Within the development framework, excavation (also known as strip, map and record/sample) is undertaken when important archaeological sites cannot be preserved in situ.

The first stage of an excavation is field-based. It comprises the exposure of an open area, enabling the detailed examination and recording of all the archaeological features within it. In so doing, a comprehensive understanding can be gained of the date(s) of the site, its evolution over time, and the character of its occupation and activity.

The second stage is the analysis and writing up of the field-based results. A substantial part of the project cost (typically some 40%-50% of the total) can arise from this stage. This ‘preservation by record’ ensures that the knowledge gained about archaeology of the site can be retained and communicated to academic audiences and the wider public. A physical archive of the records, and of the artefacts recovered from the excavation, is prepared and deposited with a local or national museum.


The evaluation of a site takes place during the proposal stage of a development.

Watching briefs

Watching briefs are archaeological monitoring exercises which take place during the construction process.

Historic Building Recording

Historic building recording (HBR) is mitigation that is applied when a historic structure is to be altered or demolished.

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