Manor Place, Oxford

Manor Place Oxford, meeting with archaeologist

During my week of work experience at HWA, I accompanied Dan to Oxford for the day, where we attended a meeting regarding the construction of a new student accommodation facility for Merton College developed by McLaren Property Ltd. The intended development is to be situated on a currently disused expanse of land next to Holywell Cemetery, and will include 349 student study rooms, a student refectory and an amphitheatre with surrounding courtyard gardens. However, archaeologists have reason to believe that beneath the site there is a rampart and ditch dating back to the civil war, which they are keen to preserve during the build so that it can be investigated in future. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss potential methods for keeping the archaeological site untouched whilst the development is being built. This way, it will remain intact and can one day be used to further knowledge of the period of time in which it was created.

The meeting took place in the Oxford Town House. Those present were Dan (the structural engineer), the project director of the development, the archaeologist working for the developer, the Oxford City Council archaeologist and the Planning Case Officer who was compiling evidence to write a final report on the benefits and drawbacks of the development. During the meeting, several ideas for the foundations of the building were put forward, all of which were designed specifically to have minimal impact on the archaeological site. Eventually, a design was decided upon and the meeting was concluded.

The experience of attending the meeting was completely new to me, but it was something I found both interesting and enjoyable. Although I had difficulty understanding some of the technical aspects of what was discussed, I managed to keep track of the gist of what was being said so I could (reasonably successfully) understand how the conversation developed and the eventual conclusions that were made. Another factor which made the experience interesting was the variety of representatives from different professions that were present, as this gave me an insight into some aspects of other jobs and positions as well as structural engineering. Overall, I think the experience has been valuable to me because it has provided me with knowledge about professional meetings and how they function, which I can carry forward to when it may be useful to me later on in my life.

Isobel, Year 11 student

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