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Archaeology services with a proven track record

Archaeology services

Bournemouth Archaeology offers services relating to archaeological and heritage issues. We can carry out a full range of archaeological services on your behalf.

We have experience in working with our clients to identify, assess and mitigate archaeological issues arising from proposed developments at an early stage of the development process.

We liaise with local planning authorities, curators, English Heritage and other statutory authorities to negotiate a scope of works for your project, and provide a cost-effective solution.

Our expertise and proven track record means we can provide a comprehensive solution, tailored specifically to suit your needs.

Desk-based assessments

Desk-based assessments are usually requested by Local Planning Authorities, archaeological curators, consultants or developers in order to gain information about the known or potential archaeological resource within a specific area.

These assessments are a very useful way of informing developers of potential constraints which they may face on proposed development site from buried and standing archaeological remains. Our desk-based assessments typically consult a wide range of sources, including:

  • Local and national archaeological databases
  • Published local history, archaeological journals and other documentary sources
  • Historic maps (e.g. tithe, enclosure, estate, Ordnance Survey)
  • Air photographs (vertical and oblique)
  • British Geological Survey mapping
  • Operating department practice
  • Site inspection

Watching briefs

Watching briefs are usually requested by Local Planning Authority Archaeologists following the approval of a planning application.

These monitoring services are conducted as a formal programme of observation and investigation during any operation carried out for non-archaeological reasons, for a wide range of developments from small-scale home extensions to large developments and extraction sites.

Bournemouth Archaeology has carried out a large number of watching briefs throughout the UK and we understand the commercial pressures and constraints on developments. Our team of archaeologists provide a reliable, cost-effective service working alongside sub-contractors to reduce delays to ground-works schedules and keep costs to a minimum, and ensure the discharge of planning conditions.

Archaeological evaluations

Field evaluations are a means of assessing the presence of archaeological remains on a site by a limited amount of fieldwork – usually on a specific proportion of the proposed site.

Bournemouth Archaeology provide a wide range of evaluation methods including field walking, metal detecting, geophysical survey, test pitting and trial trenching.

Our team of field archaeologists have a wide experience of carrying out archaeological evaluations, and we specialise in providing an efficient, cost-effective plan of works.

We liaise with Local Planning Authority Archaeologists to determine a methodology and scope on your behalf, on many types of projects.

Archaeological evaluations are suitable for a wide variety of projects including:

  • road schemes
  • pipeline schemes
  • housing developments
  • solar and wind farms
  • mineral extraction
  • rural developments
  • cemetery extensions
  • research projects

The results of evaluation projects are used to provide our clients with the best information possible on the presence and extent of archaeological remains. The information can be used in the formulation and design of development master plans and to advise on the possible requirement for further archaeological investigation prior to development.

Geophysical surveys

Geophysical survey is a cost effective method of surveying large areas during the evaluation process. We provide geophysical services to both archaeology and industry and our extensive range of geophysical instruments enable us to provide a rapid and cost-effective service throughout the UK.

The results of surveys are used to determine the presence of buried archaeological remains and are regularly requested by Local Authority Planning Archaeologists prior to the determination of a planning application for a proposed development.

The results can be used to identify areas of archaeological potential within a proposed development site and can aid the developer in highlighting time and cost implications at an early stage. Geophysical survey is therefore a key tool in the formulation of appropriate mitigation strategies.

Our range of geophysical instruments includes magnetometers, resistivity meters and Ground Penetrating Radar, as well as the latest processing software. We have extensive experience of planning, undertaking and interpreting small and large scale geophysical surveys both in the UK and abroad.

Our bespoke geophysical survey services make us one of the largest providers in the UK, and because we tailor our services to fit your specific needs we can provide reduced set-up time, quick project turn-around and very competitive rates.

Our geophysical survey capability is suitable for a wide variety of projects including:

  • road schemes
  • pipeline schemes
  • housing developments
  • solar and wind farms
  • mineral extraction
  • rural developments
  • cemetery extensions
  • research projects


Archaeological excavation may be requested by Local Authority Planning Archaeologists to discharge a planning condition.

If the archaeological potential of a site is high, a programme of controlled, intrusive archaeological excavation may be required to examine, record and interpret the archaeological deposits, features and structures and, as appropriate, retrieve artefacts, ecofacts and other remains.

Bournemouth Archaeology has the experience in rural and urban environments and has considerable resources to complete the excavation process; from project design through to post-excavation analysis and report publication, enabling the discharge of a planning condition.

Our team have considerable expertise in dealing with complex excavations and are equipped to provide an efficient and effective service that can operate in tandem with other site contractors and minimise costs.

We have an excellent reputation for completing projects on time and on budget, as well as meeting deadlines and reducing delays.

Post-excavation services

Our post-excavation services provide a one-stop shop for all areas of post-excavation.

Our services include:

  • Finds processing
  • Specialist assessment and analysis of finds
  • Environmental archaeology
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Osteoarchaeology
  • Graphics and illustration
  • Photographic surveys
  • Report writing and publication

Historic building surveys

Historic building recording is a fundamental part of the planning process. If a proposed development has the potential to impact on the fabric of a historic building the local planning authority may request a detailed record of the building to be made prior to its alteration or demolition.

Bournemouth Archaeology’s  Historic Building Survey Team undertake a wide variety of building recording projects as required by English Heritage and other statutory authorities. Our team liaise with these authorities, as well as archaeological curators, conservation officers and developers on your behalf to develop project designs and briefs which include visual inspection, digital surveying, 3D laser scanning, and providing written and photographic records on the building’s historic plan, form, function, age and development.

 Our services include:

  • Historic Building Recording
  • Building Assessment
  • Area Assessment
  • Conservation Area Appraisal
  • Conservation Plans
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • 3D Laser Scanning

Our surveyors have extensive experience of recording historic buildings and working alongside architects, engineers, local authorities and demolition crews to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

3D laser scanning

3D laser scanning is used extensively to record a range of artefacts and structures, from prehistoric rock art to historic buildings and churches. We have access to both short and long range 3D laser scanners.

Laser Scan of Peveril Point WWII Structure, Swanage 1

Laser Scan of Peveril Point WWII Structure, Swanage 3

Advanced specialist surveys

Surveying in archaeology is an essential tool and through Bournemouth Archaeology you will have access to the latest equipment, including differential Global Positioning Systems (GPS), automated and reflectorless Total Stations.

High resolution topographic surveys, precision site gridding and rapid landscape assessments can be easily achieved in a variety of environments.

We are able to offer both on-site work and post–processing services, as well as mapping and data presentation service.

 In-house advanced survey service resources:

  • 2 x Leica Real Time Kinetic Differential Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Leica Automated TPS Total Station
  • 2 x TS06 Total Stations
  • Konica Minolta Vivid-900 Optical Laser Scanner
  • Leica Scanstation 3D Laser Scanner

GPR surveys and badger mitigation

Considerations for landowners and developers

The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 brought together previous legislation on the European badger Meles meles  to give them full, year–round protection. It is illegal to kill, injure or capture a badger deliberately or to disturb, damage or interfere with a badger sett.  Given the estimate that badger numbers, across Britain, have doubled in the last 10 years, they are increasingly becoming an issue for landowners and developers.

How can Bournemouth Archaeology help you?

We have been developing our expertise in the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR) for use in the pre–development assessments. This technique has proved very successful in the locating and mapping of sub–surface disturbances, such as badger tunnels and the extent of setts. Our GPR equipment is ideal in almost any environment on almost any surface.

The technology uses microwaves to detect sub-surface voids, such as tunnels, chambers and caves, as well as discrete buried features like ditches or trenches, and is also ideal for detecting pipes cables and variations in geology.

Working closely with Dorset County Council’s Natural Environment Team and other specialist contributors we have developed a strategy for the detection of sub–surface disturbances which may be linked to sub-surface tunnels. This technique has enabled us to map the full extent of possible tunnels and chambers and inform mitigation for the management of badgers.