Buckinghamshire Council Archaeology Service (BCAS) generic brief for an archaeological geophysical survey (magnetometer and resistivity)

Last updated: 18 August 2021

1. Summary

This is a generic brief for use on archaeological geophysical surveys required as part of a planning application or part an environmental impact assessment, or similar document.

Geophysical surveys are requested where there is good reason to believe there may be important remains but insufficient information to determine the actual archaeological impact of a proposed development.

A geophysical survey entails the non-intrusive collection of data relating to physical properties of subsurface soils and deposits to enable a suitably qualified archaeologist to identify the presence, extent and character of significant archaeological deposits that may be buried below ground.

This brief sets out the standard requirements for the archaeological contractor who will undertake this work.

It can be used to obtain quotes from archaeological contractors (they will also need details of the development) and will inform the preparation of a project design (Written Scheme of Investigation, which would normally be agreed by the Council Archaeology Service before commencing fieldwork.

Geophysical surveys will normally include:

  • the production of the Written Scheme of Investigation
  • geophysical survey
  • the production of a final report including greyscale plots of the raw data, plots of the processed data, and interpretive analysis of the results identifying potential archaeological features
  • the production and supply of the digital data as specified in 8 c ii

For advice on commissioning archaeological work please see ‘Advice on commissioning archaeological work in Buckinghamshire’ (Annexed to this brief).