FEAG speaker meetings are held at 7.30pm at the Tony Cooper Suite, Cottenham Village College, unless shown.

Note: The Tony Cooper Suite is in the sixth form block behind the main school.


Thursday 19 January ‘Archaeology and genetics in Oceania: the history of humans and their crops in the Pacific’ by Andrew Clarke

The islands of Oceania (or the Pacific Ocean) are fascinating places to study human history. The Pacific Ocean covers one third of the Earth’s surface and, although dominated by water, contains some 25,000 islands. The majority of these islands were either inhabited in prehistory (the pre-European era) or show evidence of prehistoric human contact. Oceania is the location of some of the oldest human migration events (e.g., New Guinea) and some of the most recent (e.g., New Zealand). This lecture will describe how archaeology and genetics are being combined to understand how humans have moved across the Pacific, the tempo and mode of crop selection, and how agriculture has spread across a vast island world. Some areas of current research and unresolved questions in the human history of the Pacific will also be discussed.

Andrew Clarke is an Early Career Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge.


Thursday 16 February ‘The Archaeology of Neanderthal Humanity: the Shanidar Project’ by Tim Reynolds


Tim will be talking about his research exploring the adaptations and behaviour of Neanderthals and Modern Humans against a background of changing climate. Excavations at Shanidar Cave (in Iraqi Kurdistan) have yielded evidence for occupation by Neanderthals and modern humans. A number of Neanderthal burials were recovered that showed care for elderly and injured individuals. Recent discoveries of interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans and a late date for the spread of the latter into Europe make sites such as Shanidar key to understanding the nature of Neanderthal/Homo sapiens relations and to answering the question of what happened to the Neanderthals. What was responsible for the demise of Neanderthals?

Tim Reynolds is a senior lecturer at Birkbeck College, London, and is a former county archaeologist for Cambridgeshire. He is currently preparing a book on the origin and spread of modern humans, completing work on the site of the Haua Fteah, Libya and planning renewed investigations for Shanidar cave, Iraq.




Thursday 16 March ‘Excavations at Northstowe’ by Alison Dickens

NB: The venue for this talk is Rampton Village Hall


In this talk Alison Dickens will talk abou the excavations prior to the development of  Northstowe – what was found during Phase 1 and the early stages of Phase 2 and looking forward to further work. Phase 1 is on the site of the old golf course near Longstanton and the archaeology there was completed in late 2015. Evidence was found for occupation in the Iron Age, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Medieval periods. The Romano-British hamlet found in Phase 1 seems to have been a ‘standard’ Roman rural settlement, as actually a second Roman settlement has already been identified in Phase 2,  just half a kilometre away to the south and potentially around the same size as Roman Cambridge. FEAG members spent two weeks digging on part of the Romano-British settlement in 2015. As part of the second phase of excavations, there will be community work, open days, and work with primary schools.


Alison Dickens is a manager at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit and head of Access Cambridge Archaeology.

For more information on the site, see: https://accesscambridgearchaeology.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/northstowe-phase-two/



Tuesday 4 April ‘The Twenty Pence Project’ by John Stanford

FEAG has been working for over 6 years at the Twenty Pence Project site near the scheduled site of Bullocks Haste just outside Cottenham. Based on our fieldwork and analysis by specialists, the site seems to have been a modest, small-scale agricultural site based on arable farming and animal husbandry. There is little evidence for structures, trade or industrial activities, though it is possible that local pottery production occurred not far away. The site was probably in use throughout the Roman period.


In this talk, John Stanford will present an overview of TPP activities and developments in the last 12 months and invite reflections on what the project might mean to archaeological understanding of the fen edge, its impact on FEAG and on individuals involved.


Thursday 18 May ‘The Sculptures of the Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral’ by Jonathan Rogers

The early 14th century sculptures of the Lady Chapel were intended to be a definitive statement of what a devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary should know. They were badly damaged during the 1540s in attacks on the images and practices of traditional religion. They were covered with thick whitewash for over three hundred years while the Chapel was in use as a parish church. Campaigns of cleaning, repair and conservation since the 1850s have restored the sculptures to our sight but not necessarily to our understanding: their mutilated state makes it difficult to read and appreciate them, the non-scriptural narratives that they illustrate are quite unfamiliar to many people. Even today they can be an uneasy reminder of England’s Catholic past and of its violent end. The talk will identify of some of the sculptures and describe how the tide turned from condemnation to conservation.

Jonathan Rogers is a specialised Guide at Ely Cathedral and the author of “Ely Cathedral: The Sculptures of the Lady Chapel” published in 2015 by The Ely Society.


Wednesday 4 October ‘The Archaeology of the Fenland River Ouse’ by  Christopher Evans

Christopher Evans is joint founder and Director of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit. He has worked in British archaeology at a senior level for more than 25 years. He has published widely, including many reports of excavations in Cambridgeshire. He has, in addition, directed a number of overseas fieldwork projects (Nepal, China & Cape Verde), and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a member of the Institute of Field Archaeologists.

This meeting will be held at Willingham Baptist Church Hall, George Street, Willingham.

Note this is a change of date.

Thursday 23 November ‘Human Osteoarchaeology in Cambridgeshire’ by Natasha Dodwell

Natasha was the senior osteoarchaeologist at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit for 20 years before starting work with Oxford Archaeology in 2016 as Finds and Environmental Manager. She has an extensive knowledge of the archaeology of Eastern England, particularly of burial archaeology, and has studied and contributed to numerous publications on assemblages both small and large from all periods.

More details to follow