This page lists draft written guidance currently open for public and professional comment. Please take time to review these drafts and to send us comments. Your responses will help us to make sure that guidance is both relevant and effective.
A bulletin of recent and forthcoming guidelines, is available. This is updated quarterly. This aims to help partner organisations co-ordinate with English Heritage guidance work.
Human Remains from Wreck sites: a Proposed Policy for Consultation
The following statement currently stands:
The provisions of the Burial Act 1857 (hereafter 'the Act') extend to the 12nm territorial limit adjacent to England. It is therefore unlawful to disturb burials within this limit without first obtaining lawful authority to do so.
However, the wording of the Act appears to refer to bodies (or parts thereof) which were deliberately buried. As such, human remains from wreck sites, even if they lie within the territorial limit, do not fall under the provisions of the Act (although deliberately buried human remains in submerged landscapes would), and are therefore subject to the common law. Indeed, it seems that the common law offers no mechanism for the exhumation of a corpse or parts of a corpse found buried in unconsecrated ground, which would include corpses found in wrecks. Removal could therefore be a common law offence in cases not covered by the Act or other legislation.
It is therefore desirable that some mechanism be devised to bring human remains from historic wreck sites into line with protection offered to deliberately deposited remains.
In conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, the purpose of this document is therefore to highlight the legislative and policy gap with regard to the treatment of human remains from wreck sites within England's territorial waters, and to propose a future best practice.
The consultation period is from Monday 21 October 2013 to 13 December 2013.
Please send your responses to Carrie Cowan and Mark Dunkley at the following email or postal address:
Designation Department, English Heritage, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London, EC1N 2ST.
Telephone: 0207 973 3116.
Guidance under Review:
Consultation is now closed on the drafts listed below. Draft documents are in most cases still available for reference pending final publication. However please note that guidance and recommendations may be different in the final published version in comparison to the earlier drafts.
Informing the Future of the Past: Guidelines for Historic Environment Records: Closing date: 28 September 2012. These guidelines have been developed to assist those who manage, work in and use Historic Environment Records (HERs). These guidelines have now been updated and revised into a wiki format and are available online at http://www.ifp-plus.info/
Development of Standards and Guidance for the Historic Environment (MoRPHE PPN 6): Closing date 24 September 2012. A revised version of the MoRPHE Project Planning Note (PPN) covering projects to develop and issue written guidance for the sector. Contact email@example.com
A Standard and Guidance for archaeological advice by historic environment services. Closing date 17 February 2012. The Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) and Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO) will complete a final draft for adoption at the IfA Annual General Meeting in October 2012. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Military Aircraft Crash Sites: Archaeological Guidance on their Significance and Future Management. Closing date 31 March 2012. Contact email@example.com
Multi-Light Imaging Techniques for Heritage Applications. Closing date 31 January 2012. Following very useful feedback a further draft is in preparation. Contact Paul.Backhouse@english-heritage.org.uk