Site Challenges – Archaeology

Our projects often require us to have knowledge beyond our areas of specialism. We may think of ourselves as a “Jack of all trades, a master of none” but as the saying continues ” . . . is often better than a master of one.” Indeed we are very skilled in architecture, but we also need to know a lot about other specialisms, such as ecology, structure, drainage, arboriculture, and archaeology to name just a few.

When it comes to Archaeology, it’s now common for the Local Planning Authority to ask for evidence to prove or disprove what may be in the ground as part of a planning application. Some sites are particularly sensitive, such as a school in Gloucester we dealt with recently where the site was within the grounds of an abbey and so designated a Scheduled Monument. This led to extensive investigations through a Desktop Study (review of historical information) and then a Watching Brief whereby an Archaeologist would monitor the groundworks as services were laid and foundations constructed. But Archaeology can be a factor on sites where there has been any historic use.

Our projects at John Port Spencer Academy in Derby sit on the site of the old Etwall Hall. The hall was once the ancestral home of the Port family who bought land in the village, south-west of Derby, in 1495. The mansion was demolished in 1955 and replaced with Etwall County Secondary Modern School and John Port Grammar, utilising 12-acres of parkland for playing fields and built around the two remaining ornamental lakes. The schools amalgamated in 1959 to create the John Port School which remains on the site today. (Image: Derbyshire Live.)

As part of the ongoing developments, we have appointed an archaeology consultant and have been involved in detailed discussions relating to the past use and the plans for new buildings.

There’s a lot more to architecture than drawings!

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