PCA Warwick Is Moving!
4th July 2019
Please note that from 29th July 2019, PCA Warwick will have moved to its new office. The address is:
2 Plestowes Barn,
CBA East Event - September 2019
The Council of British Archaeology in the East is holding an event to celebrate the CBA’s 75th Anniversary. It is on
Saturday 28th September 2019 at Ipswich IP-City Centre, 1 Bath Street, Ipswich. For details of the event and for a booking form, click here: CBA Event Conference (1)
Staff from the Newark office have been involved in carrying out historic building recording at Helpringham in Lincolnshire. Manor Farmhouse, the subject of the survey, is a listed building described in the citation as late 17th century, altered in the 19th century. However, there has been a lack of clarity with the dating and to address this a programme of dendrochronology was required.
Tree ring specialist, Robert Howard of the Nottingham Tree-Ring Dating Laboratory, visited the farmhouse and took a series of samples from various timbers in the building. Many of the examined timbers had sapwood, with several retaining full sapwood which allowed the tree felling dates to be identified. Several timbers in the roof were found to have the same felling date, 1704.
At first glance, comparing this to the suggested dating in the listed building citation, this may appear to indicate an early 18th century re-roofing of the building. However, the PCA staff undertaking the building recording identified a long-obscured datestone in the building – positioned high on the gable of the main range but covered over by an extension of probably late 18th-early 19th century date. This datestone is inscribed in Latin ‘MDCCV’ – 1705. The correspondence of this inscribed date with the chronology indicated by the tree-ring dating is a splendid validation of the accuracy of dendrochronology as a dating technique.
Cambridge Office News - June 2019
The time has come around again for PCA Cambridge to host four Sawston Village College Students for two weeks. This year, one week into their placement we accepted an extra two students as their placement was no longer able to host them. As usual we have put together a series of talks by various members of staff to give a flavour of the sort of work that archaeologists do and the skills and knowledge that are required. This includes stratigraphy, osteology, environmental sampling, finds illustration, GPS and CAD. We even managed to squeeze in a field trip to a local community dig which Mark Hinman (Director and Regional Manager) is directing in his free time!
On the 12th June a group of students from the local primary school came to visit PCA Cambridge excavations at Bawdsey, Suffolk, where they enjoyed a tour of the site from Supervisor Tom Revell. They also had a go at metal detecting with our resident metal detectorist Dave Curry! There will be a follow up talk from Sîan O’Neill at the school in the next couple of weeks.
Loves Farm Talk - St Neots Local History Society
Director and Regional Manager (Cambridge and Norwich) Mark Hinman spoke at Loves Farm House for the St Neots Local History Society about “The Archaeology of Loves Farm” on Friday 14th June. There was an attendance of approximately 100 residents, from which we have gained a new volunteer for the Cambridge office.
PCA Cambridge has made headway with the deposition of project archives in East Anglia over the past few months. Forty nine project archives from the Cambridge office and two from the Newark office were deposited with the Cambridge County Council Historic Environment Team (CCCHET). They will continue to deposit other projects in the near future.
29th May 2019
The National Trust at Sutton Hoo presents ‘Fashion of Archaeology’…
The National Trust at Sutton Hoo are preparing for a temporary exhibition and need your help!
They will be delving through the wardrobes of archaeologists both past and present in this temporary exhibition. Whether practical, corporate or personal, each item has a story to tell. Interested?
To learn more about how you can submit photographs or items of clothing to the exhibition, go to nationaltrust.org.uk/suttonhoo or please email firstname.lastname@example.org. A copy of the submission form can be downloaded here.
Fulham Palace Opening
23rd May 2019
Last night, Director Chris Mayo and Post-excavation Manager Jon Butler attended a private view of Fulham Palace including the new museum, restored courtyard and garden to celebrate the completion of the restoration project. PCA was the archaeological contractor engaged for Stage 1 (2005-6) and Stage 2 (2010-11). We have also provided specialist support to Fulham Place since 2012 over the course of three community archaeology projects, and during the recent, final Stage 3 project.
The Stage 3 project has seen the creation of a new museum space which highlights the archaeology of the site and its fascinating garden history. PCA is delighted to be thanked on the museum’s walls. The extent of our work with the Palace is illustrated in the plan of investigations completed over the last 15 years.
The transformation work at Fulham Palace is a credit to the Trust, its dedicated team, and all who have worked tirelessly on the project. PCA is proud to have contributed, and we recommend that people pay a visit. https://www.fulhampalace.org/
New Directors Appointed
Succession planning is an important part of the life-cycle of most businesses and PCA is pleased to announce the creation of four new company Directors. These are being rolled out progressively over the next 6 months starting in May with Mark Hinman and Christopher Mayo, currently Regional Manager of the PCA Cambridge office and Project Manager at the PCA London office respectively, followed in three months by current Publications and Monographs Manager Victoria Ridgeway and three months after this by Helen Hawkins currently a Project Manager at the PCA London office. All four have demonstrable skills, and understanding of Pre-Construct Archaeology and its business ethos, and considerable enthusiasm for the challenges ahead. The ‘old-guard’, and remaining original Directors, Gary Brown, Josephine Brown and Peter Moore very much look forward to working alongside them.
Separately, and with immediate effect, Victoria Ridgeway has been appointed as the Company’s Head of Post-Excavation. Vicki has been with PCA since 1995, and has had a variety of post-excavation roles within it since 2004, and as such she is the ideal person to take on this role from Frank, with whom she is liaising closely to ensure a seamless switch from one to the other.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Project, Westminster - RICS 2019 London Project of the Year!
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Project in Westminster, for which PCA undertook the archaeological works wins RICS London Project of the Year 2019. Click here for more details.
Resignation of Director
After twenty one years of dedication and hard work on the Board of Pre-Construct Archaeology as well as fulfilling his key operational roles of being Head of Post-Excavation and Head of Health and Safety for the company Dr Frank Meddens has decided to step away from all such responsibilities and has resigned both from the Board and as Head of Post-Excavation.
The last few years have been particularly hard on Frank, with firstly being diagnosed with, and then successfully fighting off, a rare form of cancer for which treatment is still on-going, and, in February 2018, losing his beloved wife Beverley (Bev) after she succumbed to cancer, which itself was diagnosed at a time when she was supporting Frank through his own struggles. Inevitably these two major events, coupled with the stress of Directorial and Managerial responsibilities, have proved too onerous and Frank, after a year of quiet contemplation made the decision to step down.
However, stepping down does not mean stepping away as Frank will remain with PCA on a part-time basis as a contributor to the post-excavation team and will assist all PCA offices as required.
A Beaver Tooth from Winchester
A team from PCA’s Winchester office have been excavating at Barton Farm, on the northern edge of the Hampshire city, since January 2015. This exciting site has produced a remarkable array of archaeological finds, with large quantities of pottery, animal bone and other artefacts recovered from features dating from the Neolithic period through to the 19th century. But one recent find, a Beaver tooth (incisor), excavated from a pit dated to the later Neolithic or early Bronze Age (3000-1500 BC), has a been a particular talking point.
The Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber), which was originally native to the UK, has been extinct in England for over 400 years, but these animals would once have been found across the country. Although relatively rare, artefactual evidence for the exploitation of Beavers, including teeth, bones and fragments of gnawed wood have been recovered from a number of prehistoric sites in Southern England, with particular concentrations recovered from wetland areas. Butchery marks on the bones show that beavers were used for their skins as well as their meat.
Interestingly, at Barton Farm, there was no sign of any other part of the beaver’s skeleton within the pit that produced the tooth, suggesting that just this item had been kept. It is unclear why the tooth was retained, but the piece, which is a striking, bright orange colour, something characteristic of the species, has unusual patterns of wear; a fact which has lead PCA’s archaeological animal bone specialist, Kevin Rielly, to suggest the item had perhaps been kept as either a keepsake or to be reused as an ornament or tool. Examples of such uses are known; Beaver incisors recovered from grave assemblages within Early Bronze Age barrows near Stonehenge, may have been selected for their ornamental value, whilst anthropological evidence indicates that beaver incisors can be hafted in to a handle for use as a woodworking tool.
Another Award for PCA Monograph!
Well done yet again to all involved in the production of ‘An Immense and Exceedingly Commodious Goods Station; The Archaeology and History of the Great Northern Railway’s Goods Yard at King’s Cross, 1849 to the Present Day’ as it has been awarded ‘Archaeology Book of the Year’ at the RCHS Transport History Book Awards 2019. Becky and Guy were present to receive the award at the ceremony in Furness Abbey.
If you would like to purchase your own copy, it is available to buy on our Publications page, along with our other monographs.
Since July 2017 PCA has made numerous visits to Bristol to undertake targeted phases of archaeological investigation during the reconfiguration of the Temple Circus Gyratory system close to Bristol Broadmead station, recording the medieval and post-medieval development of the area. As the scheme nears completion we will shortly be returning to undertake the final phase of archaeological investigation, focussing primarily on the detailed recording of a southern section of the Portwall, the 13th-century city wall. Click here for more information on the scheme.
Newcastle University Student Placements - 2019
Rowan and Ella joining pottery sherds from different contexts within the same pit
It has become a bit of a PCA tradition to host four Newcastle university students over the Easter vacation, in our London offices. This year we have been joined by Abbie, who is assisting with processing and sorting of environmental samples, and Ellie who has been recording details such as root etching on animal bones. We are also delighted to welcome Ella and Rowan to our new Chester-le-Street offices – they have been looking for (and finding) cross-context joins across a Roman pottery assemblage and sticking the pieces together. All are working really hard and hopefully enjoying their time with us too.
Look out for two more of our student placements in a couple of weeks’ time.
Abbie processing environmental samples
Ellie recording animal bone
Triforum Galleries Tour – Westminster Abbey
The Council for British Archaeology – CBA (London) arranged a special visit with an introduction to the archaeology by PCA Director Peter Moore on Saturday 9th February. Peter described the discoveries excavated by PCA: the external corner where the new access tower has been built yielded everything from monastic burials to shop foundations, and centuries of surprises were extracted from thousands of bags of dust retrieved from beneath the triforium floor.
The new Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the triforium space of Westminster Abbey are simply stunning. This once hidden section of the Abbey shows off its treasures brilliantly, and all has been enhanced by the archaeological efforts that have helped create the galleries.
This event was popular and fully booked, so if you were one of the lucky ticket holders, we hope you enjoyed this fascinating visit!
An exhibition was held on Saturday 19th January presenting the archaeological findings from PCA’s site at the Boleyn Ground, formerly West Ham Football Club’s ground, in London Borough of Newham. Click the button for a news article about the site in the Newham Recorder.
2019 Civic Trust Awards Winner and 2019 Civic Trust AABC Conservation Awards Winner!
Kicking off the new year with some great news! PCA was part of a winning team selected for an award for their work on the Westminster Abbey Triforium project. The project was nominated as a 2019 Civic Trust Awards Winner @CTAwards as well as a 2019 Civic Trust AABC Conservation Awards Winner @CTAConservation. The awards were announced at the Civic Trust Awards ceremony on the 1st March 2019. A full list of the winners and further details of the awards can be found via the link below.Civic Trust Awards 2019