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Heritage Standards

This page provides details on GLAAS' role in maintaining and promoting best practice in the way archaeological work is carried out.

It is important that archaeological investigations in London are carried out to the highest standards and using up-to-date professional methods. The National Planning Policy Framework  (NPPF) requires developers to record and advance understanding of the significance of any heritage assets affected by schemes.

Excavation of a nineteenth century tannery at Greenwich High Street
Excavation of a nineteenth century tannery at Greenwich High Street in 2008

Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service Standards and Guidance

Archaeological excavation in particular is a destructive process. The records (written, drawn and photographic; as well as the artefacts and ecofacts) will be the only evidence of a site for future generations to understand it. Consistency of record keeping enables one site to be usefully compared to another. Such considerations are important in any investigation, whether secured through the planning process or independently from it.

We have a number of Standards and Guidance Papers. These set out standards for archaeological work across Greater London, which we invite local authorities to endorse. The current version is dated May 2014.

Other London Heritage Standards and Guidance

The City of London has parallel guidelines. We base our guidance on that of the ALGAO and IFA, as well as on a series of English Heritage papers, which can be found on the Training and Skills  web pages.

We also endorse the use of the Museum of London Site Recording Manual and the Museum of London's London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre archive deposition guidelines.

In particular, we want to ensure that adequate information is submitted in support of planning applications, to understand any heritage asset that might be affected, and to enable prompt and informed decisions to be made. Fieldwork and site recording should be done to commonly accepted standards and with compatible record-keeping, to allow inter-site comparisons.

Post-excavation assessment should be comprehensive, and make appropriate proposals for publication. Publication and dissemination of the salient results of investigations should be prompt and of good quality. The ordered site records must be deposited with a suitable archive, to enable future research.

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