Planning and building

Guidance for archaeological work

Archaeological field walking

Fieldwalking is sometimes required in order to collect any artefacts which have been turned up by the plough. The area of the fieldwalking will be specified by the City Archaeologist.

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During the evaluation the following methodologies must be followed:

  • the field must have been ploughed and harrowed and the turned soil needs to be weathered for a couple of weeks before the fieldwalking commences
  • the field shall be laid out with a grid at relevant intervals and walked by a relevant number of fieldwalkers each scanning a 2 meter area
  • the finds from each grid will be bagged and labelled with the relevant grid square
  • any important or interesting finds will be washed, marked and catalogued
  • finds must be assessed by a suitable specialist
  • significant finds (for example flint tools, diagnostic pottery sherds) will be photographed and drawn

All finders of gold and silver objects, and groups of coins from the same finds, over 300 years old, have a legal obligation to report such items under the Treasure Act 1996. Prehistoric base-metal assemblages found after 1 January 2003 also qualify as Treasure.

If anything is found which could be Treasure, under the Treasure Act 1996, it is a legal requirement to report it to the local coroner within 14 days of discovery. The Archaeological Contractor must comply with the procedures set out in The Treasure Act 1996. Any treasure must be reported to the coroner and to The Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Liaison Officer who can provide guidance on the Treasure Act procedures.

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The report should include:

  • a plan of site with scale, including size of fieldwalking area and 8 figure National Grid Reference
  • reason for fieldwalking program
  • methodology and recording procedures
  • plan showing location of finds
  • photographs from site
  • discussion of the site and any archaeological/historical information available from the Historic Environment Record (HER)
  • summary of results and any recommendations for further work
  • list of sources consulted
  • 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 - further information may be required by the City of York Archaeologist in certain cases. We will only accept reports as digital files. The report must be submitted as a PDF file or 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 7 days notice in writing of the start of works on site to the 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 to CIFA Standards and Guidance.

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Also see


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