Archaeological Trial Trenching Q&As

Q – What is trial trenching and why does it need to be completed?

A – Archaeological Trial Trenching is a trench digging technique used to establish the presence, condition and date of any archaeological remains which may be present along the Triton Knoll Electrical System cable route. The investigations will ensure any important archaeological sites are identified and protected in accordance with planning policy and the commitments in the Triton Knoll Electrical System Development Consent Order.

The Archaeological Trial Trenching campaign will investigate the full route of the onshore cable corridor, including fields adjacent to the landfall location and the onshore Substation and Intermediate Electrical Compound sites. Non-intrusive geophysical surveys (radar) supported by investigations of existing data have determined the location and number of trenches which are required in the campaign.

The work will be carried out by three mobile teams and will involve careful mechanical excavation, hand excavation , and recording of any significant archaeological findings made along the way.

These investigations are often confused with the start of construction due to the scale of the works but are required solely for archaeological purposes.

Q – How many trenches are required as part of this campaign.

A – We have been in discussion with heritage consultees to confirm the number of trenches required and these discussions are still underway. We envisage that approximately 300 trenches will be required in total.

Q – How big will the trenches be?

A – The archaeologists will dig the trenches and record any evidence of archaeology . Trenches will be approximately 2m wide and up to 50m long in places and visible across local fields.

Q – How long will these investigations last?

A – The works will start in early August and we anticipate them taking approximately five months to complete. We expect the bulk of the work to take place during the summer and autumn months.

Q – Who will be carrying out the work?

A – Triton Knoll have appointed a local contractor, Allen Archaeology, to complete these investigations. Allen Archaeology was established in 2005 by Director Mark Allen. The company has a 40 strong team based at its head office in Lincoln, from where the Triton Knoll project team will be drawn.

Q – Will any Public Right of Way be affected by these investigations?

A – No, these investigations will have no impact on any PRoW.

Q – Have the relevant landowners given you permission to access their land for these investigations?

A Triton Knoll have been working closely with all landowners and local authorities to prepare for the start of the programme of archaeological investigations.

We have consent to enter the majority of the land required and are continuing to seek voluntary agreement with the remaining landowners. We’ll be carrying out our activities to tie in as closely as possible with the agricultural cycle, and in such a way as to minimise impacts on agricultural land.

Q – What equipment will be involved in these investigations?

A – The archaeological teams will be highly visible at times and will use JCBs or tracked vehicles to start the trench excavation process. Other vehicles will include a company welfare van with mess facilities and a low-load lorry to transport the JCB or rubber-tracked vehicles. Additional vans and 4×4 vehicles may also be utilised if ground conditions require. There will also be the use of a metal detector, hand tools (trowels, shovels etc.) and a GPS scanner to locate the trenches accurately.

Q – What happens with the results of the trenching?

A – Firstly, the results will ensure that any archaeological sites are sensitively and appropriately managed during future constructions works. These results will help determine our construction methods. Avoidance will be our primary target, so we need to understand the extents of any potential archaeology.

At the same time, this is a really valuable and interesting programme of investigations for the project and for the local area. We may uncover some interesting local artefacts, which could be of real interest to future generations.

At a later date, once all of our analysis is complete and the findings have all been fully recorded and analysed, we will pass over the results to local curators as a record of the area’s archaeological history, and for the benefit of future generations.

Q – Will there be any noise relating to these investigation?

A – There will be a small level of noise resulting from the digging plant but this will be similar to the noise produced from usual agricultural work and will only be for a short period of time. No works will take place overnight.

Q – How will the equipment access the sites?

A – All equipment will access the site using the highways network. Vehicle movements will be kept to a minimum.

Q – Where can I find out more information on these investigations?

A – We provided some high level information in our June 2017 Community Newsletter. More detailed information can be found under the ‘Communities’ page.

Q – Who can I contact if I do have any questions or concerns relating to these investigations?

A – You can give us a call on 0845 026 0562 or email