From the prehistoric monument complexes of the Trent Valley sands and gravels to the lead mining heritage of the limestone uplands, Derbyshire and the Peak District is one of the richest areas in the country for both minerals and archaeological sites. Indeed mining and quarrying is a key part of the heritage of this region and has been happening for as long as there have been humans in Derbyshire.
For this project, the entirety of Derbyshire and the Peak District was partitioned into distinct ‘landforms’ based on the dominant geology, whether this be bedrock geology such as Carboniferous Limestone or Millstone Grit, or superficial geology such as sand and gravel terraces or upland peat. The crucial focus of the landform element approach is that different landforms have distinct archaeological and palaeoenvironmental associations which can not only be used to predict the possible location and type of buried archaeological remains, but which can be used to drive the type of archaeological techniques employed for investigating them.
The aim of this project was to make sure that the best possible evidence base is available for the local authority archaeological curators in Derbyshire and the Peak District, as well as for mineral planners, mineral operators, consultants and contractors. A great deal of archaeology is discovered through the works commissioned as a part of mineral extraction and the guidance that has come from this project aims to encourage programmes of work that follow a question-led approach, utilise the most appropriate techniques and are targeted to focus the resource on adding to society’s knowledge base and answering the questions highlighted in the regional and national research agendas.
The project was funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund distributed by English Heritage on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and was undertaken by ARS Ltd in partnership with Derbyshire County Council and the Peak District National Park Authority.
The project report includes an in-depth analysis of archaeological associations by landform across Derbyshire and the Peak District, as well as general overviews of the archaeology and geology of the area, a management framework for archaeology and mineral extraction, and aerial photograph transcription for key parts of the study area as an Appendix.