Framework Archaeology forms a significant part of Oxford Archaeology’s story

Framework Archaeology was not only the first joint venture that OA was a part of, but was also the first joint venture formed between archaeological organisations anywhere in the country. Formed in 1998 as a joint venture between OA and Wessex Archaeology, Framework Archaeology (FA) was set up to provide archaeological services to BAA. While the initial impetus was the proposed construction of a 5th terminal at Heathrow, FA eventually carried out significant excavations and evaluations at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick with smaller scale work at Southampton and Edinburgh. In addition, FA also undertook a range of heritage audits, desk-based assessments and environmental impact assessments.

Highly innovative in its approach, FA carried out some of the largest excavations in Britain. Between 1999 and 2007, FA excavated around 80ha of multi-period archaeology at Heathrow. The results were published in two volumes, in 2006 and 2010, and the project was awarded the Best Archaeological Project prize at the British Archaeology Awards in 2008. Major excavations covering some 30ha were also undertaken at Stansted Airport between 2000 and 2004, and the results of this work were published in March 2008.

With break-up of the BAA group and a reduction in development at the remaining airports, FA was finally dissolved in 2015. In its 17-year history, there can be no doubt that Framework Archaeology had a major impact on British archaeology.