Newark is one of the most archaeologically sensitive towns in the East Midlands and the district contains a wealth of archaeological sites. These illustrate the importance of the area during the Roman and Medieval periods, through to the Civil War and beyond.

Archaeological remains are a finite and non-renewable resource, in many cases highly fragile and vulnerable to damage and destruction. Appropriate management is essential to ensure that they survive in good condition. In particular, care must be taken to ensure that archaeological remains are not needlessly lost without consideration of mitigation and recording.

Planning and archaeological sites

Archaeological sites of national importance are scheduled and protected. Although archaeology is all around us, Scheduled sites form a carefully chosen sample of them, which are closely managed by Historic England in accordance with the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act of 1979. While some change may be possible, there is a presumption that they will be handed on to future generations in much the same state that we have found them.

Sites and monuments with archaeological interest which are otherwise not scheduled may still be regarded as non-designated heritage assets and therefore a material consideration in the planning process.

Checking if there is any archaeological interest within a proposed development site

Many development sites have the potential for archaeological interest, ranging from complex urban sites to land within the vicinity of medieval churches and those affecting ancient settlement patterns at the fringes of villages. You can search the Historic Environment Record (HER) to determine whether archaeological interest is already identified.

If the proposed development is not of archaeological interest then there will be no requirement for any further archaeological input. Sometimes, however, not enough will be known about a site and the local planning authority could ask for assessment work to be carried out before planning permission is granted. This is called pre-determination evaluation.

This work will typically be undertaken by professional archaeologists working on behalf of the developer and might include small-scale excavations, geophysical survey and documentary research.

When a planning application is submitted to us, our archaeological expert will undertake a preliminary assessment of the proposal site, considering any archaeological implications.

What happens if archaeological interest is identified at a development site?

If a proposed development site includes, or has the potential to include, heritage assets with archaeological interest, developers must submit an appropriate desk-based assessment and, where necessary, a field evaluation.

Desk-based archaeological assessments should follow standards and guidance set out by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. We also recognise the Lincolnshire Archaeological Handbook, which sets out practical guidelines for a consistent approach to the historic environment. Lincolnshire County Council currently assist us in our provision of archaeological expertise in the planning process.

How do I find a suitably qualified archaeologist?

We’re unable to make recommendations but there are a number of suitably qualified archaeological professionals within our region. They’ll typically possess suitable degrees in archaeology and accreditation from a professional body such as the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA).

You can search for a registered archaeologist on the CIfA database or seek additional advice from our archaeological partners at Nottinghamshire County Council and Lincolnshire County Council.

Discover community archaeology

Keen to get involved in community archaeology? There are a number of local groups within the district.

Find out more about Community Archaeology in Nottinghamshire or take a look at the county’s principle historical and archaeological society, The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire.