Over recent years, OA North and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have enjoyed many successful collaborations, and this has led to a desire to build something more concrete.

The opportunity came in the aftermath of excavations on the Carlisle Northern Development Route (CNDR). The project uncovered a late Mesolithic encampment associated with an assemblage of some 250,000 struck flints, wooden structures and artefacts dating to the Neolithic, and Bronze Age burnt mounds, all within a palaeochannel of the River Eden.

Following a successful application to the Arts and Humanities Research Council, OA North and UCLan are collaborating to provide two fully-funded PhDs to study the Mesolithic transition in Cumbria. The doctorates will complement each other, with one focusing on lithics and the other the environment.

This is an exciting development, and offers a model for other such collaborations across the organisation.