British historian Mary Beard has been awarded Spain's Princess of Asturias 2016 social sciences prize for her work in spreading knowledge of ancient times.

A classics professor at the University of Cambridge, Beard, 61, was described as a leading expert on antiquity and one of the most influential British intellectuals in a statement from prize organizers Wednesday. Her works include "The Roman Triumph" and "Pompeii."

The organizers cited University of Saint Andrews Prof. Stephen Halliwell as saying that Beard combines professional excellence in the study of Greek and Roman culture with a pre-eminent ability to communicate its importance to others.

The 50,000-euro ($56,000) award is one of eight handed out yearly by a foundation named for Crown Princess Leonor. Others include the arts, sport and scientific research.