I am a final year student at Bradford University and for my dissertation
topic I have chosen to study the effectiveness of archaeological watching
briefs. I was on placement at a county council for six months, so I have a
rough idea of what goes on with regard to planning and the watching brief.
I have consulted many curators and contractors via questionnaire (thanks to
all of you who have filled one in) in order to get some rough statistics on
the number of watching briefs recommended & carried out etc as well as an
opinion on watching briefs. I have also posted a message on the Britarch
website. I hope to contact developers too, although I don't know who to
So far the opinion appears to be that thery are overused, often badly done
and in that respect not worth their salt. However if done correctly the
opinion is that they can be the best thing since sliced bread, whether they
discover archaeologiy or not as they fill in the gaps on the SMR and general
I have so far have only really been able to get my hands on the Assessment
of Assessments & Planning for the Past Vols I to III, the IFA's guide to
affective watching briefs. I know that the ACAO (now ALGAO), P. Carrington,
J. Lane & S. Vaughan, Roger Tym and Partners have all published documents on
PPG16 but I have not yet been able to gain access to them.
I would be extremely grateful for any comments, hints or suggestions that
anyone can come up with regarding the effectiveness of watching briefs.
(Apologies for the length of my email)