7th August 2020:
Heritage2020, an initiative to promote the historic environment of England, has featured a collaboration between OA and UCLan as one of its case studies of collaboration between researchers and other in the heritage sector.
The Heritage 2020 'Discovery, Identification and Understanding' group has been reviewing the nature of collaborations between research institutions and historic environment practitioners. They have published a list of case studies highlighting the ways in which the heritage and higher education sectors collaborate, which includes a collaboration between Oxford Archaeology and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Stones of Contention was a PhD research project funded by the collaborative doctoral awards through the AHRC training grant scheme, and supervised by senior staff at Oxford Archaeology North (OAN) as well as UCLan. Its focus was on understanding lithic technology within the region over the crucial Mesolithic/Neolithic transition, the course of which is hotly contested. Collaboration was motivated by the desire by both OAN and UCLan to maximise the information gained during commercially funded excavations undertaken by OAN in advance of the Carlisle Northern Development Route, specifically through the analysis of lithics from the exceptionally well-preserved Stainton West site. Information sharing during the project led to the decision to create a partnership to support further research by optimising expertise, both academic and technical.
The collaboration has enabled the two organisations working in different sectors of archaeological research to co-operate, strengthen ties, innovate and further an understanding of the past. On an individual level it has enabled the PhD candidate to utilise expertise within the development-led sector as well as within academia which has been invaluable in providing comprehensive and well-rounded research. Having now submitted his PhD, Rob Leedham is working in a professional capacity on the new OAN excavations in advance of road construction in the WYRE Estuary.
You can read more about the links between on the Heritage2020 website here: https://www.heritage2020.net/project-higher-education-links/
And you can read the full case study about the Stones of Contention research project here: https://www.heritage2020.net/stones-of-contention-lithics-and-the-mesolithic-neolithic-transition-in-cumbria/