COPA: Professional Archaeology for HS2

We are pleased to announce that a new website has been launched today to showcase the capability of the UK’s largest ever consortium of professional archaeologists. COPA is formed from Cotswold Archaeology; Oxford Archaeology and Pre-Construct Archaeology, three of the largest and most successful archaeological companies in the country. We have a combined annual turnover of over £25m and between us 92 years of experience in the delivery of complex archaeological projects.

We have come together to allow us to bid for elements of the archaeological work required during the construction of Phase 1 of the HS2 high speed railway line between London and Birmingham. We anticipate that archaeological fieldwork will commence in 2017 and last for several years, and we want to be involved in what is likely to be the largest programme of archaeological investigation ever seen in this country. We have a set of established offices within easy reach of the route of HS2.

ExcavationCOPA is a natural fit as all three partners have a proven record of working together. Oxford and Pre-Construct have collaborated on a number of projects, including the Thameslink railway improvement in London; Cotswold and Oxford are currently working on a complex excavation in Oxfordshire, and Pre-Construct and Cotswold jointly delivered the investigations in advance of the Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol. We are therefore a tried and trusted consortium with a history of collaboration and partnership.

Neil Holbrook, CA’s Chief Executive, said We are delighted to have formed COPA with our long-established partners, and we will collectively be working hard over the coming months as we seek to secure our involvement in this unique opportunity to transform our knowledge of the past societies that once lived on the line of the new railway.

Cotswold Archaeology is now on the JNAPC – Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee

Our senior marine consultant, Michael Walsh, has just been appointed to the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee (JNAPC).

The JNAPC was formed in 1988 to raise awareness of Britain’s underwater cultural heritage and to encourage government to afford historic underwater sites the same protection as those on land.  Since its inception the JNAPC has successfully lobbied government on a range of issues including:

  • improved legislation and better reporting of finds;
  • an inventory of underwater sites;
  • the waiving of fees by the Receiver of Wreck;
  • the encouragement of seabed operators to undertake pre-disturbance surveys, which resulted in the Code of Practice for Seabed Developers;
  • greater responsibility by government departments for their historic wrecks;
  • proper management by government agencies of underwater sites; and
  • the education and the training of sports divers to respect and conserve the underwater historic environment.

The JNAPC continues its campaign for the education of all sea users about the importance of our nautical heritage and has been working towards the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001. Michael is looking forward to representing Cotswold Archaeology on the committee.


CA’s Career Development Programme wins CIFA 2016 Archaeological Training Forum Award

ATF-Award_webCotswold Archaeology are delighted to announced that our Career Development Programme won the 2016 Archaeological Training Forum award, presented at this years’ Chartered Institute for Archaeologists conference in Leicester. The current scheme is the culmination of a sustained period of hard work from the staff in involved in the programme, and Ian Barnes and Rosanna Price collected the award on our behalf.

Over the years we have found that many talented archaeologists want a clear career path, with clearly defined goals. Since 2010, Cotswold Archaeology has sought to develop a coherent Career Development Programme to support employees to reach their potential. Around 50 staff have benefited from the training provided and have taken at least one of the career steps supported. The 2016 group of Trainees, Supervisor Designates, Post Excavation Supervisor Designates and Project Officer Designates amounts to 16 staff members who might otherwise have found it challenging to make their respective promotions.

Cotswold Archaeology recognises both an opportunity and a need to help its employees realise their potential across all grades of archaeological employment, with the added benefits of improving staff retention and progression within the company. We also saw an opportunity to tie together the professional standards established and expounded by the Chartered Institute for Archaeology from the earliest career stage possible.



Cotswold Archaeology Celebrates Its First Birthday In Exeter

The Exeter office of Cotswold Archaeology celebrated its first birthday in April, and has already begun to make a positive impact on the archaeology of South West England. Office head Laurie Coleman has been joined by fieldwork manager Derek Evans, who transferred from our Milton Keynes office, and the team has more than doubled in size in the year and will soon number 15. Over 100 projects have been completed so far, including the unexpected discovery of Roman military buildings at Topsham, near Exeter, and the investigation of a substantial Bronze Age enclosure and post-Roman cemetery on the outskirts of the city.

A large Bronze Age enclosure on the outskirts of Exeter excavated by Cotswold Archaeology. © Cotswold Archaeology / Adam Stanford, Aerial-Cam
A large Bronze Age enclosure on the outskirts of Exeter excavated by Cotswold Archaeology. © Cotswold Archaeology / Adam Stanford, Aerial-Cam

Developing links with local stakeholders is a major objective for the office and we have already established a flourishing partnership with the Department of Archaeology at the University of Exeter. Most notable has been the success of a of a joint bid to the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Historic England tor funding for a major four-year project that will explore the relationship between the Roman and medieval city of Exeter and its rural hinterland. The project is a partnership between with the Universities of Exeter and Reading, Cotswold Archaeology, Exeter City Council and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM). The project will run from 2016-20 and will see several of the important excavations from the 1970s and 1980s written up, as well as a programme of radiocarbon dating and research into the pottery, animal bones, and metallurgical debris. The results will be published as a series of monographs in 2022, and other benefits will include the updating of the city’s historic environment record and of the museum’s displays and interpretative material.

The office will also be collaborating with Exeter University again this summer at the Ipplepen Community Archaeology project near Newton Abbot in Devon.

Some of Cotswold Archaeology’s Exeter team inside a Roman military building of the 1st century AD at Topsham, near Exeter
Some of Cotswold Archaeology’s Exeter team inside a Roman military building of the 1st century AD at Topsham, near Exeter


Marine news: HSE Diving Qualification obtained

HSE-scuba---fully-kittedCotswold Archaeology’s Senior Marine Heritage consultant, Michael Walsh, has recently obtained his HSE Scuba diving qualifications. Michael already has almost two hundred hours diving experience and gaining this qualification allows his participation in the variety of underwater projects that Cotswold Archaeology is currently undertaking. These include the excavation of the wreck of the London in the Thames estuary and the recently commissioned Historic England project looking at the possible de-designation of three sites, Langdon Bay, Hanover, and Brighton Marina. This is an important next step in the expansion of the services offered by the marine team here at Cotswold.

Diving contract award

Cotswold Archaeology has been appointed by Historic England to undertake archaeological assessments, including geophysical and diver surveys, of three designated sites. The purpose of the project is to assess whether the sites still merit designation. Langdon Bay, Brighton Marina and Hanover have not been fully assessed by archaeologists for many years so it is unclear what, if anything, survives.

  • Bronze objects found in Langdon Bay in 1974 were made in France during the Middle Bronze Age and are rarely found in Britain. The wreck of the cargo vessel may lie within the Bay, although no remains have been identified.
  • The Brighton Marina site, comprising bronze and iron ordnance and other associated material, is believed to represent an unidentified armed vessel, probably dating to the sixteenth century.
  • The Hanover was a 100ft brigantine carrying £60,000 in gold and valuables when she was wrecked in a small bay on the North Cornish coast in 1763. The site was discovered in 1994 and has been tentatively identified by a bronze bell reported to have been recovered from the site that was inscribed ‘The Hanover Paquet 1757’.
Copyright Historic Scotland
Diver recording a cannon © Copyright Historic Scotland