Cambridgeshire County Council’s Archaeological Field Unit – CAM ARC – has formed a new business partnership with the largest archaeological practice in the UK.
CAM ARC carries out up to 80 archaeological projects a year and employs up to 60 staff. The service has an annual turnover of around £2 million.
County Councillors have now endorsed plans to transfer CAM ARC to Oxford Archaeology, which will protect the future of the service and enable its work to expand. The service transferred on July 1.
Oxford Archaeology (OA) is the largest archaeological practice in the UK, with offices in Oxford, Lancaster and Montpellier. OA is an independent educational charity governed by a Board of Trustees. It has no connection with the University of Oxford.
Recent OA projects include the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Heathrow
Terminal 5, and it has commissions with the Royal Household, Historic Royal Palaces, the Ministry of Defence, Highways Agency and BAA.
County Council Head of Archaeology Adrian Tindall, said: “OA is involved in a number of major infrastructure projects within the East of England, and has long sought to establish a base within the region and a partnership with CAM ARC is an ideal opportunity to do so, whilst at the same time it offers CAM ARC the opportunity to grow and develop its business.”
CAM ARC staff and trade unions have been fully involved in the process and staff expressed a clear preference for partnership with OA and CAM ARC’s existing post-excavation and publication commitments will be met.
“CAM ARC is currently a medium-sized operator in one of the most competitive archaeological environments in the UK. The partnership with OA will ensure it remains commercially competitive, whilst safeguarding the future interests of the County Council and its staff,” added Mr Tindall.
Oxford Archaeology Chief Executive David Jennings said: “We are very excited about the opportunity for OA to join with CAM ARC as it enables us to offer a more comprehensively national service that is, however, regionally based. It also offers us new perspectives and new potential avenues for research, that are difficult to develop from a smaller core.
We are confident that OA East, as CAM is now called, will build on its
outstanding reputation and continue to provide a basis for a cost-effective service for our clients that also serves the strong public interest in archaeology – as an educational charity we are very committed to the social and cultural benefits of archaeology.”