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A worrying matter
#1
Been made aware of this issue, passing on a letter:

Roman Roads Research Association

Roman Villa Site at Aiskew, Bedale, N.Yorks

When preliminary work took place for the Bedale bypass several years ago, a Roman villa site was discovered. The details of the site were deliberately with-held to protect it, although it wasn't thought that the discovery was particularly significant. For the past few months the site has been partly excavated prior to the construction of the road. It soon became apparent that this is the most significant villa site discovered in the north in recent years despite the remains being heavily robbed out.

During which time several of us who knew about it have been sworn to secrecy, with various promises of open days and site visits which have come to nothing. Finally, however, North Yorkshire County Council have given permission for the distribution of a press release about the site, which you can read by clicking here. You will note that the release is dated four weeks ago, and only just released.

What the press release does not say, however, is that only the part of the site affected by the course of the road direct has been excavated. A licence to excavate the remainder runs out at the end of March and it is now clear that NYCC will not fund the remaining work, even if the landowner were to agree to extend the licence. I understand that an application may have been made for emergency scheduling, although because the land was ploughed before the excavation began scheduling would not prevent the landowner from ploughing the site again. The sad reality is that without a management agreement with the landowner (unlikely because of the costs involved) the site may well not survive for long.

Please feel free to distribute this email to whomsoever you choose.

Regards

Mike Haken
(Chairman, RRRA)

Our mailing address is:Roman Roads Research Association
Park Cottage, Nidd,

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 3BN
United Kingdom









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#2
Slightly disturbing since the villa is represented at ground level by a sticky-up platform, the height of which was our main guide as to depth of strat when costing up the unsuccessful tender (notwithstanding two previous phases of evaluation trenching by A.N Other unit) Sad
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#3
Quote:A licence to excavate the remainder runs out at the end of March and it is now clear that NYCC will not fund the remaining work, even if the landowner were to agree to extend the licence. I understand that an application may have been made for emergency scheduling, although because the land was ploughed before the excavation began scheduling would not prevent the landowner from ploughing the site again. The sad reality is that without a management agreement with the landowner (unlikely because of the costs involved) the site may well not survive for long.

I am a bit lost here. Isnt the landowner NYCC or is this about excavation of roman villa beyond the bypass footprint?
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#4
Most of the actual villa building lay out-with the road corridor, but as part of the scheme a chunk of the adjacent field was rented from the farmer so the villa could be recorded pretty much in toto, then it was to be returned to the farmer once archaeologically sterilised. Presumably this was to fob off any potential protesters, but of course now its a done deal so no one gives a s**t. Pretty standard on infrastructure schemes in my experience, especially where the developer is also the oversight Sad
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#5
Seems good that stuff that should have been preserved in situ (in a ploughed field) was looked at. Is the complaint here that the rest should be preserved in situ but isn't and that it hasn't been correctly excavated even though it has been exposed?
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#6
This seems to be a very unusual situation - on most highway schemes it is virtually impossible to take in any land that is not actually required for the construction (aither as permanent or temoporary landtake). I can understand the archaeological interest in examining that part of the site that remains outside the scheme, but what does this have to do with NYCC? If this is a County Council highways scheme then the money will have probably come mainly from central government in one form or another and will have been made available only for the construction of the road and not for examination/protection of archaeological sites outside the scheme boundary. If new information has now come to light regarding the significance of the remaining part of the site then EH (or HE as it now is) can review a request for scheduling and act accordingly. Any compensation payment due to the landowner due to restrictions on land use would have to come from funds allocated for that purpose (agri-schemes, HLF?) and not from local authority highway budgets.

Beamo
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#7
It was part of the agreed scheme of works as put through planning/put out to tender etc - yet another case of once its got past planning you can get away with doing whatever you want and no one is going to do anything about it (especially when you also happen to be the planning authority overseeing your own scheme). Seems to happen rather a lot in my experience. Scheme I'm currently working on is still being designed 18 months into construction, leaves you wondering what set of plans were passed at the public enquiry...

Apparently Paul Johnson from PCA was talking about the site on TV this morning, but I'd carelessly stepped out for a fag Sad
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#8
Rumours of Scheduling ...
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#9
Oh, and apparently a lot of what was dug was done by students, local societies etc, but don't know enough detail to comment on that and whether it fitted with the original tenders, seems a bit strange on a commercial road scheme though
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#10
Just to clarify Dino..

The original WSI (produced by the client's Consultant... not the company who carried out the work) called for community involvement including on site digging. They also ran a four week project with Newcastle university to give first year students experience of fieldwork and commercial archaeology. At no point was any commercial fieldstaff compromised by or replaced by non professional staff. Indeed I would go so far as to say. Public involvement could be said to have aided the current position. ( All these documents are publicly accessible )

It is not over yet... as the farmer still has to be convinced to re-pasture the field. as we all know. scheduling allows a continuation of farming activity as it was at the point of scheduling.


Wink
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