Adam Stanford presents certificate to Gavin McGuire on stage
Our judge, Adam Stanford, presents the winner, Gavin McGuire, with his certificate at CA Live! 2020 in London.
Hidden History Travel and Archaeology logo
The CWA Photo Competition 2020 is sponsored by Hidden History Travel & Archaeology.

Once again, we were delighted by the quality and quantity of the fantastic archaeological images that were sent in to this year’s photo competition. Travelling from high peaks to the sea beds, the impressive array of photos of iconic and little-known sites and exceptional artefacts highlight the different ways we experience, live with, and investigate the past. Archaeological photographer Adam Stanford, of SUMO Aerial-Cam, served as our judge and cast his expert eye over the entries. The results were announced at the Current Archaeology Awards ceremony in February.

This year’s overall winner is Gavin McGuire’s photo of archaeologists imaging skeletal remains during excavations at a Bronze Age site on Crete. Adam commented on his choice for CWA Photo of the Year 2020, ‘It dramatically depicts archaeological evidence being recorded. The strong light works well to make the photograph pop and of course is the reason why a tarp is being used to provide shade, soft and more even light over the subject the archaeologists are recording. The archaeological photographer in the image reminds me of all the time I have spent waiting for clouds or gathering people with big coats and tarps to help with creating the right conditions to do my job well!’

archaeologists hold tarp to create shade over burial so it can be recorded

The winning photo was on display throughout the two days of CA Live! 2020 at Senate House in London, alongside our three runners-up (presented here in alphabetical order).

First, we have Parviz Besharatpur’s black and white photo of the Tachara, or the Palace of Darius I, at Perspolis, Iran. Adam described it as ‘a rare black and white image in this digital age, with elements of symmetry, subtle tones in the sky, but with the contrast of etched-like detail in the Palace remains.’

Black and white photo of ancient palace ruins

Another of the photos selected by Adam is Leyla Emektar’s image of the rock-cut architecture at Zelve Open Air Museum in Cappadocia, Turkey. He remarked, ‘An almost dreamlike landscape, punctuated by the rock cut evidence of past human occupation. This image really draws me in to want to explore the detail and be there for real.’

Small dwellings cut into the rock face

The last runner-up is Cristian Umili with his photo of the 5th-century BC Peristera shipwreck off the Greek island of Alonissos. Our judge said, ‘Another example of photographing in challenging conditions, this time underwater. With both clear evidence of a wreck and the contents it once contained and with a diver to add a human element, as well as scale.’

Diver surveys amphorae underwater

Well done to the winners, and thank you to all who entered; we’ve loved seeing your work.

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