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Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments
#21
Yes but it kinda twisted about a bit. Currently After looking at the PIMS document and back engineering the reality of all these documents submitted with planning applications are mostly there to go to appeals and inquiries if an appeal occurs, therefore if you are working for a client you should try and give them the strongest hand for that situation.

I am toying with the idea that if anybody asks for a heritage statement that the clients archaeologist should undertake some form of field evaluation, if only so that at any possible appeal that the real field archaeologist gets to sit in front of an inspector and question the archaeological field credentials of anybody wanting to talk about heritage assets and significance based on tenuous and not so nearby HER data and explain what connection there is between field archaeology results and heritage statements. Without dirty fingernails the curators and eh inspectors will run rings around any digger using devious interactions of the heritage receptors. What I am also wondering is if you have done an evaluation that you don't have to do a heritage statement and a desk based assessment...
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#22
Marc Berger Wrote:What I am also wondering is if you have done an evaluation that you don't have to do a heritage statement and a desk based assessment...

Dangerous route to go down, that. There are plenty of sites where standard evaluation methodologies just don't work/aren't appropriate. For a recent example, there's this: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/l...22927.html

Besides, there's plenty a heritage statement/DBA can (and/or should) do that an eval can't determine: setting issues, for example. We shouldn't be wedded to the idea that trenching 4% of a field tells you all you need to know...
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#23
Dangerous route. They all are especially to little children, stray animals, but that's not often mentioned in the design and access statements.. (be interesting to know who owns the route, presumably it becomes adopted by the authorities)

but this site does seems to have had an evaluation which is good in my book, no mention of heritage statements /dbas

Quote: "The larger part of the site was destroyed in January during the building of an access road to a new housing development. "Archaeologists tested the area before construction work began, but the 'trial excavation' used the wrong archaeological methods and as a result nothing was found. "The archaeological layer, which contained early Mesolithic flints and possibly other material, was left in spoil heaps near the road. These have not been protected and soil from the heaps has subsequently been redistributed."
'trial excavation' ? What wrong archaeological methods were used? If the archaeologists who did the evaluation have said that there is nothing there then is it a question of sample size? You would think that they were aware of any SMR reports. The interview makes it sound like you couldn't hope to miss a microlith but then northern Ireland works under its own myths and legends..Is there a licenced archaeological system there?
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#24
someone could be confusing 'having once found evidence for a site' with 'evidence for a site was removed before being found' - exactly my cup of tea
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#25
It also shows that even if there has been an evaluation that there's still room for complaint*...and that the complaints will be about technical issues like sample size, distribution and experience. Where as with heritage assets, dbas and heritage statements, eia everything is pure pontificating speculation. All the landowner has to do with the local historian is get the archaeologists to explain the methods employed. Why didn't the journalist interview the archaeologist?

* maybe that is one area where there is a problem -a stage in the planning process where evaluation data can be critically assessed. Evaluations were intended to inform a tendering process for excavation. Who evaluated Dinos site....
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#26
Marc Berger Wrote:'trial excavation' ? What wrong archaeological methods were used? If the archaeologists who did the evaluation have said that there is nothing there then is it a question of sample size? You would think that they were aware of any SMR reports. The interview makes it sound like you couldn't hope to miss a microlith but then northern Ireland works under its own myths and legends..Is there a licenced archaeological system there?

Dodgy local journalism aside, I take it that in that case, although the Mesolithic site was on the HER, it 'slipped through the net' and wasn't considered when designing the evaluation methodology. The site was then evaluated, presumably without the contractor being aware of the presence of Mesolithic material, & left the local chap who discovered it picking microliths off the spoil heaps.
My point is that standard evaluation methodologies just aren't suitable for all types of archaeological site and are particularly poor at dealing with Pal/Meso material, so the suggestion that DBAs/Heritage Statements could be eschewed so long as an eval is done is not sensible.
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#27
I am not sure what standard evaluation strategies are not suitable. Normally in an evaluation you look for all and everything. Maybe I waste a lot of time looking for paleo/meso but I am pretty certain that I would look for it in any evaluation. Yes lots of things get missed in the spoil heap especially from machining. Normally I like to put a metal detector over the spoil which also gives you a chance to pick up any other residual material. Why didn't the local historian not take the finds to the archaeologist? Sounds a bit odd that the archaeologists did not back fill the trenches.

the suggestion that DBAs/Heritage Statements could be eschewed so long as an eval is done is not sensible.-I think that it is more sensible than doing DBAs/Heritage Statements and coming away without doing any site evaluation. The suggestion in this case is that the -Mesolithic site was on the HER, it 'slipped through the net' and wasn't considered when designing the evaluation methodology- well that could as easily if more so have happened in the DBAs/Heritage Statements particularly if the DBAs/Heritage Statements were done by people who have no responsibility in trying to do a good evaluation. In the situation described it still sounds like some archaeology is going on using tangible objects even if that were allegedly found in the spoil heap which wouldn't have happened if the trenches had not been opened.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#28
Marc,
there are DBA's and DBA's. Good and bad. Frankly a DBA is a necessary part of what falls into 'preliminary' works in the real world of commercial archaeology.
The process seems to vary with project, type of development, region and type of landscape the project transects.

Some DBA's I've seen are a useless scrap of paper that is just a table of what is on the HER. These are useless to any developer except where the planning authorities don't know/care what is happening.

Good DBA's take into account the potential for previously unrecorded archaeological remains being present and things like map and document searches, geophysical survey and walk over surveys, fieldwalking, testpitting etc etc which in themselves can be exceptionally important prospecting tools in archaeology even if the archaeological mitigation goes no further.

I agree that often geophysical survey results need testing by trial-trenching, especially the 'blank areas'. But without other information evaluation by trial trenching is a pointless waste of effort.

I think you may be missing the reason for doing a DBA, or maybe you've never seen a good one?

Also sometimes a DBA can find/protect/record archaeological evidence far better than trial trenching (which is often just a shot in the dark). Think of an offshore wreck site, or WWII site that is on an old aerial photograph.

In the pit is correct with respect to earlier sites. How about a preserved prehistoric landscape over several square kilometers? How can trial trenching help here.

Surely the investigation/advice should fit the site?

As to dirty fingernails indicating expertise..........I would say that only indicates a lack of personal hygiene. }Smile
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#29
a dba is a good money-spinner in those areas where the mounties dont know how to interpret the smr/her or where there are no mounties. they could mostly be written on the back of an envelope but to get the 4 figure + fee you spin it out over 20 pages or more trotting out some cut and paste stuff you have forgotton the meaning of long ago. pre-app they might give you an indication of the costs but they will never tell you anything about what isnt already known.
unit - in my head you present as a squat figure tumbling out the front window of an ancient windowless jcb having just spotted a microlith in the b horizon. anachronism i ask myself? field archaeologist is the reply. successful i ask? found another microlith is the reply.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#30
dbas are lost leaders, they are the first thing that you see when you go into a supermarket.

I mainly concentrate on pyramidal micro blade cores, so long as they are in blue flint although red is quite nice.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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