Geoarchaeology and environmental archaeology in action: the story of the A14 landscape and vegetation from the Bronze Age to the Early Medieval21 Mar

Archaeology isn’t just about people, it’s also about places. In fact, one thing that makes archaeology so important is that it can tell us about how entire landscapes looked in the past. It helps us understand why people lived where they did, the food they were eating, the materials they…

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The Bar Hill Comb01 Mar

Warning: this blog post contains images and discussion of human remains.   When archaeologists working on the National Highways A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon scheme discovered a fragment of a comb, they knew they had found something unusual. But it took months of research by MOLA’s Finds Specialist, Michael Marshall, and Osteology…

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Huntingdon East, hidden in train sight – the archaeology of a forgotten station03 Jan

black and white historic photograph showing the station and train track

During our excavations on the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon National Highways scheme, we have found some amazing archaeology, including the earliest physical evidence for beer brewing and flint tools from more than 4000 years ago. But archaeology isn’t just about the ancient past. In fact, it helps us understand the…

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Pigs Teeth and Iron Nails – Masters students research the A14 past landscapes09 Nov

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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Following in their pen strokes…28 Sep

Photo of the scribbled out words, you can't quite see what was written before

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 Villages31 Aug

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 A1408 Jul

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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What can stone tools tell us about prehistoric lives on the A14?29 Apr

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.

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 Ground03 Mar

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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X-rays grant vision into the past – What we found out X-raying ancient pottery from the A14 (and why we did it)24 Feb

Radiographs of Iron Age and Roman jars

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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