Aggregate-related archaeology in England in a changing environment
Published:April 01, 2011
Antony G. Brown, 2011. "Aggregate-related archaeology in England in a changing environment", Geoarchaeology, Climate Change, and Sustainability, Antony G. Brown, Laura S. Basell, Karl W. Butzer
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The Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) tax on aggregate (sand and gravel) producers in England has provided the funding for a large number of aggregate-related archaeological projects by English Heritage since 2002. One of these projects was a review, presented herein, of aggregate-related archaeology both prior and subsequent to the introduction by the UK government of new Planning Guidance Note 16 (PPG16) in 1990. This guidance advised local authorities to impose archaeological conditions upon aggregate producers seeking new permissions and extensions for aggregate working. The review commissioned by English Heritage also examined the temporal and spatial variation in interventions using data collected by the Archaeological Investigations Project (AIP) based at Bournemouth University. This paper reveals trends over time largely related to the state of the economy and aggregate demand, and more significantly, large regional variations in both the number of archaeological interventions and the number of interventions encountering archaeology. While some of this variation is geologically related (hard aggregate– vs. soft aggregate–dominated regions), some variation is not, and may relate to variations in the archaeological planning process. Observations are also made as to the problems faced by archaeological interventions in aggregate quarries in accordance with planning procedures. This paper also draws attention to the probable direct and indirect effects of the changing hydrological and legislative climate on the aggregate industry and the implications this could have for aggregate-related archaeology in England, and by implication other developed countries.