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After 40 years of operations, Canterbury Archaeological Trust is firmly established as one of the UK’s premier professional archaeological contractors. During that time, we have built an enviable reputation, winning numerous awards and being involved in some of the most important excavations in British archaeology. Our field staff rank among the most experienced and qualified in the profession – ensuring that we can offer a range of services that is second to none. These include: archaeological evaluation, strip-and-map and full excavation; watching brief and groundwork monitoring; surveying; and bore-hole/pile and geo-technical test-pit monitoring.


Our centre of operations is firmly established in south-east England, but our staff are so highly thought of that their expertise is sought around the world.


For a cost-effective solution to your archaeological fieldwork requirements, please contact Mark Houliston, Director of Commercial Services:

Evaluation and test-pitting

Developers and individuals are often only given permission to build on condition that an archaeological investigation is carried out in advance of construction work. In the first instance, this generally takes the form of a field evaluation (sometimes following on from the production of an archaeological desk-based assessment).

Depending on the size of the site, evaluations can range from a single small test-pit to a series of trenches.

The purpose of field evaluation is to gain information about the archaeological resource within a given area or site, in order to make an assessment of its merits in the appropriate context. 

If archaeological remains are discovered during the evaluation work, the next course of action is likely to be one or more of the following:

  • Further excavation to an agreed specification;

  • A watching brief during construction work;

  • The formulation of a strategy to mitigate the threat to the archaeological resource. 


For more information, please contact Mark Houliston, Director of Commercial Services: 


Archaeological excavations in a commercial environment are only undertaken when preservation in the ground has proved impossible or problematic. The intention is therefore to preserve the archaeological remains by means of a record, generated during the process of excavation. During follow-on post-excavation work, the materials recovered will be used along with these records to reconstruct the history of the site and produce a report on the findings.

The Trust undertakes both small and large-scale excavations, some within urban environments and others in rural landscapes. We employ a highly experienced team of field archaeologists, as well as in-house and consultant specialists capable of dealing with all eventualities.

For more information, please contact Mark Houliston, Director of Commercial Services: 

Watching brief, groundwork monitoring

An archaeological watching brief is a programme of observation and investigation conducted during construction or infrastructure works when there is a possibility that archaeological remains might be impacted. A watching brief is often stipulated as a condition by the planning authority granting permission for the works. The watching brief fieldwork will result in the preparation of a report and an ordered archive of the works.

A watching brief allows for the preservation by record of archaeological remains, the presence and nature of which could not be established (or established with sufficient accuracy) in advance of construction or other potentially disruptive works.

For more information, please contact Andy Linklater, Project Manager (Watching Briefs),


Our surveying department is equipped to meet the exacting standards required for archaeological investigations. Whether it is locating small finds, siting an excavation trench, undertaking a rural landscape survey or plotting monuments within a large urban environment.

In the field we use the most up-to-date GPS assisted equipment as well as traditional techniques, whilst back in the office our dedicated staff are fully trained on computer applications such as ArcGIS and AutoCad, as well as Adobe illustrator, Photoshop and the like. This means that we can produce digital 2D and 3D representations as easily as we can generate hard copy plans, maps and drawings.

For more information, please contact James Holman, Project Manager:

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