The role of the professional archaeologist

Archaeologists are used to working in multi-disciplinary teams on projects that affect the historic environment. Whether you are putting together an environmental or design team for a development project or a panel of experts for a community heritage or research project there should be a place for an archaeologist on it. The earlier you appoint an archaeologist, the greater chance you have of realising the benefits that professional advice can bring.

The sort of archaeologist you will engage at project level will normally be an archaeological consultant. They may work for a specialist archaeological organisation that offers consulting services or for a larger consultancy organisation that employs archaeological specialists. You might receive initial advice from your archaeologist through a face-to-face meeting, a design or community workshop, or through a more formal form of written advice.

However you engage with an archaeologist, they should be able to

  • interpret the requirements of your project
  • liaise with stakeholders, including planning authorities, national agencies and land owners
  • specify how, and through what process archaeology will add to your project’s success
  • identify specialist areas of archaeological expertise that may be required
  • provide an estimate of the cost of archaeological work on your project
  • carry out archaeological investigations or procure specialists to carry out specific types of investigation in accordance with industry standards
  • liaise with your project team to ensure that archaeological work is taken into account in the design and delivery of the project
  • ensure that public relations and community benefit from archaeology on the project are maximised

The sorts of projects you might find an archaeologist working on could be

  • local authority development plans
  • planning applications for new development
  • applications for Listed Building Consent and Scheduled Monument Consent
  • minerals planning
  • urban design
    landscape design
  • infrastructure design
  • architectural design
  • construction
  • environmental impact assessments
  • heritage management or conservation plans
  • tourism strategies
  • research projects for universities, regional or national agencies
  • local economic development plans
  • transport plans
  • planning policy and guidance development
  • education strategies
  • school projects
  • community projects
  • PR or media projects
  • film and television programme writing
  • housing and regeneration
  • forensic investigation

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