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

Funding body: 
Historic England
Funding amount: 

The first stage of the Evaluation strategies project (EVALS1) was undertaken in partnership with FAME and aimed 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 range of chronologies, geologies and locations in England, 

The main focus of the project was 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.

The project was undertaken by WSP acting as consultants to CIfA, advised by a project advisory group including representatives from ALGAO, FAME, Historic England and the Mineral Products Association. You can read the final project report here Evaluation strategies (EVALS1) final report.

The report contains recommendations for a second stage of work (EVALS2) which will build on the evidence gathered in stage 1 and also draw on the results of doctoral research currently being undertaken by Richard Higham at the University of Brighton entitled ‘Evaluating Evaluation Trenching in Archaeological Projects' which is supported by Historic England and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA) and due for completion toward the end of 2022. 

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.