When is an Archaeological Survey required?
Before you start development on a site, you will need an Archaeological Survey as part of your Site Investigation. Determining the nature, extent and significance of the historic environment in an area, the survey identifies any archaeological or heritage assets on your site.
Results of the survey will play a significant part of what you can and cannot build on your site if protected assets are found. But equally importantly, the survey ensures that you don’t come across any historically significant findings halfway through development, potentially derailing your project.
For more detail read our guide on Archaeological Surveys.
When do I need to complete an Archaeological Survey?
The Archaeological Survey should be completed before any major design and construction work is carried out – ideally at RIBA Stage 1.
What is the purpose of an Archaeological Survey?
Not only will the survey reveal constraints on the site, which the design will have to consider, it will also be crucial in the planning process. When considering planning applications, local planning authorities are required to factor in any impact to heritage assets.
Without a proper site investigation, the development risks running into unexpected costs if, for example, it comes across historically significant remains.
Depending on the scale of those remains, the project would face delays and potentially abortive costs if new plans are needed. Any damage to heritage assets could also result in fines.
What datasets are included in a desktop Archaeological Survey?
The survey will include a range of documents, photos and records. These will vary depending on several factors, including the size and location of the site. However, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists has compiled a list of some you can expect to use:
● Historic Environment Records
● Archaeological excavation and survey records
● Archaeological Data Service repository
● National monuments records
● National building records
● Listed Buildings lists
● Scheduled Monuments lists
● Regional inventories
● Public and private collections of artifacts and ecofacts
● Other online sources, including Heritage Gateway and Coflein
Do I need an Archaeological Field Survey before excavation?
If the initial desk-based Archaeological Survey reveals that the site could include significant heritage assets, a field survey will give greater clarity about the nature and extent of those assets.
A field survey could include a geophysical survey of the site to determine what might be buried underground. By studying the soil with magnetometers or ground penetrating radar equipment, archaeologists are able to visualise materials that are below the surface.
In doing so, you can establish with greater clarity any archaeological features on your site before any intrusive excavation or accidental damage.
What is the cost of a desktop Archaeological Survey?
The cost of the survey will vary based on the size, location, and complexity of the site. In general, the more datasets the archaeologist must use, the higher the cost.
You will have to factor in the cost of the surveyor – or surveyors – involved and the fact that dataset costs will vary from one local authority to another. When receiving a quote for an Archaeological Survey, you will usually receive a provisional figure that will change on a site-by-site basis.
Streamline your Archaeological Surveys with RenKap
Any site investigation is a complex process, but it is necessary to ensure developments stay on schedule and within budgets. You can find out how the process works here.
At RenKap, we cut that long-winded process down to three easy steps:
● Upload your site details
● Choose your suppliers
● Review the finished report
Once you share your site details with us, we do all the time-consuming work sourcing quotes from qualified professionals. All you have to do is choose the one right for you.