The Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton has been the subject of nearly 30 years of archaeological investigation.
In 2022-23, archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology's Cambridge office returned ahead of the proposed expansion of the research campus. With evidence for human activity spanning late prehistory to the Roman occupation of Britain, our work will help expand our growing understanding of how people have lived in and travelled through this landscape over thousands of years.
Check out what we've been up to, meet the project team and explore some of the interesting finds being uncovered by clicking on the links below. These pages will be regularly updated as our excavation progresses in the coming months.
What’s happened so far?
The site of the current Wellcome Genome Campus to the west of the A1301 has been the subject of nearly 30 years of archaeological investigation (by Cambridgeshire County Council's Archaeological Field Unit, now by the Cambridge office of Oxford Archaeology) and was clearly a significant and extensively utilised landscape by people for many thousands of years.
OA undertook a Desk-Based Assessment (DBA) of existing records and observations to determine the potential for surviving archaeological remains at the site proposed for development and provide proposals for further investigation. The DBA involved consulting historic environment records, historic maps, aerial photographs, and LiDAR data. This established the need for further archaeological work in advance of determining an application for planning permission.
Later in 2018, Magnitude Surveys conducted a geophysical survey to locate potential areas of buried archaeological remains across the proposed development site. OA East then dug 159 trial trenches (measuring 50m x 2m) to ground truth the results of this survey and investigate any blank spots.
The results of the trial trenching suggest this site was an agricultural hinterland during the late prehistoric and Roman periods, probably closely associated with previously identified settlement to the west on the banks of the River Cam.
The report can be read and downloaded in full on OA’s online library here:
More trial trenches were dug by OA to evaluate the archaeological potential of a set of fields to the north of those investigated in 2018 in advance of a proposed extension to the development site.
At the same time, OA returned to one of the northernmost fields evaluated in 2018 to recover and record artefacts brought to the surface after it has been ploughed. This archaeological technique is known as fieldwalking.
Cambridgeshire County Council’s Historic Environment Team requested excavation of four areas with archaeological remains identified in 2018, targeting the two routeways. These excavations involved the removal of topsoil and sub-soil with mechanical diggers under direction of archaeologists. This revealed the underlying archaeological features which were dug by hand to recover any finds that might give clues about when and why people used these areas in the past.
What's happening now? 2023 onwards
The archaeological excavations are expected to continue until April 2023. Afterwards, all of the artefacts recovered will be washed, weighed and catalogued, before being sent for specialist analysis. A report on the findings will be written by OA, and checked by Cambridgeshire County Council, before being submitted to the county’s Historic Environment Record. The records and finds will be deposited with Cambridgeshire County Council, to be accessible to researchers and the public.
Meet our staff
Andy graduated from the University of York in 2007 with a BA in Archaeology. He joined Oxford Archaeology in 2012, and currently serves as a Senior Project Manager. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (MCIfA).
In his current role, Andy oversees excavations on site, and also coordinates post-excavation work and reporting. As a Project Officer he directed a wide range of fieldwork projects including significant excavations of a large high status Iron Age settlement at Cressing, Braintree and part of a Roman roadside settlement in Bishop’s Stortford along with medieval and post-medieval excavations in Huntingdon, Norwich and Cambridge.
As a Project Officer, Tim runs larger evaluations and excavations from project setup, through fieldwork and into post-excavation write-up. In his role as PO he will direct the excavation on site on a day to day basis.
Clemency develops and supports all educational and community work across Oxford Archaeology involving volunteers, educational institutions and the general public. She is a member of the company-wide Communications Team and promotes wellbeing at work initiatives as a Mental Health First Aider. She has worked in archaeological outreach since 2010 and has a MSc in Landscape Archaeology from the University of Oxford.