The A14C2H Summer Community Dig is now underway, with over 65 members of the public set to join us on site near Brampton over the next month. Already the team has been getting to grips with a wide range of archaeological techniques including excavation, drawing, survey and photography. As the first week draws to a close, we decided to find out how the volunteers have been getting on so far.

MOLA Headland archaeologists are supervising the volunteers and sharing their expertise. Rachel, who lives nearby in Kettering and is new to archaeology, can be seen working with MOLA Headland Assistant Supervisor Alex on an archaeological drawing:

A14C2H Community Dig volunteer Rachel learning to draw (c) Highways England, courtesy of MOLA Headland Infrastructure

“It’s been really interesting so far. Alex has been teaching me the techniques that archaeologists use to draw and record archaeological features, like hachures for slopes and numbers in triangles for small finds.”

For most this is their first experience of a commercial archaeological dig site. Katharine, who will be part of the dig team for the next three weeks, is an archaeology student at the University of York:

A14C2H Community Dig volunteer Katharine excavating (c) Highways England, courtesy of MOLA Headland Infrastructure

“In the few days I’ve been here I’ve already learnt lots of new skills. It’s giving me a different perspective from the university excavation I have been on. What makes it so different is the setting we are working in – a building site, wearing all the PPE and the scale of the site.”

Carole – who is also an archaeology novice and has been learning the basics of surveying using total station under the close supervision of MOLA Headland Surveying Supervisor Tom – said:

A14C2H Community Dig volunteer Carole learning to use a total station (c) Highways England, courtesy of MOLA Headland Infrastructure

“I’ve learnt a lot about excavating archaeological features, drawing and surveying. I’ve been very fortunate to have found examples of a fire pit including tiles, pottery, charcoal and bricks.”

The beautiful sunshine on site this week has come with its own challenges, but this hasn’t stopped volunteer Manuela from taking some great photos of features. Here she can be seen making the most of some improvised shade:

A14C2H Community Dig volunteer Manuela taking a photo (c) Highways England, courtesy of MOLA Headland Infrastructure

“Jeremy’s introduction put the site into context before we started working, and I have really enjoyed the talks after lunch. I have volunteered on previous excavations and taking part in this project has given me the opportunity to put into practice the skills previously learnt.”

Excavations are set to continue for the next month, giving the team plenty of time to explore the remains of the medieval village of Houghton. Keep your eyes peeled for weekly updates on their progress.

Join us on our journey!

  • @A14C2H #A14Archaeology
  • #A14Archaeology
  • Come to one of our community archaeology events
  • 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.