Archaeological Investigation & Monitoring

Where there is known or suspected archaeology on a site there is often a requirement for mitigation proposals to be provided as part of any planning pre-determination process or resulting from conditions attached to planning consents.  Many of our clients use our services to pre-empt the requirements at the pre-planning stage and undertake preliminary archaeological investigation of their sites so that the findings can be accommodated in the design or project they are developing.

At the pre-planning stage site investigation, in line with good archaeological practice, can be instigated.  This can range from non-intrusive measures such as ground penetrating radar through to actual ‘key-hole’ investigative excavations.  These are all undertaken by registered archaeologists to full professional standards, while also maintaining any commercial confidentiality that may be necessary.

When developing a planning application it is often beneficial to prepare a document that is known as a written scheme of investigation (WSI).  This sets out a process where an archaeological watching brief will be put in place once work on site starts.  It normally includes a basic summary of the up-to-date Historic Environment Record for this area, as well as, other supporting and background historic information that will help to show a proper understanding of the site.  The advantage of this being submitted with and then approved as part of a planning application is that it will save time as against if it is submitted later.

When work starts on site, or even before, it will be necessary to either undertake advance excavations or monitor all ground works associated with the approved development.  This is to ensure that any archaeological deposits and features, artefacts and ecofacts are recorded and interpreted to appropriate standards.  Once site work is complete the findings will be subject to post excavation analysis, publication of a report of the findings and the deposit of the archive in an appropriate location.

By integrating archaeological monitoring and excavation into the project programme it can help reduce construction delays and over-run of contract costs.  With good oversight, heritage management becomes an integral part of the development programme and not just an annoying afterthought that needs to be dealt with.