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New book tells the stories of ancient communities connected by the A14





Fifty fascinating finds from the National Highways A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme excavations feature in a new book which tells the stories of ancient communities connected by the road today.

Based on findings from six years of research and analysis by archaeological specialists from MOLA Headland Infrastructure, the finds cover more than 12,000 years of Cambridgeshire’s history and prehistory.

Amber necklace from A14 excavations. Picture: MOLA Headland Infrastructure
Amber necklace from A14 excavations. Picture: MOLA Headland Infrastructure

Excavations in advance of the A14 road improvement scheme were among the most complex ever undertaken in the UK, with more than 280,000 artefacts.

Unearthing the A14; 50 objects from one of Britain’s biggest digs, published by MOLA Headland Infrastructure and National Highways, explores 50 of the most interesting and intriguing finds from the dig, and the sometimes unexpected stories they tell of the past peoples, animals, and landscapes of the A14.

Finds featured in the book include a beautifully carved stone axe head from the Palaeolithic period (Old Stone Age, 750,000 years ago-12,000 years ago).

Made before the end of the last Ice Age, this axe would have been a treasured possession of a nomadic hunter-gatherer.

Another impressive find was the beads of two amber necklaces from a Bronze Age (2,500-750 BC) cremation burial.

Amber was a highly prized material, possibly thought to have magical properties, and its inclusion in the burial suggests the two cremated individuals were of high status.

The book is complemented by a digital interactive, A14 Roadtrip to the Past. A deeper dive into the archaeology of the A14, the interactive takes the public on a virtual journey of discovery along the route of the A14 exploring even more of the excavation's findings.

Steve Sherlock, archaeology lead for the A14 on behalf of National Highways, said: “This book presents a snapshot into the rich tapestry of fantastic finds and super stories all discovered on the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme.”

Finds from the A14 excavations featured in the new book. Picture: MOLA Headland Infrastructure
Finds from the A14 excavations featured in the new book. Picture: MOLA Headland Infrastructure

Unearthing the A14; 50 objects from one of Britain’s biggest digs, edited by Lily-Hawker-Yates and priced £10, can be purchased from the website shop-mola.myshopify.com.

And for anyone looking to delve deeper into the discoveries, the team has produced a wide range of blogs (molaheadland.com/category/blog/), with 15 journal articles and a print monograph to come.

Data and reports from the excavations are available through the Archaeology Data Service at archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/ archives/view/a14_he_2020/.



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