HS2 Student Placement in the Colne Valley

Samantha Brummage (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Dr Emma Hopla (HS2) Dr Emma Tetlow (CSJV)

Laura Williams (HS2)

The HS2 Historic Environment Research and Delivery Strategy (HERDS) is currently being applied across the route of HS2 Phase 1 in advance of construction of the new high-speed railway. One of the key Headline Objectives outlined in HERDS is that the delivery of the works will inspire the next generation of historic environment professionals and stimulate the development of skills in the sector, leaving a legacy of trained professionals and high quality, sustainable training practice. A variety of skills and education programmes are integral to HS2’s Historic Environment strategy, including work experience and school engagement programmes, webinars and community engagement projects.

One of the key areas for training and development of skills for the Heritage sector lies within collaboration with the academic student community. In 2018/2019, Samantha Brummage, a PhD student from Birkbeck College, University of London, was successful in her application to CHASE (Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England) to undertake a funded three month internship with HS2 and CSJV in the Colne Valley, Hillingdon. Samantha’s PhD is entitled ‘Background material and scales of analysis in the Colne Valley: bridging chronology in a Mesolithic-Neolithic landscape’. Understanding earlier prehistory in the Colne Valley is a key area of research within HERDS and this collaboration between Birkbeck College and HS2 provided an opportunity to contribute to the HERDS resource assessment and national research agendas.

This placement with CSJV’s Lead Archaeologist was a fantastic opportunity for Samantha to develop her research skills within a commercial environment. The placement enabled her to gain valuable work experience and an opportunity to understand her academic research within commercial practice and to inform the Historic Environment Research Strategies for Greater London and Prehistory. Following her involvement during archaeological evaluations at Copthall North site, Hillingdon, Samantha is also contributing to the summary of the archaeological works for publication in the Transactions of London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS). These types of placements are invaluable for stimulating the development of skills in the heritage sector. They provide clear benefits for the students, the universities and the companies involved.


Policy paper: HS2 Phase One Historic Environment Research and Delivery Strategy

Photo Credit: Samantha Brummage