27th October 2016:

The COPA website has been launched today! The site (http://coparchaeology.co.uk) showcases 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 bid for elements of the archaeological work required during the construction of Phase 1 of the HS2 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 established offices within easy reach of the HS2 route.

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.

Gill Hey, OA's Chief Executive Officer, 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'.