Skip to main content

Using archaeological archives for research

The primary reason that we curate the archaeological archive is to make future research and exhibition of this material possible.

We provide:

  • artefacts to museums for exhibitions, so museums can display recently excavated archaeological material without the burden of long-term storage requirements
  • access for researchers to study
  • teaching collections to Higher Education bodies

Within 18 months during 2017 and 2018, 8% of our total holdings had been accessed by researchers, students, community archaeology groups, professional archaeological companies, museums and educational institutions.

Research requests

We encourage any researchers or organisations interested in accessing our archives to contact us.

For academic research requests we ask that students and researchers provide an outline project design stating the purpose of their research, the material they wish to access and any destructive and non-destructive analysis that they wish to carry out. For researchers from academic institutions who wish to loan material, we also ask for a letter from their head of department or their supervisor accepting full responsibility of the archive while they are in the university’s care.

We would also encourage researchers to contact the Cambridgeshire Historic Environment Record (CHER) to help identify comparable sites and assemblages that could be of further use for their research.

For funded research projects and commercial archaeological projects we charge an access cost. Details for this can be found in our charging schedule.

HET Charging Schedule 2024-25238KBpdf
Size: 238KBFile format: pdf

Projects currently using archive material from Cambridgeshire:

 After the Plague Project

This multi-disciplinary project is currently using over 200 skeletons from Barrington, Cherry Hinton and Gamlingay. The project uses techniques such as ancient DNA extraction and isotopic analysis to further understand the health and lives of residents of Early Medieval and Medieval Cambridge and its surrounding environs. The project is based at the University of Cambridge and is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Feeding Anglo-Saxon England project

This project is currently using environmental samples from the West Fen Road, Ely excavations undertaken between 1999 and 2000. It is using scientific methods to further understand Early Medieval farming.

Museum requests

We encourage any museums interested in accessing our archives to contact us.

Museums currently exhibiting material from our collection:

Chatteris Museum

A large, complete Bronze Age collared urn from Sutton is on permanent display. A number of other artefacts have been loaned for temporary exhibition until 2020.

For more information or to request access to these archives please contact Historic Environment Team (HET) at or on 01223 728564.