Archaeological remains are a crucial link with the past, providing evidence of the development of human settlement over the centuries. Archaeology is the study of human societies through their physical remains - both above and below ground. These remains vary from upstanding and obvious sites such as castles and stone circles, to buried remains like Roman forts or medieval houses that are hidden below later buildings and fields.
Most archaeological sites are fragile; once lost we can never replace them. Individual monuments and the landscapes that contain them have to be recognised, valued and managed if they are not to be swept away by the pressures of development or agriculture.
Archaeology is an important consideration in the planning system of this country. The government's Planning Policy Guidance Note 16 (PPG 16), Archaeology and Planning, provides much detailed advice to Local Planning Authorities as to how archaeological issues should be addressed within the planning process.
Archaeological excavations, surveys and consultancy
As a unitary authority, Derby City Council has responsibility for archaeology in the City within the planning process. In practice arrangements have been made with Derbyshire County Council, for the County Archaeologist to provide expert professional advice on archaeological excavations, surveys and consultancy on behalf of the city.
Although all archaeological remains are irreplaceable and finite, they are not all of equal importance. The most important remains are identified at a national level as Scheduled Ancient Monuments whilst those of regional or local importance are recorded in the Historic Environment Record that is held by the Derbyshire County Council. Additionally, parts of the City which on the basis of historic evidence, are likely to contain significant archaeological remains, are identified as Archaeological Alert Areas within the city of Derby Local Plan.
New developments within these Archaeological Alert Areas are subject to special scrutiny in order to safeguard the likely archaeological remains either below or above ground level. This is not to say that no new development can take place within these Archaeological Alert Areas but where it does, a number of measures may be required of the developer in accordance with the advice of PPG 16 referred to above. These may be to undertake desk-based research of the site/area or to undertake an archaeological excavation even prior to the grant of planning permission or to carry out detailed recording of archaeological features during the carrying out of construction works. Many important archaeological remains have been discovered and recorded during the course of development works as a result of these sort of requirements being placed upon developers.
The Derbyshire Archaeological Society
is a local voluntary group of individuals who share a keen interest in local archaeology and who actively investigate the history/archaeology of local sites. Their work makes a valued contribution to the archaeological record of the area.
Scheduled Ancient Monuments
"Scheduling" is shorthand for the process through which nationally important sites and monuments are given legal protection by being placed on a list, or "schedule". English Heritage takes the lead in identifying the sites but it is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for compiling and maintaining a schedule of ancient monuments under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Area Act 1979.
The word "Monument" covers the whole range of archaeological sites. Scheduled monuments are not always ancient, or visible above ground. There are over 200 "classes" of monuments on the schedule, and they range from prehistoric standing stones and burial mounds, through to the many types of medieval sites - castles, monasteries, abandoned farmsteads and villages - to the more recent results of human activity such as collieries and wartime pillboxes.
Criteria for National Importance
Decisions on national importance are guided by criteria laid down by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, covering the basic characteristics of monuments. They are:
Extent of survival
Representivity, either through diversity or because of one important attribute
Importance of the period to which the monument dates
Connection to other monuments, or group value
Potential to contribute to our information, understanding and appreciation
Extent of documentation enhancing the monument's significance
Buildings and standing structures of historic interest, especially if they are or can be made usable, are generally best protected by listing where the emphasis is on continuing active use
For the protection and conservation of monuments by scheduling please see this guide.
Summary list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments in Derby.
For full details of each Scheduled Ancient Monument please click on relevant heading:
St Mary's Bridge
Darley Abbey (remains of)
Roman Hypocaust under school playing field
Little Chester Roman site
Derby Racecourse Roman vicus and cemetery
Section of Rykneld Street Roman Road
Anglo-Scandinavian high cross shaft
It is an offence to carry out any works or operations (including works such as repair or cleaning) in any way affecting or altering a scheduled ancient monument without first applying for and obtaining Scheduled Monument Consent from the Secretary of State. This is separate from any requirement for planning permission. Where a structure also appears on the list of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, the ancient monuments legislation takes precedence.
Scheduled Monument Consent
Enquiries about Scheduled Monument Consent should be addressed to:
East Midlands Region
Telephone: 01604 735400
Further information about Archaeology and Ancient Scheduled Monuments can be found at:
The Department for Media, Culture and Sport
British Archaeological Society
Derbyshire County Council
Derbyshire Archaeological Society
For further information please contact the Built Environment Team:
Telephone: 01332 641632 Fax: 01332 716377