HS2: Oxford Archaeology as part of COPA JV

COPA JV, a joint venture between Oxford Archaeology, Cotswold Archaeology and Pre-Construct Archaeology, carried out works on the 60-mile-long central section of HS2 Phase 1, running from London to Southam, along with works on the Birmingham HS2 north section and Phase 2 Birmingham to Crewe section.

HS2 is a high-speed railway linking London the Midlands and the North. The scheme is one of the largest complex infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK. COPA JV supplied significant input to the HS2 archaeological programme, including the provision of a design department that produced the majority of investigation specifications in the central section, trial trenching, test pitting, geoarchaeological modelling and investigations, built heritage recording, historic landscape recording, settings recordings, school outreach, public dissemination, and large-scale mitigation excavations.  

COPA provided a vital assurance of capacity for HS2, with all works completed to programme. To date, COPA has completed 200 project plans and written schemes of investigation, 26 trenching operations, 1500 trenches, all built heritage and settings work on Phase 1 north, and a substantial part of built heritage works and five major excavations on the central section. All excavations, which included a Roman roadside settlement and burial ground, a deserted medieval village, two complex Roman settlements, and a prehistoric pit alignment, were concluded with a programme of post-excavation assessment. 

Practical delivery of the fieldwork elements of the project on this vast scheme was greatly enhanced by Oxford Archaeology’s ‘as live’ GIS viewer, which enables clients, stakeholders and third-party contractors to access up-to-date mapping of all Oxford Archaeology’s work, including not just archaeology but logistical operations and relevant survey data or layers as required. 

The project, which commenced in 2017, is ongoing, and has been carried out for Fusion JV, LMJV, AECOM, RPS, Kier and EKFB on behalf of HS2.