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North West Cambridge: archaeology, art and mud

last modified Feb 12, 2015 01:48 PM
Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) field and art work at North West Cambridge highlighted in March/April edition of British Archaeology


The latest edition of British Archaelogy features an article by Chris Evans, (Director of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, CAU) and Craig Cessford, (Senior Project Officer), as well as an interview with one of the artists in residence on the North West Cambridge site, Karen Guthrie.

The article gives a brief overview of the evaluation fieldwork carried out by the unit and introduces the art project 'Tomorrow, Today' that Guthrie and her fellow artist in residence, Nina Pope, produced.  This piece of work is one of the largest art and archaeology projects yet attempted, consisting of an 1/12.5-scale model village-of-the-future of the development's masterplan, built in cob, with some of the scale cob monoliths standing more than 2m high. 

The work will be left to weather for a year and then buried.  Says Evans: 'With careful backfilling, the piece should survive..hopefully to generate some absurd aerial photographs; much of the real campus wil by then have been built, with its miniature neighbour visible as a cropmark."

Says Guthrie: "The project engages with the site's present nature, and the fleeting, unique archaeological access to the past, as well as encouraging reflection on human transience and future communities."

North West Cambridge is the largest single capital development project that the University has undertaken in its 800-year history. When complete, it will comprise a mixed-use development on University farmland to provide for much of the research accommodation and many of the homes for staff that the University is likely to need over the next 20 years.

The full article may be seen in the March/April edition of British Archaeology or, for subscribers at:

To hear more about about the artists in residence experience on site, visit:

For CAU dig reports:


Posted 12/02/2015

An Oral History of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research