An Archaeological Watching Brief is a formal programme of observation and investigation conducted during any operation carried out for non-archaeological reasons.
This can be be within a specified area or site on land, within the inter-tidal zone or underwater, where a possibility that archaeological deposits may be disturbed or destroyed. The watching brief shall result in the preparation of a report and ordered archive.
A watching brief might be necessary when a development threatens an archaeological resource, as part of the planning process and/or development plan policy, as part of an Environmental Assessment (EA).
A watching brief can be commissioned by different individuals or organisations, including national advisory bodies, local planning authorities, private landowners, government agencies or onshore and offshore developers.