An excavation permit or exception under s139(4) is required where a person person wanting to carry out excavation or disturbance of land:
- has discovered or exposed a relic
- knows or suspects that the disturbance or excavation will or is likely to result in a relic being discovered, exposed, moved, damaged or destroyed.
Consider the following questions to understand the significance of relics that may be at your project site (where the activities or works are proposed).
Is your project site:
- a locally listed heritage item in a local environmental plan?
- identified in a heritage management document such as an archaeological management plan, archaeological zoning plan, or heritage conservation management plan as containing or likely to contain archaeological relics?
These documents may contain information on the significance of the archaeological relics. They may indicate that your project site has relics of local heritage significance and a section 139(4) exception may be possible. If the document indicates the relics are of State heritage significance an exception will not apply.
However, not every area in NSW with potential for archaeological relics has an archaeological management plan or archaeological zoning plan. If there is information available on the significance of the relics, use other resources to investigate such as heritage studies, local environmental plan heritage listings and local histories (published or unpublished). Older maps or plans may be available in existing documents such as Land Title information or online.
Pages 18–21 of Assessing Significance for Historical Archaeological Sites and Relics contain information on areas where the likelihood of significant archaeological relics is higher in NSW.
A professional historical archaeologist can also investigate and assess your project site. See our professional consultants directory for people to contact.
Once you have determined that only relics of local heritage significance may be present at your project site move to Step 2.