Ploughzone Archaeology Exemplar Project

Principal investigator: Rebecca Pullen
Level: External project (UK only)

Project name:
Ploughzone Archaeology Exemplar Project (RaSMIS no. 6433; NHPP project 4G2.104 - this is an English Heritage project being undertaken internally).

Summary description:
This project forms a part of National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP) Activity 4G2 Ploughzone Archaeology. It is designed to develop a detailed understanding of the ploughzone archaeology of a specific area in order to assess and assign measures of significance and consider approaches to protection of this resource. Importantly, it will also consider the extent to which these measures and approaches might be nationally applicable and how these measures might therefore be used to refine future approaches to assessing and managing ploughzone archaeology.

The project is outlined as an exemplary area-based study reviewing existing fieldwalking data, enhancing the HER, identifying gaps in coverage and assigning measures of significance (covering both ploughzone material itself and its relevance for understanding of what survives beneath - sub-surface modelling and 'gradients of survival').
This work is therefore intended to:
• Review existing fieldwalking data for an area
• Enhance the local Historic Environment Record (HER)
• Identify gaps in coverage
• Assign measures of significance
In addition, the structure of the 4G2 programme makes it clear that a secondary purpose of this project is to provide supporting evidence for the production of guidance for curators, which is intended to be undertaken as a subsequent project under NHPP 4G2 (RaSMIS no. 6397).

Objectives and Outcomes:
The objectives are to:
1. Identify a study area for this project that would best achieve its aims.
2. Review existing fieldwalking data as well as other ploughzone records where possible (such as the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) database), within the study area.
3. Identify any gaps in coverage (spatial, chronological and quality).
4. Provide data for the enhancement of the local HER and the National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) datasets.
5. Select and assess appropriate measures of significance.
6. Suggest appropriate approaches to management based upon significance.
7. Assess national applicability of 5 and 6 above.

Protection outcomes
For the study area (and comparator areas if possible):
• Enhanced HER/NRHE datasets.
• Detailed assessments of significance.
• Recommendations for protection.
More generally:
• Helping to inform guidance on HER/NRHE workflows to improve reliability of data acquisition;
• Helping to inform guidance on assessing the significance of ploughzone archaeology assets.
• Contribution towards suggestions for suitable management approaches.

Business case:
The management and protection of ploughzone archaeology assets is a complex issue. Since many such 'sites' have no buried features and their exact definition, in terms of both nature and extent, is not always straightforward, many established approaches are not available. For this reason, protection measures for ploughzone archaeology will need a foundation of high quality data within HERs and the NRHE in order to allow balanced evidence-based statements of significance to be made. These can then feed into the development control process and discussion of agri-environment options. To support this process, the provision of high quality guidance will also be a vital component in the on-going management of ploughzone archaeology.

Although based on a limited area it is intended that this study will be relevant nationally. This project will provide essential underpinning for future approaches to data enhancement and the production of guidance in the next plan period.

Study Area (ie PAS data requirement):
Study Area A is centred approximately 20km north-west of Hull in East Yorkshire. It measures 219km2 in area is made up of thirteen complete parishes, namely:

The final study area was confirmed with Ruth Atkinson, Senior Sites and Monuments Record Officer at Humber Archaeology Partnership, on the 6th November 2014. The initial proposed area was extended by the addition of Walkington parish in order to include an uninterrupted section of the Asselby-to-Ganstead gas pipeline, thereby including a continuous stretch of the archaeological investigations undertaken along that route.

Since the confirmation of the primary study area I have downloaded and exported the publically available PAS data (4-fig grid refs only) parish by parish as .csv files, and complied into single data table (see below). It is possible to make very broad statements summarising the quantity, discovery methods and parish-based distribution from this, but it is not possible to represent this data usefully in the project GIS or to correlate it satisfactorily with HER and NRHE monument and activity records. As such, I would like to request my PAS user account to be upgraded to allow me to access the full records for artefacts collected in these parishes. The full grid references would not be published in the final report, and the equivalent layer could be removed from the final project GIS if it is decided to make the GIS more widely accessible.

Rebecca Pullen, Investigator, Assessment Team (North), Heritage Protection Department, English Heritage.
I am a member of the Activity Team (panel) for Ploughzone Archaeology at English Heritage, and I am the project lead and main contact for the research project outlined above.

Magnus Alexander, Senior Investigator, Assessment Team (East), Heritage Protection Department, English Heritage.
Magnus is the Activity Lead for Ploughzone Archaeology at English Heritage, and he is the Project Manager for the research project outlined above. Contact details provided in the boxes below.

Project duration:
The project began in the summer of 2014 and is intended to complete before the end of 2015.

Audit data

  • Created: 7 years ago
  • Created by: Daniel Pett
  • Updated: 7 years ago
  • Updated by: Daniel Pett

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