Archaeology Must Be Taken into Account

The Journal (Newcastle, England), July 9, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Archaeology Must Be Taken into Account

Byline: By Richard Freeman Wallace

Nobody knows what is hidden underground. In this region we are rich in buried archaeological sites.

Developers should seek advice from solicitors and planners if a proposed development is likely to affect any archaeological remains, before making a planning application.

This will save considerable time and money later on. The Rose Theatre, London, is a vivid example of thinking too late about the impact of archaeological studies.

In 1989 more than half of the Rose's remains were discovered during the development of an office block.

A campaign at the time saved them from being destroyed but added two years and millions of pounds to the overall cost of the scheme.

To avoid a similar setback to a scheme, archaeology has to be given due consideration from the first step.

An initial search of the area conducted by your solicitor will show whether there are any areas of archaeological importance within or near to the proposed development. On the basis of this appraisal, it may be necessary to obtain more detailed information about the impact of a development proposal upon the historic environment.

Such work must be carried out by a professionally qualified archaeological contractor approved by the local authority.

The work may include a desk-based assessment - a detailed review and analysis of existing information about a site - or a field evaluation, which is a trial excavation to assess the nature of the archaeological remains.

The applicant is responsible for the funding of such work, and there is a presumption in favour of the preservation of archaeological remains in situ.

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