Earthwork surveys and other services
In addition to the services described elsewhere on this site, Witham Archaeology Services provides a range of services including earthwork surveys.
An earthwork survey may be required if earthworks are likely to be affected by a development. Medieval settlement remains and field systems are commonly seen in areas of pasture on the peripheries of existing settlement. The earthworks attest to contractions in settlement brought about by depopulation and other factors. An earthwork survey may be required as part of a process of evaluation.
In a rural context, areas of former settlement and other activity can be identified and defined through the systematic mapping and retrieval of surface finds. Fieldwalking is often employed at a preliminary stage in the process of site evaluation and may help to determine the location of trial trenches.
Geophysical surveys can provide an indication of the extent and character of buried remains on a particular site, and will often be used to target the location of trial trenches. Witham Archaeology Services commissions a specialist contractor to undertake geophysical surveys.
Archaelogical investigations can result in the collection of a variety of artefacts, including pottery, building materials (brick and tile), bone (animal or human), worked flint, metal objects and glass. Environmental material such as seeds, grain and molluscs can be recovered from environmental samples. Analysis and cataloguing of these materials is carried out by specialists with specific area knowledge (for example, Roman or medieval pottery).
Larger and more established organisations will sometimes employ in-house specialists but many specialists operate as independent contractors. Witham Archaeology Services commissions work from a wide range of specialists - both self employed and those employed by other contractors. All of the specialists employed by Witham Archaeology Services are recognised as experts in their particular field and are approved by the archaeological advisers to local planning authorities as competent to carry out work in their areas.