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National Implementation of the Conservation of Scheduled Monuments in Cultivation Assessment (Cosmic 3)

Front cover for National Implementation of the Conservation of Scheduled Monuments in Cultivation Assessment (Cosmic 3)

Final Report, Project Number 6144

By Oxford Archaeology South

This report is an assessment of the risk to scheduled monuments from arable cultivation ie ploughing. It is not simply a point in time survey but also was intended as a tool to help manage this type of heritage at risk. COSMIC 3 assessed all monuments with a Heritage at Risk arable vulnerability, irrespective of whether this placed them on the Heritage at Risk register, or at vulnerable/low risk. It assessed the current risk and the mitigation required to bring the monument into favourable condition. For the purpose of assessment, each monument was broken down into fields or land parcels, a separate assessment was produced for each.

Key findings of the report were that:

  • Assessments were carried out on 1,587 monuments covering 3,953 land parcels.
  • Of the land parcels assessed, the archaeology in 51% was considered to be at low or minimum risk, and 24% at serious or high risk.
  • The assessment identified regional variation in risk, with the South West and Yorkshire & Humber having the most fields at serious or high risk. As these areas also exhibited the highest numbers of low and minimum risk fields, this is merely a reflection of the number of monuments in each region and the scale of arable cultivation within them.
  • The assessment has suggested that nationally, up to 130 monuments currently on HAR are at low or minimum risk in their entirety, and that 50-99% of the fields relating to a further 166 monuments currently on HAR are also at low or minimum risk. A further 242 monuments currently on HAR are assessed under COSMIC 3 as being at moderate risk in their entirety.

English Heritage - now Historic England - commissioned Oxford Archaeology to carry out the research. It was originally commissioned as part of wider work within the National Heritage Protection Plan on the impacts of agriculture and forestry. Where this report refers to the work of English Heritage or EH, these functions are now carried out by Historic England.


Executive Summary
1. Introduction
2. Summary of Outline Methodology
3. Summary of Results
4. Conclusions
5. Bibliography
Appendix 1: detailed methodology and assumptions used when filling out the model and recording of data
Appendix 2: Typical Letter and Questionnaire

Additional Information

  • Publication Status: Completed


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