The EAA Committee for the European Archaeological Heritage Prize, consisting of Katalin Wollak from Hungary, Franco Nicolis from Italy, Nathan Schlanger from France, and Carsten Paludan-Müller from Norway (chair), has awarded the 18th Heritage Prize of the European Association of Archaeologists to:
L’Unité d’archéologie de la ville de Saint-Denis (the Archaeological Unit of Saint-Denis) is awarded the European Heritage Prize 2016 for exemplary achievements that unite archaeological heritage management end research with local community outreach.
The metropolitan suburb of Saint-Denis is undergoing rapid transformations with more than 100 nationalities and a high unemployment rate amongst its 100 000 citizens. This transformation has caused a loss of spatial and temporal references. The work of the archaeological unit is yielding an important effort to restore a sense of belonging to the citizens by engaging them in the exploration of the rich and multifaceted history under their feet.
Through the program "Archaeology, territory and citizenship", the Unit is transforming archaeology into a tool for better analysis and knowledge of the area as well as a driver of social intergration and qualitative development of the urban fabric. The program has already been running for many years, and has clearly made the city stronger and more resilient to overcome the conflicts embedded in its present social and economic complexity.
By awarding the European Heritage Prize to l’Unité d’archéologie de la ville de Saint-Denis, the EAA wants to endorse and encourage an outstanding implementation of the idea of heritage and archaeology as community assets, in the spirit of the Valetta convention and the Faro convention. The unit has involved the citizens at the centre of an archaeological practice that reaches beyond development-led / preventive archaeology.
Archaeology can and should be a resource for people living in today’s complex communities of nested identities. L’Unité d’archéologie de la ville de Saint-Denis shows us how this can be achieved.
The NEARCH project is proud to count L’Unité d’archéologie de la ville de Saint-Denis amongst its project partners.