Archaeological Evaluation

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These are now a common part of the planning process. They are carried out to determine the presence, absence, quality and extent of any archaeological deposits. This work is undertaken prior to the receipt of full planning permission, and within a legislative framework.

Under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act (1979), sites and monuments can be scheduled. In this case no development may take place without obtaining Scheduled Monument Consent from English Heritage. On-Site Archaeology has experience of designing mitigation strategies in conjunction with English Heritage in cases of this type.

Sites and monuments that are unscheduled are protected in a variety of different ways through the planning legislation. These are outlined in the "Planning Policy Statement 5" (PPS 5). The directors of On-Site Archaeology have had considerable experience in designing appropriate archaeological responses on a variety of different types of site, both urban and rural, linear and open area, to ensure that its requirements are met.

Archaeological Excavation and Watching Brief

Where evaluation work shows that archaeological deposits are present on a particular site, an Archaeological Excavation may be required in order to obtain planning consent. On-Site Archaeology can design and undertake such projects from the inception stage through to final publication. All work is designed with the needs of the particular client in mind in order to satisfy the planning conditions. A fully costed assessment for post excavation analysis and publication can be provided and all time constraints will be respected.

Field Survey

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An archaeological evaluation may require the provision of an Archaeological Field Survey. Topographic and contour surveys are being increasingly demanded to satisfy the planning process.

On-Site Archaeology is in a position to undertake such work in house, using a Leica GPS900 and/or a Leica Total Station Electronic Distance Measurer linked in the field to a variety of software packages including AutoCAD and LisCAD. Field Survey is undertaken within On Site Archaeology by Nick Pearson and Dave Pinnock.

Geophysical Survey

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This is a further technique that is used at the evaluation stage. It comprises a method for locating and recording archaeological sites by means of variations in the magnetic properties or resistance to the residual electronic current of the soil. As physical disturbance of the buried deposits is not required in order to undertake this technique, it offers many advantages at the design stage, both in terms of protecting in-situ deposits and also in cost effectiveness. Magnetometry and Resistivity are the two techniques most commonly used.

Experience has taught us that these techniques can only be carried out and interpreted correctly by professional and experienced geophysicists. On-Site Archaeology works in association with Ben Gourley of the University of York.

Artefactual Services

Whether in the case of an archaeological evaluation or a full scale archaeological excavation, it will be a condition of the planning consent that any recovered archaeological artefacts are assessed and analysed. Where appropriate, research will be required leading to the publication of many types of material.

Environmental Archaeology

As with artefacts from archaeological sites, it is now a requirement of the planning process that deposits of environmental interest are effectively studied. In recent years huge advances have been made in our understanding of the past world from its buried environmental remains. Such evidence can include archaeobotany, archaeozoology, charcoal identification, dendrochronology, wood studies, land and marine mollusca, sedimentology, soil science, pollen and microfossil studies and radio carbon dating. Work includes designing sampling strategies, processing samples and assessment of recovered materials. This can lead to recommendations for any specialist research and eventual publication in either journal or monograph form.

On-Site Archaeology use the Sheffield Archaeobotanical Consultancy at the University of Sheffield Department of Archaeology as their environmental consultants.

Conservation Services

It is an inevitable part of archaeological fieldwork that fragile and potentially important artefacts are recovered either singly or in large quantities. Proper conservation is vital if they are to be effectively studied and, where appropriate, permanently displayed.

On Site Archaeology ensures that artefacts are properly conserved as soon as they are recovered from the ground and are thereafter correctly stabilised for storage so that deterioration can be minimised until remedial conservation can begin. Rapid assessment of the materials is made to facilitate post excavation planning, research and report writing. Specialist facilities include freeze drying and X radiography.

Conservation services are provided by Ian Panter, Principal Conservator at the York Archaeological Trust.


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There is little point in undertaking archaeological evaluation, excavation or research if the recovered evidence is not effectively reported and published, both in terms of providing data for the effective administration of the planning process and for final publication in either academic or more general format.

On-Site Archaeology is committed to ensuring that all of its projects are properly reported on and published. Such reports can be tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of a particular client. On-Site Archaeology is also in a position to produce publication standard photographs and illustrations of both site features and activities as well as any recovered artefacts.