BAJR Federation Archaeology

Full Version: Is there a North-South divide?
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Getting this right back on topic...

One likely difference that there almost certainly is across the country (and this will even vary within regions) is that the more work that gets done, the more you find, so (potentially) the more reason there is to do more work next time. Obviously this is true of anywhere (I can think of examples where sites have been developed next to sites that were investigated previously and so have needed work), but in an area where there is perhaps more money and so more development (let's, for sake of discussion, call it 'the south') an idea of what is going on is going to be formed far more quickly, and knowledge improved at hell of a rate. Other areas, where there is less work (let's call it 'the north') are still relying on work carried out in the 19th century for information. Research and knwledge ends up lagging behind and as a result the potential of sites is always that little bit more difficult to determine. I never cease to be surprised by the number of publications, on developer funded projects or otherwise from other areas compared to the north (north-west especially). Is it because there is nothing to find? No, it's more like no-one is getting the chance to find it. Coupled with this is the apparent stereotypying of the archaeology of different regions - typified quite perfectly by Time Team: somewhere in the south will more often than not be a big Roman Villa or tasty prehistory, in the North, industrial. Obviously these cliches have their basis in reality (and I'm not suggesting Industrial archaeology is rubbish, far from it) but if the perception of what you are looking for and what is important is influenced by this then certain types of site are potentially going to get ignored or played down.
Posted by Monitor Lizard:
Quote:quote:And how would you then propose reducing evaluation costs to whatever you consider to be reasonable?
I don't have a magic formula for that, and it would have to vary a lot according to the nature and scale of the development, the developer and the archaeology. However, we should be careful only to ask for evaluations under circumstances mandated by PPG16, only where really justified by the circumstances of the case, and only to address the purposes mandated by PPG16. Experience suggests that this is often not the case.

What I was objecting to was the apparent attitude that archaeologists are entitled to impose prohibitive costs on developers right from the outset, at pre-application or pre-determination stage, and before we even know if there is any archaeology there. That is a very unhealthy attitude that can only engender hostility and mistrust from those on whom we depend for goodwill as well as funding.

Curator Kid has now clarified that the post on which I was commenting related to a post-determination evaluation. Post-determination works are a different kettle of fish.

If the evaluation is being asked for to show whether there is an archaeological issue to address, then I would have to ask why is it happening post-determination anyway? On the other hand, there is a place for post-determination evaluation, where there was already enough info for the planning decision but not enough for a detailed mitigation design. Under those circumstances, the trenching (or whatever) is really the first stage of mitigation, rather than evaluation in the strict sense. Under these circumstances, cost is a much less sensitive issue, and my previous comments about 'the polluter pays' do apply.


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Posted by Steven:
Quote:quote:I cannot agree with 1man1desk that this

"developer has to abandon the proposal because they can't afford the pre-planning investigation"

is a "real" scenerio. If somebody owns a piece of (lets even say allocated) land and wants to get permission and then sell it on they should be in the position to outlay appropriate costs to get that permission. If they are not then they will have to sell the land at a much reduced rate to somebody who has got the funds. That's life, get used to it! Its the same in most economic situations, people normally need to invest to get a return.
I agree with what you say - but the sting is in your words 'appropriate costs'. I don't agree that 'appropriate costs' include 'prohibitive costs' at pre-application stage.

Also, your post assumes that all development applications, including small ones, are commercial in nature (i.e. the main motivation is return on investment). What I had partly in mind in my post was two cases relating to domestic applications - one new build, one extension - where pre-determination evaluation was required. If the curator had taken an onerous view of the aims of the evaluation, and didn't care whether the cost was prohibitive, then neither of these people would have been able to proceed.

In one of those cases, the evaluation results were negative - but the curator still asked for a watching brief during the actual building works, adding to the costs. Again, the results were negative. This was not in a designated area, or in an area of particularly high potential - it was just a curator being cautious, and in the process spending a lot of someone else's money.

I don't know the outcome of the other case.


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