Scheduled Ancient Monument

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art one of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, as amended by the National Heritage Act 1983St Helens Church: ancient monument enables the Secretary of State for National Heritage to maintain a schedule of nationally important sites. In practice this task is undertaken on his behalf by local agencies, almost always County Councils or their successors. In some areas, for example smaller unitary authorites, archeological provision is not always very comprehensive.

For the purposes of the Act a monument is defined as:

• any building, structure or work, whether above or below the surface of the land, and any cave or excavation;
• any site comprising the remains of any such building, structure or work or of any cave or excavation; and
• any site comprising, or comprising the remains of, any vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other moveable structure or part thereof which neither constitutes nor forms part of any work which is a monument as defined within paragraph a) above;
• and any machinery attached to a monument shall be regarded as part of the monument if it could not be detached without being dismantled.

The Act further defines an ancient monument as "any Scheduled Monument; and any other monument which in the opinion of the Secretary of State is of public interest by reason of the historic, architectural, traditional, artistic or archaeological interest attaching to it". In order to decide which ancient monuments thus defined are of national importance and also deemed best managed by scheduling there exist eight non-statutory criteria. The criteria are survival/condition, period, rarity, fragility/vulnerability, diversity, documentation, group value and potential (see the Lincolnshire Archaeological Handbook Appendix 2 for further detail). The Act also indicates that monuments may be protected not only by designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument but also by being taken under ownership or Guardianship of the Secretary of State or a local authority or by being in an area of archaeological importance.

Information on this page has been taken from the Lincolnshire Archaeological Handbook.