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Council Services:

Archaeological Excavations and Surveys

Most archaeological work carried out today is done through the planning process in advance of development. If you are planning a development you should seek archaeological advice at an early stage as this may save you time and money and avoid problems later.

There are relatively few archaeological excavations carried out in any one year in Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire County Council has supported some archaeological work that has been done in the county outside the planning process such as the excavations at Nettleton.

An initial consultation will show whether there are any known, or likely, archaeological remains within or adjacent to a proposed development.

On the basis of this preliminary appraisal, it may be necessary to commission a fuller archaeological assessment or evaluation by a professionally qualified archaeological contractor. The report on this work should accompany the planning application, and include an assessment of the archaeological effects of the development and any measures proposed to reduce its impact. The Local Planning Authority may defer a planning decision until this information is available.

The key to informed and reasonable planning decisions is for consideration to be given early, before formal planning applications are made, to question whether archaeological remains exist on a site where development is planned and the implications for the development proposal. When important remains are known to exist or when archaeologists have good reason to believe that important remains exist, the first priority is the preservation of significant archaeological remains in situ. To achieve this, the archaeological impact of the development should be minimised, developers will be able to help by preparing sympathetic designs using, for example, foundations which avoid disturbing the remains altogether or minimise damage by raising ground levels under a proposed new structure, or by the careful siting of landscaped or open areas. If this is not feasible, then detailed excavation, recording and publication is the second best option.

Archaeological implications will be a material consideration for the Local Planning Authority when making a planning decision. If further archaeological work is necessary this can be secured, either by the use of a planning condition, or by a legal agreement under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
In some cases recording of archaeological remains during development may be advised and will normally be secured by a planning condition.

Archaeological work, before and during development, can take a number of forms:

  • desk-based assessment: a detailed appraisal of available information about a site before a planning application is submitted or approved.
  • field evaluation: a survey or trial excavation designed to assess the nature of archaeological remains within a proposed development area before a planning application is submitted or approved. Techniques may include fieldwalking, geophysical survey and trial trenching.
  • excavation and recording: a controlled programme of fieldwork to provide a lasting record of archaeological evidence unavoidably destroyed by development
  • watching brief: the recording of archaeological evidence coming to light during the course of development

It is national and local practice that the costs of archaeological work made necessary by development should, in most circumstances, be borne by the developer.

For further advice contact the archaeological staff.

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Last updated: 9 October 2017

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