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


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 -

16th December 2016

PCA North are in the final days of an excavation at the site of an 18th- to 19th-century pottery works situated in the Forth Banks area of Newcastle upon Tyne which us being carried out on behalf of the Marcus Worthington Group. In the medieval period the site was located beyond the medieval walls of the city on the western side of the Skinner Burn, a tributary of the River Tyne occupying a steeply-incised valley on the northern banks of the Tyne Valley. Traces of medieval boundary ditches excavated at the site probably attest to the use of this area as agricultural land. The valley of the Skinner Burn was gradually infilled from the 18th century and the stream was culverted between 1840 and 1859. This part of Newcastle became a focus for industrial activity from the 1750s with glass and flint works, lime kilns, rope manufacturers and a large brewery all established in the area. The first pottery to occupy the site was destroyed by fire in 1758. By 1787 a new pottery had been built, which at that time was known as the Skinner Burn Pottery, worked by George Spearman & Co. Three years later this pottery had passed into the hands of Addison Falconer and Co. Following several more changes in ownership it was finally known as ‘The Newcastle Pottery’ in 1862 and was pulled down sometime between 1879 and 1896. In the 20th century the site was used for a variety of uses, including a piggery, stone yard, stables, slaughter house and garage.

Preservation of structural remains of the pottery varies across the site, with most of the kilns having been completely demolished and their location only visible as burnt patches in the natural clay. However, in the south-east corner of the site the stone foundation and one course of brick of a kiln shown on an 1830 map survived. Below ground features such as slip tanks also survived well with some areas of well-preserved floor surfaces also exposed.

Not surprisingly we have recovered large quantities of pottery wasters and kiln furniture, including large saggars and kiln ‘stilts’ and rods which were used to prevent glazed wares from sticking to the shelves, saggars and other pots. Amongst the wasters are vessels which are misshapen and transfer printed wares which have not been glazed. Some of the waster plates had evidently been used by the workers as convenient notepads, including a fragment which lists quantities of ‘T plates, cups and saucers’.

21st November 2016

PCA is seeking an experienced CAD Technician to work in the CAD department, which is based  in the London Offices.The post involves using AutoCAD to produce archaeological maps and stratigraphic drawings for all of the PCA offices. This involves the digitisation of archaeological plans and sections and the production of archaeological plans, to illustrate all types of  report. These include Watching Brief and Evaluation Reports, Assessments and publications, including PCA Monographs, academic journals, and other outlets. Other tasks include: the drawing up of standing building recording; historic map regression work, and illustrations for Desk Based Assessments. See Careers for more detail.

10th November 2016

COPACOPA: Professional Archaeology for HS2
We are pleased to announce that a new website has been launched to showcase the capability of the UK's largest ever consortium of professional archaeologists. COPA is formed from Cotswold Archaeology; Oxford Archaeology and Pre-Construct Archaeology, three of the largest and most successful archaeological companies in the country. We have a combined annual turnover of over £25m and between us 92 years of experience in the delivery of complex archaeological projects.

We have come together to allow us to bid for elements of the archaeological work required during the construction of Phase 1 of the HS2 high speed railway line between London and Birmingham. We anticipate that archaeological fieldwork will commence in 2017 and last for several years, and we want to be involved in what is likely to be the largest programme of archaeological investigation ever seen in this country. We have a set of established offices within easy reach of the route of HS2.

COPA is a natural fit as all three partners have a proven record of working together. Oxford and Pre-Construct have collaborated on a number of projects, including the Thameslink railway improvement in London; Cotswold and Oxford are currently working on a complex excavation in Oxfordshire, and Pre-Construct and Cotswold jointly delivered the investigations in advance of the Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol. We are therefore a tried and trusted consortium with a history of collaboration and partnership.

Gary Brown, PCA's Managing Director, said 'We are delighted to have formed COPA with our long-established partners, and we will collectively be working hard over the coming months as we seek to secure our involvement in this unique opportunity to transform our knowledge of the past societies that once lived on the line of the new railway'.

The Bolyn Ground3rd November 2016

The Boleyn Ground West Ham Football Club.
Works are underway to excavate archaeological remains in advance of the redevelopment of the site. The excavations are focussing on the locations where the new developments, built by Barratt London, will be positioned. The archaeologists will continue until all of the deposits and remains have been fully investigated and recorded, to the satisfaction of the London Borough of Newham and their advisors at Historic England.

Click on the image to read the full poster.

28th September 2016

Listen to PCA’s Chris Mayo talking last night to Mark Forrest on BBC Local Radio. Chris was invited on to talk about the findings at one of PCA’s sites in Manchester and discussed working in archaeology and some of the fantastic sites he has been involved in. You can listen to him here (about 2hrs .45 in to the programme) at


The Lant Street Teenager

There has been a recent flurry of press interest in PCA’s Roman cemetery site at Lant Street, Southwark (excavated by AOC/post-excavation work by PCA). A paper recently published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, reports on a study of the ancestry, mobility and diet of a sample of Roman burials from the site. The discovery of a teenage girl, buried with an unusual array of grave goods, including an ivory-handled knife in the form of a panther, inspired further work, including stable isotope analysis.

The ‘Lant Street teenager’ has continued to draw attention, featuring in a temporary exhibition at the Museum of London, following a DNA analysis by McMaster University (Canada). Her stable isotopes show that she grew up in the southern Mediterranean and ended her life in Londinium, it seems she had blue eyes and her maternal ancestry could be traced to south-eastern Europe and west Eurasia, at the eastern fringes of the Roman Empire.
We know from evidence such as material culture, foodstuffs, inscriptions and contemporary accounts that Londinium housed a diverse population and it was not particularly surprising that some of the individuals tested were of African origin, nor that many grew up in a warmer climate than Britain, around the southern Mediterranean before moving to Britain. However, two or three were probably Asian and this is a first for the province, inspiring much press interest. Links to some recent press articles can be found below.

13th September 2016

PCA Southern Office 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 our Careers page for more detail.

1st September 2016

Jenny Proctor, Regional Manager at our Durham office will be speaking at Current Archaeology's conference this Sunday. Current Archaeology Live!  presents a special conference 2nd to 4th September, in partnership with Durham University. See the following information: 40 years of frontier research at Hadrian's wall.

11th August 2016

We have just published two new Monographs.

PCA Monograph 19

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
Price: £30.00

PCA Monograph 20

A Quaker Burial Ground at North Shields. Excavations at Coach Lane, Tyne and Wear
Price: £20.00

6th June 2016

Paul Jorgensen, senior supervisor at PCA is giving a talk to the Enfield Archaeological Society on Friday (June 10) . The talk will cover PCA's work in the Triforium and in Poets' Corner Yard.

6th May 2016

photograph from the 1980'sOn Saturday, 30 April 2016, an open day was held at 74-88 Great Ancoats Street, with the public invited to view the archaeologically excavated site and some of the finds from the excavations.  The site, located at the junction of Port Street and Great Ancoats Street, uncovered several 19th century workers houses and the rear rooms and courtyard of a former pub. It has revealed a large assemblage of finds, which provide insight into the lives of the people who lived and worked in the area. Many of the visitors to site were interested to learn that most of the houses had only knocked down in the 1980s. The continual occupation and late demolition of the housing on site likely led to the 19th century cellar dwellings being well preserved, unlike the original pub, which had been removed by modern renovations. Click here to read the full report

4th May 2016

Two members of our office in London, Charlotte Matthews and Paw Jorgensen, are invited to talk at the London Archaeology Forum (LAF) on Monday 9th May at the Museum of London. Charlotte will present cases of interesting pubs from around London and Paw will talk about Westminster Abbey & the Triforium Galleries. The forum starts at 6:15. The event is open to the public.
For more information visit:  

28th April 2016

PCA’s project at 74-88 Great Ancoats Street is drawing to a close having exposed extensive 19th and 20th century structural remains of warehouse structures and workers dwellings. The excavation has yielded an exciting assemblage of artefacts including numerous bottles and ceramic items inscribed with the names of local residents, and undoubtedly patrons of the Astley Arms, later The Paganini Tavern, which stood upon the site from the 1820s until very recently.
The public are invited by the developers, Mulbury City, and PCA to view the remains and talk to the archaeological team this Saturday, 30th April 2016, between 1000 and 1400.

26th April 2016

More updates on our current archaeolgical works at Fulham High Street, London. See the attached poster.

25th April 2016

PCA is currently excavating a site on Great Ancoats Street in Manchester for Mulberry City. The work is revealing excellent preservation of 19th century cellars and external yard surfaces, and is producing an exciting assemblage of bottles and pottery which relate to the Astley Arms pub which formerly stood on one side of the site. The work has generated much local interest and featured in the Manchester Evening News on 22 April 2016. []

19th April 2016

Jenny Proctor, PCA North, has recently been appointed as the new editor of Archaeologia Aeliana, the journal of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne.

From the SANT website:

The society was founded in 1814 and the first volume was published in 1822.It appeared intermittently at first, but for the last hundred years one volume has been published each year. The journal covers all aspects of the history of North-East England, ranging from archaeology (including excavation reports) and buildings to historical and documentary research, and from prehistory to the present. It has always been an important vehicle for the publication of research on Hadrian's Wall and the Romans in North-East England.

18th March 2016

Our latest update on our current archaeolgical works at Fulham High Street, London:

4th March 2016

Congratulations to PCA’s Monograph Manager Victoria Ridgeway on her recent appointment as ‘Visiting Researcher’ at the University of Newcastle.

This comes partly out of the recognition of previous research at the University for her MLitt, which looked at the ritual landscape of Roman Southwark. This provided an opportunity to draw together the results of decades of rescue and commercial work across the suburb and examine their relationship to the broader landscape. Her ongoing research interests continue to revolve around the Roman city and its hinterland, ritual practices and the changing use and form of the landscape and river regime through time.

The role of Visiting Researcher also reflects commitment to ongoing and future collaborations between PCA and Newcastle University’s Department of Archaeology. This collaboration allows not only for the valued input of academic researchers into PCA’s work but also gives students of archaeology opportunities to work with large assemblages and to experience working in the commercial sector alongside professional archaeologists.

22nd February 2016

Cambridge Antiquarian Society will be holding their spring conference this Saturday, February 27th from 9:30am. See the following link. Click here for the programme (PDF)