Broom Quarry, Bedfordshire
Tarmac enlisted the help of AJA to manage archaeological issues on the proposed extension of their Broom Quarry. Lying within an archaeologically rich landscape, the extension was likely to encounter some archaeological sites, but no one could have predicted the extent or quality of preservation of the desk-based assessment, archaeology revealed by the geophysical survey and trial-trenching.
A suite of settlements dating from the Iron Age, Roman and Saxon periods were located immediately below the ploughsoil, presenting a significant constraint that threatened to prevent all development.
Through discussion with Tarmac, the Mineral Planning Authority and the County Archaeologist, a compromise position was reached that allowed the most significant archaeology to be preserved in situ, with archaeological excavation of the remainder taking place in advance of extraction under the management of AJA.
AJA is also helping Tarmac with cultural heritage issues at 15 other sites in the UK.
Brackagh Quarry, Northern Ireland
As part of an EIA for the expansion of Creagh Concrete's Brackagh Quarry, Quarryplan Ltd identified a scheduled monument immediately outside the proposed extension boundary. Although not physically affected, the Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service raised concerns that the setting of the monument – a prehistoric tomb – would be significantly altered.
Quarryplan commissioned AJA to assess the setting of the monument and devise a mitigation strategy that would minimise impact on the monument without significantly affecting landtake.
Working with landscape architects and Quarryplan (chartered quarrying consultants), a strategy was designed that took into account archaeological, topographical and mineral reserve factors. Arguments based on legislation, planning guidance and comparative cases were made. An assessment was prepared, accompanied by a high-quality restoration scheme that would maintain the setting of the monument, whilst for the first time allow public access and appreciation.
AJA has provided consultancy services to Quarryplan on over 25 projects across the UK since 2006.
North Park Quarry, Surrey
During an archaeological watching brief of soil stripping prior to extraction, an extraordinary Mesolithic flint working site was discovered at Sibelco’s North Park Quarry. Although a thorough trial-trenching evaluation had taken place prior to the grant of planning consent, the Mesolithic site had not been found as it lay concealed below a windblown sand and at a depth not normally associated with archaeology.
Faced with either sterilisation of important reserves of silica sand or expensive archaeological excavation, Sibelco invited AJA to co-ordinate a strategy that would both satisfy archaeological sensitivities and commercial requirements.
Working with the Surrey County Archaeological Unit and environmental archaeologists at the University of London, a proposal was made to English Heritage. We argued that not only was the site of national importance, but that its discovery could not have been predicted. English Heritage agreed, and after a period of consultation, a grant of £175,000 was allocated from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund to allow detailed excavation, analysis and publication to proceed.
AJA is working with Sibelco on 7 other sites in England.
Ada Tepe, Bulgaria
Bulgarian archaeologists working on a hill proposed for a gold mine discovered evidence for gold mining dating back four millennia, making it the second oldest known gold mine in the world. In the face of international concerns, Dundee Precious Metals brought in AJA to liaise with the State archaeologists and co-ordinate a $2million archaeological excavation, leading to full analysis and publication of the findings.
An exciting project to create an interactive museum is being designed by AJA and Bulgaria’s leading architect. Aimed particularly at children, the museum and outdoor park will recreate life in the Bronze Age and allow visitors to try their hand at gold panning, archaeological excavation, making tools and pottery, as well as learning about gold mining from the prehistoric to the modern era.
AJA is also advising Dundee on other projects in Armenia and Serbia.
AJA use their wide ranging expertise to advise clients on the potential effects of urban development in relation to archaeology, historic buildings, townscapes and conservation areas. The UK’s historic cities have a deep stratigraphy of archaeological deposits created by centuries of redevelopment. Often in riverside locations, flooding events have increased the complexity of interpretation and quality of preservation, through alluvial deposition.
Recent work has included consideration of the effects of a proposed development upon the World Heritage Site at Greenwich, an assessment of archaeology, listed buildings and the conservation area in the historic core of Bedford and a similar assessment, including a standing building survey for Shrewsbury’s Urban Extension.