2015 award


From an initial shortlist (to which titles were added and subtracted) the judges argued the strong and weak points of each title, taking into account the standard of printing and binding as well as the inclusion of an index where appropriate, the layout and the quality of writing. In alphabetical order of author, the final shortlist was:


Michael Adams: One Man One Pan – A wonderful, personal tale of exploring caves in China over the course of two early expeditions


Peter S. Burr: Mines and Minerals of the Mendip Hills – In a two-volume set, an incredible amount of research is packed into a thousand pages that is already the definitive work on the subject


Ralph Crane and Lisa Fletcher: Cave. Nature and culture – Cave is unusual in that it succeeds in crossing divides, merging legend and fact, science and art – any caver willing to be challenged with new ideas will enjoy this book


Marion Dowd: The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland – Marion’s impressive work on caves and archaeology in Ireland is extensive, interestingly written, beautifully presented and well indexed: a superb publication


Elaine Hill and Adrian Hall (comps): Northern Sump Index 2015 – A description of ‘index’ hardly does justice to this invaluable resource from the Cave Diving Group; the amalgamated surveys at the rear were especially appreciated


Dewi Lloyd (ed): NPC Journal 2015 – After a 28-year break, this latest Northern Pennine Club journal brings a host of quality material to readers, providing a finely presented and valuable archive of exploration in the Dales


Duncan Price: Underwater Potholer – Simply a damn good read from this cave diver and explorer, written on a personal level


Michael Shaw, David Poyner and Robert Evans: Aerial Ropeways of Shropshire – Another high-quality account from the Shropshire Caving and Mining Club; while the title might suggest a dry, obscure publication, it is eminently readable by any enthusiast


Trevor Shaw and Alenka Cuk: Slovene Karst and Caves in the Past – Past winners of the Tratman Award, Trevor and Alenka have broadened the appeal of cave history, making the text more accessible to a wider Slovene readership

The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland


After much discussion, made vastly more difficult by the high number of excellent publications considered, the Tratman Award for 2015 goes to Marion Dowd for The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland. Congratulations are due for her outstanding work ‘from which the sun shines’ to quote one judge, who also suggested that it ‘should act as a model for similar regional books in Ireland, the UK – and indeed Europe’, a sentiment backed by the other judges. The remaining works are all highly commended, in itself a prestigious achievement. The award is a piece of original artwork by Mark ‘Gonzo’ Lumley, which will be presented at EuroSpeleo 2016.

Chris Howes, on behalf of the judges


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