Archaeological Guidelines and Templates

Heritage New Zealand creates and maintains an archaeological guidelines series, with accompanying templates, to provide advice and assistance to the archaeological community on a range of topics.  They are an information source for consultant archaeologists and people potentially applying for archaeological authorities. The accompanying templates have been created to support these guidelines.

Buildings recording
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AGS1 Guidelines for investigation and recording of buildings

These guidelines (pdf, 826kb July 2014) were developed in response to the need for information and standards for buildings recording and analysis work.  In the first instance, they were intended as a technical guide, for use by heritage professionals with training and/or experience in this field.

Previous Versions

AGS1 Guidelines for investigation and recording of buildings June 2006 - this version relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation.

Writing archaeological assessments
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AGS2 Guidelines for writing archaeological assessments

These guidelines (pdf, 870kb) were prepared to assist the archaeological community with the preparation of archaeological assessments. They are not prescriptive, but intend to convey our view on appropriate standards developed within the framework of best practice for archaeological and heritage management in New Zealand, as espoused in international ICOMOS charters, national legislation, government heritage policy and codes of ethics for archaeological practice in New Zealand.

Please note that this document relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation. New guidelines tailored to the changes brought in by the May 2014 enactment of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 are currently under development and will be provided as soon as they become available.
Assessment template
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ATS1 Archaeological assessment template

This template (word, 1.12mb) was prepared to assist with writing archaeological assessments to accompany archaeological authority applications made under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014.

Previous Versions

ATS1 Archaeological assessment template Dec 2013.  Please note that this version relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation.

Stategies for section 15 and 18 authorities
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AGS3 Research strategies for sections 15 & 18 Authorities

These guidelines (pdf, 1.26mb) were prepared to assist archaeologists with the preparation of research strategies that may have be required as part of the information requirements for applications made under Sections 15 and 18 of the Historic Places Act 1993, or as a condition of archaeological authorities granted under that Act.

Please note that this version relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation. New guidelines tailored to the changes brought in by the May 2014 enactment of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 are currently under development and will be provided as soon as they become available.


Section 18 authorities
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AGS4 Guidelines for Section 18 authorities

These guidelines (pdf, 1.23mb) were prepared to clarify to the archaeological community how the NZHPT (now Heritage New Zealand) interpreted Section 18 of the Historic Places Act 1993, which allowed for the archaeological investigation of any archaeological site. They were developed in consultation with the archaeological community.

Please note that this version relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation. New guidelines tailored to the changes brought in by the May 2014 enactment of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 are currently under development and will be provided as soon as they become available.

Section 17 approval
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AGS5 Guidelines for Section 17 approval

These guidelines (pdf, 944kb) were prepared to clarify to the archaeological community how the NZHPT (now Heritage New Zealand) interpreted Section 17 of the Historic Places Act 1993, relating to the granting of approval to an archaeologist to undertake archaeological work required as a condition of an authority. They were developed in consultation with the archaeological community.

Please note that this version relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation. New guidelines tailored to the changes brought in by the May 2014 enactment of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 are currently under development and will be provided as soon as they become available.

Overdue reports
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AGS6 Dealing with overdue authority reports

These guidelines (pdf, 1.12mb) were prepared to advise the archaeological community on a process for dealing with the large numbers of overdue reports deriving from archaeological work undertaken as a requirement of the authority process.

Please note that this version relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation. New guidelines tailored to the changes brought in by the May 2014 enactment of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 are currently under development and will be provided as soon as they become available.

Handlien artefacts
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AGS7 Guidelines for archaeologists in relation to finding artefacts

These guidelines (pdf, 855kb) were prepared to provide professional advice to archaeologists when dealing with artefacts during their work. The guidelines were derived from discussions at a workshop with the NZ Archaeology Professional Development Cell in 2007, and were intended to show the paths that archaeologists should take when either coming across a chance artefact, or when preparing for and undertaking an excavation in which artefacts are likely to be found. 

Please note that this version relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation. New guidelines tailored to the changes brought in by the May 2014 enactment of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 are currently under development and will be provided as soon as they become available.


Information Sheet: Managing Archaeological Material

This information sheet (pdf, 146kb) has been created to provide guidance to consultant archaeologists on current archaeological practice for managing archaeological material during archaeological work, and also to provide information for landowners and authority applicants about their legal responsibilities and rights during archaeological work and what archaeological work may involve.

Koiwi Tanata
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AGS8 Guidelines for koiwi tangata/human remains

These guidelines (pdf, 970kb) were prepared for use by Heritage New Zealand staff, heritage administrators and consultants, archaeologists, the police, territorial local authorities (TLA's), government departments, project managers, property owners, and the general public.  At any time, these people may be involved in the discovery, excavation, exhumation, storage, re-interment or repatriation of koiwi tangata/human remains.

Previous Versions

AGS8 Guidelines for Koiwi Tangata/Human Remains Feb 2010.  Please note that this version relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation.


Midden sampling and analysis
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AGS9 Guidelines for midden sampling and analysis

These guidelines (pdf, 1MB) were prepared to provide guidance to the archaeological community regarding the excavation of midden sites and analysis of the material collected. It provides assistance with sampling strategies, involvement of specialists, the kinds of questions that can be addressed through the analysis of faunal material, and guidance on the baseline methodology for faunal studies in New Zealand.

Interim Report template
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ATS2 Archaeological interim report template

This template (Word, 204kb) is to assist with writing interim reports required as a condition of an archaeological authority granted under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014.

Previous Versions

ATS2 Archaeological interim report template Oct 2013 - this version relates to the previous legislation, the Historic Places Act 1993, therefore its contents will not be consistent with the requirements of the present legislation.