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Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments
#41
GnomeKing Wrote:- if you want to price an excavation you need an evaluation...

that, my good sire, is HIGHLY debatable > as i have ranted on about several times before ...

> if fact, the original 1994 EU funded review of evaluations as a survey method and 'predictor' for excavations , highlighted problems i have found to be rather common.

>evaluation trenches are poor predictors of a wide range of archaeology, particularly prehistory.

The problem lies in trying to 'cost-it-all-up before' anybody really knows whats there...
Instead of 'the most sophisticated prediction methods', the focus should just be on dealing with what actually exists, using the best methods, and people, appropriate to the task.

There is no way round it - the archaeology is what it is, and there is nothing anybody can do to alter what is already buried, no matter the sophistication of the predictions.

Clients need to be given a price model based on the necessity of addressing whatever (and that is a very long whatever) heritage is there, and the unpredictable nature of any potential archaeology > evaluations help narrow this, and have some other particular uses > but as predictors of 'total archaeology' they are not great, and our reliance on them is not necessarily a good thing for British archaeology (they tend ,IMHO, to underplay archaeology, and thus downsize tenders, thus put huge pressure on contractor when 'there-is-a-bit-more-here-than-we-thought-gov'

[Where significant excavation work is required the UpdatedPojectDesign, based on for example significantly complete site plans, (should) step in anyway ... ]

However the focus should remain on dealing with what is actually there, as it is found, in acceptable manner -sometimes this is unpredictabley expensive until work has begun - this is a risk like any other for capital invested in a development.

Spot on Gnomey. Evaluation by trial trenching is only useful if you put the trenches in the right place.

Try saying to a client....'Well we did 170 trial trenches along your pipeline cost you xxxx, but found no archaeology. Now that doesn't mean there is no archaeology so we need a watching brief on your topsoil strip, which will cost xx, but of course when we find a site it will cost whatever it costs!'

Client, 'well if thats the case, why the hell did we pay you to dig all those trenches?'

How do you know where to put your trenches if you haven't assessed the likelyhood of their being any archaeology and where it is likely to be?
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