This week, Emma Jeffery, Senior Archaeologist at MOLA Headland will be talking about the amazing archaeology of the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme at Current Archaeology Live. In this blog, we find out more about her role on the Highways England scheme and what happens next.
What has your role in the A14 Archaeology programme been?
My work on the programme began on the first day that MOLA Headland started on site and as with any dig of this scale, my role has developed as the project has moved through its various phases!
As excavations got underway along the route, I led the field team in the western part of the scheme (towards Huntingdon). This meant ensuring our work happened on time, supporting the field team and liaising with the A14 construction team, the county archaeologist and the MOLA Headland team both on and off site as we uncovered Cambridgeshire’s fascinating history piece by piece.
As we undertake the mammoth task of bringing together all this information in the post-excavation phase, I’m liaising with MOLA Headland teams across the country to find common themes and form our research questions.
The Highways England A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme is one of the largest archaeology projects ever undertaken in the UK. What was life in the field like?
! Busy, all the time! In a good way of course. It has been an incredibly full-on few years for everyone involved in the project and we’ve excavated an area measuring 288 hectares(almost half the size of Gibraltar). It’s taken an army of archaeologists and a lot of expertise to complete the dig. Projects of this size are never without challenges, but it has been great fun – we’ve had an amazing team and incredible archaeology turning up on an almost-daily basis.
How many people have been involved in the A14C2H Archaeology programme so far?
Now that’s a tricky one! It’s not just the archaeologists out in the field doing the digging, it’s all of our trainees, specialists, management and administrative support, members of the local community who have been involved through the community excavation and outreach events and of course the A14 construction team. What’s great about this project is that it’s allowed us to work collaboratively with other individuals and organisations in the archaeological profession, in academia and beyond, from all around the globe. It has been a real team effort and will continue to be so throughout the post-excavation phase.
What has your role been since the post-excavation assessment began?
Since the autumn, I have been working on the post-excavation assessments for some of the sites, as well as helping to produce the research questions we hope to tackle going forwards and thinking about the type of “outputs” we want to produce. I have been particularly involved in the Saxon and medieval aspects of this, as these are the periods I’m most interested in.
What have your highlights been throughout the project?
Oh, so so many – it’s hard to choose! I have really enjoyed presenting the results of our work to the wider community and seeing how interested everyone is in it, particularly at our open days and during our community excavation – it makes all the hard work worthwhile. I also enjoyed our recent academic symposium, where we heard about some of the initial results from the many specialists working on the project – there’s some really exciting stuff in there which I can’t wait to get stuck into. Other than that, you can’t beat the feeling of realising that you’re uncovering a whole Middle Saxon settlement in the middle of a Cambridgeshire field!
Join us on our journey!
- Twitter: @A14C2H #A14Archaeology
- Facebook.com/A14C2H/ #A14Archaeology
- Find out more about the A14C2H improvement scheme here
The archaeological programme for the Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme is being carried out by A14 Integrated Delivery Team on behalf of Highways England.