Archaeology

Waterbeach Barracks sits at the heart of two major routeways built by the Romans: Akeman Street, which runs from near Wimpole up to Ely and on to Denver in Norfolk (almost on the line of the current A10) and a Roman canal called the Old Tillage.
Archaeologist working at Waterbeach Barracks

This waterway was once referred to as Car Dyke and was believed to have run all the way from Waterbeach to Lincoln. However, we now know that the Cambridgeshire stretch of the canal did not link directly to the Car Dyke system.

These routeways were built at the peak of Roman Britain, and that era dominates the archaeology and historic landscape unveiled by the first round of archaeological investigations carried out at the former Barracks and Airfield at Waterbeach in 2020.

We know that the land north of Cambridge around Waterbeach, Landbeach, Milton and Cottenham has been occupied since as early as the Iron Age (800 BC–AD 43)

The results of the first archaeological investigations can be seen in an exhibition at neighbouring Denny Abbey and Farmland Museum

archaeology find

Archaeology periods timeline 

> 800 BC
Iron Age
iron age settlement

Reconstruction of an Iron Age settlement

Peter Lorimer, © Oxford Archaeology

> AD 43

Roman Britain

Image

A reconstruction of a Roman 'port' like the one found nearby

Peter Lorimer, © Oxford Archaeology

> AD 410

Anglo Saxon

anglo saxon settlement

Reconstruction of an Anglo Saxon farm, showing hall type buildings

Peter Lorimer, © Oxford Archaeology

> AD 1066

Medieval

waterbeach abbey

A reconstruction of Waterbeach Abbey

Jon Cane, © Cambridgeshire County Council

What's happening now?

Archaeologists are preparing for the next phase of archaeology to get underway.

Over the next 6 months we’ll be building on our first phase of archaeology, looking at a large Roman Settlement, Iron Age settlement and the site of a possible Anglo-Saxon hall!

Stay updated

Artefact Gallery

Iron Age brought to life at Farmland Museum Heritage Open Day archaeology find Large storage jar Latest edition of Waterbeach Barracks newsletter Samian Ware First homes approved for Waterbeach Barracks 
Stonebond to deliver first 89 homes Roman Coins including those which
date to the reign of Magnus Maximus
(AD 383–88) and the founding of
Constantinople in AD 330
New town formally named Waterbeach Cremation vessel A Samian ware cremation vessel find Discover Waterbeach Barracks’ past at the Farmland Museum Axe head A complete and well preserved Early Bronze Age axe head Plans shared for new connection between Waterbeach Barracks and Cambridge Science Park – along the historic Mere Way Spindle Whorl Waterbeach Barracks Spring 2021 newsletter archaeology find Large storage jar Waterbeach Naming Consultation begins Samian Ware Longhurst Group appointed as Affordable Housing partner Roman Coins including those which
date to the reign of Magnus Maximus
(AD 383–88) and the founding of
Constantinople in AD 330
Playgroup moves into transformed building at Waterbeach Barracks Cremation vessel A Samian ware cremation vessel find A journey through nature at Waterbeach Axe head A complete and well preserved Early Bronze Age axe head Stonebond Properties to deliver the first homes at Waterbeach Barracks Spindle Whorl Waterbeach Barracks scoops one of landscape industry’s highest accolades archaeology find Large storage jar Waterbeach Barracks Newsletter Summer 2018 Samian Ware Work Begins at Waterbeach Barracks Roman Coins including those which
date to the reign of Magnus Maximus
(AD 383–88) and the founding of
Constantinople in AD 330
A10 Roundabout – works for new construction access underway Cremation vessel A Samian ware cremation vessel find Work starts on woodland management at Waterbeach Barracks site Axe head A complete and well preserved Early Bronze Age axe head Open for business: Homes England investment supports early delivery of 6,500 new homes for Cambridgeshire Spindle Whorl Time to start training for Waterbeach Running Festival  archaeology find Large storage jar Locals soak up fun and culture at this year’s Summer at the Beach Samian Ware Remembrance Sunday: memory of fundraising soldier honoured Roman Coins including those which
date to the reign of Magnus Maximus
(AD 383–88) and the founding of
Constantinople in AD 330
Record breaking Waterbeach Running Festival Cremation vessel A Samian ware cremation vessel find Design Code seals the quality vision for Waterbeach development Axe head A complete and well preserved Early Bronze Age axe head Waterbeach Barracks Newsletter Autumn 2019 Spindle Whorl Waterbeach Barracks Newsletter Summer 2019 archaeology find Large storage jar Waterbeach Barracks Newsletter Summer 2017 Samian Ware Waterbeach Barracks Newsletter Winter 2016/17 Roman Coins including those which
date to the reign of Magnus Maximus
(AD 383–88) and the founding of
Constantinople in AD 330
Waterbeach Barracks Newsletter Winter 2015 Cremation vessel A Samian ware cremation vessel find Waterbeach Barracks Newsletter Autumn 2015 Axe head A complete and well preserved Early Bronze Age axe head Waterbeach Barracks Newsletter Summer 2020 Spindle Whorl

You can find out more here

Haven’t seen the exhibition as yet?

Learn more about how our predecessors lived and what they did here.

Plan your visit and book tickets. 

Exhibition boards
Already visited the museum?

Sign up to hear more about the forthcoming archaeology taking shape over the next six months and be among the first to find out how you can get involved!

Sign up

Exhibition details

Exhibition

Waterbeach Barracks archaeological investigations

End

October 2021

ADDRESS

The Farmland Museum, Denny Abbey, Ely Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9PQ

exhibition entrance sign
Book on the museum website
Oxford Archaeology Logo
Denny Abbey Museum Logo

You can find out more here

Sign up to hear more about the forthcoming archaeology taking shape over the next six months and be among the first to find out how you can get involved!
Name
Consent(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.