Cotswold Archaeology and COVID-19

Cotswold Archaeology fully understands and accepts its responsibilities for the safety and well-being of our staff, clients and others during the national health emergency brought about by the onset of the COVID-19 virus. We have worked hard over the last month or so to ensure that our operations accord with evolving Government guidance and have developed a suite of COVID-19 Health & Safety policies and procedures. Most recently we revised our risk assessments to align fully with the guidance set out in Working Safely During Coronavirus. You can view our COVID-19 office and site risk assessments. This has allowed us to adhere to the Government’s directive that construction sites should remain open, where it is safe to do so. Through this vigorous management effort we have been able to work on an increasing number of archaeological field projects throughout the country and anticipate shortly that we will be able to deploy around three quarters of our field teams to site.

All five of our offices remain open for business, but are naturally closed to visitors. The majority of our office staff are working remotely from home, but have full connectivity and are able to respond to customer communications and new project enquiries. If you have an enquiry on a potential new project please contact us in the usual way, using email or mobile telephone numbers. On current projects we continue to adapt to changing customer requirements and methods of working.

Inevitably all of our public engagements are postponed for now, but we do hope to reschedule these when it is safe and practicable to do so.

Cotswold Archaeology will react accordingly as the Government unwinds its lockdown restrictions over the coming months and we will update this notice as the situation changes.

Neil Holbrook
Chief Executive

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Cotswold Archaeology achieves Bronze at Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Awards

mind's Bronze badgeCotswold Archaeology was one of 103 organisations to take part in Mind’s annual Workplace Wellbeing Index, and was recognised with a Bronze Award, meaning we are committed to achieving change within their workplace.

Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index is a benchmark of best policy and practice, celebrating the good work employers are doing to promote and support positive mental health, and providing key recommendations on the specific areas where there is room to improve.

Every employer depends on having healthy and productive employees – valued and supported staff are far more likely to perform better and achieve peak performance. Mental health problems are common among employees. Mind surveyed more than 54,000 employees across the 103 employers participating in the Awards and found that 7 in 10 had experienced a mental health problem in their lives, with over half (53 per cent) affected by poor mental health in their current workplace.

This is the third time that Cotswold Archaeology has taken part in the survey, and our performance continues to improve. Through taking part in the survey we have identified actions to support our efforts on Mental Health in the workplace including:

  • Establishing a Mental Health policy
  • Putting in place a network of Mental Health First Aiders
  • Signing the ‘Time to Change’ Pledge
  • Delivering ‘Mental Health Awareness’ training for line managers
  • Ensuring that all our relevant policies recognise and provide guidance on the impact on mental health

Cotswold Archaeology will continue to review the feedback received from the survey and put in place actions to support the mental health of our employees.

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Keynes, trains and automobiles

We were clearly trying too hard to come up with a witty headline but the facts are clear, when it comes to the big infrastructure projects we stand side-by-side with our clients, managing their complex archaeological requirements. Whether it is in the planning or construction stages of projects, we have the skills and experience to handle the scheme specific logistical tests that invariably accompany the more traditional archaeological challenges. The last few years has seen the Milton Keynes team busy working on significant energy, airport, road and rail infrastructure projects across central and eastern England.

Drone Image of archaeological works
Excavations in advance of construction of the A120 Little Hadham Bypass and Flood Alleviation Scheme, Hertfordshire

During the late summer of 2019, while working on a highway scheme in Hertfordshire, our team topped 50 archaeologists on site. While, by most measures, this has to be acknowledged as a large archaeological project, in this instance the significance was not the scale but the unique circumstance that we had colleagues from all of our five offices working alongside each other. One company; one high standard; one large talent pool to draw from.

large-scale trial trenching project satellite image
Trial trenching during the most recent phase of work at Rugby. Credit: Google Earth

But energy and transport projects don’t have the monopoly on scale; we have been working on some seriously large-scale strategic housing schemes too. Several different five-hundred plus trial trenching projects in Northants, Leicestershire, Rugby and Essex have kept our teams occupied. At Rugby, we are nearing our 10th anniversary working together with the client team; with more site work planned for later this Spring.

These longer running, sustainable urban extension projects present a different set of challenges such continuity of personnel, retaining invested-knowledge and keeping the momentum going on post-excavation work and publications; all matters that we are well-versed with. In the next few weeks we are looking forward to returning to Bidwell West, Central Beds; another large-scale strategic housing scheme that we have been working on for several years.

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CA’s New Trustee

new trustee, Karen Ann Jospehides

We are delighted to welcome Karen Ann Josephides, People Director at Arsenal Football Club, as a new trustee and non-executive company director of Cotswold Archaeology. Karen Ann says

“The Trustee role at CA is a great opportunity and privilege.  I have experience of both working in business and for a Charity.  This role provides an ideal avenue for me to contribute to the valuable archaeological and heritage services work, and another way for me to integrate fully into the Cotswolds Community, having purchased a property in Gloucestershire last year.

Despite my lack of recent practice, I have never lost my passion for archaeology.  I developed my interest at a very young age.  The three years I spent studying archaeology at Durham, were some of the best of my life.  I majored on Roman Britain and thoroughly enjoyed my digs at Shiptonthorpe.  I analysed a huge amount of wood and drew many artefacts in my spare time for Professor Martin Millett which were published in one of the Shiptonthorpe volumes. Happy days!

I’ve worked in business since leaving university.  I’ve always had a strong performance focused work ethic.  I am the People Director for Arsenal Football Club and have been with the Premier League Club since 2010.  I lead a team of Equality, HR and Safeguarding professionals.  The football world within which I operate on a daily basis is extremely demanding and fast paced and it is now the time for me to engage in my personal interests again, which have been very much neglected over recent years. I’m relishing the opportunity to get more involved and help support the fantastic work CA does in supplying heritage services and increasing awareness of the past.

I am also a Trustee for Nordoff Robbins, the largest independent music therapy charity in the UK, an organisation that through the power of music therapy enriches lives.  I have an MSc in Strategic Human Resources Management.  I am also a Fellow of the Institute of Personnel & Development and a member of the Governments Disability Confident Business Leaders Group which engages with the business community on disability employment”.

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New Trustees 2019

We have recently added two new trustees to our Board.

chris gerrard photoProfessor Christopher Gerrard has held a Chair in Archaeology at Durham University since 2009. He gained a PhD at the University of Bristol in 1987 and joined the newly-formed Cotswold Archaeological Trust (as we were called then) in 1989, going on to become the Senior Archaeological Consultant at Countryside Planning and Management. He left commercial archaeology in 1992 to become a lecturer at the University of Winchester, joining the Archaeology department in Durham in 2000. Chris specialises in later medieval archaeology and has conducted fieldwork in many different parts of Britain and Europe, most notably at Shapwick in Somerset and Clarendon in Wiltshire.

keith wade photoKeith Wade gained a degree in Archaeology from Southampton University in 1973 and joined the Suffolk Archaeological Unit in 1974 to take up the post of Urban Archaeologist. Between 1974 and 1990 he directed 35 excavations in Saxon and medieval Ipswich. In 1991 he became County Archaeologist at Suffolk County Council, a post he held until retirement in 2012. Keith has served as a Trustee with many organisations in Suffolk including the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village Trust and the Sutton Hoo Research Trust. He founded Ipswich Archaeological Trust in 1982 and is still a Trustee and Honorary Secretary.

Neil Holbrook

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Cotswold Looks East

Cotswold Archaeology and Suffolk Archaeology Merge.

We are pleased to announce that Suffolk Archaeology Community Interest Company has become part of Cotswold Archaeology. This initiative builds on the strong history of collaboration between the two companies in East Anglia over the past few years on projects such as Sizewell Nuclear Power Station and the cable connection to East Anglia One offshore wind farm.

CA chairman Tim Darvill signing the agreement with Suffolk Archaeology
CA chairman Tim Darvill signing the agreement with Suffolk Archaeology

Cotswold Archaeology Chief Executive Neil Holbrook said “I am delighted that Cotswold Archaeology and Suffolk Archaeology have merged operations. We have enjoyed working with Suffolk over the last few years and have the utmost respect for their unrivalled regional archaeological expertise. Suffolk’s core operating area of Suffolk and surrounding counties is a great match with the territory we currently service from our office in Milton Keynes, so the synergies are obvious. Suffolk Archaeology’s current premises in Needham Market near Ipswich will from today trade as the Suffolk office of Cotswold Archaeology, and I am particularly pleased that their Managing Director Dr Rhodri Gardner will remain office head and join Cotswold’s Senior Management Group. Rhod will be a great asset to us, as will his colleagues who between them have decades of first-hand expert knowledge of the archaeology of East Anglia. We are looking forward to harnessing that expertise for the benefit of our clients, and building on their excellent track record of community engagement and outreach”.

Suffolk Archaeology’s Managing Director Rhodri Gardner said “The merger of Suffolk Archaeology and Cotswold Archaeology represents an exciting new development for archaeology in East Anglia. For our employees it will offer increased security and the chance to become a vital part of a larger national organisation with a tremendous reputation for high quality fieldwork and research. For our customers it will very much be “business as usual” in the short term, but we also look forward to being able to grow our regional capacity with the increased investment potential the merger offers. We look forward to working with our Cotswold colleagues in the coming years and using our knowledge and experience to strengthen the business as a whole and provide enhanced capability to all our clients and the local archaeological community”.

About Suffolk Archaeology

Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service was created in 1974 with a remit to conserve and record the county’s heritage. It originally carried out research or rescue projects as funding allowed, but from the early 1990s the Field Team developed into a self-financing contracting service for private and public sector clients.

By 2014 the Field Team was the dominant archaeological contractor in Suffolk, with projects ranging from small watching briefs to long-running investigations of extensive multi-period archaeological landscapes. It had also expanded its operating area into the neighbouring counties of Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk. This success led to the County Council’s decision in 2015 to outsource the Field Team as an independent Community Interest Company. Suffolk Archaeology now carries out in the order of 150 projects a year and maintains a staff of around 40. Find out more about Suffolk Archaeology here.

four people in a trench digging together, two wearing CA PPE and two in Suffolk archaeology brand clothes

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