Archaeology boost for communities

A groundbreaking project in Cambridgeshire to help communities get to grips with their local archaeology has been officially launched.

Oxford Archaeology East and Cambridgeshire County Council have been awarded a £360,000 cash grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Jigsaw Cambridgeshire community archaeology project.

The project is in response to feedback from Cambridgeshire’s communities that they want to get more involved in local archaeology. Already community groups have come forward and the Jigsaw team are helping them run their own archaeology projects.

The grant will support community archaeology in Cambridgeshire for five years and should be the start of very exciting times for anyone who is already involved in archaeology or would like to follow up an interest in archaeology.

Jigsaw will set up new local community archaeology groups (Archaeology Action Groups) in conjunction with interested individuals from Cambridgeshire. These will be trained and supported by the Jigsaw Community Archaeologists to investigate, research and help protect the county’s archaeology.

In addition to setting up new groups, the project will also invite existing archaeology groups to join the project and benefit from free training and equipment to help them run their digs and surveys.

Two well-attended training courses on artefact identification and aerial photography have already taken place, with a further seven courses open to the public planned for the rest of the year, including a talk by Stewart Ainsworth of Time Team in May.

Stephen Macaulay, Senior Project Manager at Oxford Archaeology East, said: “This is fantastic news, Jigsaw has been a long-term aim of both ourselves and the archaeologists at Cambridgeshire County Council. This lottery grant enables us to provide opportunities as never before for the huge number of people who have an interest in their local heritage and archaeology throughout the county. I am really pleased to see the enthusiasm many local groups are showing in taking advantage of this project.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor David Harty, Cabinet Member for Learning, said: “Cambridgeshire is full of history and it is something that binds local communities together. Our archaeology events are very well attended and this money will help strengthen the work we are already carrying out with our partners in the community. Archaeology Action Groups will be set up throughout the county, in each of the five districts, so wherever you live the project can offer something for you.”

Jigsaw is a five year scheme, running until August 2016.

For further details on Jigsaw contact: the Jigsaw Community Archaeologists: Joanna Richards and Jemima Woolverton on 01223 850541/2 or check out http://jigsawcambs.org/.