About the Suffolk Archaeological Service

Learn what services are provided by the archaeological team and related charges.

Service changes due to COVID-19

  • The Archaeological Service’s offices are closed to visitors. Read more about how to access our services.
  • Due to current high volume of demand, fast track brief requests are temporarily unavailable. All brief requests submitted will be processed within 15 working days. 

We're sorry for any inconvenience this will cause.


The Archaeological Service is the main provider of archaeological advice in Suffolk. In order to promote the conservation, enhancement and understanding of Suffolk's distinctive historic environment, we:

  • maintain a record of archaeology and heritage assets, the Historic Environment Record
  • provide advice to planners, developers and farmers
  • identify and record finds made by members of the public
  • curate an archive for fieldwork projects carried out in the county
  • publish the results of fieldwork and other research into Suffolk's past

Planning-led archaeological advice and regulation have been carried out by the County Council on behalf of all eight planning authorities since the issue of Planning Policy Guidance notes 15 and 16 in 1990.

The nine planning authorities are:

  • Babergh District Council
  • Forest Heath District Council
  • Ipswich Borough Council
  • Mid Suffolk District Council
  • St Edmundsbury Borough Council
  • Suffolk Coastal District Council
  • Suffolk County Council
  • Waveney District Council
  • Broads Authority

The core elements of PPG 15 and 16 remain the same in the National Planning Policy Framework 2012.

Contact details

There are several ways to get in touch:

We're based at:

Suffolk County Council,
Archaeological Centre,
Hollow Road,
Bury St Edmunds,
IP32 7AY

Publications

Please note that several publications are currently available at a special reduced price. If you would like to order a publication, download and complete a publication order form on the Suffolk Heritage Explorer website.

Suffolk Heritage Explorer

Visit Suffolk Heritage Explorer to find out more about the archaeology of Suffolk or your local area.

Why have we introduced charges?

Charges were introduced on 1 March 2014 and updated in April 2019. Find all of our charges here.

We need to introduce charging to ensure that we have the resources to allow the continued provision of service. Local Planning Authorities do not currently make any contribution to the costs of archaeological advice for the consultation process in relation to planning applications.

The Local Government Act 2003 and the Localism Act 2011 give local authorities the power to charge. We are bound to ensure that income from any charges does not exceed the costs of providing the service.

Do charges always apply?

Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service does not charge for initial pre-application advice. However, developers their agents and archaeological organisations acting on behalf of developers are required to pay for the team’s advice during the planning process. The charges also apply to any developments which fall outside local planning authority decision making such as utility pipelines, cables and national infrastructure projects.

For desk-based assessments, palaeoenvironmental assessments and geophysical survey, where no site monitoring visit is required, no charges will be raised unless further work stages of archaeological work are required. There are no charges for most community projects.

What are the different charges?

We base our rates on an assessment of direct and indirect staff costs within Suffolk County Council. The charges are reviewed annually. There is a flat fee with add-on charges for specific points of contact and specific stages in the archaeological planning process.

Charging is based on standard or routine involvement in projects, by type and size, and an estimated number of visits allocated that will cover the majority of cases.  If further work is required due to unforeseen site circumstances, additional charges will be calculated on a pro rata basis.

How do I pay?

You will be required to complete a simple pro forma application to initiate the work, and we will raise an invoice which will be sent to you along with your brief. The charge will be invoiced based on the details submitted on the request form; therefore archaeological contractors and agents must ensure their client is aware of the charges.

In most cases, it will not be possible to complete the payment transaction in advance as archaeological briefs are often required at short notice.

However, payment must have been made before each stage of archaeological investigation has been completed. Failure to pay will result in the delay of approval of the stage of archaeological work.

What about charges for work already in progress?

Charges are applied to all new casework and for new stages of on-going archaeological investigations.

For example, charges will not apply to the evaluation stage of a project where the Written Scheme is already agreed unless the brief and WSI are out of date and need revising. Charges will, however, be applied for  the preparation of a brief if a further phase of archaeological investigation is required.

Where can I find the charging schedule and online application forms?

Read the charging schedule here.

Please note, there are also charges in place for the use of the:

Application forms