Glossary of standard archaeologcial terms

 

(As defined by the Institute for Archaeologists)

Building investigation and recording

The definition of archaeological building investigation and recording (ABIR) is a programme of work intended to establish the character, history, dating, form and archaeological development of a specified building, or structure, or complex and its setting, including its buried components, on land, inter-tidal zone or under water.

Desk-based assessment

The definition of desk-based assessment is a programme of assessment of the known and potential archaeological resource within a specified area or site on land, inter-tidal zone or underwater. It consists of a collation of existing written, graphic, photographic and electronic information in order to identify the likely character, extent, quality and worth of the known or potential archaeological resource in a local, regional, national or international context as appropriate.

Evaluation

The definition of archaeological field evaluation is a limited programme of non-intrusive and/or intrusive fieldwork which determines of the presence or absence of archaeological features, structures, deposits, artefacts or ecofacts within a specified area or site on land, inter-tidal zone or underwater. If such archaeological remains are present field evaluation defines their character, extent, quality and preservation, and enables an assessment of their worth in a local, regional, national or international context as appropriate.

Excavation

The definition of archaeological excavation is a programme of controlled, intrusive fieldwork with defined research objectives which examines, records and interprets archaeological deposits, features and structures and, as appropriate, retrieves artefacts, ecofacts and other remains within a specified area or site on land, inter-tidal zone or underwater. The records made and objects gathered during fieldwork are studied and the results of that study published in detail appropriate to the project design.

Geophysical Survey

Archaeological geophysical survey uses non-intrusive and non-destructive techniques to determine the presence or absence of anomalies likely to be caused by archaeological features, structures or deposits, as far as reasonably possible, within a specified area or site on land, in the inter-tidal zone or underwater. Geophysical survey determines the presence of anomalies of archaeological potential through measurement of one or more physical properties of the subsurface.

Scheduled Monument

An ancient monument or archaeological deposits designated by the Welsh Ministers, through Cadw, as a ' Scheduled Ancient Monument ' and therefore protected under the Ancient Monuments Act 1979.

Watching brief

The definition of an archaeological watching brief is a formal programme of observation and investigation conducted during any operation carried out for non-archaeological reasons. This will be within a specified area or site on land, inter-tidal zone or underwater, where there is a possibility that archaeological deposits may be disturbed or destroyed. The programme will result in the preparation of a report and ordered archive. The term does not include chance observations, which should lead to an appropriate archaeological project being designed and implemented, nor does it include monitoring for preservation of remains in situ.

 

The Trust is a registered organisation with the Institute for Archaeologists.
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