Preserving our heritage

We consider the protection of archaeological remains discovered at our sites and on sites which we operate to be of high priority. Below are some examples of discoveries we have made.

Heritage
  • Hospital bricks
  • Iron Age
  • Saxon style

Funded by public subscription, Huntingdon County Hospital was built in 1854 to replace the old Infirmary which was originally founded in 1789. The hospital served the residents of Huntingdon District for over a century and in its latter years was used as offices for the Cambridgeshire NHS Primary Care Trust. Due to the asbestos contamination and the general state of the buildings, Mick George Ltd was called in to professionally complete the demolition of the buildings on site.

The building complex, however, harboured a unique feature. During both world wars the hospital was used for convalescence with many soldiers being billeted there during and after. In a bid to make their mark, soldiers and medical personnel inscribed their names for posterity on the brick outer walls. Many of the inscriptions are at wheelchair height which makes them all the more poignant.

To preserve these symbols of the past, we ensured that the bricks were carefully removed prior to carrying out the demolition of the site, making way for much needed housing development in the area. We are delighted that they will be made into a monument as a mark of respect to the valour and courage of the many unsung heroes of the war.

An archaeological dig at our Rushton Landfill site has uncovered intriguing evidence of Iron Age life and death.

Working in consultation with the Council Archaeological Office, we carefully opened up an area of around 1.5 hectares so that the archaeological interest of the site could be investigated further. The preliminary analysis had identified a double ditched track way and enclosure arrangement typical of the Iron Age period (c.700BC to 43AD).

On closer inspection, Archaeologists further exposed the early track way and nearby enclosure and confirmed it was indeed over 2000 years old. They identified evidence of an Iron Age settlement including a line of large, carefully dug circular storage pits most likely to have been used as grain stores.

They also discovered the skeletal remains of a single human figure whose poorly preserved bones presented experts with a bit of a mystery from the past. It was common practice in the Iron Age to bury the dead along or within trackside ditches but experts from our archaeologist partners Phoenix Consulting explained that it is unusual in this case that there was just one, isolated individual.

The remains have been removed from site and will be inspected by specialists to see if they can find out more about our mysterious Iron Age friend.

Our quarry serving the Peterborough area sits in a place known as Cook's Hole. This landscape has been known as an area of archaeological interest since the 1920's when the noted antiquarian, Edmund Artis identified Roman buildings and iron works in the area. Roman burials were also found there later in the 1950's together with two iron ore roasting furnaces. More recent investigations have identified Saxon industrial activity in the form of roasting pits and kilns.

Perhaps the most interesting discovery, however, was the recent identification of a single uniform oval feature with a large post hole at each end during investigations funded by Mick George Ltd. It is believed to have once been the site on which a Saxon house known as a 'sunken featured building' once stood. It carries this name because the living space was created by excavating down into the ground to create a partially subterranean dwelling. Such features are rare with very few having been recorded.

The identification of this type of building at our Cook's Hole Quarry provides an important glimpse of domestic life from a period still poorly understood in archaeological studies today.