The Pontifical Roman Academy awarded the gold prize to a Hungarian archaeologist who studied the Transjordan, where John the Baptist would have been locked up and beheaded.
The 2020 prize, reserved for the Pontifical Roman Academy of Archaeology and the Pontifical Academy Cultorum Martyrum , was awarded to three archaeologists, one Hungarian (gold medal), the other Italian (two silver medals ), announced the Press Office of the Holy See on May 12, 2021. The award ceremony by Pope Francis will take place in February 2022, on the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of archaeologist Giovanni Battista De Rossi, founder of Modern Christian Archeology and Magister of Collegium Cultorum Martyrum.
Postponed until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the award of the Pontifical Academies prize usually takes place between November and January during a Seduta Pubblica by the Bishop of Rome. Dedicated each year to a different discipline among those proposed by the Coordinating Council of the Pontifical Academies, the prize this time rewards the work of Győző Vörös, member of the Hungarian Academy of the Arts, and in particular his project “The archaeological excavations of Machéronte,” in which he researched the place (Transjordan) where John the Baptist would have been locked up and beheaded under Herod Antipas.
The Italian archaeologists Domenico Benoci and Gabriele Castiglia were also awarded prizes. The first completed his doctoral thesis at the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archeology on “Christian inscriptions in the catacombs of St. Callistus,” in Rome, while the second published a “Christian topography of central and northern Tuscany” (towns and countryside from the 4th to the 10th century) at the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archeology.