7th February 2020:

This month saw the publication of Historic England's guidance on deposit modelling in the context of developer-led archaeological projects. The publication features some of Oxford Archaeology’s projects as case studies.

Deposit modelling and archaeology: guidance for mapping buried deposits provides an overview of the deposit modelling process. Written for archaeologists, curators, consultants and managers, it explains what deposit models are, when and how to use them, and what information is required. Examples of using deposit models are offered as case studies, four of which have been provided by Oxford Archaeology.

One of the case studies is a deposit model produced for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road in East Sussex. The deposit model was fundamental to the project, providing as it did the overarching framework for the archaeological investigation.

Another case study is the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme. As part of the Environment Agency’s plans for a major scheme to reduce flood risks in Oxford, Oxford Archaeology carried out a series of geoarchaeological surveys, which culminated in an extensive programme of evaluation trenching to investigate archaeological potential within and beneath thick alluvium that blankets the route. Oxford Archaeology’s work was described by Historic England's regional science advisor as exemplary. (Read more about the project here.)

The third case study describes the work carried out at the Westgate shopping complex, also in Oxford. Here, extensive geoarchaeological deposit modelling was used to reconstruct the early Holocene topography, characterise the overlying alluvial sequences and deposits resulting from centuries of urban occupation and expansion across the Thames floodplain and river terrace, and aid the formulation of the mitigation strategies.

There is also reference in Historic England’s guidance to Luther Court in Oxford, another OA project.

The guidance can be downloaded free from the Historic England website. Click here for details. The document accompanies a technical monograph on deposit modelling, which can be downloaded from the University of Brighton's website.