Archaeology and development

Unexpected archaeological discoveries made during developments are rare where developers carry out appropriate archaeological assessment at an early stage. When insufficient assessment has been undertaken the risk of delays to a development programme are increased, in some circumstances preventing development through a consent being revoked.

National planning policy (Planning Policy Wales and Welsh Office Circulars 60/96 and 61/96) ensures that the archaeological resource is protected through the development control process. Proposed developments which adversely affect nationally important archaeological remains are unlikely to obtain planning permission. For schemes outside the normal planning framework it is essential that advice on the archaeological implications of a proposal is sought at the earliest possible stage in order to guarantee preservation in situ of any nationally important remains. Such remains are legally protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

Where development affects an area of high archaeological potential or when insufficient information is available to determine a planning application, developers are required to undertake archaeological investigation before a decision is made. This may consist of documentary research, survey and/or excavation. The results of this work inform future decision making, design solutions and mitigation strategies.

Mitigation strategies involve preservation in situ (avoidance), preservation by record (archaeological survey or excavation) or a combination of the two. Within the planning context this is normally achieved by imposing conditions on a planning consent.

Developers are expected to meet the cost of all archaeological work within the development context. Developers may be required to appoint an archaeological contractor to undertake a programme of archaeological work in advance of and/or during development. The archaeological programme may include activities following the completion of work on site (post-excavation work) such as dealing with any artefacts found, specialist studies (e.g. radiocarbon dating) and preparing reports.

The Institute for Archaeologists code of conduct requires reporting, publication and dissemination of the results of all archaeological projects, working to the principle that archaeology is part of society's common heritage and it should be available to everyone. Gwynedd Archaeological Planning Service is responsible for ensuring all archaeological contractors deposit copies of their reports with the Historic Environment Record, as well as ensuring all archaeologists formally publish work undertaken in a development context.



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Gwynedd Archaeological Trust is certified to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015

To view a copy of the ISO 9001:2015 certificate, please click here.
To view a copy of the ISO 14001:2015 certificate, please click here.