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18 September 2014
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Treasure Troves: What Happens to Finds?

By Julian Richards
Site surveys

Image of Julian Richards
Julian Richards uncovers the past at a Roman dig in Winchester 
The evaluation or assessment of a site is carried out at the expense of the proposed developer, and can involve a whole range of investigations. These could include an aerial or geophysical survey, or fieldwalking and the excavation of test pits or machine-dug trenches.

At this stage, or even earlier, the developers may engage an archaeological consultant to provide expert advice and facilitate communications between developer and planners. The museum where it has been agreed that the finds and records will eventually be deposited will also be involved before excavation starts.

'The ideal solution for buried remains is to leave them where they are ...'

If this first stage of investigation reveals archaeological remains, then decisions will be made by the planning department archaeologists, sometimes with advice from other bodies, about the need for preservation or further excavation.

The ideal solution for buried remains is to leave them where they are (preservation in situ), but if they are not considered sufficiently important or the development need is overriding then full excavation will be considered. This is often referred to as ‘preservation by record’.

Subsequent stages of investigation will be organised along the lines described above for evaluation. In each case, sufficient time and funds will be allowed for full analysis of the finding, the publication of the results and the correct conservation and storage in an appropriate museum of all the records and finds.

Published: 2005-01-24

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