2. Aims and Methodology

2.1 Project rationale

The archaeological programme within the yard of the Upper Chapel was designed to mitigate the possible impact of the proposed groundworks upon human remains and burial-related archaeology, and upon any other archaeological structures and deposits present.

The proposed groundworks comprised the following elements:

  1. Construction of an electrical substation;
  2. Excavation of a service trench to the substation;
  3. Lowering of ground levels between the Upper Chapel and Pepper Alley;
  4. Re-paving of the yard surface, with selected existing grave slabs retained after lifting.

The level of archaeological intervention during different stages of the development was determined primarily by an assessment of the likelihood of groundworks encountering in situ human burials. In areas of low risk an archaeological watching brief was maintained on the groundworks. In areas of higher risk, archaeological excavation was required to evaluate the nature of the buried archaeology and to mitigate the impact of the proposed groundworks.

2.2 Methodology

Four stages of archaeological investigation were carried out:

  1. Gravestone survey: A photographic record was made of the grave slabs within the surface of the chapel yard. Visible inscriptions were recorded and the positions of slabs noted prior to lifting, and again after re-laying.
  2. Archaeological evaluation: The footprints of the proposed substation and the associated service trench were excavated by hand to establish the presence or absence of human burials within the depth of the proposed foundations and underpinning works, and to assess the general character, preservation and potential of archaeological deposits.
  3. Archaeological mitigation: Further work was carried out to record and remove human burials within the area affected by the proposed foundations and underpinning works, and along the re-routed section of service trench.
  4. Archaeological watching brief: An archaeological watching brief was maintained throughout works to excavate the service trench along the course of the wall foundations at the northern edge of the chapel yard, and to lower ground levels between the chapel and Pepper Alley. A subsequent watching brief was maintained throughout works to lift the grave slabs in the yard to the west of the chapel, and to lower ground levels and excavate the new drainage channel.

Archaeological fieldwork and recording was carried out in accordance with the ARCUS project design and method statement (ARCUS 2006), with guidelines issued by the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA 1999) and with current industry best practice. Excavation of human remains was carried out under the provisions of the Burial Act 1857, and the Disused Burial Grounds Act (Amendment) 1981, and the requisite licences were obtained from the Department of Constitutional Affairs. The treatment of human remains was conducted in accordance with the guidance document issued by the Church of England and English Heritage (2005) and methodologies followed those outlined by English Heritage (2004).


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