What’s happened so far?
Grange Farm is surrounded by a large number of archaeological sites. These include the route of the Roman road of Ermine Street and nearby Roman settlements and burial monuments. Earlier prehistoric sites are present, and the area has important medieval remains including the nationally important remains of a moated enclosure at Prestley Wood.
OA East have been investigating the archaeology of the former Alconbury Airfield and the surrounding area for over twenty years, revealing archaeological remains spanning the Middle Bronze Age to post-Medieval periods.
You can learn more about the rich heritage of the area in Alconbury Weald Stories, a podcast series from Urban&Civic exploring the narratives emerging from this special place. The second episode, narrated by Raksha Dave, is called ‘Weald Origins’ and features interviews with OA East’s archaeologists.
2019 - Grange Farm was evaluated for its archaeological potential by archaeologists at OA East. A total of 84 trial trenches, measuring 2m wide by 50m long, were dug and over two-thirds contained archaeological features. This work identified a landscape of Middle to Late Iron Age date, with three small, scattered settlements in the north-west, centre and south-east parts of the investigation area. A probable Early Romano-British field system was also found in the northern and southern parts of the investigation area. A large pond, probably post-Medieval, was found close to Grange Farm itself.
What's happening now?
Autumn/Winter 2022 - OA East are returning to Grange Farm to open an area of Iron Age settlement identified during the evaluation. The topsoil and sub-soil will be removed with mechanical diggers under the direction of archaeologists. The underlying archaeological features will then be dug by hand to recover artefacts and record any evidence for when and why people used these areas in the past. Cambridgeshire County Council’s archaeological advisors will regularly visit the excavations and closely monitor the work.
What's happening next?
The excavations are expected to finish by Christmas 2022. Afterwards, all the artefacts recovered will be washed, weighed and catalogued, before being sent for specialist analysis. A report on the findings will be written by OA East, and checked by Cambridgeshire County Council, before being submitted to the county’s Historic Environment Record. The records and finds will be deposited with Cambridgeshire County Council, to be accessible to researchers and the public.