Before development proposals are granted planning consent, or as a condition to consent, an archaeological evaluation may be required to inform upon the presence/absence of archaeological remains.
Archaeological evaluation normally comprises geophysical survey and/or trial trenching. Wardell Armstrong provides these services across the UK, undertaking programmes of work in accordance with Written Schemes of Investigation prepared in full accordance with Local Planning Authorities such that time delays to a planning submission or the commencement of works on site are minimised or managed.
Other types of archaeological evaluation which can be provided by Wardell Armstrong comprise deposit modelling, metal detecting, field walking and peat coring.
At the pre-application stage, the comprehensive suite of evaluation techniques offered by Wardell Armstrong can provide a client with a robust baseline to ensure that subsequently fixed masterplans are sympathetic of the presence of archaeological remains should they be present. This is often a requirement of the national and local planning policy against which planning applications are judged.
Conditions to planning consent may require the full excavation of known archaeological remains prior to the commencement of development.
Supported by a comprehensive post excavation facility, Wardell Armstrong provides archaeological excavation services throughout the UK for small scale and large scale developments where previous evaluation has recorded the presence of archaeological remains.
Demonstrable capacity and expertise in respect to large scale schemes is provided by project experience gained through the excavation of c.60 open area archaeological excavations for Iberdrola in 2018; their 48km onshore cable requiring targeted archaeological mitigation. On this project Wardell Armstrong managed a team of c.300 archaeologists demonstrating a capacity to undertake and manage complex programmes of excavation work ahead of and dovetailed with construction schedules.
Whether small scale or large scale Wardell Armstrong is available to offer expert advice on the implementation of archaeological excavations ahead of and during construction schedules such that construction of consented schemes can commence as quickly as possible or, if possible, around an archaeological constraint under mitigation.
The undertaking of an archaeological watching brief during ground disturbance may be required as a condition to planning consent or in response to other works outside the planning system where an archaeological presence is recommended.
An archaeological watching brief will necessitate the presence of a qualified archaeologist during specified groundworks which have been gauged as potentially affecting buried archaeological remains where preceding archaeological evaluation was either not feasible or required.
Wardell Armstrong has a number of experienced archaeologists who are able provide watching brief services in a professional and speedy manner to minimise disturbance to the on-going construction schedule. In the unlikely event that an archaeological watching brief records remains where a higher level response is needed, such as full archaeological excavation, Wardell Armstrong has the in-house capacity to mobilise quickly and efficiently so as to minimise any delays to the construction timetable.
The final discharge of an archaeological planning condition will often rest on the undertaking of a satisfactory post excavation stage of works, either completed in full or (in some instances) supported by a financial commitment.
Wardell Armstrong’s comprehensive post excavation facility is available to process, assess, analyse and report on finds and samples from in-house programmes of fieldwork in order to satisfy post excavation requirements in full. We also have capacity to assess, and analyse assemblages from other contractors who do not benefit from a comprehensive in-house facility such as ours.
Our post excavation team adhere to the requirements of Written Schemes of Investigation during the processing, assessment and analysis of archaeological assemblages, such that suitable reports can be prepared to allow the successful determination of a planning application or the full discharge of an archaeological planning condition. Our services also include illustration and publishing if the results of fieldwork warrant this.
Environmental archaeology is the study of ecofactual remains and how they were altered through, or altered, human agency. Specific questions can be asked of the material to allow us to put the senses back into the past.
The main specialisms offered are zooarchaeology, archaeobotany, molluscs, charcoal, wood, pollen and insects, as well as processing environmental samples. All can be reported on to assessment, analysis and publication levels.
We also undertake site visits for taking more specialist samples, such as monoliths. Our network of external archaeological science specialists means Wardell Armstrong can offer a co-ordinated service on all your palaeoenvironmental requirements which includes consultation on absolute dating methods.
Predictive modelling has proved to be very effective at reducing the need for more costly traditional trenching approaches to archaeological evaluation and ultimately informing the scope of mitigation works.
The analysis and assimilation of existing, readily available data sets has the potential to highlight and target potential archaeological features, expedite the archaeological process and greatly reduce substantial delays to the construction programme at a later date. This type of work is particularly pertinent to greenfield sites but can, if the geotechnical data is available, be applied to urban areas.
If a client has a particular archaeological contractor ‘embedded’ on a project but wishes to appoint independent advice to monitor fieldwork, Wardell Armstrong are able to offer project management services. These are provided either in the field or limited to weekly monitoring visits (accompanying the Local Authority Archaeologist). Project management is provided with a view to ensuring compliance with a Written Scheme of Investigation, minimising the implementation of ‘contingencies’, ensuring a client is fully aware of cost implications of finds in the field and at the post excavation stage and quality assurance of post excavation reports.