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Cate Davies

Medieval pits and the ‘Spinning House’, Cambridge

By News

PCA are currently undertaking excavations in the rear courtyard of Hobson House, Cambridge.

Henley Construct are the contractor delivering the project to Rogue City Hotels who will run and manage the hotel. The Hobson will be a 56-suite luxury hotel and meeting space centred around an atrium space housed in a Grade II listed former police station. The hotel sits in a prime location on St Andrew’s Street in Cambridge’s city centre, opening in September 2022.

The excavations are located in the former drill yard of the 1901 police station. The removal of the modern concrete flooring revealed previous cobbled surfaces of the drill yard and a range of walls relating to the rear extension of the Spinning House in the 19th century, as well as the old town jail and police station.

The excavations also revealed a series of medieval and possible Saxo-Norman pits, most likely quarry pits to extract gravel for building activity in the vicinity. The pits were covered by a dark cultivation soil and suggest that the area was open and cultivated land, either at the back of properties along St Andrew’s Street, or prior to their construction.

Hobson House is a Grade II listed building, built in 1901 as a police station to replace a previous smaller police station and county jail as well as the ‘Spinning House’ on the same site. The Spinning House is the first recorded building on this site at St Andrew’s Street and was built in the mid-17th century as a workhouse for the unemployed, by a charity funded by Thomas Hobson (which also funded the construction of Hobson’s Conduit). The name ‘Spinning House’ referred to the occupation provided for the inmates, it was also known as the ‘Cambridge House of Correction’ or ‘Hobson’s Bridewell’. In 1788 century the town jail and small police station was added to the south side of the Spinning House.

In the 19th century the Spinning House was extended toward the rear and infamously received women who had been accused by University Proctors of corrupting male students, held until the University Vice Chancellor decided that they should be released. Reference is made to the ‘confinement of such lewd women as the proctors apprehend in the houses of ill fame, though sometimes the corporation send small offenders thither, and the crier of the town is often there to discipline the ladies of pleasure with his whip’

The power of the University Vice Chancellors right of ‘arrest and expulsion of lewd women’, continued unabated until it was finally abolished, following public outcry, and particularly the case of Miss Daisy Hopkins, by a statute of Parliament in 1893. The Spinning House was taken over by the borough and demolished along with the adjacent Police Station in c.1901. It was replaced by Hobson House, a new combined Police and Fire Station, designed and purpose-built by the architect John Morley. Click here for more history of St Andrew’s Street.

Field Archaeologists and trainee positions, Greater London and North Kent

By Jobs

PCA is one of UK’s largest archaeological companies, with seven regional offices across the country. We have been delivering professional heritage services for more than 25 years. We are delighted to announce the opportunity to join our multi-disciplinary team of specialists, as we continue through 2021 with a range of exciting projects across Greater London and North Kent.

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We will be looking to recruit Field Archaeologists and we also have a limited amount of spaces for trainees.

PCA offers a competitive salary and a range of attractive employee benefits. The successful candidates would benefit from having an interest in history and/or archaeology, enjoy working outdoors and be able to undertake physical work (eg. digging and being outside in any weather), often in challenging weather conditions.

About The Job

Location: Various projects in and around the London/Greater London area and north Kent

Working week: Monday to Friday 37.5 hours per week, usually 8am – 4.30 pm, with breaks for lunch and tea

Salary range: Trainees –£21,871 per annum; Field Archaeologists – ranging from £24,247 to £25,367 per annum.

Requirements:

  • Interest in archaeology
  • Good oral and written English, basic math skills are essential
  • Willingness to learn new skills, positive attitude and excellent work ethic
  • Good teamwork
  • Punctuality and good time keeping
  • Attention for detail
  • Commitment to PCA’s health and safety policies at all times
  • 3 months of commercial fieldwork experience (if applying for Field Archaeologist)

Desirable:

  • Membership with CIfA
  • Clean driving license and willingness to drive company vehicles
  • First-aid training
  • Valid CSCS cards
  • Experience of Watching Brief work

Candidates applying for traineeship roles could be offered an initial 3-month trainee contract, if they are able to show an interest and passion for archaeology. All successful candidates will undergo a probationary 3-month period, with the potential of long-term employment.

PCA follow all current guidelines regarding SOP and COVID19 and take the safety of our staff as paramount – advice is continuously updated in line with government guidance and site-specific RAMS are provided for each project.

Employee benefits:

  • Friendly and supportive work environment
  • 28 days of annual leave (including bank holidays, with 2 extra days for If you are employed with us over the Christmas period), rising on service length
  • £15 per night subsistence when working away from home (and high-quality accommodation provided)
  • High quality PPE and site welfare provision– the safety of our staff always comes first
  • Mental Health First Aiders
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Flexible working, TOIL, possibility of work from home if eligible
  • Childcare vouchers, Christmas vouchers
  • H&S training relevant for your role will be provided and paid in full (CSCS, SSSTS, First Aid, Asbestos Awareness, CAT and Genny etc.)
  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (Cifa) subscriptions paid in full
  • Driving time paid at 150% normal rate (when driving company vehicles outside of normal working hours)
  • Paid mileage if using own vehicle (subject to eligibility)
  • Annual appraisal and progression opportunity
  • Company pension scheme

PCA is committed to a comprehensive equal opportunities policy in which individuals are selected and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities without regard to race, religion or belief, colour, sex, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation. All applicants with the relevant qualifications and experience are welcome to apply for this opportunity.

We are expecting a high volume of applications and therefore cannot commit to confirming receipt of applications. In accordance with our GDPR policy, we will not keep unsuccessful applicants’ details or CVs on our system, unless you expressly request that we do. Please be advised that you must hold the right to work and live in the UK in order to apply for this job. To apply please email your CV and covering letter to Caroline Edwards (CEdwards@pre-construct.com) Please specify on your application which role you are applying for. If successful you may be asked to attend an interview at our office in London. For more information, please visit http://www.pre-construct.com

 

The Brockley Garden Archaeology Roadshow

By Education & Community, News

On Saturday 17 July PCA joined the Hillyfields Midsummer Fayre with ‘The Brockley Garden Archaeology Road Show’.  The Fayre is an annual and very popular event in Lewisham, which is where our London office is based. Our stall, which showcased finds from Lewisham and nearby Greenwich, was also part of the Council for British Archaeology Festival of Archaeology 2021, focused this year on exploring local places. Our stall was a great success, with many visitors stopping for a chat or bringing some of their own garden finds for examination. Unsurprisingly, there is a vivid interest in local history and the little fragments of the past that make up our daily work! We will definitely try to make our presence a recurring feature of the Midsummer Fayre and other local events.

Westminster Abbey

By News

An archaeological investigation was undertaken by PCA at Westminster Abbey in advance of a plan to construct a new building which will house welcome, ticketing and security facilities, allowing all visitors to follow in the footsteps of kings, queens and royal brides and enter the abbey by the Great West Door.

The construction project was delayed by the pandemic, but the archaeological fieldwork was completed last year and the results have just been published on abbey’s website. Click here to read the article.

This part of Westminster has been the focus for religious activity since 960AD, when a small Benedictine monastery was founded here. In the 11th century King Edward, later Edward the Confessor, enlarged the monastery and built a stone church. Later, in the 13th century, King Henry III rebuilt Edward’s Abbey in the new Gothic style of architecture. Our work exposed the full footprint of the Great Sacristy, an L shaped building constructed at this time.

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The Great Sacristy was the only part of Henry’s church to have been lost. It was discovered in 1869, when George Gilbert Scott (then Surveyor of the Fabric) instructed the Abbey’s mason Henry Poole to ‘remove from the North Green the earth and rubbish which had accumulated there for several centuries’. This work revealed the remains of the Great Sacristy, and Poole recorded the remains illustrating an L-shaped building with a square room at its eastern end.

The Great Sacristy would have been used to safely store vestments and other precious ritual objects and provide a space where the clergy could prepare before processing into the church.


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We found many fragments of medieval painted wall plaster, suggesting that the internal walls of the Great Sacristy were decorated with hand painted flowers.

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Our work demonstrated that stone from an earlier building, probably Edwards the Confessor’s church, was reused in the later foundations of the Abbey. A significant example of this was the discovery of an upturned stoup (a basin for holy water), incorporated in a buttress foundation. Edward the Confessor may have washed his hands in this as he entered his church.

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The site was used as a burial ground for many centuries. Prior to the construction of the Great Sacristy, this area was used as a burial ground for monks. This 11th century chalk-lined grave was one of hundreds of burials discovered. Others date from the 18th century.

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A Barnack stone medieval sarcophagus was found in a prominent position inside the Sacristy. This was initially thought to relate to a high-status burial, but it now appears that the sarcophagus had actually been reused to serve a drainage function within the building, possibly as a washing trough!

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After the monastery was dissolved c. 1540, the Great Sacristy was used as a domestic dwelling for administrative staff of the abbey. By 1616 the Sacristy building was described as ‘very ruinous and standeth in very great need of present reparations’. Repair work was undertaken in the 1710s and 1720s and the Surveyor of the Fabric at this time, the famous Christopher Wren, reported that ‘the houses on the North side are so close [to the Abbey], that there is not room left for the raising of scaffolds and ladders’. The Great Sacristy and the other buildings in the area were demolished the 1740s to facilitate much needed repairs to the Abbey’s nave and northern transept.

Post-excavation work will continue when circumstances improve, however with their re-opening the abbey have now been able to provide access to the archaeological site as part of their Summer Festival of Events (click here for details). Visitors will be able to see the remains of the abbey’s 13th century Great Sacristy which were excavated and recorded by PCA, and which will be preserved beneath the new structure.

Project Manager, London

By Jobs

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Job Title: Project Manager

Location: Brockley, London (with travel to sites and our other offices as required)

Salary: Ranging from £33,000-41,000 (subject to experience)

Working week: Monday to Friday 37.5 hours per week, 8.30am – 5.00pm

PCA is one of UK’s largest archaeological companies, with seven regional offices across the country. We have been delivering professional heritage services for more than 27 years. We are delighted to announce the opportunity to join our multi-disciplinary team, as we continue 2021 with a range of exciting projects across the UK.

We will be looking to recruit staff at project management level to work within our busy office providing professional advice and services across London and the South-East. The role would be ideally suited to someone familiar with a variety of archaeological environments and periods. The post(s) will be based at our Brockley premises. Necessary training will be provided as required.

The Role:

PCA is looking for someone to manage all types of archaeological projects.

The successful candidate will be required to develop and manage client relationships, develop Pre-Construct Archaeology within the Heritage Sector, and will be expected to actively promote the company. Other aspects of the role will require the successful candidate:

  • To effectively and efficiently manage all aspects of any type of archaeological project.
  • To negotiate and liaise on all aspects of projects with clients or their representatives, and representatives of the local planning authority or other relevant curators.
  • To manage archaeological fieldwork efficiently and effectively.
  • To manage the preparation of reports including liaison with supervisors, CAD department and others involved in the project.
  • To co-ordinate with post-excavation managers during the post-excavation phase of mitigation projects.
  • To understand and follow PCA’s health and safety policy and any specific requirements on each site, and to manage company staff in following the correct procedures.
  • To contribute effectively to company and team activities.
  • To line-manage company staff and Sub-Contractors effectively.
  • To maintain personal effectiveness for the job.

Essential requirements:

  • Proven ability in the management and delivery of a wide variety of archaeological/heritage projects within the UK commercial sector
  • Field & office-based experience
  • Tendering & management of projects from inception to delivery
  • Experience of interaction with statutory bodies, clients, agents & curatorial staff
  • CSCS card
  • Ability to work to deadlines
  • Flexible approach to projects and work
  • Proven capability to work in a team and individually
  • Experience of managing projects in an urban and rural environment

Desirable:

  • Experience of managing infrastructure projects
  • Experience of Environmental Statements
  • Proficiency in the use of common software packages
  • Knowledge of GIS
  • CIFA membership
  • SMSTS, NEBOSH or similar relevant professional qualification
  • UK Driving Licence
  • Mentoring experience

Employee benefits:

  • Friendly and supportive work environment
  • 28 days of annual leave (including bank holidays and 2 days for Christmas, if employed over the Christmas period), rising on service length
  • Subsistence and high-quality accommodation provided when working away from home is required
  • High quality PPE provision– the safety of our staff always comes first
  • Mental Health First Aiders
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Flexible working, TOIL, possibility of work from home if eligible
  • Childcare vouchers, Christmas vouchers
  • H&S training as relevant for the role
  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (Cifa) subscriptions paid in full
  • Paid mileage if using own vehicle (subject to eligibility)
  • Annual appraisal and progression opportunity
  • Company pension scheme

All successful candidates will undergo a probationary 3-month period, after which, given satisfactory performance, they will be offered a permanent contract.

PCA follow all current guidelines regarding SOP and COVID19 and take the safety of our staff as paramount – advice is up to date with government guidance.

PCA is committed to a comprehensive equal opportunities policy in which individuals are selected and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities without regard to race, religion or belief, colour, sex, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation. All applicants with the relevant qualifications and experience are welcome to apply for this opportunity. Please be advised that you must hold the right to work and live in the UK in order to apply for this job.

Please be advised we cannot commit to responding to all emails. In accordance with our GDPR policy, we will not keep unsuccessful applicants’ details or CVs on our system, unless you expressly request that we do.

To apply please email your CV and covering letter to cedwards@pre-construct.com

Closing date for applications: Monday 9 August 2021

If successful you will be asked to attend an interview at our office in Brockley.

For more information please visit http://www.pre-construct.com

CAD Technician, London Office

By Jobs

Job Title: CAD TECHNICIAN

Salary Range:  £26,462.75 – £29,736.02 (depending on experience)

Hours: Full-time, 37.5 hours per week, Monday – Friday

Location: London Offices

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About Us

Pre-Construct Archaeology Limited (PCA) has been delivering professional heritage services for more than 25 years is one of UK’s largest archaeological companies, with seven regional offices across the country.

The Company is delighted to announce that we are seeking an experienced CAD Technician to work in the CAD department, based in PCA’s London Office.

The Position

We are looking for someone who is well versed in using AutoCAD to produce archaeological maps and stratigraphic drawings for most of the PCA offices. The post will include the production of archaeological plans, to illustrate all types of  report, including WSIs, Watching Brief and Evaluation Reports, Assessments and publications of all types.

Other tasks may include:

  • the drawing up of standing building recording
  • historic map regression work
  • illustrations for Desk Based Assessments

The post also entails downloading, processing and editing of survey data from GNSS/TST, and producing and uploading set-out data. Some survey training may also be available.

Essential Skills:

  • A motivated and flexible attitude
  • Good communication
  • Excellent team-work skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Produce highly accurate work even under pressure
  • Previous experience in using AutoCAD for archaeological drafting and/or building recording
  • Ability to produce illustrations of a high standard, ideally to publication level
  • Background in archaeological fieldwork
  • Paper & digital site recording techniques
  • Experience in single-context planning
  • Excellent computer skills
  • Close attention to detail

Desirable Skills:

  • GIS experience
  • Previous experience using graphics software (e.g. Illustrator)
  • Experience using GPS/survey methods

PCA offers a friendly working environment, competitive salary and a range of attractive employee benefits, including:

  • Friendly and supportive work environment
  • Generous annual leave (28 days including bank holidays and 2 extra days over the Christmas period) that rises with length of service
  • Flexible working, including home working where/if appropriate
  • Childcare vouchers, Christmas vouchers
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) subscriptions paid in full
  • Company pension scheme
  • Additional benefits which are regularly reviewed and updated
  • Mental Health First Aiders

PCA is committed to a comprehensive equal opportunities policy in which individuals are selected and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities without regard to race, religion or belief, colour, sex, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation. All applicants with the relevant qualifications and experience are welcome to apply for this opportunity.

In accordance with our GDPR policy, we will not keep unsuccessful applicants’ details or CVs on our system, unless you expressly request that we do. To apply please email your CV and covering letter to: JBrown@pre-construct.com

Please be advised that CVs submitted without a cover letter will not be considered.

Lucy Cavendish College Update

By News

Conservation is now complete on the exciting Roman metal vessel we found during excavations at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. The initial X-ray showed a solid vessel with an area of corrosion at the rim. Once the surfaces were carefully cleaned, this was revealed to be a very fragile broken iron loop handle.

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