The need for site monitoring in order to manage archaeological evidence in woodland
Within the Forestry Commission estate, each Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) has its own individual management plan (agreed with the relevant national heritage body) and these are subject to periodic review. However, many unscheduled sites are also of high local or national importance and need some degree of management to reduce any risk of damage.
It is not possible to visit every archaeological feature on a regular basis to assess the effectiveness of management plans and some form of monitoring system is required to show any changes with time. For example, where trees are retained, any degradation in their health may indicate a need to fell them prior to any windthrow. Equally, the presence of a new animal burrow may require prompt action to prevent extensive damage to an earthwork.
A detailed survey of one area showing the percentage ground cover View larger image(25K)
Such a system is currently being devised within the Forestry Commission to highlight changes in the monument and its surrounding environment to identify immediate risks and inform the revision of management plans. This will be incorporated into the GIS used for most management and operation decisions.