Digging up history
The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme aims to upgrade 21 miles of the A14 and involves one of the largest and most complex archaeological projects undertaken in the UK. More than 250 archaeologists have investigated the route and uncovered a rich archaeological landscape covering more than 6000 years of human history. Headland Archaeology, an RSK company, participated in this project as part of the MOLA Headland Infrastructure (MHI) to investigate and preserve England’s rich history.
During the excavation phase, we investigated more than 40 separate archaeological sites covering about 250 ha. The volume of material that has come out of the ground are staggering. In total, the post-excavation team will assess and analyse:
• 8000 registered finds such as coins, brooches and intact pots
• 5 t of animal bone
• 7000 environmental samples
• more than 300 human burials.
All this material is crucial to our interpretation of the archaeology. Analysis will help to gain a clearer picture of human history in this area, such as how people lived, what they ate and how their societies functioned and developed. A team of 30 specialists is recording and analysing this mass of data, in addition to the many other professional staff who working on site phasing, illustrating and other work. Our successful collaboration with MHI has made this possible.
About 250 archaeologists from across the UK, Europe and beyond worked on the project – the largest of its kind in the last decade. As part of the project, we were able to run training programmes for students from various universities at under- and postgraduate levels, and an additional programme for non-archaeologists entering the profession. We also ran a community excavation event in which local enthusiasts could take part.