Flying and archaeology has had a long marriage: from the very dawn of aviation it became apparent that some archaeological sites could be mapped from the air. In producing desk-based assessments, we consult national aerial photographic archives. Furthermore, we are able to commission drone surveys and have access to aircraft in order to over-fly sites when required.
Evaluations are usually undertaken to understand sites that are believed to have archaeological potential. Often, non-intrusive techniques like geophysical survey are followed by trial excavations – specifically to establish the extent, depth, and character of archaeological remains. Results are presented in reports that very often inform mitigation strategies, aimed at satisfying the interests of all parties and making development possible.
Full excavation is a relatively rare phenomenon; one which tends to happen only where mitigation is not feasible – in quarries, for example, where preservation in situ may not be an option. Sometimes, particularly in towns, controlled excavations are undertaken only to the base of a development impact, but on rare occasions it is necessary to fully excavate archaeology in order to preserve it ‘by record’ in advance of development.
Desk Based Assessment
We undertake desk-based research on a routine basis to inform clients on land purchase, development proposals and large scale infrastructure schemes. Our research efforts can help you to assess the financial viability of your proposed developments, which may or may not be constrained by archaeology.
Field Walking, Topographic & Metal Detector Surveys
Each of these non-invasive techniques can be used to good effect when applied intelligently. They may be used in conjunction with other surveys, resulting in a range of data that can be of benefit to developers and to local planning authorities when determining applications.
In the same way that doctors use x-rays and scans to diagnose some forms of ailment, archaeologists undertake geophysical surveys to look beneath the soil without actually digging into it. Geophysical survey doesn’t work everywhere, but in the right environment can reveal a remarkable level of detail, yielding information that is of immense value to developers.
Heritage Impact Assessments
Heritage Impact Assessments consider both direct and indirect potential threats to archaeological remains. They can assess impacts that development may have on archaeological resources within a proposed development site and its immediate environs, allowing developers to understand their possible exposure to heritage costs in greater detail.
Historic Building Surveys
We routinely undertake historic building surveys; often to advise and inform renovations and restorations that ensure the longevity of otherwise redundant structures. Often our clients require alterations in order to make old buildings fit for new purposes. Our role is to investigate such buildings in order to create a permanent record prior to alterations and/or modifications.
Where you face archaeological constraints, we specialise in the development of strategies that aim specifically to help you to navigate around what could otherwise be complex and costly archaeological hurdles. We understand the implications of archaeology and seek wherever possible to limit your liabilities using intelligent mitigation proposals.
Monitoring & Recording
Monitoring and recording (sometimes still known as a Watching Brief) is a staple of the industry. In essence, it is a programme of observation and recording that takes place during development groundworks, and involves salvage excavation and rapid recording. Very rarely does such a programme result in any delay to development.
Settings Impact Assessments
Developments can have direct and indirect impacts on heritage assets. Indirect impacts are often primarily visual, but can include factors such as dust and noise. Assessments can identify heritage assets and assess the beneficial and harmful effects of development; exploring ways to minimise the harmful and maximise the beneficial.