In: Blog

Pigs Teeth and Iron Nails – Masters students research the A14 past landscapes
November 9, 2022

In 2021 Saskia Brogan and Katie Manby were awarded MA Scholarships for Reading University, funded by National Highways. This included placements working with the MOLA Headland team on the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Road Improvement Scheme, where they took part in a wide range of post-excavation work. Now they have both…

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Photo of the scribbled out words, you can't quite see what was written before
Following in their pen strokes…
September 28, 2022

A spotlight on the mysterious funerary clerks of St James’s Burial Ground We’re working hard with volunteers to learn about the 18th and 19th century Londoners buried in St James’s Burial Ground. This project is part of the HS2 scheme. We’re finding out these Londoners’ names, ages and where they…

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Secrets of Deserted Villages
August 31, 2022

As archaeologists, we usually focus on the excavation and analysis of the physical remains of people’s lives, such as pottery, bone, and coins. But there is another source of information which can bring a new element to our investigations! In this blog we will explore some historic documents. These relate…

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Murder they croaked? Investigating a prehistoric frog mystery on the A14
July 8, 2022

Archaeology is not just the study of past human activity. It also looks at the animals that inhabited ancient landscapes. During excavations on the National Highways A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Road Improvement Scheme we retrieved more than four tonnes of animal bones, which we are now studying in detail.  Our…

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Image showing line drawings of Neolithic worked flints. On the left are two leaf shaped arrowheads, showing front, back view and profile. On the right is a flaked axed, represented in front view, profile and bottom view.
What can stone tools tell us about prehistoric lives on the A14?
April 29, 2022

The further we travel back in time, the harder it becomes to read the traces left by our ancestors. While we have a wide variety of objects, buildings, and even written materials dating to our recent past, not as much survives from the Stone Age (c. 500,000-2200 BC). We have…

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Volunteers reveal the lives of six Londoners buried in St James’s Burial Ground
March 3, 2022

People from all walks of life were buried at St James’s Burial Ground, rich and poor, young and old. The cemetery was used from 1790 to 1843, during a time when London was expanding quickly. It struggled to deal with London’s increasing population and closed to new burials earlier than…

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Radiographs of Iron Age and Roman jars
X-rays grant vision into the past – What we found out X-raying ancient pottery from the A14 (and why we did it)
February 24, 2022

Excavations on the National Highways A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Road Improvement Scheme may be complete, but we’re continuing to study the incredible amount of finds unearthed. Now, when you think about X-rays you probably imagine hospitals and airport security rather than archaeology and ancient pots. However, recently more than 100…

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Left: Lanah holding a pot, reconstructing its shape. Right: Jemma in hi-visibility clothing in the middle of a field.
Pots and metals along the A14 – Masters students reflect on their National Highways and MOLA Headland studentship
January 6, 2022

Back in 2020, Jemma Moorhouse and Lanah Hewson were each awarded an MA Scholarship funded by National Highways at Reading University. This included a placement to work with MOLA Headland on the archaeological excavations that formed part of the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Road Improvement Scheme. Having now completed their…

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(1) A cow tooth analysed to try and determine birthing seasons. (2) Bone samples demineralising in acid during the collagen extraction process.
Nifty neutrons – isotope analysis on the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon National Highways scheme
November 2, 2021

Isotope analysis makes it possible to understand past environments and the human diet by using information taken from a single tooth, bone or plant grain. This revolutionary technique is being used by Professor Janet Montgomery and Dr Joanna Moore (of Durham University) on materials found during the A14 Cambridge to…

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Become a citizen scientist and unlock the stories of St James’s Burial Ground
August 24, 2021

As part of our work on High Speed 2, we are inviting people to take part in a huge citizen science project – digitising 57,639 burial records that hold key details about the lives of Londoners in the 18th- and 19th-century.  Anyone can take part via the Stories of St James’s…

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