Evaluation Strategies Stage 1 – understanding current practice and encouraging sector engagement (EVALS1)

Dates: 
2020-2021
Funding body: 
Historic England
Funding amount: 
£36k

This is 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.

Call for case studies
We're interested in receiving case study examples of evaluations and have produced a template for completion that can include up to 2 examples (these can be positive as well as examples with limitations etc). Please return any examples to Natasha Powers (Natasha.Powers@wsp.com) by Friday 14 May 2021. On the spreadsheet any items in red are optional as it is recognised that it may not always be possible to provide such data for reasons of commercial confidentiality. Shaded cells will provide you with a drop down list to choose from (a small arrow should appear to the right of the cell). This is to enable consistency in the use of terms. Lists are provided in sheet 2, which is for internal use only.

Knowledge hub
There is further information and opportunities to take part in discussion on our Knowledge Hub group at Welcome - Archaeological site evaluation review - EVALS1 - Knowledge Hub (khub.net). To access this group you will need to register and then request to join the group. We’re posting polls on specific issues and you can share your thoughts and experiences via the group forum. The group is open to all (though restricted so only members can see posts) and its purpose is to ensure that we gather the broadest evidence base possible, through your opinions, case studies and questions.