The Society was founded in 1876, has over 800 members and promotes the study of history and archaeology in Bristol and the historic county of Gloucestershire. It publishes an annual journal which over the years has contained many reports on CA investigations. This year is no different, with the latest edition of the Transactions containing an article on a Roman cemetery excavated in Bourton-on-the-Water. One of the excavated skeletons showed evidence on the skull of trauma caused by a bladed instrument – as the injury never healed it looks like this person was murdered!
Neil said: ‘It is an honour to be made President of this long-established and well-respected Society. Individual membership is a mere £10 per year, and for that you get a copy of the annual Transactions which is packed full of interesting articles on archaeology and history. The Society always welcomes new members, so I hope we can help increase membership during my presidential year. My final duty in March 2018 will be to deliver a talk at the next Annual General Meeting, and I’m intending to look at a prominent archaeologist of the early 20th century who made a major contribution to our knowledge of Roman Cirencester. Given that the archaeology of Corinium has been a long-standing interest of mine since I came to Gloucestershire in 1991, it is only right that my talk will focus on one aspect of this fascinating subject.’
Despite uncertain market conditions, Cotswold Archaeology is delighted to announce that it has trebled in size in the last four years. Our recently published annual accounts for the financial year April 2015 to March 2016 show that the company now has a turnover of over £9 million and over 175 professional staff who work out of our offices in Andover; Cirencester; Exeter and Milton Keynes.
Commenting on the results CA Chief Executive Neil Holbrook, who celebrated 25 years with the company this summer, said
“This remarkable growth vindicates our policy of opening offices in Milton Keynes (in 2011); Andover (2012) and Exeter (2015). Not only have we succeeded in widening the geographical footprint of our projects, we have used our new bases to attract more high-quality experienced archaeologists into the company. So we have managed to grow the company while maintaining the reputation for quality and customer service which underpins all we do. Not only have we grown our staff and other resources, we have also increased our reserves. This provides us with enviable financial security and resilience.
Personally I have always been of the belief that if we concentrate on the archaeology, and act in a professional and business-like way, then the numbers will look after themselves. We have so many excellent archaeologists in the company now that it is natural that they want to work on the best and most demanding projects. I am delighted that we have succeeded in securing these opportunities. We look to the future with optimism.”
We are pleased to announce that a new website has been launched today www.coparchaeology.co.uk 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.
COPA 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.
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.
Cotswold 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.