Isle of Wight ALSF National Mapping Programme project
The Isle of Wight produces both aggregates (sands and gravels) and chalk and the existing Isle of Wight Unitary Development Plan (UDP) (adopted 18 May 2001) anticipated that the island would continue to need to provide these resources, primarily for internal consumption. The extraction of these mineral resources is governed by the existing Isle of Wight UDP (IOW 2001) and was due to be addressed in the Minerals Developments Documents which were being developed as part of the emerging Local Development Framework (LDF).
In view of a review of planning policy and in the context of similar projects undertaken in Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Hampshire, a survey of the archaeology of the Isle of Wight focussing on areas where aggregates (and other mineral resources) have been extracted, are extracted or will potentially be extracted was carried out. It was intended that this assessment would provide a foundation for both the application of existing minerals planning policy and the development of future policies and to facilitate a greater interface between those with an archaeological interest in these areas and those involved with minerals planning and extraction.
The primary aim of the project was to improve knowledge of the archaeological resource of the aggregate producing areas of the Isle of Wight. This was designed to provide the appropriate tools to facilitate strategic planning decisions and the management and preservation of archaeological sites and historic landscapes within those areas. The project will also increase public, industry and other stakeholders’ awareness of the archaeology and historic landscapes within the aggregate areas.
The interpretation and mapping element of the project contributed to this aim by providing significant enhancement to existing baseline data through the mapping, interpretation and recording of over 500 previously unrecorded archaeological features ranging in date from the Neolithic period to the end of the Second World War. In terms of the kinds of sites potentially visible on aerial photographs, this amounts to a 76% increase in the archaeological record within the two project areas.
Key results included the identification of three possible Neolithic long barrows. The distribution of Bronze Age barrows, traditional considered to be confined to the chalk uplands, was significantly expanded with the recording of 59 new sites, several of which lie on the lower arable land to the south of the chalk. Many later prehistoric sites were recorded including round houses, enclosures and field systems. Whilst few sites dating to the medieval period were mapped, significant numbers of sites dating to the post medieval period and the early twentieth century were plotted including the site of a previously unrecorded heavy anti-aircraft battery dating to World War Two.
The key findings from the project can be found in the report
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Historic Places Investigation
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