Archaeology at Bury Farm

Location: England

Subject: Archaeology

Dates: 2011-2015

Related ACE Cultural Tours: Archaeology Tours


Archaeologists from the University of Cambridge led by Dr Sheila Kohring have been investigating the changing landscape of Bury Farm. The relationship between people and riverine landscapes has been initiated at the site of Bury Farm, Stapleford in Cambridgeshire. The site, on the edge of a medieval church estate and modern Cambridge village is looked down upon from Wandlebury hillfort and occupies the lower and middle terraces of the River Granta. We have a developing picture of prehistoric occupation on the chalks surrounding Cambridge, but often our knowledge of how people used the rivers is shaped by the current landscape of urban and farming developments.

Project History

The ‘River’ Granta, as it passes through Stapleford and Bury Farm, is now little more than a highly channelised stream, however geoarchaeological and survey data conducted to date indicate the River was once much wider in the past. Test-pitting in 2011 and 2012 found a range of materials dating from the Neolithic to the present. During the 2013 field season, our Part IIA students conducted targeted survey and found evidence of a small oxbow on the river at Bury Farm.

Bury Farm Samples in August 2013 we excavated in this area in order to understand when it was formed, how it changed the landscape and how people utilised this environment in prehistory. Evidence on the first terrace of the river found Mesolithic-Early Neolithic flints, indicating activity close to the river. What was even more interesting and surprising was the lack of any further material until the 19th century. It may be that that sometime before the Bronze Age, the oxbow formed or the area became too damp for occupation until the river was channelised in the recent past.

Project & ACE

This project has been evolving alongside teaching and community aspects. Test-pitting and survey has been conducted since 2011 with the ACE foundation British Archaeology summer schools and the University of Cambridge student community. In 2013 we had a very successful community open day and children digging day.

For more information on our 2014 open days or to attend the children’s mornings or volunteer, please see the Stapleford Granary Website