Desk Based Assessment

Identifies archaeological potential at an early stage


What is a Desk Based Assessment?

Desk Based Assessment (DBA) also known as Desk Top Study is used to assess the archaeological potential of a site without requiring any fieldwork. The assessment examines the archaeology of a site often in tandem with development proposals to produce a model of the possible impact of development.

How is Desk Based Assessment done?

The process typically produces a detailed Desk Based Assessment report, which is a document of around 20-40 pages. The report contains an analysis of the archaeological potential of a site, along with supporting illustrations and appendices if required. Results can be supplied in PDF and paper formats. Work undertaken in Desk Based Assessment can also lead to shorter Impact Assessments or can feed into other services such as Environmental Impact Assessment or Heritage Assessment. Desk Based Assessment generally takes 10 to 15 working days, depending on the speed of the local HER in supplying the relevant data sets. A faster priority service can also be undertaken in some cases reducing overall time to just five days

When do you need a Desk Based Assessment?

Local Planning Authorities are likely to request one when the archaeological potential of a site is unclear or when they need more information. They are often part of the early stages of a development i.e. pre-planning or even pre-purchase so that the client can make an informed decision to mitigate possible risk.