What we do?

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Services we can provide

Project Management

We have a proven track record in the management of archaeological projects at all stages from initial planning to publication, operating in line with the guidelines of English Heritage and organisations such as the Institute of Field Archaeologists.

We can produce written schemes of investigation, method statements and project designs, as well as heritage statements on behalf of clients, provide interim and full reports on the results of fieldwork and – when work is required in fulfilment of a planning condition – generally aid the efficient and cost-effective execution of any work required to satisfy the planning requirements.

As well as acting as consultants on more complex schemes, we are happy to offer friendly informal advice on pre-planning matters and can help talk planning applicants through the requirements of any archaeological conditions.

In addition to numerous field projects, we have managed the post-excavation programmes for several nationally-important archaeological projects, on behalf of English Heritage and major development companies, including: a major Saxon settlement site at Flixborough in North Lincolnshire; the Augustinian Friary site in Kingston upon Hull; and, recent work on the Caythorpe Gas Storage project, near Bridlington, East Yorkshire.

Recent projects for English Heritage have included two phases of a Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey from Whitby to the Lincolnshire/Norfolk boundary, and an Aggregates Levy Assessment of the East Riding of Yorkshire. HFA is currently carrying out Historic Landscape Characterisation of East Yorkshire and the city of Hull.

As well as having a wealth of local knowledge and expertise, our project management team has experience gained from managing large-scale archaeological projects on development sites in London.

Desk Based Assessments

We have considerable expertise in the research and compilation of desk-based reports which present and interpret the cultural heritage resource of a site or area and assess the impact of proposed developments. These may be residential or commercial developments, transport or infrastructure works or be related to power generation.

Environmental Impact Assessments

In the last few years we have contributed to an increasing number of Environmental Impact Assessments, working with major regional and national consultancies to assist in providing a smooth transition through planning for strategic urban and rural developments.

Field Survey and Building Recording

We undertake non-destructive specialist site surveys including earthwork and topographic surveys, field walking and metal-detection, as well as photographic surveys. Our staff also have particular expertise in the survey and recording of standing buildings and other structures.


Our field team is one of the most experienced in the area, usually carrying out 20–30 evaluations and excavations a year. We undertake any field work, from trial trenching and “strip, map and record” evaluations, through to more extensive and detailed open area excavations where the destruction of archaeological remains through development is unavoidable. We have excavated a wide range of sites in rural and urban situations, with discoveries ranging in date from early prehistoric settlements to medieval and post-medieval waterfront sites. Major recent projects include: the multi-use development at Flemingate, Beverley, where important medieval remains have been recorded in an area of the town near the Minster; the Caythorpe Gas Storage project, near Bridlington, where rural settlement and ritual landscape features of prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon date were discovered; and, the North Cave quarry complex, where work in advance of sand and gravel quarrying has recovered evidence of activity ranging in date from Bronze Age to Anglo-Saxon.

Observation, Investigation & Recording (Watching Briefs)

We undertake 80–90 standard and continuously-monitored watching briefs in an average year. In most circumstances these fit in around the developer’s timetable, avoiding any delay to the construction process. We are the largest provider of watching brief services in the region and offer a fast and efficient service, at competitive rates.

Finds Research

Our in-house staff offer a variety of specialist areas of competence in artefact assessment, dating, analysis and publication, which can be supplemented by a network of sub-contracted external specialists. We can also offer advice or practical expertise in the fields of finds storage, archive and curation.

Archaeological Illustration

As well as standard report figures, we are able to provide both hand-drawn and computer-generated finds and reconstruction drawings for publications, display panels or leaflets. The range of reconstructions has included buildings, historic landscapes and artefacts.

Post-excavation Analysis and Publication

Our staff have set a high standard of archaeological publication for several projects over the last two decades. In addition to producing a number of major monographs, we have contributed regularly to local and national journals. We have also produced a number of more popular booklets and leaflets.

Geophysical Survey

We commission, manage and interpret geophysical surveys on behalf of clients, working closely with experienced sub-contractors.

Historical Audits and Research

We have commissioned historical research relating to specialised structures, particularly surviving relics of our industrial past, such as bridges, mills, and dockside installations. The resulting reports can provide assessments of the historic importance of these structures and discuss aspects of their preservation. Research has also been undertaken to provide material for public display panels and publications.

Environmental Research and Sampling

We work closely with external palaeoenvironmental specialists to determine and implement suitable sampling strategies on all types of project, including coring, column sampling and specialist spot sampling. We also undertake logging of cores and trial pits as part of pre-site geotechnical investigations.

Archaeological Conservation

We ensure that all excavated artefacts are assessed as to their conservation requirements. X-radiography, temporary ‘first aid’ and permanent conservation are commissioned where necessary to ensure the stability of archived objects.

Specialist Dating

We use experienced sub-contractors in the fields of dendrochronology, archaeomagnetics and C14 (radiocarbon) dating to provide specialist services. Timbers are assessed in-house to determine their suitability for sampling, to reduce unnecessary costs to clients.