Archaeology South-East


Historic Environment and Built Heritage

Much of our past is visible in the landscape and historic buildings around us, whilst more lies hidden beneath our feet. We help our clients understand the potential significance of the historic environment, offering professional advice on how to record such remains, avoid or mitigate change, and incorporate key features into development proposals. Our detailed understanding of ancient landscapes and built heritage makes Archaeology South-East a key provider in an extensive range of historic environment services, including the production of desk-based assessments appraising archaeology and built heritage, historic building recording and heritage consultancy and management.  Our broad range of expertise in assessing and developing heritage management tools allow our clients to get the best out of our historic resources.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

In order to secure consent for your development you may be asked by a Local Planning Authority to assess the effects of a proposed development on cultural heritage. This may relate to archaeology (Desk-Based Assessments), built heritage (Historic Building Services) or to the whole environment, requiring an EIA, of which the historic environment is one component.

Archaeology South-East has extensive experience in the management and production of high standard assessments that can reduce or remove the risk posed to archaeology, historic buildings and historic landscapes by a development. Recent major Environmental Impact Assessments we have worked on include the proposed wind farm at Little Cheyne Court, Walland Marsh, Kent; housing schemes for Berkeley Strategic; and the proposed A24 Horsham-Capel road link in West Sussex / Surrey.

We liaise between the county council archaeologists, who advise local planning authority conservation officers, working on your behalf to ensure that their concerns are understood and addressed to minimise delays to your programme. We similarly work closely with Historic England (formerly English Heritage) when nationally important heritage assets may be at issue, and where such dialogue will assist our clients in meeting statutory regulatory constraints. We offer an integrated and cost effective service covering all aspects from initial assessment to full excavation and publication.

Historic Landscape Characterisation

Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) analyses present-day landscapes with a view to explaining the history and development of an area in order to provide advice on sustainable management. This is usually undertaken using a Geographic Information System (GIS) program to map all elements of the landscape and provide advice on how to correctly preserve each one. The difference between HLC and previous methods of landscape definition is that all elements of the landscape are given equal prominence, e.g. an area defined as 'Medieval Assarted Enclosures' is differentiated from an area defined as '20th Century Industry' only by the colour used to infill the polygon. This allows all elements of the landscape to be assessed on their own merits, and avoids the iniquities of former classification systems based on defined areas of 'interesting' land, e.g. a scheduled ancient monument would be seen as worth preserving, but the landscape around it, by default, was not. It is, consequently, a powerful and subtle tool, useful to heritage management professionals and historical landscape researchers alike.

Archaeology South-East has many years of in-house expertise in landscape interpretation, and we were responsible for the HLC mapping of the South Downs National Park (SDNP).

Desk-Based Assessment

Archaeology South-East has undertaken a plethora of documentary and topographic surveys throughout England. Most such surveys have been prepared on behalf of commercial clients as part of a desk-based assessment (DBA) or landscape survey, in order to address concerns raised by planning officers at the application stage of a development proposal. Accurate information during the early stages of a project makes it possible to plan sensible mitigation measures that will speed the grant of planning consent, and enable sympathetic development of sites within areas of archaeological or historic significance. Our team utilise a range of resources to aid their research, including local archives, historic maps, historic aerial imagery and open-source LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data. We also use GIS to fully assess and manage the spatial distribution of complex heritage data to achieve clear and cohesive presentation in our reports.

Our expert understanding of the archaeological landscape and experience of presenting such evidence to developers and planners, allows us to fully meet commercial needs at very competitive rates.

All our DBA reports conform to the recommendations set out by the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists in Standards and Guidance for Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments, are compiled in line with planning guidance (NPPF and local planning policy), and are tailored to the particular needs of individual clients and planning committees.

Archaeology South East- DBA

Historic Building Services

Our built heritage is an important source of information about architectural, engineering and building crafts, and social and economic history. Uninformed changes to the fabric of historic buildings can result in the loss of valuable information.

Archaeology South-East can provide assistance with historic building projects at a number of levels, from a rapid visual assessment of a structure to a detailed archaeological record.

Historic building assessment is typically carried out to inform the process of change to a building, and provides a means to understanding often complex structures to determine their date and sequence of development, and establish what is significant. This provides the basis from which informed decisions can be made about the future of a building, providing valuable input to the design and preparation of satisfactory proposals. Archaeology South-East can also provide assessment of the impact of proposals, to inform this process.

The creation of a detailed building record may be required as a planning condition in order to mitigate the loss of historic fabric or structures.

We liaise with building owners, conservation architects, builders and local planning authority conservation officers to ensure a smooth path to planning consent.

Archaeology South East

Site Management Planning

We provide a comprehensive range of high quality heritage management services worldwide. Building upon the facilities and expertise of the University College London, the dedicated staff of our Centre for Applied Archaeology deliver the highest standards in site management, public outreach, heritage presentation and training classes. Our services range from interpretive and management planning for World Heritage Sites, museum exhibitions, evaluation, consultancy and outreach events to the design of single leaflets or websites.