- Meeting of Buckinghamshire Historic Environment Forum, Monday 18th September 2017 2.00 pm (Item 7.)
Jay Carver, Lead Archaeologist for Fusion working for HS2 Ltd to provide an update on Stoke Mandeville Church and burials for information and discussion.
Mr Carver, Lead Archaeologist, Fusion was welcomed to the meeting.
Fusion was a joint venture between three construction companies and
Mr Carver had been appointed as lead on the archaeology for the HS2 central section. The central route had been divided into nine sections or packages to enable the design to be dealt with on a holistic basis. Geophysics had been used to identify areas of interest. The work package plan was being put in place for St Mary’s Churchyard at Stoke Mandeville and would include:
· Site clearance
· A comprehensive gravestone survey
· A borehole to sample the soil
· The church fabric would be recorded.
Keele University was interested in deploying a student to undertake some further research of the site. Mr Carver was keen to involve the community in recording surface remains and items on the site. Work would include the eastern boundary of the site where archaeological work would be done alongside the main construction contractor.
Mr Franklin asked if the design could be impacted by any archaeological finds.
Mr Carver confirmed that the detailed design would take account of any archaeological finds, including identifying any areas for preservation, although in practice this could be difficult. The route of the line at St Mary’s Church was unlikely to be affected by archaeological finds as it would be built on an embankment and this would not lend itself to preserving the archaeology in situ.
Mr Farley congratulated Mr Carver on his phased approach to the archaeological investigation of this site. In response to Mr Farley’s questions Mr Carver confirmed:
· That he was aware of the desire of the local community to rehome the human remains within the parish and was in discussion with relevant parties. A forum may be held on this subject before the end of the calendar year.
· The archaeological contractor would be confirmed in due course.
· The HS2 Historic Environment Research and Development Strategy document was available on line. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hs2-phase-one-historic-environment-research-and-delivery-strategy.)
· Volunteers may be invited to dig at this and other sites at the appropriate time.
The committee discussed the following items:
· There was approximately two hundred tons of built church rubble in the churchyard and this would be removed and stored. It was hoped that this may be used at the place of storage/burial of the human remains on the site, including the church floor if it was still on site.
· Publicity regarding archaeological finds would be by newsletter, by publishing on a public website and by public events, details would be confirmed.
· It was noted that all graves and wills relating to this site had been documented and transcribed by the Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society (BAS) and the information was available in the Bucks County Council (BCC) Study Centre.
· Mr Carver said he was time limited with respect to investigating this site (and others) but that this was a publicly funded project and he had no concerns on the budget.
· The Museum would need advance notice of large numbers of archaeological finds to arrange appropriate storage and or display. They would be interested in items being available on loan for temporary display (particularly those mentioned in publicity).
Mr Chapple asked if Mr Carver would return to the next meeting and he agreed.