Archaeology Process –
avoid any delays and ensure the best strategy
We are a heritage and archaeological consultancy firm that exports services around the country and across the globe.
UOA provide specialist research into our nation’s heritage through historic and archaeological means. By investigating archaeological material we can understand what has driven us to the decisions we have made as a nation as well as how we have coped with social, political, economic events in the past and even how we have and will cope with environmental issues like climate change.
Many of our towns and cities throughout New Zealand had both prehistoric and/or historic occupation prior to the date 1900. If you are working in such an area or suspect it might be a possibility, you will require the services of an archaeologist. This includes all built structures and buildings, and land occupied prior to the date 1900, irrespective of whether it is part of the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero. (See www.heritage.org.nz/the-list) or scheduled on a District Plan.
As consultant archaeologists we offer a thorough examination of any property at hand, fulfilling all legal obligations as laid out in the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act (2014), Protected Objects Act (1975) and Resource Management Act (1991) that may affect your development. Our professional services also include evidence and documents required for resource consents for council hearings and environment court as well as expert testimony.
The Archaeological Process
Like other consent applications from Crown Entities, government and local council bodies, the process to determine if an archaeological authority is required and application can take several weeks or months. As a result, we recommend completing your due diligence as early as possible to avoid any delays and ensure the best strategy for your development in regard to any heritage/archaeological components. These should be undertaken well before breaking ground and/or demolition.
The following paragraphs outline the key services we provide to fulfil your requirements.
An archaeological appraisal is a quick and easy method to determine if an archaeological authority is required for a development. It is the first stage for due diligence when purchasing and/or looking to undertake a site development. It will establish if a structure and/or site has been occupied prior to 1900, triggering Act requirements. We also provide specific earthquake related appraisals which fall under the Earthquake Order of the HNZPTA established post the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes.
If an archaeological appraisal determines that an archaeological authority is required, an archaeological assessment must form part of your application to Heritage New Zealand. We provide archaeological assessments for both single site developments and large-scale projects (a Global Archaeological Assessment). It is usually at this point that we will assign a project manager to your project. They will liaise with you throughout the archaeological process until a final report is submitted to Heritage New Zealand.
An archaeological assessment will:
- Outline the purpose of the investigation
- Present statutory requirements
- Collate historical archival material that establishes a pre-1900 date of occupation
- Investigate previously recorded sites within the site area and other similar sites
- Assess site features, including a site visit to produce a documentary record and site plan
- Assess the significance of the site
- Provide advice on how to deal with the site during modification
A Global Archaeological Assessment will include the above legal requirements in addition to:
- GIS mapping
- GIS heritage and cultural risk management assessments and reporting
- Predictive modelling for heritage and cultural risk management
Post Archaeological Authority application services
Once an archaeological authority is granted, there are a variety of conditions that can be required to fulfil the authority requirements.
Where there is an existing structure to be demolished which was built prior to 1900, a condition of an archaeological authority is to record it before demolition is undertaken. There are three different levels of recording for standing structures. The level of recording is dependent on what has been outlined in the authority. For further information about the different levels of recording for buildings and standing structure as per Heritage New Zealand requirements. The process usually involves the systematic stripping back of structural elements to determine original dimensions, layouts and changes over time.
Our services include:
- Assessing the building and or standing structure
- Detailed measurements of structural features
- Plan and section drawings of building layout and important structural features
- Monitoring of demolition and removal of important structural features
- Monitoring excavations under and surrounding the structure
- Recovering artefacts and taking specialist samples
Site Monitoring and Excavation
Site developments often require a certain degree of ground disturbance. This can include demolition and removal of structural founds, service trenching, site preparation for new foundations or removal of foliage. We provide expert archaeologists to work alongside other site contractors during ground works to record and recover any features and artefacts. Prior to site works commencing we also provide site briefings for all personnel, any relevant risk management maps and plans and, design site specific strategies to ensure fast and comprehensive recording.
Artefact and Specialist Analysis
Site monitoring and excavations usually uncover a wide range of artefacts and/or features that require analysis and interpretation. With a dedicated laboratory space, we provide specialist analysis of all historic and prehistoric artefacts and faunal analysis. Where required, we also subcontract to other specialist fields for radiocarbon dating, charcoal and dendrochronology and, conservation treatment.
Interim and final reports
As part of every archaeological authority, an interim report and/or final report is required to summarise the results of the archaeological investigations. This is completed by your assigned project manager and will fulfil all legal obligations under your archaeological Authority.