RCHMERoyal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (UK)
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Amongst the fields we have excavated seven sites of potential prehistoric buildings identified by the RCHME/PPJPB survey (Ainsworth 2001; RCHME & PPJPB 1993).
The RCHME plan shows a sub-square enclosure with a central street, termed a herepad (Old English `army road'), running west--east through the settlement, which in turn overlies an elliptical plan form discernible on the RCHME plan (FIGURE 1).
This was a small one-acre settlement, badly eroded by ploughing and visible only from aerial photographs and the skilled eyes of Collin Bowen (another Pembrokeshire man) and Peter Fowler of the RCHME, who had become my mentors in all matters to do with chalk downland.
The last was commissioned from the RCHME -- one of a series of major surveys undertaken with them over the decade.
EH and the RCHME commissioned the Universities of Reading and Southampton to prepare a report which addressed the characterization of the archaeological resource in the intertidal zone, and the development of appropriate management strategies for it in the context of sea-level change (Fulford et al.
A policy review of the RCHME conducted in 1988 formalized the relationship between the Commission and local record systems and the RCHME were recognized as the lead body for oversight of the system of local SMRs in England, but in a delicious compromise -- both EH and RCHME were given the discretion to fund them.
Following its influential role in the 1960s the RCHME had not been a consistent part of the great series of assessment documents and surveys of the 1970s and 1980s -- save as on Bodmin Moor where local interests coincided.
With the benefit of hindsight the tragedy of the 1988 decision regarding SMRs was not that it was necessarily wrong (Scotland and Wales demonstrated that such lead role responsibilities can work well) but that the sometimes divergent aims of the RCHME and EH were not reconciled into a set of common objectives and that this crucial area was under-resourced.
No-one would have wished that the integration of EH and the RCHME took place at the same time, but at least the process gave an opportunity of reviewing the new archaeological provision which the merger had produced.
The Plan will need to be expanded following the merger with RCHME, but it represents a strategic framework for the future which can be modified in the light of experience, through a series of goals within which programmes can develop.
Finally, MARS was launched with 1995 as its census date and the University of Bournemouth as our contractors, Tim Darvill and Andy Fulton as project managers and the RCHME as our partners.