Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments


Desk-based assessments (DBAs) are important tools for understanding the historic environment and for managing change. Although these assessments are increasingly required in the planning process or as an early stage in the development of conservation plans and environmental assessments, many historic environment professionals have little or no training in researching, compiling and presenting them. This course informs participants about the role of desk-based assessments in managing the cultural heritage resource and provides a practical guide to their production. It will also include guidance on the use of desk-based assessments to fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The course will be of interest to all those who are currently (or hope to be) involved in the commissioning or production of desk-based assessments. It is targeted towards new entrants to the profession and those who would like to develop skills in this area.

Presentations outlining the background and main issues will be followed by an open discussion session with the course directors and other participants. In the afternoon, those attending in person will take part in two workshop exercises: one assessing the quality of a number of  DBAs, and the other a practical exercise in designing a DBA based on case studies of different types of development impacts.

The course will be delivered in a hybrid format. The morning session is being offered for both in person and online participants. The afternoon session is offered for in person participants only.

Programme details


9.00 am                Registration

9.30 am                Introduction

9.45am                 The role and purpose/s of desk-based assessment.

10:05am               Types of desk-based assessment: matching design and content to the requirements of the client and regulatory authorities 

10.25am               Policy and legislation background

10.40am               Introduction to the sources

11.00am               Short break

11.20am               Curator’s Perspective

11.50am               Assessment of Significance & Archaeological Potential & other forms of assessment

12.10pm               Getting from A to B: Stages in the development of a DBA

12.30pm               Questions and answers

1.00pm                 Online course ends

Lunch for in person attendees

1.50 pm                Workshop 1: critical evaluation of examples of desk-based assessments

2.50pm                 Short break

3.10pm                 Workshop 2: using examples of development scenarios to design desk-based assessments

4.20pm                 Final Questions and Answers, and review of the day

4.30pm                 Course disperses


Description Costs
In-person tuition £280.00
Online tuition: Half day only £135.00
Baguette Lunch £6.50
Full Hot Lunch £17.60


Payment of fees must be made in full at the time of booking.

Please note that businesses and organisations can be invoiced on provision of a Purchase Order and completed application form. These can be emailed to the CWHE Programme Administrator, email:


Dr Jill Hind

Course Director

Independent Consultant and former Senior Project Manager in Heritage Management Services at Oxford Archaeology

Ms Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger

Course Director

County Archaeologist for Wiltshire 


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Depending on availability, it may be possible to book accommodation in Rewley House.

All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.

Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and prices.