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Written Schemes of Investigation (WSI).

A Written Scheme of Investigation is a Method Statement produced in response to a brief issued by the Planning Authority. In Essex this brief comes from the Essex County Council Heritage Environment Management Team except where their advisory service is not used by the Local Planning Authority (Colchester and Tendring for example).

The WSI is a long document that sets out a large number of criteria as follows.

Site Location and Description
Planning Background
Archaeological Background
Requirement for Work

Methodology including-
Code of conduct, names and qualifications of professional staff.
Provisional timetable.
Health and safety measures.
Notification of the supervisor/project manager details.
Details of how all archaeological contexts and artefacts will be excavated, surveyed, recovered and recorded.
Details of the site planning policy.
Details of the photographic record.
Provision should human remains be discovered .
Details of the sampling strategies for retrieving artefacts, biological remains.
An OASIS online record must be initiated and key fields completed.
Details of washing, marking, storing
The WSI shall include an agreed list of specialist finds consultants
Detail of the content including:
The aims and methods adopted in the course of the archaeological work.
Location plan of trenches and/or other fieldwork in relation to the proposed development. At least two corners of each of the trenches shall be given 10 figure grid references.
A section/s drawing showing depth of deposits including present ground level with Ordnance Datum, vertical and horizontal scale.
Appropriate discussion and result section assessing the site in relation to the Regional Research Frameworks (Brown and Glazebrook 2000) and Historic Town Assessment (Medlycott, 1999). For sites in Essex.
All specialist reports or assessments.
A concise non-technical summary of the project results.
An HER summary sheet shall also be completed within four weeks
All parts of the OASIS online form must be completed for submission to the HER.
Publication of the results at least to a summary level.
Archive Deposition
Notification of the start of work shall be given to the HEM team one week in advance of its commencement.

It can be seen from this enormous list that producing a WSI (which is unique to each site) is not the work of a few minutes. Clients should expect to pay for at least a day's work on small projects and perhaps considerably more on large excavations. I do not carry out large excavations and the larger archaeological units that do can advise you directly about WSI's for large developments.

There are also WSI's for building recording. These are not as demanding as there is no requirement for Finds Specialists and the work associated with them. Depending on the scope of the recording exercise a WSI for building recording would take between a half and one day to prepare.

Example of a recent successful WSI for building recording. opens as .pdf.

Contact me regarding WSI's.



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