The County Durham Archaeological Assessment Project is a landscape-scale assessment of the archaeology associated with areas of past, present and future aggregate extraction in the county. The project is being undertaken as a partnership between Durham County Council and ARS Ltd, and is funded through English Heritage by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF). The focus of the project is on characterisation, digital mapping and analysis of the aggregate areas and their associated archaeological remains. The work will inform existing minerals development frameworks and archaeological research agendas, while providing a basis for future work.
A detailed archaeological survey focused around transcription of cropmarks, parchmarks and upstanding structures from aerial photographs is a key part of the project, and has been carried out to English Heritage National Mapping Programme (NMP) standards. This process is now almost complete with 247 new records added to the National Monuments Record (NMR) and 59 existing records being substantially updated.
The project is providing high quality archaeological and geological mapping which will be used to enhance the Sites and Monuments Record and assist with managing future aggregate extraction as well as helping to foster mutually beneficial working relationships between planners and the minerals industry. The resulting information will be disseminated to a wide audience including the planning authority, the minerals industry, consultants, academics and the public by way of meetings, talks, web pages, a downloadable report and a free leaflet.