The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme Summer Community Dig has given us the opportunity to welcome onto site more than 60 volunteers from the local area and further afield. They have been able to pick up new archaeological skills and see first-hand the rich archaeological landscape we have been uncovering.

The MOLA Headland team draws on expertise from the local area and beyond, and it has been fantastic for us to be able to call on local perspectives to enrich our understanding and involve people directly in building the archaeological narrative of their area.

As week two of the dig came to an end we spoke to Leila, one of the local volunteers, for whom the dig has been a long-awaited chance to learn the ins and outs of archaeological excavation and recording:

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

“I’ve always been interested in archaeology but never had time to get involved. I found out about the dig on Hunts Post and thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to finally learn more about it. I live nearby in St Neots so I’m excited to find out about my local history.”

Volunteer Gwendoline, who lives nearby in Newmarket, has already had a taste of the mystery and problem solving involved when trying to identify an archaeological feature:

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

“I’m digging a pit close to a line of postholes which we think is a rubbish pit because of all the animal bones and pottery fragments I have been finding – but it is still a working theory at this stage. It’s great to be involved in the local archaeology and gaining new skills in the process!”

Karl has been working with MOLA Headland archaeologists to disentangle the complex archaeological layers, known as stratigraphy, of a ditch and series of pits at the edge of the deserted medieval village of Houghton:

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

“I came across the dig on Twitter, and thought it would be brilliant to dig alongside professional archaeologists! So far I’ve been finding lots of pottery and bone which tells me what local villagers were eating, using and throwing away nearly a thousand years ago.”

Josephine, a member of Jigsaw (a community project that aims to identify, understand and protect Cambridgeshire’s rich archaeological heritage), found out about the Community Dig when a MOLA Headland Community Archaeologist came to speak to her local group:

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

“I was really inspired by Helen’s talk, which was about all of the incredible archaeology MOLA Headland Infrastructure have been finding on the A14 and I couldn’t wait to get involved. I try to go on as many digs as possible!”

In case you missed it, you can still catch up on all of the amazing discoveries Josephine is referring to on the A14C2H blog.

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.