Historic Wreck Sites At Risk: A Risk Management Toolkit

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A potential cause of harm to an archaeological site or monument is known as a hazard. The effects of a hazard upon archaeological deposits equate to a measure of risk and so ‘risk’ in this context therefore means uncertainty of outcome. Where assessed, an Historic Wreck Site will be considered to be at high risk if there is a significant likelihood of loss or further loss of historical, archaeological or artistic significance from it within the foreseeable future.

Historic England recognises that natural processes, such as erosion, cannot always be prevented. Historic Wreck Sites that are subject to such forces will not be considered at risk if they are subject to a planned programme of managed change, recording and investigation.

This document, comprising an update to a Risk Management Handbook published in 2008, describes a methodology to be adopted by Historic England, contract archaeologists, Licensees and others engaged in the risk assessment and risk management of England’s Historic Wreck Sites.

The Risk Assessment Template Sheet is available to download as a Word file below:

The document also forms part of a wider initiative to assess the state of all designated historic assets and to understand their current management patterns, their likely future trajectory and how that can be influenced to ensure that their significance is maintained for both present and future generations.


  • Introduction
  • Condition assessment
  • Measuring vulnerability
  • Recording fields
  • Recording definitions and codes
  • Risk assessment methods
  • Risk assessment template sheet
  • Annex
  • References
  • Where to get advice
  • Acknowledgements

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 24
  • Product Code: HEAG178


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