Crossrail Ltd


Infrastructure (Rails)


Desk-based research for EIA, Evaluation, Excavation, Post-ex analysis, Public engagement, Publication, Specialist services

Project Highlights

  • Excavations and fieldwork carried out at 15 sites
  • 3,700m3 excavated at Broadgate Ticket Hall, including 3,300 skeletons at a density of up to 8 per cubic metre
  • Accelerated programme: Complex shift work of over 70 staff on the Broadgate Ticket Hall site, 6 days a week
  • Bespoke strategies employed to augment findings from the dig: burial sampling strategy, photogrammetry, BIM compliant data sets, 3D modelling burials, ancient DNA testing, dental calculus
  • Added value through contribution to engagement of local, national and international audiences: nearly 3,000 visitors to the Liverpool Street site, over 500 attending the associated lecture programme and millions of people engaged via online, broadcast and print media


MOLA undertook archaeological and heritage services on 3 out of the 4 packages for Crossrail, one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe, working within a logistically challenging programme to ensure construction continued to schedule.

MOLA first became involved with the project in 2002, providing specialist consultancy work and desk-based assessment of over 100 sites for the Environmental Impact Assessment and initial programming assessments.  

MOLA then conducted field evaluation, geoarchaeological borehole testing, building recording, excavation, and watching briefs on 15 sites, including several complex, multi-phased urban excavations, most notably Broadgate Ticket Hall at Liverpool Street.

This intensive programme of excavation required long-term close collaboration with Crossrail’s project archaeologists and engineers, and the main contractors. MOLA responded effectively to changes in programme and the constrained environments, working within a rigorous Health & Safety regime. The accelerated programme for the Broadgate site also required complex staffing schedules, and MOLA managed and coordinated shift work of over 70 staff 6 days a week, developing methods to ensure appropriate handovers between teams for consistent work and interpretation.

MOLA also employed tailored strategies to maximise the archaeological information gained and allow construction to continue unhindered. The post-medieval cemetery at the Broadgate site in particular required an innovative site specific sampling strategy for the burials, helping advance innovative methods required for successfully excavating large volumes within the logistical challenges presented by a major infrastructure project.

Broadgate is also one of many Crossrail sites where MOLA has also produced BIM-ready data sets.

MOLA worked closely with Crossrail to deliver their public engagement initiatives. This included public viewing platforms with nearly 3000 visitors to site over 30 hours, interpretative hoardings, a lecture series, blogs, and contributions to films and social media activity around the dig. Nationally, the project has been covered by Blue Peter, The One Show, Digging for Britain, BBC breakfast, a dedicateda Channel 4 documentary and National Geographic magazine.

MOLA’s specialists, including a team of 4 osteologists, are carrying out post-excavation analysis within a focused research strategy. The results are being published in a bespoke series of 10 Crossrail monographs in 2017.