Planning and building

Guidance for archaeological work

Archaeological survey of ridge and furrow earthworks

A ridge and furrow survey may be required if part or all of the earthworks are under threat of destruction. The area of survey will be defined by the City Archaeologist.

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Use an electronic distance measurement (EDM) to record the location, course and spot heights of the individual ridges (top) and base of furrows.

Spot heights on ridges and furrows should be at either 10 or 20 meters depending on the size of the survey area.

Plot the ridge and furrow onto a modern site plan using the surveyed field boundaries as reference points. Define the top of the ridges with a long dashed line, and the base of the furrows with a short dashed line.

Record representative profiles through a sequence of ridge and furrow in the field at 1:50.

Relate the spot heights to the Ordnance Survey datum from an established benchmark.

There must be a search of aerial photographs and Lidar which should be included within the report if useful.

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The report should include:

  • a plan of site with scale and 8 figure National Grid Reference
  • reason for survey
  • plots of ridge and furrow and details of field visits
  • photographs from site
  • discussion of the site and any archaeological/historical information available from York's Historic Environment Record
  • list of sources consulted
  • aerial photographs with transcription of ridge and furrow and other potential archaeological features
  • an index to and details of the location of the physical and digital archive

The long term care of the project archive must be provided for. All the original material and paper archive must be prepared for deposition with an approved archaeological depository such as the Yorkshire Museum. These Institutions will charge to cover the long-term curation of the archaeological archive. The requirements of the receiving Institution must be identified at the time of producing an estimate for the scheme of investigation.

The digital archive must be deposited with the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) and costed at the outset.

Our Historic Environment Record (HER) supports the 'Online Access to Index of Archaeological Investigations' (OASIS) project; the archaeological contractor must complete the online OASIS form. We will only accept reports as digital files. The report must be submitted as portable document format (PDF) files.

Once a report has become a public document by forming part of a planning application, we will place the information on our website.

  • The contractor must give at least seven days notice in writing of the start of works on site to City Archaeologist
  • The contractor may be subject to regular monitoring visits by us
  • Reasonable access to the site must be given at all times to the City Archaeologist
  • All work must be undertaken in a professional manner in line with Standards and Guidance

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Also see


City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA