I would be interested to hear the thoughts of the list subscribers on the implementation of official policy on the conservation of freshwater archaeology. I would like to hear about recent examples of rescue contracts being carried out in the UK according to planning policy guidelines involving survey, recording and/or rescue excavation in freshwater contexts (including bridges, piers, settlements, boats etc, etc).

In the experience of those on the list, in what circumstances are rescue operations for freshwater remains initiated? What official position is taken when developers alter freshwater conditions, without physically touching freshwater sites themselves? In many areas it is relatively common practice for farmers to raise and lower lake levels on a small scale for agricutural purposes, whereas hydroelectric schemes do this in lochs and rivers almost daily. What actions are/have been taken to measure potential damage caused to submerged sites by these practices?  (Ancient Monuments Act 1979 Section 2c states that scheduled monument consent is required for works resulting in the flooding of land containing a scheduled site, but makes no explicit reference to previoulsy submerged sites). Are there counterpart examples on land of recsue work being invoked when development has altered the state of soil conditions (for example) without actually breaking the soil on the site itself?

I am familiar with the Operational Policy of Historic Scotland (HP6), the basic aims of which are to bring the treatment of freshwater archaeology into line with the terrestrial position, and initiatives are underway in Scotland to monitor processes of degradation of submerged freshwater sites. I would be grateful for comments on equivalent policies of the other Heritage agencies, and thoughts on their implementation.

All suggestions, comments and thoughts welcome!

Graeme Cavers

M.Graeme Cavers
Research Postgraduate
Dept. of Archaeology
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD