A potential cause of harm to an archaeological site or monument is known as a hazard. The effects of a hazard upon archaeological deposits equate to a measure of risk and so ‘risk’ in this context therefore means uncertainty of outcome. Where assessed, an Historic Wreck Site will be considered to be at high risk if there is a significant likelihood of loss or further loss of historical, archaeological or artistic significance from it within the foreseeable future.
Historic England recognises that natural processes, such as erosion, cannot always be prevented. Historic Wreck Sites that are subject to such forces will not be considered at risk if they are subject to a planned programme of managed change, recording and investigation.
This document, comprising an update to a Risk Management Handbook published in 2008, describes a methodology to be adopted by Historic England, contract archaeologists, Licensees and others engaged in the risk assessment and risk management of England’s Historic Wreck Sites.