Introducing our new contractors – Wessex Archaeology

Introducing our new contractors – Wessex Archaeology

Published

18 Dec 2020

We’re thrilled to have Wessex Archaeology on board the A303 Stonehenge project. They’ll be working closely with our heritage partners to manage all the archaeology work.

To introduce you to Wessex, we’ve put together a Q&A with Andy Crockett, A303 Project Director.

Who is Wessex Archaeology and what do you do?

We’re one of the UK’s leading archaeology and heritage services companies and also an educational charity. We work with all sorts of clients to deliver practical solutions to managing the historic environment – whether that’s ahead of a housing development, road scheme or an offshore windfarm.

The Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site is in our DNA. For the past 40 years we have been researching and interpreting the site and landscape, from the Stonehenge Environs project (1980-4) through to the current A303 scheme. We’ve published many works during that time. The Stonehenge landscape carries significance for us, as professionals and as locals: we understand its international importance and the emotional pull that it has for communities and visitors.

What will you be doing on the project?

We’re going to be leading on all the archaeological work. To do this, we’ve brought together some of the best minds from the archaeological and environmental sector to create a team that will excavate, record and analyse all things archaeological.

Most of our work will be done before construction, when we’ll be carrying out carefully designed detailed surveys.

We have been involved in the project in the earlier stages - in the evaluation phase – where we used techniques such as ground penetrating radar plus an unprecedented programme of surveys to understand what buried remains we may expect to find in the course of our main fieldwork.  We uncovered some fascinating but not expected finds - including some Neolithic flint and a Bronze Age cremation urn.

What excites you about this project?

Well - who wouldn’t be excited to work on a project that offers unparalleled opportunities to discover more about the archaeology of the World Heritage Site?  

It’s also exciting because we see this as a way the archaeological industry – both commercial and environmental elements - can change the way we co-operate in future. Together, we aspire to create ground-breaking outcomes for the scheme.

And finally, the community and education programme is a central element of the scheme. As a charity, we are passionate about sharing the social, educational, wellbeing and economic benefits of archaeology with local communities and groups, and this scheme helps us do just that.

When will you start working on site?

From late spring, we will be back on site to start our main archaeological work. Anything we find will be carefully recorded, analysed and given to a local museum for display.

How do you work with local communities?

As a registered charity, community engagement is at the heart of what we do. Throughout the scheme, we will be engaging with local communities, schools and groups to deliver a meaningful programme of activity that helps everyone to understand more about the World Heritage Site landscape and benefit from the archaeology and heritage uncovered.

As a local organisation we have a vested interest in ensuring that all activity produces the best possible outcomes for the local community.

As well as this, we’re looking to use local businesses in our supply chain; accommodation, plant, welfare, fencing, security, vehicles, fuel and many other essential services are all being procured locally You can find out more about these opportunities on the A303 Stonehenge supply chain page

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