Press release

Issued by

Kate Geary, Head of Professional Development & Practice CIfA  



CIfA receives Historic England funding for a project, undertaken in partnership with FAME, to develop and implement strategic improvements in the practice of archaeological field evaluation in England


CIfA has received funding from Historic England for a project, undertaken in partnership with FAME, to develop and implement strategic improvements in the practice of archaeological field evaluation in England by

  • Working with stakeholders to develop and document a shared understanding of current evaluation practice, constraints and goals in the context of the NPPF
  • determining which factors are most important in selecting appropriate and proportionate strategies for archaeological field evaluation in England, with a particular focus on sampling (trial trenching)
  • identifying case studies from a representative range of chronologies, geologies and locations in England, with simple comparisons drawn between what was forecast at evaluation and what was found during subsequent archaeological investigation

The main focus of the project will be on sampling (trial trenching) in advance of minerals extraction, house-building and infrastructure development, where the need for validation and greater consensus on effective and proportionate evaluation strategies is particularly urgent.

Recommendations for a second stage of work (EVALS2) to strengthen the evidence base to support ongoing sector confidence in future advice and continual improvement in archaeological evaluation practice will be made. Building on the research available, this second stage (not currently funded) is also envisaged to include additional, in-depth modelling of alternative evaluation strategies where required.

The project will be managed by a Project Executive Board comprising CIfA, FAME and Historic England, advised by a Project Advisory Group which will include representatives from the minerals, housing and infrastructure sectors and from the Association of Local Government Archaeologists (ALGAO). Joining them on the Project Advisory Group will be a researcher at the University of Brighton undertaking a four-year doctoral research project into evaluation methodologies through the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA), in collaboration with Historic England and Trent & Peak Archaeology.

The Project Advisory Group will meet around six times during the course of the projects which will also be guided by four wider stakeholder consultation workshops. All meetings are scheduled to take place via online video conferencing.

For more information about this project, please contact

Note on the organisations

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) is the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas. CIfA promotes high professional standards and strong ethics in archaeological practice, to maximise the benefits that archaeologists bring to society, and provides a self-regulatory quality assurance framework for the sector and those it serves.

CIfA has over 3,900 members and over 80 registered practices across the United Kingdom. Its members work in all branches of the discipline: heritage management, planning advice, excavation, finds and environmental study, buildings recording, underwater and aerial archaeology, museums, conservation, survey, research and development, teaching and liaison with the community, industry and the commercial and financial sectors.

The Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers (FAME) is the distinctive voice of archaeological employers and managers, and the only organisation solely devoted to representing their interests within the profession and the business world.FAME represents one in three archaeological practitioners, employing the majority of archaeologists across the UK. Its membership includes over 50 archaeological practices, from small consultancies to all the largest contractors, from educational charities, commercial companies, universities and local authorities across England, Scotland,Wales and Ireland. In addition to representing its members’ interests in matters of policy, its aims are to foster an understanding of archaeology across the construction and development sector and promote best professional practice, training and development, and a safe and healthy work environment.

About Historic England

We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.

Please click here to find out more about our call for expressions of interest on this project

Please click here to find out more about the project design