Watching brief


An archaeological Watching Brief is generally reserved for sites where the archaeological potential is considered relatively low, but where the discovery of remains is nevertheless anticipated. As the name of the technique suggests, a Watching Brief is conducted by a qualified archaeologist whilst construction work is underway – usually during the excavation of foundation trenches, service trenches and other such groundwork.
The archaeologist is responsible for the identification, excavation and recording of remains during the groundwork, without causing any undue delay to the construction programme. On occasion, remains can be exposed that require more detailed investigation, and the developer is required to allow sufficient time for the archaeologist to accurately record any archaeological finds and features.
Wessex Archaeology regularly undertakes watching briefs for a variety of construction projects across the country. These include housing developments, pipelines and wind turbines. The work is a particularly cost-effective mitigation strategy for areas of lower archaeological potential. Should significant archaeological remains be uncovered during the course of the ground-works, a higher level of archaeological investigation may be required, such as excavation or strip, map and sample.