Desk-based Assessments

A desk-based assessment might be required as a first stage in the process of site evaluation. It involves the collection of existing information relating to a particular site.

Desk-based Assessment usually forms an initial stage of site evaluation, allowing an assessment of archaeological potential and providing guidance on the likely effectiveness of other types of evaluation such as trial trenching or geophysical survey.

Sources of information consulted in the compilation of a Desk-based Assessment report will usually include material held by the local 'Historic Environment Record' (generally managed by the local planning authority), historic maps and documents at the local Records Office, and secondary sources such as books and journals. Depending upon the scope of study, information might be obtained from national repositories such as the National Monuments Record or the Air photo library at Swindon. A Desk-based Assessment might also incorporate borehole and test pit information derived from geotechnical investigations.

In most cases a site will be inspected for evidence of upstanding remains (such as earthworks or structural features) and indicators of activity (such as quarrying) which might have affected the survival of buried deposits.

Costs for a desk-based assessment will be determined by the scale of the proposed development, the scope of the research (defined in a brief produced by the relevant planning archaeologist), and the amount of travel which might be required.

Witham Archaeology has considerable expertise in the compilation of Desk-based Assessments, ranging from projects prompted by small scale residential development to major infrastructure projects. Please contact us for a free, fixed cost quotation.