Chairs:  David BIBBY, Germany |  Christoph OELLERER, Austria

In many ways pre- excavation strategies in towns and cities mirror the strata of the urban excavation. Pre-excavation strategies are themselves intricate and multilayered. The complex dynamics of urban conglomerates make pre- excavation strategies into an elaborate network of interacting aspects.

An essential basis in the forefront of any urban excavation is information and public relations. Urban excavations disrupt the urban routine. It is therefore essential that positive pre-excavation atmosphere is created.

The urban archaeologist must acquire deep knowledge of his/her territory to make the decision as to whether an excavation is actually necessary or whether the plot in question is sterile, disturbed or deeply cellared. One tool is the urban archaeological cadastre. In the past cadastres have been produced as “books” or pamphlets. Today the advantages of GIS for the dynamic ever changing urban environment are apparent. Information from known prospection methods may help, but the urban environment presents them with its own specific challenges. The fact that archaeology is a historical science is particularly apparent in the multilayered urban palimpsest. Therefore historical research in the building archives and city repositories belongs to the standard pre excavation oeuvre.

Negotiations with the developer as well as the authorities are part of excavation preparations. How do we convince the developer of the necessity of our project? Do we make a contract?  Do we appeal to his “sense of culture”? Or do we take the “environmental path” and archaeologically “decontaminate” his plot of land? What other possibilities do we have?

How do we deal with city authorities? Time needed to apply for and receive the appropriate permits should not be underestimated. Delay might have serious consequences. And last but not least, at a technical level, both equipment and personal must ready and able to carry the excavation through efficiently and without delay or malfunction. What strategies to urban archaeologist follow to ensure the efficacy of their excavation team and equipment pool?

Papers on any aspects of pre-excavation strategies – public relations, legal, structural and administrative,  dealing with developers, technical aspects, urban prospection methods, archaeological cadastre,  GIS in the urban environment, historical research etc. will be welcomed.

In listening to experiences and discussing the solutions, we have an opportunity in this session to learn from our colleagues, maybe even adopt some of their successful strategies for our own use and avoid the pitfalls of this intricate and difficult aspect of urban archaeology.