THE HISTORY OF NVAT
The NVAT is one of the few old-style research committees still active, and one of the oldest. Its national influence and reputation, thanks to its membership, was for many years unmistakable: today it can still punch above its weight, writing letters of protest/support on issues that touch upon Nene Valley archaeology. The Trust can do this without embarrassing members of the Research Committee who have official positions.
The Nene Valley Archaeological Trust (NVAT) was brought into being on 1st May 1985 as the successor to the former Nene Valley Research Committee, which itself succeeded the Water Newton Excavation Committee.
The last-named had been set up in 1958 as a sub-committee of the Council for British Archaeology to coordinate a practical archaeological response to the proposed widening of the A1 trunk road which was to slice through the land west of the Roman town of Durobrivae/Chesterton where an important series of Roman pottery kilns was known to lie.
The Water Newton Excavation Committee had a wide membership, principally of senior archaeologists from universities, museums and public bodies across the country: its own members, financed by the (then) Ministry of Works, carried out most of the emergency excavations over Easter 1958. A second, even greater, threat to local archaeology was faced by the Committee in 1966 when Peterborough was selected for large-scale urban expansion.
Initially, Committee members carried out the necessary excavations; but in 1972 the now (re-named) Nene Valley Research Committee established its own full-time archaeological unit under Donald Mackreth and the scope and scale of the excavations increased hugely. This phase ended with the completion of the Peterborough development programme in October 1988, and remaining unit staff were made redundant.