Building on the Past: A Guide to the Archaeology and Development Process

Building on the Past: A Guide to the Archaeology and Development Process

Building on the Past: A Guide to the Archaeology and Development Process

Building on the Past: A Guide to the Archaeology and Development Process

Synopsis

This comprehensive guide provides planners, developers, architects and archaeologists with an analysis of the conflicts between the archaeological development and planning processes. It takes a pragmatic approach to the effects of archaeology on development, enabling practitioners to reach practical solutions where archaeological considerations are taken into account in the development process.

Excerpt

It has been said that more of our heritage has been destroyed in the past 30 years by new development than was previously known to exist. Whether or not this is true there can be little doubt that the destruction that occurred during this period encouraged the conservation movement. Concerned initially with protecting historic buildings it has spread to all aspects of our environment including archaeology. We can confidently say that the desire for the protection of our heritage is now deep-rooted in society.

At the same time there has rarely been a time like the present when new development has been so necessary. Many buildings in our towns and cities, constructed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are now coming to the end of their useful lives, with many in need of repair or renewal. There is also an urgent need to replace disused industrial and other buildings and to revitalize many inner-city areas and ageing infrastructures.

Against this background it is perhaps not surprising that a conflict of interest should develop between those who wish to protect the archaeological resource and those who wish to develop land. On the one hand there will be those who genuinely believe that protecting what is there should take priority over change and new development. They argue, sometimes to the extreme, that development projects should be prevented if destruction of archaeological remains is the likely outcome. Conversely, there are those who see progress in development as paramount. They see archaeological investigation as abstract and unnecessary, arguing that little additional information can be obtained from out of the ground. In between are the many who wish to see buildings, roads and other structures provided where they are needed, as efficiently and as effectively as possible, whilst taking into account the need to protect the environment.

These different viewpoints clearly reflect different attitudes to the environment shaped, no doubt, by a variety of interests. Economic, social, moral, cultural, educational and other factors will all have had a part to play with variations in attitude occurring according to personal background, different perceptions, local circumstances and the passage of time. They show that development and archaeology cannot and should not be seen in isolation from each other and other matters.

Significantly, and this is the key, they suggest that attitudes to archaeology and development can change. If opinions can alter through time then it is possible for us to become more aware of the role of the archaeologist and the importance of archaeology in the same way that we can become more aware of the need for development and the concerns of the developer. Of course, we

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