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Plowden Medal

23 December 2010

The Plowden Medal being presented to David WatkinsonDavid Watkinson receiving the Plowden Medal from the Duchess of Northumberland

A Cardiff academic has been honoured for his ground-breaking conservation research and his commitment to training the next generation of conservators.

David Watkinson of the School of History, Archaeology and Religion was awarded the 2010 Plowden Medal by the Royal Warrant Holders Association in recognition of his significant and innovative work in archaeological conservation.

For more than 30 years David, a Reader at the School has delivered conservation research, teaching and training. Cardiff graduates occupy conservation posts around the world with many having a significant influence on the preservation of world heritage.

His research work on controlling corrosion of archaeological and historical ironwork is highly regarded and has been widely published gaining him international recognition. His laboratory experiments modelled the corrosion of Brunel’s iconic iron ship ss Great Britain and the resulting data was used to create a novel conservation solution that applied controlled desiccation of its hull. By quantifying corrosion above no-corrosion points his work provides curators with a tool for managing the lifespan of the ship using cost benefit methodologies.

Speaking about the award, David said: "I was very pleased to receive this award, as it is decided by my peers and is seen as a significant professional honour."

During his career, David has made media appearances that brought the importance of conservation to a wider audience, such as commenting on events like the burning of the Cutty Sark in 2007; reporting conservation of the Llandeilo wall paintings and ss Great Britain; and providing features in popular programmes such as Flog It.

The medal, inaugurated in 1999, is awarded by the Association in memory of the late Hon. Anna Plowden CBE, the leading conservator who was Vice-President of the Association at the time of her death in 1997. The Medal is presented annually to the individual who has made the most significant recent contribution to the advancement of the conservation profession. It can also be awarded to recognise a lifetime of commitment and achievement.

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