The Heritage Management Services (HMS) department at Oxford Archaeology is often the first point of contact in the archaeological journey

It provides pre-planning and pre-construction advice and the production of a range of associated reports, including archaeological desk-based assessments, heritage impact assessments (which look more widely at the potential for a site to contain or affect built heritage or historic landscape sites) and, for larger schemes, environmental impact assessments.  

In addition to this, we work on a wide range of strategic and research projects, including condition and management surveys, landscape characterisation projects, and specialist maritime, military and industrial archaeology projects. Members of the HMS department also have public inquiry experience.

Desk-based assessments

Local planning authorities may request a desk-based assessment to assess whether archaeology is likely to be found on a site and what level of groundwork is needed. A desk-based assessment is a review of historical documents relevant to a site. Our experts assess this information to determine how the area was used in the past and what archaeological remains are likely to survive.

Environmental impact assessments

Environmental impact assessments, or EIAs, consider the effects that a development, such as road schemes or urban regeneration, may have on the known and potential archaeology of the area or on historic buildings and landscapes. We work closely with designers and project teams to understand and reduce any potential impacts on the cultural heritage resource. 

We have contributed to some of the most high-profile EIAs in the UK. We undertook assessments for High Speed 1 and the airport expansions at Heathrow and Stansted, and our work on the Highways Agency's Design Manual for Roads and Bridges created the best practice template for cultural heritage assessment. 

Heritage statements and advice

As leaders in the sector, our we are often chosen to carry out research and provide strategy and policy advice to local and regional authorities, as well as national and international heritage institutions.