Archaeological contractors are the people that carry out day-to-day excavation work as part of the development
control process. When a planning department places an archaeological condition on a development, then it is the
responsibility of the developer to arrange for this work to be carried out. Normally a 'brief' is written by the
curatorial archaeologist, outlining exactly what work needs to be done and the standard to which it should be
completed. The developer then sends this brief out to a number of archaeological contractors. These send back a
quote for the cost and time needed to complete this work and the developer can pick and chose amongst these quotes.
While the work is taking place, the curator monitors it to ensure that it is being carried out properly.
Archaeological contractors can range in size from one person, just operating in his or her own area, to large
nationwide organisations employing a hundred or more staff. Many began life as the 'rescue archaeology' units of the
1960's and 70's but others have been newly set up as a direct response to 'development control' archaeology.
Developers planning large projects such as new roads or pipelines now usually employ an archaeological contractor
as a consultant at an early stage in planning their scheme. These consultants carefully assess the proposed route
of the new road, pipeline etc to identify any archaeological sites at an early date. It may then be possible to
modify the plans to avoid these sites, both saving the archaeology from destruction and saving the developer from
the expense of an excavation. Even if rerouting the road to avoid the archaeology is not practical, the developer
can arrange for the site to be excavated long before construction work begins. This avoids the risk of the
development being held up by a last minute archaeological excavation.
Return to Development Led Excavation.