Archaeology in Bromley
An outline of archaeology in Bromley and information about archaeological consultancy and archaeological excavations and surveys.
Archaeology in the borough
Archaeology is the remains of past human activity that survives into the present day. It is an irreplaceable resource, one that must be protected to ensure its survival for future generations to study and enjoy.
There are a number of important archaeological sites within the London Borough of Bromley, ranging from Crofton Roman Villa in Orpington to the remains of a moated Tudor mansion in Chislehurst. Some of these sites are Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAM), which means they are of national importance and are protected by government legislation. Any proposed works to a SAM require consent from the Department of Culture Media and Sport and advice from English Heritage.
In addition there are parts of the Borough that are recognised in the Unitary Development Plan as being Areas of Archaeological Significance (AAS). These are areas, such as the historic town centre in Bromley, that may have important archaeological remains surviving. If a proposed development takes place in an AAS then the preservation or recording of archaeological remains will be an important consideration.
Archaeology and the planning process
Archaeology is a material consideration in the planning process. In Bromley all planning applications are monitored by the Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service (GLAAS). If the development has archaeological implications it is GLAAS who make recommendations to the local planning department about the appropriate course of action. This may result in an archaeological planning condition.
Archaeological work before and during a development can take a number of forms:
- desk based assessment: a detailed appraisal of available information about a site before a planning application is submitted or approved.
- field evaluation: a survey or trial excavation designed to assess the nature of archaeological remains within a proposed development area before planning application is submitted or approved. Techniques may include fieldwalking, geophysical survey and trial trenching.
- excavation and recording: a controlled programme of fieldwork to provide a lasting record of archaeological evidence unavoidably destroyed by development.
- watching brief: the recording of archaeological evidence coming to light during the course of development.
If the site contains significant archaeological remains then the priority will be to preserve them in situ. To achieve this, the archaeological impact of a development could be minimised by for example, sympathetic foundation design or amendments to the layout.
It is national and local practice that the costs of archaeological work made necessary by development should, in most circumstances, be borne by the developer.
When thinking about a new development it can often be helpful to consult planning, Bromley Historic Collection service or the local sites and monuments record (at GLAAS) to determine if there are any archaeological remains in the area.