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The research archive now arriving on Platform 5

Posted on 29 October 2003

Researchers around the world will soon have access to data from one of the biggest archaeological projects ever undertaken in the UK, thanks to collaboration between archaeologists at the University of York and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project (CTRL). Their use of the worldwide web will enable researchers to study the findings online, and without charge, from anywhere in the world.

The CTRL is Britain's first major new railway for over a century, and will run between St Pancras Station in London, and the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone. The first section of the high-speed rail link through Kent opened to commercial services on 28 September 2003. The full link will be completed to London St Pancras in early 2007.

For over 10 years, archaeologists employed by the CTRL project have been investigating parts of Kent, Essex and London. Working in advance of the construction of the line, they have revealed an impressively rich array of information which has generated a vast archive of archaeological data.

This data will be placed on the Archaeological Data Service (ADS) site at the University of York in phases: the first phase relates to Section 1 of the high-speed rail link which opened the commercial service last month.

Over 40 excavations were carried out along this 46km stretch, revealing a wealth of data including the first Neolithic longhouse to be found in Kent, a Roman villa, a Romano-British cemetery, two Anglo-Saxon cemeteries and a medieval moated site. Details will be available in 2004 on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Archaeological Archive via ADS.

Though ADS has been working with web-delivery of archaeological archives for several years, the CTRL archive is the first time it has worked with commercially-sponsored research.

Dr Julian Richards, Director of ADS, said: "This is a big step for us. It's the first time we've become involved in a major commercial research contract. It shows the value of collaborating with private companies which will allow us to bring new discoveries to the attention of academic researchers.

"Although an increasing number of universities are active in archaeological research, the vast majority of archaeological research takes place for commercial reasons. Private developers are required to fund research when their works have an effect on archaeologically sensitive areas.

"Thanks to electronic communications, we can make these records available to anyone who is interested."

CTRL archaeologist Jay Carver added: ”There appears to be a knowledge gap between the academic and public archaeological community and developer funded work – ADS makes it possible to attempt to fill that gap by making results easily accessible for private and professional researchers alike.

“The CTRL Archaeology Project is pleased to place their electronic archive with the ADS and sees it as a key part of its dissemination strategy.”

Notes to editors:

  • ADS

  • ADS is based in the Archaeology Department of the University of York and is a world-leading research centre on digital preservation and information exchange in archaeology.
  • The CTRL archive will join a range of archives already supplied in this way, including excavations from the Royal Opera House and Christ Church Spitalfields in London, from the Danebury Hill fort in Hampshire, and from Eynsham Abbey in Oxfordshire. These are available online at:
  • All ADS archives are available free of charge to users for educational and research uses.
  • ADS is funded by the JISC and AHRB and is part of the Arts and Humanities Data Service.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL)

  • The £5.2bn Channel Tunnel Rail Link is the UK's first high-speed railway and the first major railway to be built in Britain for over a century. Rail Link Engineering is the project manager and designer of the entire CTRL.
  • Section 1 of the CTRL, the 46 miles between the Channel Tunnel and Fawkham Junction in north Kent, was completed on budget and on time for client Union Railways (South) Ltd in September 2003. Section 2 - the 24 miles from north Kent into London’s St Pancras via new international stations at Stratford in east London and Ebbsfleet, north Kent - began in July 2001 and is now 60% complete. The client for Section 2 is Union Railways (North) Ltd, a subsidiary of London and Continental Railways.
  • Once CTRL is operational at the beginning of 2007, journey times from central London to the Channel Tunnel will be halved and peak time capacity doubled. Paris will be around 2 hours 15 minutes and Brussels just 2 hours from St Pancras by non-stop Eurostar.
  • CTRL will also provide for Kent commuters to benefit from new high-speed domestic services to London and release capacity for extra passenger and freight services to run on existing rail infrastructure. The new railway will act as a catalyst for regeneration, particularly in the Thames Gateway area but also around St Pancras and in east London.
  • For further information on CTRL contact the press office on 020-7681-5119, or 0845 60 40 246 if calling outside office hours. Alternatively email: or visit  

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153