Roman 'Perlrandbecken' or pearl edged bowl, from Drapers' Gardens


3rd December 2018

Our excavation at Barton Farm ,Winchester has been nominated by Current Archaeology for the 'Rescue Project of the Year' award. Voting now open! To #OperationNightingale @BreakingGroundH thanks for all your help!

29th November 2018

On Tuesday 27th November, The Alnwick Garden kindly hosted a book launch for PCA's latest monograph 'Parterres Bright with Flowers' A history of the walled gardens at Alnwick Castle as revealed through excavations and standing building survey, with a short presentation and book sales. Chris Hunwick, the Castle's archivist who was extremely helpful during research for the publication, received a copy of the monograph on behalf of the Duchess of Northumberland.

Left: Chris Hunwick receiving a copy of the monograph on behalf of the Duchess of Northumberland. Right: Chris Hunwick, the Castle's archivist, with Jennifer Proctor and Victoria Ridgeway

20th November 2018

Update: See the news from London Archaeologist about the prize.

PCA win the 2018 London Archaeological Prize

PCA are proud to announce that their monograph: ‘An Immense and Exceedingly Commodious Goods Station; The Archaeology and History of the Great Northern Railway's Goods Yard at King's Cross, 1849 to the Present Day’ by Rebecca Haslam and Guy Thompson, has been awarded the 2018 London Archaeological Prize (for best archaeological publication in 2016 and 2017).
Often called the Publication Prize, this biennial award is given for the best publication over the previous two years and is adjudicated by a panel of judges from professional, academic and voluntary sectors of archaeology.
Photo: Rebecca Haslam receives her prizewinning certificate from Alison Telfer (publication prize co-ordinator on behalf of London Archaeologist) and Cath Maloney, one of the judges.

12th November 2018

Watch out for some of PCA’s fieldwork team in their starring roles in the upcoming archaeological series ‘Digging for Britain’ which starts again shortly on BBC 4 at 9pm. PCA’s fantastic archaeologists feature in the ‘West’ episode which is on 5th December focussing on our work in collaboration with Operation Nightingale at the 18th century Hessian and Hampshire army camp‎s, Winchester. Digging for Britain’s ‘East’ Episode on December 12th features some of our archaeologists working for MHI on the A14 road scheme. Enjoy! #diggingforbritain #opnightingale

2nd November 2018

This week sees the long-awaited publication of PCA North's excavations and building recording work at Alnwick Castle Gardens, first begun in 2000! The monograph, ‘Parterres Bright with Flowers’ A history of the walled gardens at Alnwick Castle as revealed through excavations and standing building survey By Victoria Ridgeway and Jennifer Proctor, is priced at £28 and will be on sale from 5th November.

A launch will be held in the Alnwick Garden in early December, details to be announced. Meanwhile, if any members of staff would like a copy please contact Vicki or Jenny.

20th September 2018

PCA Winchester, along with Operation Nightingale, returned to Barton Farm, Winchester, this summer. The team stripped some 3.5ha and revealed evidence of the Hessian army camp of 1756. The army was recruited from the Hesse region of Germany to assist the defence of Britain in the event of invasion from France at the start of the Seven Years War. The army, consisting of eight foot and one horse regiments were lined up over a kilometre of countryside north of Winchester.  

A contemporary plan shows each regiment had ten field kitchens; in our excavation we uncovered the kitchens of the Granadiers, the Corps and Prince Charles regiments and also their dug-outs, in which the officers and men lived cheek-by-jowl.

Although records show the camp was cleared away, some rubbish was left behind, mainly crockery, bottles and clay tobacco pipe, but also lost fastenings, a folding knife and even a fragment of an enamelled glass schnapps bottle presumably carried all the way from Hesse.’

We also revealed and excavated approximately 20 Iron Age burials, all apparently folded tight and laid in circular graves. They almost certainly represent the population of a known Iron Age settlement recorded very close to Barton Farm some 20 years ago. Iron Age cemeteries, especially found in association with a settlement, are fairly rare in the region and this important cemetery will help fill a gap in the record.

17th September 2018

Join Ireneo Grosso, Senior Supervisor of the Harper Road, Southwark excavations and Publications Manager, Victoria Ridgeway, for a talk on the exciting Roman sarcophagus, discovered at Harper Road, Southwark.  Ireneo and Vicki will form part of a panel discussing its excavation, interpretation, and what actually happens on a busy, urban construction project when such an amazing object is revealed.
The talk will take place on the 25th September 2018 at the Museum of London Docklands. For more details and tickets, click on the link:

14th September 2018

Congratulations to Dr Kevin Haywood and the rest of the team involved in the award winning project Watchbell Chambers, Rye. The team have been recognised by Sussex Heritage Trust Awards 2018 for their work restoring a completely dilapidated Grade II listed building in Rye. Well done!

6th September 2018

Pre-Construct Archaeology celebrates 25 years today!

18th July 2018

In September, PCA will be celebrating 25 years of providing archaeological and built heritage services. To celebrate, 25 senior and/or long standing members of staff across the offices were asked to list their Top 25
PCA sites. From this, points were allocated with the number one choice ranking 25 points and the 25th
choice ranking 1 point. The scores were totalled for each site and a list of the Top 25 sites collated into the Silver Jubilee Edition of Nuntius. We hope you enjoy reading this and the broad spectrum of sites that PCA has covered in 25 successful years.

View the Jubilee Edition of Nuntius here.

24th May 2018

Did you catch PCA’s fantastic discovery -the Harper Roman Sarcophagus – on BBC’s The One Show on 22nd May? If not, here’s the link – watch from minute 13 for the news on this fabulous find.

15th May 2018

The Roman sarcophagus found during PCA’s excavation at Harper Road, Southwark, will shortly be forming the centrepiece of an exciting new exhibition – Roman Dead - at the Museum of London Docklands from 25th May 2018 – don’t miss it!

30th April 2018

Angel in our Midst
PCA has its very own angel - Congratulations to Vicki Ridgeway for receiving the Historic England Angel Award for her hard work and contribution towards the rescue, recording and interpretation of 'Written in Bone' - research into the lives of Roman Londoners in Southwark - well done Vicki!

29th March 2018

Royal Greenwich from top to bottom with CBA London

Saturday 28th April 2.30pm
CBA London has arranged a unique visit to the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich featuring a double tour of the highest and deepest parts of the building.
Because of a major conservation project Britain's largest painted ceiling is now accessible in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A 50 minute tour will be given via a 60 foot high special observation deck where you can discover the painting's mysteries as they are revealed for the first time in half a century.
As part of the refurbishment works, archaeological investigations by Pre-Construct Archaeology in the lower hall have uncovered the remains of Tudor cellars, once part of the priory or palace, which contain bee boles, arched recesses for the storing of skelps (woven bee hives) through winters. It is hoped that these will be eventually displayed to the public, and as such they would be almost unique. Leading the tour, PCA Director Peter Moore will describe the archaeological works and the processes (and arguments) that led to their interpretation.
Visit the Eventbrite site here to find out more and book tickets. As usual, members have priority, and you can book for yourself and one other person up to 18th April, after which date we will open booking to the public if any tickets remain.

22nd January 2018

PCA has several positions available including CAD Technician to work in the PCA Cambridge Office, Regional Post Excavaiton Manager and a Project Manager based in London.. See Careers for more info.

30th November 2017

PCA is offering a full-time post as Environmental Assistant, based at the Company offices in Brockley, London SE4. See Careers for details and other jobs available.

23rd November 2017

More than 40 members of St Neot's Local History Society attended a recent talk given by Jonathan House from PCA Cambridge. Jon was following up on an earlier presentation he had given on the findings from PCA's excavations at Eaton Socon, St Neots in 2016.

The site carried two major themes, a significant Late Roman phase and the remains of rural cottages associated with the hamlet of Little End, post medieval in date. We have been able to link the stories and lives of the people who lived in these cottages with the archaeological record, thanks greatly to the active involvement of local historians.

The Late Roman archaeology was of interest as it may show evidence of activity into the 5th century and thanks to the extensive open area excavation within that part of the Great Ouse valley, a fairly comprehensive narrative can be formulated regarding settlement patterns, with shifts and variations over time.

Thanks to St Neot's Local History Society for inviting Jon to speak, we hope that you found it enjoyable and informative.

20th November 2017

Pre-Construct Archaeology Limited is seeking applications from Field Archaeologists who are able to work on sites in central and Greater London and in the wider South-East region with an immediate start. See Careers for more details.

14th November 2017

PCA Cambridge's Regional Manager, Mark Hinman, will be speaking at the Cambridge Antiquarian Society’s Annual Conference this Saturday 18th November. Mark’s talk focuses on the challenges archaeologists face when dealing with archaeology at the largest scale. The event starts at 9.30am. For more information please see the flyer which can be downloaded from

PCA London’s Shane Maher will be giving a lecture to the City of London Archaeological Society (COLAS) on the recent archaeological discoveries at Holy Family Technology College, Walthamstow this Friday, 17th November. If you would like to learn more about this interesting site, the lecture will commence at 7pm and is held at St Olave's Church Hall, EC3R 7BB. For full details please visit their website

25th September 2017

Kings Cross Central: heritage regeneration in action

Tour 5.30pm on Wed 27 September

FREE to CIfA members or £10 for LAG membership with free access to our events for a year

Regeneration of Kings Cross area is well underway. This walk around the former goods yard of the Great Northern Railway will take in the refurbished buildings and structures, from the famous gasholders to the Granary complex, which is now home to St Martin’s School of Art, alongside new construction and landscaping.

Becky Haslam (PCA) and David Divers (MOLA) will show us how the archaeological investigations  (above and below ground) have informed redevelopment of the site by Argent.  

Meet outside the German Gymnasium, St Pancras Road / Kings Boulevard (between new entrances to Kings Cross and St Pancras stations).

4th September 2017


By Peter Moore

A very interesting discovery was made by Tanya Jones of Pre-Construct Archaeology Limited during an on-going watching brief on restoration works at the Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, for the Greenwich Foundation. The site lies within the grounds of the Palace of Placentia originally constructed in 1443 and subsequently enlarged and altered throughout the Tudor period. It was mostly demolished by Charles II and it was not expected that this archaeological investigation would reveal core palace buildings given the results of previous investigations in the vicinity.

The watching brief initially found 18th and 19th walls and flues, but then a sunken 15m2 room was found towards the north-eastern end of the Painted Hall undercroft. Kevin Hayward confirmed that the three extant walls of the sunken room were constructed from small Henrician bricks while the neatly laid floor was constructed of rows of over 100 tiles and 100 paving bricks. The preservation of glazes on the tiles varied considerably but most were plain yellow over a white slip, while a few were glazed black or dark green. Five stone pavers in various sizes were located at the south-western end of the room possibly close to an entrance. A contemporary stepped feature was also found at the north-western end of the room. The tiles could be dated to the late 15th to early 16th century but the same paving bricks at Hampton Court can be dated to the 1520’s to 1540’s. Kevin is currently working with a construction date of between 1510 and 1550.

The sunken room was visually and historically interesting enough for the Greenwich Foundation, and their architects, Hugh Broughton Architects, to immediately consider how it could be made visible to the visiting public, a challenging feat considering its location was just at the proposed visitor entrance!

However, the continuing watching brief uncovered an even more interesting feature. The extension of the watching brief to the north-east encountered first a wall and then the deeper floors of parts of two vaulted cellars which would have had an internal height of about 2m. Only part of one of the cellars has so far been revealed, while the other has had all its western wall and part of its southern wall revealed. Both have niches built into the walls, four smaller ones in the western wall and three larger ones with chamfered divides (together with gaps at the divide bases) in the southern wall. The construction of the cellars is stratigraphically earlier than the floor but they most likely to be contemporary. On seeing photographs of these beautiful niches, they were immediately identified by Kari Bower as being “Bee Boles” and within a short time she had found the documentary evidence for Tudor bee boles in cellars used for the storing of skeps (straw/wicker hives) during winter.   

Sheltering bees from extremes of weather is probably as old as bee keeping as may be their protection during winter to conserve their energy and food stores. Skeps were an early form of hive made of straw or wicker, however the sheltering of skeps in walls (bee boles) is almost unique to Britain and Ireland, while bee boles constructed in brick walls is concentrated in Kent. While the majority of datable examples are from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Kent has several dating to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, three of which are in cellars. (Footnote ) The earliest printed reference to wintering bees indoors was published by Gerrard Malynes in 1622 and with a bee wintering instruction by Samuel Harelip in 1655 which might be taken to refer to using a cellar or an outbuilding.

The public access entrance at the Painted Hall in Greenwich is now subject to a redesign to allow both the tiled floor and the cellars with the bee boles to be viewed by the visiting public. Further uncovering of the structures will be required to maximise what can be viewed and interpreted, which will involve further archaeological investigation and recording. As probably a unique opportunity to view Tudor cellars for the winter protection of skeps in bee boles, this promises to be an exciting exhibit.

Picture 1: View looking southwest across Painted Hall undercroft and 1510-1550 tiled floor

Picture 2: View looking south with tone of the Tudor cellars with larger bee boles to the south and smaller ones to the west.


Penelope Walker “Bee Boles in Kent”, Archaeologia Cantiana Vol 106, 1988, p107-127.

18th July 2017

Exciting Excavations at Swan Street/Harper Road, Southwark

As you might have noticed, there has been a bit of brouhaha regarding the finding of the Roman period sarcophagus in the course of the recent excavations by PCA on a site at the junction of Swan Street and Harper Road in Southwark. However, unless you looked very hard at some of the photographs you would be hard pushed to know PCA had anything to do with it or that there was anything else found other than the sarcophagus. We are now able to provide a bit more detail on the findings at this fascinating site.

The excavation team from PCA, ably led by Ireneo Grosso, were appointed by CgMs, on behalf of Galliard Homes. The excavations were undertaken in phases over several months and were dovetailed more-or-less seamlessly between the demolition and initial construction works.

The site is located within an area referred to as the ‘Southern Cemetery’, although there is no actual evidence that there is a single unified cemetery but probably a number of discrete burial grounds on the periphery of Roman occupation. To date approximately 500 Roman period burials have been recovered from the Southern Cemetery area, but until recently not one of them was a stone sarcophagus. Interesting burials abound including the famous Harper Road “princess” and high status mausolea along Great Dover Street, That has clearly now changed.
Sadly however, the PCA team were not the first to have discovered the sarcophagus since it was first buried, but it was the first to do it in a controlled and rigorous fashion. It appears that during the process of quarrying chalk from a possible ‘mausoleum’ structure adjacent to the sarcophagus in the  18th century, the massive stone lid prised off and, we assume, the contents at least partially robbed. The lid lay cracked and misaligned, as it was left following this rather less painstaking 18th century investigation!

The sarcophagus itself measures approximately 2.4m long, 75cm wide and 65 cm high and (at least) filled with earth. The significant challenge, given that it was directly on the piling line, was to lift the sarcophagus (which already has several significant cracks) out of the excavation area. This has been managed successfully by a specialist team including Clivedon Conservation, and the sarcophagus has been taken to the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre, where the fill will be excavated under controlled conditions.

The sarcophagus was by no means the only significant finding of the excavation. A previously unrecorded compacted gravel road, at least 7m wide and flanked on the west side at least by large ditches cut across the site on an approximately NNE-SSW orientation. Roads of this size are considered by the doyen of Roman roads, Ivan Margary, to be in the most important class of roads.  It is conceivable, but not proved, that this was part of the elusive London to Chichester road known as Stane Street.

If it was Stane Street it is on a different alignment and a little to the east of that traditionally held. However, our understanding of the road infrastructure of Roman Southwark is improving, with many more roads identified within the areas of occupation and the Harper Road example may be another one of these.

Towards the western limit of excavation were the chalk foundations of a masonry structure against which the sarcophagus abutted. The structure was parallel to the road, and given this location and relationship, has been interpreted as a mausoleum. These were relatively high status funerary monuments and only previously identified in Southwark at Great Dover Street, which itself is roughly on the alignment of the Roman London to Richborough road.
Moving forward our next steps will be excavating the fills of the coffin. Has it been plundered or and its contents relatively intact? Keep an eye out for further updates on the excavation of the remarkable contents of this extraordinary discovery which has already caused a flurry of excitement in the press..

External LInks

Galliard Homes


Southwark Council

The Times

Evening Standard


5th July 2017

Due to continued growth and our commitment to deliver projects nationwide, PCA is thrilled to announce the opening of two new offices in the midlands, providing our clients with greater regional coverage and professional advice second to none.

Kevin Trott, formerly PCA Midlands Regional Manager, will now lead the new PCA Newark office, where he will continue to successfully manage projects through to fruition with the support of his highly experienced and motivated team.

Tim Bradley, Associate Director, formerly based in our London office is delighted to be heading up the new PCA Warwick office. Tim has been with PCA since 2000, over the years he has built strong links with both clients and archaeological curators across the Midlands and South East regions. He has vast experience in managing a wide range of projects from complex urban regeneration, greenfield developments to industrial sites.

Both Kevin and Tim are here to assist you NOW with any heritage requirements that you have, at whatever stage you are in the planning process. Their contact details are below.

Kevin Trott
Office 8, Roewood Courtyard
Nottinghamshire NG22 8PG

T: 01636 370 410

Tim Bradley
Unit 9, The Mill
Mill Lane, Little Shrewley

Warwickshire CV35 7HN

T: 01926 485 490

THE EXPANSION CONTINUES…NEW PREMISES IN NORFOLK!. In addition to the opening of our Newark and Warwick offices, we are also excited to declare that due to client lead demand PCA is now able to offer professional heritage services from our new Norwich office. PCA Norwich will be overseen by Mark Hinman and will offer services covering the East Anglian Rrgion. For any assistance please contact:

Mark Hinman
PCA Norwich
Quarry Works
Dereham Road

In response to these exciting developments at PCA we have decided that now is the right time to modify the titles of all our regional offices - they will now be known as follows and full contact details can be found in our Contact PCA page on our website:

PCA Durham (formerly PCA North)
Regional Manager: Jenny Proctor

PCA Cambridge (formerly part of PCA Central)
Regional Manager: Mark Hinman

PCA Norwich (formerly part of PCA Central)
Regional Manager: Mark Hinman

PCA Newark (formerly PCA Midlands)
Regional Manager: Kevin Trott

PCA Warwick (formerly PCA Midlands)
Regional Manager: Tim Bradley

PCA London (formerly PCA South)
Managing Director: Gary Brown

PCA Winchester (formerly PCA West)
Regional Manager: Paul McCulloch


13th January 2017

WE have launched our new PCA Blog -