IMG 2152 Copy 2Oxford Archaeology (OA) has been commissioned by Historic England to assess the potential risk to buried archaeological remains as a result of the installation of trench arch drainage systems in churchyards. The project is primarily desk-based and involves gathering information on different designs of trench arch drainage systems; collecting data on the prevalence of these systems in different dioceses and the reasons for their installation; and identifying examples where installation has resulted in physical impacts to archaeological remains. The project will provide an assessment of the expected risks from installation and use of these systems.

Employing in-house archaeologists and specialists in human osteology, GIS, heritage management and environmental archaeology, OA is working in consultation with experts in the degradation of archaeological human bone and objects from the Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford; a specialist in the construction and design of trench arch systems and a diocesan archaeological adviser.

The final report will inform Historic England’s future advice on faculty applications and help others involved in decisions made under the Ecclesiastical Exemption and secular planning system. Future guidance will draw on this current project, to meet the overall aim of achieving a balance between conserving heritage and continuing to promote the use of churches by the community in the long term.

We are inviting archaeologists, who have worked on a trench arch drainage scheme in a churchyard, to complete our online survey by 11th September 2015. The survey should not take more than 30 minutes.

Please click here to be taken to the survey :

Thank you for your time. Your help in making this work practical, accurate and well informed is greatly appreciated.