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Archaeological value

Definition: The potential for a site or monument to reveal information about a place, type of asset, community, or past human activity. Unlike historic illustrative value, this value does not need to be visible to be significant and the asset will often be buried – it is the potential for the site or asset to reveal information that is important.

Examples could include the earthworks of a hillfort, a collection of burial mounds and their relationship with each other and the landscape, or the remains of 20th century coastal defensive structures and infrastructure.

Factors that might affect the level of the value include:

  • the age of the asset and how rare it is
  • how well the physical remains survive
  • the capacity for the site, monument or asset to fill gaps in knowledge that cannot be obtained from other sources
  • the contribution it makes to understanding past human activity on a local, regional, national or international level and potential to deepen understanding of a particular asset type, community, or period in history

For example, the cemetery below has a large repository of human remains, and examination of these remains has the potential to add to our understanding of the health and social wellbeing of British society at the time. Any data obtained would be specific to the local area and so could help build a richer picture of life in the town at the time and help people better connect and understand the local community of the past.

 An image of a cemetery with headstones and an old raised monument


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