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With over 30 years of experience across a range of heritage services, AMAC Group will achieve compliance for your project in the minimum possible time.

Historic Heritage

Historic heritage

Archaeological Assessment

Also referred to as a Heritage Impact Assessment or Baseline Assessment, this is a preliminary study for historical archaeological sites that identifies: the relevant local, State or Federal legislation or other planning controls for a study site; historical evidence for who occupied the site and what activity has taken place there, what archaeology might survive and whether it is State or locally significant per the Heritage Act 1977. Archaeological Assessments meet guidelines published by the Heritage Council of NSW in 1996 and make recommendations to manage site activities that may impact significant archaeology. 

Section 139 Exception

An Archaeological Assessment, or a Heritage Management Document, is required, in some circumstances, to make valid use of certain Exceptions. Self-assessment may be possible, in a limited range of scenarios. In all cases, the proponent is required to keep records of the work and Heritage NSW may audit for compliance. Exceptions do not apply to State significant archaeological relics or State Heritage Register or Interim Heritage Order sites. Exceptions cannot be used for major impacts to locally significant relics.  

Archaeological monitoring and test excavation are possible under an Exception, if confined to locally significant relics or minor works with limited impacts as defined by Section 139 of the Heritage Act and Heritage NSW guidelines. 

If you are unsure which Exception might apply to your project or you are directed by a local Council obtain an Archaeological Permit, please contact us for guidance using the new S139 Exceptions or read the forthcoming website guides (1 March 2022) by Heritage NSW.

Section 60 or Fast Track S60

Archaeological excavation is only one of a wide range of works that an s60 Approval could allow at a State Heritage Register or Interim Heritage Order site. The s60 Approvals cover works that go beyond the scope of either the Standard Exemptions or a Fast Track S60 and are sometimes preceded by Integrated Development Applications (IDAs). 

Excavation that may impact archaeological relics at a SHR site must be supported by an Archaeological Assessment and Research Design and nominate an Excavation Director that meets the NSW Heritage Council criteria. That documentation seeks approval to carry out Section 57(1) activities at the site. Under certain circumstances, a Section 60 can be updated by a Section 65a Variation. To apply for a s60, please contact us for guidance using the Heritage Management Sytem application portal or read the Works Application s60 guide by Heritage NSW.

Fast Track s60

Works that may pose a minor impact to significant fabric at a SHR site or Interim Heritage Order site may be eligible for a fast track approval. This excludes the potential for minor impact to State significant archaeological relics. A Fast Track s60 is still subject to approval from the NSW Heritage Council or its delegate. Contact us for advice about the best approval pathway for your project, or read the Heritage NSW guide.

Archaeological Excavation

Tailored to the scope of a given development and a Heritage NSW approved Research Design, Archaeological Excavation can take a number of forms:

Archaeological Monitoring

This involves a suitably qualified and experienced archaeologist working alongside a mechanical excavator with a driver who is experienced in detail work. Monitoring can either help avoid archaeology, identify it early or ensure that a project can maximise the use of mechanical excavation. Depending on the site, monitoring can take place under a Section 139, Section 140, Section 57(2) or Section 60.

Test Excavation

A sample of the site's archaeology to better predict its nature, extent and significance – especially if there are State significant relics. The data gained from test excavation can improve time and cost efficiencies for a project as it provides a selection of the most relevant archaeological data to inform and streamline future management well in advance of redevelopment. All test excavations must be guided by a Research Design and Methodology and, depending on the site, they can take place under a Section 139, Section 140, Section 57(2) or Section 60.

Salvage Excavation

Where Archaeological Assessment, Monitoring or Test Excavation have not identified opportunities for conservation in situ, full salvage excavation may be possible. Salvage excavation is the last option available for an archaeological site if its destruction is unavoidable. Salvage is an opportunity to investigate and record the archaeology at a site and ensure that, though it might be destroyed, its historical information is understood and made public. All salvage excavation must be guided by a Research Design and Methodology and, depending on the site, they can take place under a Section 140 or Section 60.

Statement of Heritage Impact

Also known as a Heritage Impact Statement or Heritage Impact Assessment, this document considers the significance of a heritage item and how proposed works to the item or in its vicinity may affect its significance. SOHIs can present proposed actions to mitigate impacts and conserve significance. These steps assist consent authorities to determine whether an application for work should take place. Heritage items include buildings, structures, places, relics or works of historical, aesthetic, social, technical/research or natural heritage significance. Places include conservation areas, sites, precincts, gardens, landscapes and areas of archaeological potential (including underwater).

Section 140 Excavation Permit

An Archaeological Assessment is combined with two additional chapters: a Research Design and an Archaeological Excavation Methodology when a development poses specific impacts to relics. These chapters form supporting documentation for a permit to excavate land that will or is likely to result in the disturbance of relics. The methodology nominates an Excavation Director that meets the NSW Heritage Council criteria and the Section 140 can be used for Test Excavation or Full Salvage Excavation. The document is submitted to the NSW Heritage Council (or its delegate). Under certain circumstances, a Section 140 permit can be varied - this is achieved through a Section 144 Variation. To apply for a s140, please contact us for guidance using the Heritage Management Sytem application portal or read the Excavation Permit s140 guide by Heritage NSW.

Historical Research

AMAC Group is staffed by confident and experienced researchers who are well versed in the historical resources available in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. As a result, AMAC Group can make valuable contributions to history projects of all kinds for individuals or organisations. 

Final Excavation Report

If archaeologists have attended site and recorded relics, a Final Excavation Report must be published within 1 year, unless an extension is approved. Standard HCNSW reporting requires, but is not limited to: historical research; detailed excavation records with geo-referenced data; treatment, analysis and custody of artefacts; detailed responses to the Research Design; a re-assessment of the site’s heritage significance and recommendations for future management. The Final Excavation Report must be supplied to a local library and HCNSW.

Artefact Analysis

Archaeological fieldwork may require that the archaeologist collects historical artefacts from a site and provide a catalogue in a Final Archaeological Report. Artefacts are the property and responsibility of the site owner and the site owner must provide for the long-term archival storage of artefacts, preferably on site. Standard HNSW reporting requires, but is not limited to: cleaning, conserving, sorting, cataloguing, labelling, photography and scaled drawings of artefacts and nomination of long term repositories. Depending on the complexity or significance of the assemblage, this work is conducted by archaeologists or specialists. Artefact analysis is typically done after fieldwork and will likely fulfil conditions attached to Section 140 and Section 60 permits but may also be associated with Section 139(4) and Section 57(2) works.

Section 146 Notification of the Discovery of Relics

Final Archaeological Reports are submitted to Heritage NSW under Section 146 of the Heritage Act which requires any person who believes they have discovered or located a relic (in any circumstances) to notify the Heritage Council. However, Section 146 Notifications can also be used to record unexpected finds and provide archaeological advice as part of the notification process.

Archaeological Advice

Review of a site, development plans, Council or other Consent Conditions and supply of written advice.

Section 57(2) Standard Exemptions

The NSW Government Gazette provides a schedule of works and conditions that are considered Standard Exemptions for State Heritage Register and Interim Heritage Order sites. Any work done under the standard exemptions must be carried out by suitably experienced professionals and must not alter the site's significant fabric. Contact us for an archaeological assessment to determine whether your work is likely to affect significant archaeological fabric. For further reading, Heritage NSW also provide a guide to standard exemptions.

Archaeological Management Plan

Also an Archaeological Zoning Plan, these studies are predictive and broad scale and are usually commissioned by Local or State governments to assist property owners, developers and archaeologists to identify high concentration areas of possible archaeological remains related to 'post-1788 European occupation.' AMPs assess that archaeology and make management recommendations, ideally at the earliest opportunity in the planning process, such as land zoning, and aim to ensure that sufficient resources are targeted at the most sensitive areas. A detailed guideline for AMPs can be found here

Non-Aboriginal Heritage Assessment

Typically requested as part of the State Significant Development or State Significant Infrastructure process, this document follows the same Burra Charter principales and Heritage NSW guidelines as an Archaeological Assessment.

Aboriginal Heritage
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ABoriginal Cultural heritage

Connecting With Country

A community consultation and reporting service to deliver the outcomes of the 'Connecting With Country' framework, published by the NSW Government Architect, to inform the planning, design and delivery of built environment projects in NSW.

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report

This report is an extension of the Due Diligence Aboriginal Archaeological Assessment process and may be required as part of a DA. The ACHAR investigates and assesses Aboriginal cultural heritage and values and requires full consultation with Aboriginal communities in accordance with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Consultation Requirements for Proponents (DECCW 2010). This assessment is triggered if there is a potential for Aboriginal objects and/or places to be present and/or if test excavation is recommended under the Code of Practice for the Investigation of Aboriginal Objects in NSW (DECCW 2010). The recommendations of this report provide actions to be taken before, during and after an activity in order to manage and protect Aboriginal objects and places.

This report along with the accompanying Aboriginal Archaeological Technical Report and Consultation Log are the primary documents forming an AHIP application.

Salvage Excavation

Salvage excavation is recommended when test excavation results require additional investigation to take place in order to ascertain the nature and extend of any artefacts and/or cultural deposit located during the test excavation program. There are often triggers included in the test excavation methodology which, if met, would indicate the need to conduct salvage excavation. These triggers may include; uncovering a high density of artefacts, rare or unique objects, features and/or significant deposits.

Salvage excavation can be conducted under the NPW Code of Practice however, if the Code of Practice cannot be adhered to then an AHIP is required in order for salvage excavation to take place.

The results of the salvage excavation are analysed and synthesised along with the test excavation results, into the Aboriginal Archaeological Technical Report which accompanies the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report and AHIP application.

An AHIP is required for the proposed development to proceed. 

If an AHIP was first sought for Salvage Excavation, then a second AHIP is needed for the impact of the proposed development. A site can only have one AHIP registered to it at a time and as such any AHIP acquired as part of the Salvage Excavation program will usually be limited to the likely duration of the salvage excavation. The 'Second AHIP' situation is the result of the different type and level of impact being proposed and assessed under each AHIP.

Community Consultation

Consultation with the Aboriginal community is an essential part of any cultural heritage assessment and is required if the project later seeks an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit. The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Consultation Requirements for Proponents, Part 6: National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (DECCW, 2010) is a statutory document which outlines the processes involved in consulting with Aboriginal people who hold knowledge about the significance of Aboriginal cultural heritage in the area. As part of the guidelines, statutory timeframes are given regarding the review period and distribution of documentation to Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs). Aboriginal consultation is required when conducting an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (NPW Act 1975) and/or Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan (EPA Act 1979) and when undertaking fieldworks such as test excavation and community collection. It is important that the timeframes stipulated within the consultation guidelines are factored into project schedules as early as possible. Contact us for our project schedule guide.

Test Excavation

Test excavation is recommended when there is a potential for suspected or known Aboriginal objects present. In New South Wales test excavation can be conducted under the Code of Practice for the Investigation of Aboriginal Objects in NSW (DECCW 2010). The Code of Practice consists of a set of parameters and methods acknowledged by DPIE to have a minimal impact on any potential suspected or known Aboriginal object and/or place in order to ascertain the nature and extend of any potential site prior to the development activity taking place. If the Code of Practice cannot be adhered to then an AHIP is required in order for test excavation to take place. Prior to the commencement of test excavation, a methodology has to be compiled outlining the protocols and procedures of the testing programme.

The results of the test excavation are to analysed and synthesised into the Aboriginal Archaeological Technical Report to accompany the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report to support either an AHIP and/or DA condition.

The outcome of test excavation may result in no further action, salvage excavation of which involves additional excavation in the form of expansion of test pits and additional open area investigations, and/or a second AHIP application if Aboriginal objects are identified and will be impacted by the proposed development activity.

Test Excavation can be a condition of a Development Application.

Due Diligence

A desktop study for Aboriginal archaeology, also known as an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Assessment, it is prepared according to the Due Diligence Code of Practice for the Protection of Aboriginal Objects in New South Wales (DECCW, 2010). The assessment may be a DA requirement as it identifies the potential for Aboriginal objects to be present along with assessing the impact and/or harm of the planned activity on said objects. The outcome of the desktop assessment will determine whether further investigation is warranted in the form of an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment and accompanying Aboriginal Archaeological Technical Report as well as full consultation with Registered Aboriginal Parties as per the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Consultation Requirements for Proponents; Part 6 National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (DECCW 2010) and/or a programme of test excavation. The completion of a Due Diligence Aboriginal process also provides legal defence against prosecution for harming Aboriginal objects, if after due diligence, it was determined that Aboriginal objects were unlikely.

Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit

An Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP) is the legal instrument the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) issues under Part 6 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act) Section 90. This permit is required when harm to an Aboriginal object and/or declared Aboriginal Place cannot be avoided because of the proposed activity.

An AHIP application requires the following supporting document; Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment and accompanying Aboriginal Archaeological Technical Report and Consultation Log as well as stamped DA plans. This application is then submitted to DPIE for determination. Only once an AHIP is granted can the planned activity take place.

For proposed developments that come under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act 1979), such as State Significant Developments. All such conditions and procedures which were the domain of an AHIP are replaced by an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan (ACHMP). As such any investigative excavation programs no long come under the NPW Act and/or AHIP and this ACHMP becomes the endorsed document for the management of Aboriginal cultural material.

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