dug out from the sites, saying
archaeology was a very collaborative discipline.
One such helper is son Tom, a professor of archaeology at
Oxford University, who helped with carbon dating.
Prof Higham will be awarded the medal in London on November
At that time, he planned to be excavating in northeast
Thailand, so he would "flit" to London to attend the award
Prof Higham said he was very happy in Dunedin, which had been
home since 1967 when he and wife Polly moved to New Zealand
from Cambridge, England.
He acknowledged the government of Thailand, and New Zealand's
Marsden Fund, for financial assistance.
The medal was endowed in 1992 by Prof Sir Grahame Clark, a
fellow of the British Academy, to recognise advances in the
study of prehistoric archaeology.