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Department of Archaeology


The Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU)  


The Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) was established with the Department in 1990 to create a bridge between academic and commercial archaeology in Britain. Over thirty years, it has grown into one of the UK’s leading archaeological units.

Based in Cambridge, and working in the surrounding counties, the CAU has developed particular expertise in wetland and urban archaeology, with a research focus on the Fenland, Cambridge and its hinterlands. Most of the CAU’s projects are undertaken ahead of housing development, roads construction, and quarrying. Its investigations range from small urban sites to wide rural landscapes. Some projects for long-standing clients have now run for several decades.

Major projects in the recent years have included excavation of:

  • a series of major Iron Age and Roman settlement complexes at Northstowe, northwest of Cambridge
  • an internationally-significant Late Bronze Age timber settlement, superbly preserved in fen deposits, at Must Farm, Whittlesey
  • a prehistoric landscape with settlements, fields, barrows and monuments covering nearly 1000 hectares at Over and Needingworth Quarry, Cambridgeshire 
  • a dozen prehistoric and Roman farming settlements at Eddington, North West Cambridge.

The CAU runs the Department’s annual undergraduate training excavation. Students also regularly engage with the Unit’s staff and access excavation finds for their own research. The CAU also contributes to academic research projects, such as After the Plaguea project which examined the health and history of medieval burials in St John’s Hospital cemetery, Cambridge, excavated by the CAU.

Today, the Unit has a team of around seventy staff. Its experienced field team is backed by experts in finds, survey and graphics, with in-house specialists providing analysis of pottery, human remains, animal bone, and preserved timber. The Unit has provided a training ground for hundreds of archaeologists over the last thirty years, and some of the country’s leading university lecturers and heritage professionals started their career with the CAU.


Key CAU Staff

Dr Matthew Brudenell

Emma Beadsmoore
David Gibson
Ricky Patten

Head of Administration
Samantha Smith

Project Officers
Dr Oscar Aldred
Dr Marcus Brittain
Craig Cessford
Matthew Collins
Mark Knight
Elizabeth Middleton
Jonathan Tabor
Alasdair Wright

Section Heads

Dr Emily Banfield (Finds)
Andrew Hall (Graphics)
Jane Matthews (Survey)
Vida Rajkovača (Specialist Coordinator)

Dr Eduardo Machicado Murillo (Geoarchaeology)
Benjamin Neil (Osteoarchaeology)
Sarah Percival (Prehistoric Ceramics)
Vida Rajkovača (Zooarchaeology)
Iona Robinson Zeki (Wood Specialist)
David Webb (Photography)

Hannah Barratt
Christopher Boulton (Environmental)
Thomas Bourne
Emma Rees (Finds)


Dr Sam Lucy
Iona Robinson Zeki
Dr Robert Wiseman

Contact Us

Cambridge Archaeological Unit
Department of Archaeology
34 A & B Storey's Way
Cambridge CB3 0DT

Tel: +44 1223 327802