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Desk Based Assessment  

A desk-based assessment (DBA) will determine, as far as is reasonably possible from existing records, the nature of the archaeological resource within a specified area. It will be undertaken using appropriate methods and practices which satisfy the stated aims of the project, and which comply with the Code of conduct, Code of approved practice for the regulation of contractual arrangements in field archaeology, and other relevant by-laws of the CIfA.
 
 The definition for a desk-based assessment is, a programme of assessment of the known or potential archaeological resource within a specified area or site on land, inter-tidal zone or underwater. It consists of a collation of existing written, graphic, photographic and electronic information in order to identify the likely character, extent, quality and worth of the known or potential archaeological resource in a local, regional, national or international context as appropriate.

A Desk Based Assessment can be prepared by HRS Wales on your behalf to the specification that will be provided by the County Archaeologist.  In undertaking a DBA, HRS Wales will liaise with the appropriate authorities, produce a site report and organise a publication in a relevant academic journal where necessary. The final report will contain advice as to the archaeological potential of a site and any potential problems likely to be encountered. Should there be further mitigation measures required during or following the DBA, then HRS Wales is able to provide these, subject to contract.

Desk Based Assessment image of title map Natcwnlle Parish 1839.
OS First Ed Map 1887.
 
The purpose of desk-based assessments is to gain information about the known or potential archaeological resource within a given area or site (including the presence or absence, character and extent, date, integrity, state of preservation and relative quality of the potential archaeological resource), in order to make an assessment of its merit in context, leading to one or more of the following:
 
• the formulation of a strategy to ensure the recording, preservation or management of the resource.
 
• the formulation of a strategy for further investigation, whether or not intrusive, where the character and value of the resource is not sufficiently defined to permit a mitigation strategy or other responseto be devised.
 
• the formulation of a proposal for further archaeological investigation within a programme of research.
 
A desk-based assessment may therefore be instigated or commissioned by a number of different individuals or organisations, including local planning authorities, national advisory bodies, government agencies, private landowners, developers or their agents, archaeological researchers etc. A cultural heritage and archaeological desk based assessment will also form an essential part of an Environmental Impact Assessment, in conjunction with a site visit or field survey.
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