The Medal was founded in 1923 by the Council of the Institute in memory of its late President, William Halse Rivers, originally for `for anthropological work in the field'. However, in the 1960s the rules were amended to reflect anthropological work in a broader sense.

The Medal shall be awarded for a recent body of work published over a period of five years which makes, as a whole, a significant contribution to social, physical or cultural anthropology or archaeology.

The Medal will not normally awarded for a single meritorious work nor merely for an exceptional number of publications.

The Medal will normally be awarded , but the Council reserves the right not to make an award in any year, if in its opinion, the nominations fail to reach the required standard for a medal which should reward exceptional merit.

The Medal rewarded in any year shall be presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Institute, unless the Council has requested the Medallist to deliver a lecture in connection with the award, when the Medal shall be presented on the occasion of the lecture.

The award shall be made by the Council, which shall be advised by the Honours and Awards Committee. An award may be made by the Council, or body to which the Council may delegate responsibility, not less than on month before the Annual General Meeting of the Institute. Nominations may be made by any member of the Council, and should be addressed to the president or director. The name of the nominee should be accompanied by titles and dates of the publications adduced in support, together with a reasoned appraisal of the nominee's work. Nominations will be assessed by the Honours and Awards Committee, which has power to make nominations itself if it considers this necessary.

Eligibility for the medal is restricted to candidates having substantive academic connections with the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland, during the period under consideration.

Prior Recipients