Archeology and planning
Archaeology is what we call heritage assets that show us evidence of past human activity. These can range in size from small items found in the ground, through to whole landscapes.
Sometimes archaeological sites are places you can visit or see above ground. While others are only known about from old maps and documents or aerial surveys. A few archaeological sites have been discovered during development and building works.
Archaeology can be anywhere so it is important that we consider it when we look at planning applications or sites for future development. If a proposed development is likely to affect archaeology we will need to find out more about this before determining an application.
We may need this in the form of a desk based study or an archaeological evaluation. We sometimes need to adjust proposals or ask for an excavation to protect archaeological remains.
Wolverhampton and Walsall Historic Environment Record
You can learn about all known archaeological sites and finds in Walsall in the Wolverhampton and Walsall Historic Environment Record (HER). This is located at City of Wolverhampton Council and has around 1,500 records for Walsall.
The archaeology of Walsall ranges from finds of prehistoric flint tools, to 20th century structures. You can access some of the HER records of these online via the Heritage Gateway.
Archaeological sites of national importance are designated as Scheduled Monuments. These are protected by law and any works which would affect or disturb a monument need Scheduled Monument consent from Historic England.
This includes activities like:
- metal detecting
- putting up fences
- changing vegetation on them
The works may need planning consent as well, so please discuss this with the Planning Team.
Walsall has five scheduled monuments:
- Moated Site, 15m south of Moat Farm
- Hlaew, 12m north-west of Rushall Hall
- Medieval fortified house at Rushall Hall
- Cross in All Saints Churchyard
- Hillfort known as The Castle Fort at Castlebank
Scheduled Monuments can become at risk by things such as deliberate disturbance from metal detecting, and lack of care and maintenance of the monument. Currently none of Walsall’s Scheduled Monuments are on the Heritage at Risk Register.
What to do if you have found something that you believe to be archaeological?
Sometimes new archaeological sites can be discovered from a small find of a coin or piece of pottery. The Portable Antiquities Scheme can help with identifying finds and ensuring they are recorded.
You can also let the HER Officer know what you have found and where you found it to help keep the HER up to date.
Heritage crime is a big problem for heritage assets and archaeological sites. This can include things like:
- illegal excavations on archaeological sites
- deliberate damage to a heritage asset (e.g. arson, vandalism)
- demolition of the site without permission to do so
- stripping lead from buildings
These should be reported to the police. You can find out how you can help protect against heritage crime on Historic England's website.