Archaeological evaluation / Archaeological test-pitting

Archaeological trenchingArchaeological evaluation involves quite literally evaluating the presence, nature and preservation of archaeological remains within a development area. Archaeological evaluation usually occurs in the pre-determination or pre-application stage of the planning process, and involves the excavation of trenches, the size and number of which is usually decided upon as a percentage of the land area which is going to be developed (usually 3-10% depending on the Local Authority involved).

The results of the evaluation decides the level of mitigation (if any) that will be imposed as a planning condition on the site in question.

Often, these trenches are excavated in the first instance by a mechanical excavator, such as a JCB, under archaeological supervision. The archaeologists then take over with hand tools as soon as the first archaeological horizon is uncovered.The trenches are cleaned, features investigated and in some cases environmental samples taken and artefacts sent to specialists where necessary.

Where working space is restricted or only small areas of excavation required by the Local Authority, archaeological test-pitting is often a requirement for evaluation, rather than large trenches.

These test-pits are a quick way of evaluating an area though their window on the archaeological remains is much smaller. Test-pitting is also often used on sensitive areas such as graveyards when attempting to find wall foundations for repair or replacement.

Where possible, test-pits are usually excavated purely by hand, though in cases where tarmac or other modern overburden has to be removed a small mechanical excavator is often used.

Vindomora Solutions Ltd offer a full evaluation and test-pitting service, calling on a number of specialists (where required) to make sure the work is completed as soon as possible to the highest quality in order to inform the planning process.

Our Services

News and updates

Instagram here we come


As a few if you are aware, we’ve had an Instagram account for some time now but have failed to really use it. Having now discovered the joys of Instagram through the PC desktop I’m pleased to announce that we’ve started to put our ‘historical’ working shots on Instagram for your enjoyment/bemusement/amusement.

Read More »
Late prehistoric pit, Northumberland

Late prehistoric pit

Here’s a nice (if I do say so myself) 3-D model of a 0.9m diameter pit uncovered during an evaluation in Northumberland during the summer of 2019. The pit is likely late prehistoric in origin with at least two periods of use.

Read More »
Vindomora Solutions Ltd
Archaeological Practice

Registered Office
2nd floor Prospect House
Prospect Business Park
Valley View
County Durham DH8 7PW

Company Registration No. 9505415
Registered in England & Wales

Share this page on...

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on print