The Nottinghamshire Aggregates Resource Assessment
About the ProjectThe Nottinghamshire Aggregates Resource Assessment was undertaken jointly by staff of Nottinghamshire County Council and Trent & Peak Archaeology between 2009 and 2012, and culminated in the publication in May 2013 of a guidance booklet entitled Aggregates andArchaeology in Nottinghamshire. It is expected that this document, together with the archive report and the Geographical Information System (GIS) that underpins it, will be consulted prior to the development of archaeological schemes of treatment in the aggregates-producing areas of the County. A copy of the published booklet in electronic pdf format is available here, while a hard copy may be obtained free of charge from Christine Kyriacou at York Archaeological Trust (email@example.com). The 2012 archive report will also shortly be available in pdf format from this website. The GIS may be consulted by application to the Nottinghamshire HistoricEnvironment Team, and should be consulted at the earliest opportunity to identify the potential archaeological resource of proposed development areas. BackgroundThe project was conducted with funding from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, distributed by English Heritage on behalf of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and from the national perspective forms part of a package of Aggregates Resource Assessments that together provide a valuable resource for assessing the archaeological potential of the aggregates-producing areas of England. We have liaised closely with colleagues working in neighbouring areas of the Midlands with the aim of achieving compatible end products, and with this in mind have employed the landform element methodology that was pioneered in the Till-Tweed catchment and extended subsequently to Derbyshire and the Peak District. Efforts have been made to ensure compatibility with current national guidelines for archaeological investigations in advance of mineral extraction. These are expounded in a suite of guidance booklets, including Mineral Extraction and Archaeology: A Practice Guide. Readers are referred to the latter document for a valuable summary of appropriate assessment, evaluation and mitigation techniques and to the Sustainable Aggregates website for an up to date and concise summary of the planning background, good practice and other operational considerations. The published booklet was written by David Knight and Ursilla Spence, building upon Historic Environment Record data provided by Virginia Baddeley and David Budge and a GIS developed by Andy Gaunt, and was designed by Lesley Collett of York Archaeological Trust. It focuses upon the assessment, evaluation and mitigation techniques that should be employed during the development of archaeological schemes of treatment in advance of aggregates extraction and the research priorities that should inform these, and draws upon an archive report incorporating detailed assessments by period of the archaeological remains that have been recorded in the aggregates-producing areas of Nottinghamshire. This information is presented in the archive report in a tabular format for ease of reference, with details for each class of site of appropriate assessment, evaluation and mitigation strategies. Aims and ObjectivesThe principal aims of the Aggregates Resource Assessment were to assess the archaeological resource of those parts of Nottinghamshire that are potentially available for aggregates extraction, provide guidelines for assessment, evaluation and mitigation in advance of mineral extraction and define the key priorities for research. Nottingham City, which incorporates no areas that are likely to be targeted for aggregates extraction in the foreseeable future, was excluded from consideration, although archaeological sites within the City boundary are shown in the maps that accompany the archive report and published guidance document. The built environment resource was also excluded, although full consideration was given to earthworks and other archaeological remains indicative of standing buildings, and it is hoped that opportunities will arise in the future to integrate more effectively the archaeological and built environment heritage. It is hoped that the published guidance document will provide a concise and useful synthesis of the archaeological resource for the aggregates industry, planners, curators, consultants, contracting units and other historic environment stakeholders, facilitate decisions on strategic planning, management and the preservation of archaeological remains and historic landscapes, and increase general awareness of Nottinghamshire's archaeological resource. For this purpose, we have compiled tabular summaries of the archaeological evidence by period, with the aim of creating a user-friendly resource that may be easily updated as new discoveries emerge. These tables may be viewed in the archive report, together with all of the distribution maps generated from the project GIS, and in the published guidance document we include a concise summary by period of the data contained in these tables and a selection of the maps compiled during the project. The resource assessment tables provide the springboard for tabular summaries of assessment, evaluation and mitigation techniques that should be considered when developing archaeological schemes of investigation and a research agenda and strategy for each archaeological period. Attention is focused upon areas where British Geological Survey data indicate bedrock or superficial deposits suitable for use as aggregates. This has restricted the survey to assessments of the archaeological resource of the Triassic Sherwood Sandstone Group, the Permian Magnesian Limestone escarpment and the Superficial Sands and Gravels (principally of the Trent and its tributaries). Within these zones, we have focused upon areas beyond established settlements that are potentially available for mineral exploitation. References to sites outside the aggregates- producing areas have been made where appropriate, but a systematic survey of the archaeological resource of Nottinghamshire beyond the areas potentially available for aggregates extraction has not been attempted.The key objectives of the project underpinning this document were to:1. Define the total aggregates resource of Nottinghamshire and identify, from data held by Nottinghamshire County Council as the County Minerals Planning Authority, areas of past, present and potential extraction. This embraces all sources of fine to coarse rock particles used in construction, which for the Nottinghamshire minerals industry comprises sand, gravel and crushed limestone. 2. Define a series of Aggregate Character Areas by reference to variations in the character of the superficial and bedrock deposits that may be utilised for aggregates production. These areas, of Magnesian Limestone, Sherwood Sandstone and Superficial Sand and Gravel, form the foundation of this resource assessment, and it is hoped will provide a clear framework for decision-making by mineral planners, developers, heritage professionals and other stakeholders. 3. Assess from Historic Environment Record (HER) data and other sources the archaeological resource of each Aggregate Character Area (ACA) and of the landform elements within these. Full details are provided in the on-line archive report, while a concise synthesis for each period and tabulated summaries of the archaeological resource of each landform are provided in the published booklet. The Nottinghamshire HER was enhanced for this purpose, and all available data were incorporated into a Geographical Information System (GIS) tailored to the needs of this assessment. Interpretation of the GIS data has been facilitated by the sub-division of each ACA into Landform Elements. These may be defined simply as geomorphologically and topographically distinct landform units, and provide a valuable framework for assessing spatial variability in the archaeological and environmental resource and for identifying appropriate assessment, evaluation and mitigation techniques. The landform element approach forms the foundation of the Derbyshire and Peak District Resource Assessment, and was employed in this study with the aim of ensuring compatibility between the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire assessments. 4. Develop recommendations for the most appropriate assessment, evaluation and mitigation techniques to be adopted for the identification and study of particular categories of site within each landform element 5. Develop a period-based archaeological research agenda and strategy tailored to the needs of each Character Area, taking into account the research priorities identified in the Updated Research Agenda andStrategy for the Historic Environment of the East Midlands. 6. Increase the awareness of the minerals industry, planners and other historic environment stakeholders of the archaeological resource preserved within the aggregates-producing areas of Nottinghamshire. It is anticipated that assessment, evaluation and mitigation strategies will evolve as knowledge accumulates and techniques of investigation develop. This assessment should be seen, therefore, as a living document requiring periodic updating as our understanding of the archaeology of aggregates-producing areas in Nottinghamshire grows and the effectiveness of particular investigative strategies develops.
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