1990 marked a critical point in the relationship of archaeology to planning and development. Publication of Planning Policy Guidance Note 16 by the Department of the Environment summarised the importance of archaeological remains and emphasised their status as "a finite and non-renewable resource, in many cases highly fragile and vulnerable to destruction". Amongst other things, it offered advice about how archaeology could best be dealt with during the planning process and set out the existing legal protection for archaeological remains.
It did not propose a new protective legal framework for archaeology but did make clear that it was important and should receive proper consideration.
The new commercialism was gradually extending WA's work beyond our traditional Wessex counties; field projects were undertaken, for instance, in West Sussex and Oxfordshire. Consultancy, providing advice on the archaeological aspects of proposed developments, was becoming increasingly important. In this role, WA advised clients about potential archaeological aspects of developments in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Birmingham.
Nearer to home, excavations were carried out at Butterfield Down, near Amesbury, and at Market Lavington. The work at Butterfield Down was the start of an extended programme of work in advance of housing development. Evidence of prehistoric activity, including an Early Bronze Age inhumation burial, and of a Romano-British settlement were recorded. An Anglo-Saxon cemetery and part of its associated settlement were excavated at Market Lavington, although there was evidence of Roman-British activity there too.