1 A surveyor's mark cut in a wall, pillar, building, or similar position which is used as a reference point for the calculation of altitudes and heights. In Britain the Ordnance Survey established a series of benchmarks in prominent positions that were linked to its published mapping, although sadly these are no longer maintained. Most archaeological excavations have a temporary benchmark (TBM) on site, either with a notional value (e.g. zero) or an estimated height transferred from a fixed point.
2 A published statement about the content, delivery, and assessment of academic subjects taught in British universities; the Benchmark Statement on Archaeology was published by the Quality Assurance Agency in March 2000 and revised in 2006.
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/benchmark/statements/Archaeology.asp Quality Assurance Agency statement on the content and nature of undergraduate archaeology degree programmes in the UK.