UK’s biggest road project unearths 6,000 years of history on the A14

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Bronze Age large henge near the A1 and new A14 junction

Working as part of the A14 Integrated Delivery team, Skanska and its joint venture partners: Balfour Beatty, Costain and Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has created one of the largest archaeological projects in the UK.

The sites have been uncovered by archaeologists working on Highways England’s £1.5bn scheme to upgrade the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Some 250 archaeologists, led by archaeology experts MOLA Headland Infrastructure, have dug more than 40 separate excavation areas, over 350 hectares, uncovering new information about how the landscape was used over 6,000 years and about the origins of the villages and towns along the A14 in Cambridgeshire today.

A Roman trade distribution centre, an abandoned medieval village and three prehistoric monuments are among nationally-significant, archaeological discoveries uncovered by the team delivering the UK’s biggest road upgrade.

Dr Steve Sherlock, archaeology lead for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon project for Highways England, explains: “Highways England is delivering the biggest roads investment in a generation and we are committed to conserving and, where possible, enhancing the historic environment.

“In the context of a project like the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvements, that means undertaking archaeological excavations to ensure we record any significant remains that lie along the 21-mile route. The archive of finds, samples and original records will be stored so that the data and knowledge is preserved for this and future generations.

“We now have the evidence to rewrite both the prehistoric and historic records of the area for the last 6,000 years.”

Glennan Blackmore, Operations Director at Skanska, said: “The finds mean experts now have a much better understanding of how the Cambridgeshire landscape was used over 6,000 years. This national infrastructure project is unlocking a major piece of history and it is creating a huge amount of excitement for both the team and those living in the area.”

Highways England is upgrading a 21-mile stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon to three lanes in each direction, including a brand new 17-mile bypass south of Huntingdon, with four lanes in each direction between Bar Hill and Girton. The project, which includes 34 bridges and main structures, will add additional capacity, boost the local and national economy and cut up to 20 minutes off journeys.

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