18. Project design and project report checklists and definitions

## Definitions of project report and design sections

### Non-technical summary
This should outline in plain, non-technical language the principal reason for the work, its objectives and main results. It should include reference to authorship and commissioning body.

### Introduction or Introductory Statements
This should set out the scope of the project, circumstances leading to the commission of the report, circumstances and dates of fieldwork, acknowledgements, any restrictions on reporting or access to relevant records, a brief archaeological, historical, topographical or technical background to the site. Also describe the size of the site, and state who carried out the project.

### Site description
Description of the structure, building or complex as found including archaeological interpretation of sequence, construction or function, use of materials. The description should use terminology appropriate to the architecture of the period. The results of any associated belowground archaeological work should be incorporated into the site
description.

### Aims and objectives
These should reflect or reiterate the aims set in the project design or specification.

### Methodology
The methods used and an outline of sources consulted, including any variation to the agreed project design or specification, should all be set out carefully and explained as appropriate. For a geophysical survey, the Methodology should also include the date(s) of field work and grid location; the geophysical instruments used; their configuration and sample intervals; the method(s) of data capture, data processing and presentation.

### Documentary research
Presentation of map, pictorial, documentary or other research, setting out implications of source for understanding the archaeology of the site and its ability to inform.

### Analysis and interpretation
Analysis and interpretation of the site, drawing together documentary, archaeological, technical, dating and other sources including a summary of specialist contributions in a description of the development and function of the site through time.

### Summary of archaeological results
This should outline, as a series of objective statements organised clearly in relation to the methods used, the known and potential archaeological interests by period and/or type. Their significance with reference/inclusion of supporting evidence should be indicated.

### Development or other impact (if appropriate)
This should outline the likely effect of the development and other factors on the known or potential archaeological resource. If the precise impact cannot be evaluated, this should be stated. For historic buildings, implications for the archaeology of the site of any development, repair, demolition or management proposals.

### Conclusions
It is appropriate to include a section which summarises and interprets the results, and puts them into context (local, national or international). For buildings recording this could also include archaeological, historical or technical context in terms of setting, origin, purpose, form, construction, design, materials or status. The section should include a statement on the reliability of the sources or any limitation imposed on the work. Other elements should include a confidence rating or statement on the reliability of sources used, or limitations imposed by particular factors. Recommendations on further work may also be required, but in most circumstances within the planning framework this will be the responsibility of the relevant planning archaeologist or curator.

### Conclusions (in the case of a geophysical survey)
The conclusions should address the survey results with references to the original aims. It is appropriate to include a section which sums up and interprets the results, and conclusions may be drawn, where necessary, about the need for future survey or research. Other elements could include a confidence rating on techniques used, or on limitations imposed by particular factors (e.g. weather or problems of access). Recommendations on further work may also be required by the archaeologist, but in most circumstances within the planning framework this will be the responsibility of the relevant planning archaeologist or curator.

### Appendices
These should consist of essential technical and other detail to support the rest of the report or project design. They may consist of a copy of the brief/specification/project design for the work, summaries of sources of evidence consulted with reference to location, a table of individual archaeological contexts (if used or gazetteer of site components), details of supporting technical or dating work, specialist contributions in full, catalogue numbers etc, summaries of sources, transcripts or copies of documents (where copyright permissions exist or are attainable), project archive catalogue, list of consultees, index to site codes.

### Illustrations
Most reports will need the inclusion of one or more illustrations for clarity; as a minimum a location plan should be included. Any plans or sections should be clearly numbered, easily referenced to the National Grid and related to the specified area. For building recording, also illustrations including modern location map, site survey, as-found drawings, detail drawings, interpretative drawings, analytical drawings, record photographs and copies of relevant historic sources (e.g. historic OS, tithe and estate maps, historic illustrations). These may be within text or at the end, or where needed for site purposes in an attached pocket. They should be clearly numbered and easily referenced.

### Results
These should be set out as a series of summary objective statements, organised clearly in relation to the methods used, and describing both structural data and associated finds and/or environmental data recovered. Descriptive material should be clearly separated from interpretative statements. Technical terminology (including dating or period references) should be explained where necessary if the report is aimed at a largely non-archaeological audience. The results should be amplified by the use of drawings and photographs; and by supporting data contained in appendices.

### Results (in the case of a geophysical survey)
The format of this section will depend on the clarity, simplicity or complexity of the results. A factual account of the survey results, followed by a section on their interpretation and discussion can be used, alternatively, a blend of objective description and explanatory interpretation drawn upon supporting information from other sources may be presented. However, anomaly by anomaly narrative detail is often tedious and should be avoided. Nevertheless, this section should demonstrate that the archaeological potential of all anomalies located during the survey has been considered and the maximum use should be made of data plots and interpretation plans in this regard. Since the cause of anomalies often cannot be unambiguously determined based on geophysical measurements alone, the text should also be clear about the degree of uncertainty pertaining to inferences drawn from the results. The review of additional survey data (such as aerial photography, earthwork and topographic survey, field walking), archaeological records, geotechnical investigations and on site observations can complement and elucidate upon the interpretation of geophysical survey results.

### Archive location
The final destination of the archive (records and finds) should be noted in the report.

### References and bibliography
A list of all primary and secondary sources. including maps and illustrations if not referenced elsewhere . Also include electronic sources, and, where appropriate, essential technical detail and supporting information.

### Plans/plots (in the case of a geophysical survey)
As a minimum the following plans/plots should be included:

Survey grid location (1:2500 minimum)
Plot(s) of minimally processed data* (1:1000 preferred minimum)
Minimally enhanced X-Y traces of magnetic data, where appropriate
Interpretation diagram (1:1000 preferred minimum)
Additional plans/plots that may be included as appropriate:

Plot(s) of enhanced data** (1:1000 preferred minimum)
Other plots which aid interpretation or presentation

*minimally processed data - processes to mitigate for artefacts introduced into the data by the prospecting instrumentation and/or strategy (see English Heritage 2008). Such processing should not mitigate the requirement for the collection of high quality raw data.

**enhanced data – processes that are intended to enhance geophysical anomalies for interpretation and/or presentation.

### Other
Contents list, disclaimers.

## Sources to Consult for Desk-based Assessments

The following are some key sources that should be consulted for a desk-based assessment:

* Visual inspection of site ;
* Geological maps;
* Trial pit and borehole data from the site and in the near vicinity, where available;
* Geophysical and geo-technical data;
* Plans and maps of the site and its immediate environs, including medieval (tithe, parish and enclosure maps) and early modern pictorial and surveyed maps, e.g. c.1562, Ogilby and Morgan 1676, Rocque 1746, Horwood 1780, and Ordnance Survey maps (1st and subsequent series), including pre- and post-war, as appropriate, such as Fire Insurance maps;
* Aerial photographs where these are available;
* Historical documents held in museums, libraries or other archives, in particular the local history and archives library;
* Unpublished research reports and archive, held by archaeological contractors prior to deposition in publicly accessible museum archives;
* Survey drawings of the ground and basement floors of the existing building or buildings on the site, with levels and sections, including foundations, and, where relevant and available, previous buildings. Where appropriate, reference to the planning history including reference to planning application and listed building consent drawings should be made;
* Local Historic Environment Record (HER) or Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) – accessed via your local authority archaeologist (in England), the Welsh Archaeological Trusts (in Wales), Historic Scotland and RCAHMS (for Scotland), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (for Northern Ireland), Manx National Heritage (for the Isle of Man), Guernsey Museums and Galleries (for Guernsey, Sark, Alderney, Jethou and Herm), or Jersey Heritage (for Jersey).
* **Tip**: Also try Heritage Gateway for access to Historic Environment Records (www.heritagegateway.org.uk)
* Appropriate archaeological and historical journals and books;
* Trade and Business Directories;
* Presence of listed buildings or scheduled ancient monuments;
* Tree preservation orders;
* Published articles and monographs; references can be found at the British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography (www.biab.ac.uk)
* Portable Antiquities Scheme (www.finds.org.uk) especially for distribution of finds
* Local Records or County Records Office
* Local Studies Libraries
* The National Archive

For information about where to access some of these sources, see [Essential Contacts and Help](/docs/13) (Module 13).

## Checklists

### Desk-based Assessment Project Design contents

The following should be included in the specification or project design of a desk-based assessment:

* non-technical summary
* site location (including map) and description
* context of the project
* geological and topographical background
* archaeological and historical background
* general and specific aims of study
* proposed study methodology (including specified sources)
* field visit (purpose and methodology)
* report preparation (method)
* publication and dissemination proposals
* reference to relevant legislation
* copyright considerations
* archive deposition
* timetable
* staffing
* Health and Safety considerations (if a field visit is included)
* monitoring or mentoring procedures
* contingency arrangements (if appropriate)

### Desk-based Assessment Report Contents

The following should be included in the report of a desk-based assessment:

* non-technical summary
* introductory statements
* aims and purpose of assessment
* an objective summary statement of results
* conclusion, including a confidence rating
* supporting illustrations at appropriate scales
* supporting data, tabulated or in appendices
* index to and location of archive
* references (sources consulted)

### Site Evaluation Project Design Contents

The following should be included in the specification or project design of an archaeological site or field evaluation:

* Non-technical summary
* Site location (including map) and descriptions
* Context of the project
* Geological and topographical background
* Archaeological and historical background
* General and specific aims of fieldwork
* Reference to relevant legislation
* Field methodology
* Collection and disposal strategy for artefacts and ecofacts
* Arrangements for immediate conservation of artefacts
* Post-fieldwork methodology
* Report preparation (method)
* Publication and dissemination proposals
* Copyright
* Archive deposition
* Timetable
* Staffing
* Health and Safety considerations
* Monitoring or mentoring procedures
* Contingency arrangements (if appropriate).

### Site Evaluation Report Contents

The following should be included in the report of an archaeological site or field evaluation:

* Non-technical summary
* Introductory statements
* Aims and purpose of the evaluation
* Methodology
* An objective summary statement of results
* Conclusion, including a confidence rating
* Supporting data, tabulated or in appendices, including as a minimum a basic quantification of all artefacts and ecofacts (number and weight), and structural data
* Index to and location of archive
* References

### Excavation Project Design Contents

The following should be included in the specification or project design of an archaeological excavation:

* non-technical summary
* site location (including map) and descriptions
* context of the project
* geological and topographical background
* archaeological and historical background
* reference to legislation
* general and specific aims of fieldwork
* field methodology
* collection and disposal strategy for artefacts and ecofacts
* arrangements for immediate conservation of artefacts
* post-fieldwork methodology and report preparation
* report preparation (method)
* publication and dissemination proposals
* copyright
* archive deposition
* timetable
* staffing
* Health and Safety considerations
* monitoring or mentoring procedures
* contingency arrangements (if appropriate)
* licensing arrangement/criteria (for excavation in Northern Ireland

### Watching Brief Project Design Contents

The following should be included in the specification or project design of an archaeological watching brief:

* non-technical summary
* site location (including map) and descriptions
* context of the project
* geological and topographical background
* archaeological and historical background
* general and specific aims of fieldwork
* reference to relevant legislation
* field methodology
* collection and disposal strategy for artefacts and ecofacts
* arrangement for immediate conservation of artefacts
* post-fieldwork methodology
* report preparation (method)
* publication and dissemination proposals
* copyright
* archive deposition
* timetable
* staffing
* Health & Safety considerations
* Monitoring or mentoring procedures
* contingency arrangements (if appropriate)

### Watching Brief Report Contents

The following should be included in the report of an archaeological watching brief:

* Introductory statements
* Aims and objectives
* Methodology
* Results
* Conclusions
* Archive location
* Appendices
* Illustrations
* References and bibliography
* Other (i.e. contents list, disclaimers, any other information deemed appropriate)

### Building Recording Project Design Contents

The following should be included in the specification or project design of an archaeological investigation and recording of standing buildings or structures:

* non-technical summary
* site location (including map) and descriptions
* context of the project
* archaeological and historical background
* general and specific aims of fieldwork
* legislative requirements
* field survey/research methodology
* collection and disposal policy for artefacts and ecofacts
* arrangements for immediate and long-term conservation of artefacts
* post-fieldwork methodology
* report and record drawing preparation
* publication and dissemination proposals
* copyright
* archive deposition
* timetable
* staffing
* Health & Safety considerations
* monitoring or mentoring procedures
* contingency arrangements (if appropriate)

### Building Recording Report Contents

The following should be included in the report of an archaeological investigation and recording of standing buildings or structures:

* non-technical summary
* introductory statements
* aims and objectives
* methodology
* structural description
* documentary research
* analysis
* conclusion
* supporting drawings, photographs etc
* supporting data
* index to/location of archive
* references

### IfA Checklist for Finds Work

**Project planning**
**Gather information on the site and its vicinity**, including:

* the nature of the site (geology, geography, soil conditions)
* consultation of the SMR and local museums for earlier finds
* predicted period and type (e.g. urban, rural, village, manor) of site
* previous intrusive or non-intrusive investigation
* ownership and requirements for the deposition of archaeological material

**Contribute to the setting of the project’s research aims**.

**Identify, and liaise with, all project specialists**.

**Carry out costings** for the fieldwork and assessment stages of the project. These will be based on the information acquired above and the predicted scale, and agreed sampling policy, of the excavation. Costings will take account of:

* estimated finds recovery rates and material types
* feedback of information to fieldwork staff
* processing time
* provision for x-radiography of all ironwork and emergency conservation
* materials required for packaging and documentation
* staff time, including any external specialists and related transport costs
* provision for box storage grant for recipient museum or other approved repository

Once the project design has been accepted, **inform all specialists and agree the provisional timetable** for the project.

**Establish the processing procedures** both on-site and off-site, and agree areas of responsibility within the project team.

**Set-up the processing area**, ensuring that it:

* complies with all Health & Safety regulations;
* is secure;
* has adequate light, heat and water sources;
* has adequate room to both work in and form an interim storage area for non-sensitive finds;
* is furnished with the necessary equipment, materials and furniture.

**Once excavation is completed, ensure that all finds are documented and packaged appropriately. Submit all ironwork, and any other metals deemed necessary, for x-radiography**.

**Assessment**
In order to **assess the potential of the finds** to address the project research aims it is necessary to:

* quantify the assemblages by material and state their condition
* state their provenance, including how retrieved (hand excavated, metal detected, within soil samples), and contextualintegrity
* provide an identification and date range of the assemblages
* identify both the extent to which the assemblages can contribute to each of the project’s stated aims and any new aims which may be addressed

**An updated project research design** must be compiled in consultation with all project specialists and this will include:

* identifying finds requiring further analysis, in order to meet the project’s research aims
* a method statement detailing how further analysis will be carried out
* a detailed task list of work to be carried out, including further analytical, stabilising or display conservation
* the cost of this work
* a timetable for each task
* publication scope and format

**Analysis and report preparation**

**The assemblages must be analysed** in accordance with the stated project research aims and agreed method statements. This work will normally include the **preparation of catalogues and publication reports**. All reports from specialists should be acknowledged and retained as part of the research archive.

**Archiving, accessioning and dissemination**

**The material and documentary archive should be deposited** with the recipient museum or other approved repository according to their stated requirements.

**Seek to obtain from the owner of the material archive transfer of title to the recipient museum or other approved repository upon deposition** (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland), if not already established.

**The archive, both material and documentary, should be deposited in the recipient museum or other approved repository** for long-term storage, and where appropriate be accompanied by a storage grant.

**A security copy of the fieldwork archive (in Scotland the original) should be deposited with the NMR and a summary statement of the results of the project should be transmitted to the local SMR. In Scotland this is with RCAHMS. In Northern Ireland it is a condition of the licence that a summary report is forwarded to the licensing body within four weeks of the end or temporary cessation of fieldwork. The licensing body also maintains the Monuments and Buildings Record (MBR) and should receive the original fieldwork archive or a complete and comprehensive copy**.

**A report of the excavated materials and analyses should be disseminated and, where appropriate, published**.

See also the required contents (in Section 20) of a Post-excavation Assessment Report and a Historic Scotland Data Structure Report.

### Nautical Archaeological Recording Project Design Contents

The following should be included in the specification or project design of a nautical archaeological investigation:

* non-technical summary
* site location (including map) and descriptions
* context of the project
* archaeological and historical background
* general and specific aims of fieldwork
* legislative requirements
* methodology – to include recording strategy applicable reconstruction philosophy
* collection and disposal policy for artefacts and
* arrangements for immediate and long term conservation of artefacts
* post fieldwork methodology and where reconstruction philosophy
* report and record drawing preparation
* publication and dissemination proposals
* copyright
* archive deposition
* timetable
* staffing
* health and safety
* monitoring or mentoring procedures
* contingency arrangements (if applicable)

### Nautical Archaeological Recording Report Contents

The following should be included in the report of a nautical archaeological investigation:

* non-technical summary
* introductory statements
* aims and purpose of the evaluation
* methodology including reconstruction philosophy where applicable
* an objective summary statement of results
* conclusion, including a confidence rating
* supporting illustrations at appropriate scales
* supporting data, tabulated or in appendices, including as a minimum a basic quantification of all artefacts and ecofacts (number and weight), and structural data
* index to and location of archive
* references

### Geophysical Survey Project Design Contents

The following should be included in the specification or project design of an archaeological geophysical survey:

* Non-technical summary
* Site location (including map) and descriptions (including conditions at time of survey)
* Designations (Scheduled Monument number(s))
* Context of the project
* Geological/geomorphological and topographical background
* Archaeological and historical background
* General and specific aims of the survey
* Reference to relevant legislation
* Survey methodology including argued justification for the techniques used
* Report preparation (method) including data processing and presentation
* Publication and dissemination proposals/requirements
* Copyright
* Archive deposition
* Timetable
* Staffing
* Health and Safety considerations
* Monitoring or mentoring procedures
* Contingency arrangements (if appropriate)

### Geophysical Survey Report Contents

The following should be included in the report of an archaeological geophysical survey:

* Non-technical summary
* Introductory statements
* Aims and purpose of the evaluation
* Methodology and Equipment
* Data processing and presentation
* Datums and Positioning (for marine survey reports)
* Results
* Conclusion
* Plans/plots of raw and processed data and interpretations
* Index to and location of digital archive
* References

### Data Structure Report Contents

A data structure report is a requirement in Scotland, and would be expected to be an output of any archaeological investigation, including site evaluation, excavation, watching briefs, and nautical archaeological investigation. Its contents are listed here for guidance. The level of detail required will depend on the quantity and complexity of data.

A data structure report should be produced speedily after each fieldwork exercise or season of fieldwork. It provides a structure for the records of an excavation, and is the basis for further analysis and final archiving of the site archive. It includes:

1) Lists of data

* context numbers with brief descriptions
* other written documents
* plans, sections and other illustrations
* photographs (annotated)
* small finds lists, with context numbers and brief descriptions of important objects

This list is copied to the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, forming the basis for allocating finds to a museum with a description and explanation of why environmental archaeology samples were taken.

2) A narrative account of the site sequence explaining

* the relationship between groups of contexts
* important finds
* provisional interpretations
* sequence diagrams, sketch plans and other diagrams as required
* environmental archaeology samples

In Scotland, the data structure report is accompanied by a site summary intended for publication in Discovery and excavation in Scotland published by Archaeology Scotland.