Dear Jennifer,

This subject has exercised us all for quite a few years and has been discussed recently at the ALGAO Planning & Legislation Subcommittee.  No Earth shattering conclusions I am afraid!  Like yourselves I have always had a deep mistrust of constraint areas on maps unless, as in the case of surviving earthworks the full extent of a monument type is known.  It can be awkward in a planning situation if, for instance one was to recommend an archaeological evaluation in a field adjacent an archaeological constraint area as defined in a local plan or on the SMR.  We are increasingly however, under pressure to provide more 'user friendly' geographical information for our colleagues in planning or transportation and English Heritage have been encouraging for a number of years the use of constraint areas with the extensive and intensive urban surveys.

I am currently engaged in developing a management framework for Bath which involves the use of area characterisation in narrative and geographical formats.  The advantages of this approach, as with conservation area character assessments, is that a polygon boundary can be authenticated in whatever terms we choose - a sort of metadata statement I suppose.  With the majority of archaeological data in SMR's this type of detailed approach is almost impossible given existing resources.

Interestingly, Bath, with one of the largest urban conservation areas in the country has not one single shred of written justification for the boundary that I can find and as far as I am aware, it has never been challenged at appeal.  The difference between two sectors of a Victorian development known as Oldfield Park within and without this boundary is striking.  On on one side neat wooden sashes and on the other?...I leave that to you.

My planning colleagues have access to GIS point data from the SMR but they would much prefer to use a constraint map.  It is a dilemma. 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: JENNIFER Hall [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: 20 February 2002 08:30
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Areas of Archaeological potential
> Dear all,
> Traditionally we have steered away from constraint areas, areas of
> archaeological sensitivity or archaeological potential as
> entities in their
> own right within the SMR.  Advice and areas of concern have
> been given on a
> case by case basis and this information has not been recorded
> except in the
> letters/reports concerning the site.
> Are there any best practice guidelines or methodologies for
> how such areas
> are derived?   The drawing of such boundaries always seems
> very subjective
> to me.  How do you make those boundaries defensible in a
> public inquiry for
> instance?  (Apart from it's there because we say so.)
> Jenny Hall
> SMR Officer, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire
> [log in to unmask]
> Cambria Archaeology,
> Shire Hall,
> Carmarthen Street
> Llandeilo
> Carmarthenshire
> SA19 6AF
> 01558 823131

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