Trial trenches and test pits for rapid evaluation of the presence or absence of archaeological remains on your site to determine any risks or constraints to development.


What is Archaeological Evaluation?

Evaluation is used to find out whether there are archaeological remains on a site or not and if there are, the aim is to try to understand what these remains are and how important they are. The goal of evaluation is to glean enough information from the site in as quick and efficient a manner as possible so that everyone involved can make informed judgements about what to do next.

How is Evaluation done?

The most common type of evaluation in the UK is done by excavating long thin strip trenches across a site using a mechanical excavator. The number and size of the trenches depends on the size of the site and any prior knowledge we have about it which might help us to target the trenches. On sites in towns and cities where space is more restricted, smaller test pits are often used instead of strip trenches.

When do you need an Evaluation?

You need to do this kind of fieldwork when desk based work alone can’t give us enough information about the site. Usually this is on sites where there is a potential for archaeological remains to be on the site. In addition, an evaluation can be used as a way to check the depth at which remains are found and also to try to understand what kind of remains are present and how important they are.

How does Evaluation fit into the planning system?

Evaluation can be used before and after a planning decision is made. So called “pre-determination” evaluations are often requested by Local Planning Authorities if they need more detailed information about a site before a planning decision can be made. Once a site has planning permission, if a planning condition has been imposed on the development of a site, an evaluation is often the first stage in working to remove that condition.