Roadside dig on the M25 hopes to reveal the history of aviation in the area


01 December 2022

Press Release

Roadside dig on the M25 hopes to reveal the history of aviation in the area

Anyone interested in being an archaeologist and helping to discover hidden artefacts and secrets of the past will be interested in the latest finds from a major roads scheme in Essex.

National Highways, in partnership with GRAHAM Construction, working to upgrade the M25 at junction 28, recently welcomed members of the public from local archaeology and historical groups, from across the region, in Romford, Brentwood, Hornchurch and Dagenham, to give people the chance to see what had been uncovered so far.

The team of archaeologists were on hand to explain what they do as part of their day-to-day role, a demonstration of how they use GPS equipment to map out sites and where they believed structures used to be and also presented what they’d found on site so far.

One of the pieces uncovered is believed to be an axe head or adze, a tool used for planning wood, anticipated to be around 7,000 years old and dating from the Mesolithic period.

National Highways regularly work with archaeologists to look at what’s below the ground before starting any work, to make sure anything significant is recorded and, where necessary, protected.

Zach Pepper, National Highways project lead for the M25 junction 28, said:

“The visitors and site team learnt a huge amount about the areas history from both the archaeologists and one of the visitors, who is the Chairman of the RAF Hornchurch Historical Trust.

“Supporting the community is important to us so it’s great that we can give them an insight into the excavation works that have been carried out as well as letting them see the artefacts from this areas history that have been uncovered so far.” 

As part of the work, the team have also uncovered and carried out archaeology surveys on the former Maylands Aerodrome, which used to be home to Hillman’s Airways.

Hillman was considered one of the pioneers of providing package holidays in the UK and his company would later merge with both Spartan Airlines and United Airways, to become British Airways as we know today.

People can find out more about the scheme, by visiting the scheme website.




Notes to Editors

National Highways is the wholly government-owned company responsible for modernising, maintaining and operating England’s motorways and major A roads.

Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is available via the Traffic England website, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile apps. Local Twitter services are also available.

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Howard Rhoades

Media Relations Manager, South East