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ARCHAEOLOGY

Curated by George Knight (MEMS Alumni and Cultural Heritage and Archaeological Consultant) and edited with Fay West and Cristina Alvarez Ortiz

 

This list contains a collection of resources for both buried archaeology and built heritage, used by both researchers and professionals across the British Isles. More specific periodised archaeological resources can be found on their respective pages.

For any terms you are unfamiliar with, please refer to this glossary from Historic England. For an introduction to many of the heritage assets mentioned via the links below, refer to these introductions (IHAs) by Historic England.

HERs

Historic Environment Records (HERs)

Historic Environment Records (HERs) are a series of extensive searchable databases which present the public and professionals with a regularly updated record of registered (and non-registered) historical features and events in the historic environment of the British Isles. Formerly existing as the Scheduled Monument Record (SMR), since the 1980s the HERs have evolved into a fundamental decision-making tool in the British planning process.

The searchable assets are those which the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act (AMAAA) 1979 deems to be an ‘ancient’, ‘scheduled’ or important monuments of historical significance. These include, but are not limited to, archaeological finds, listed buildings, scheduled monuments, world heritage sites, conservations areas, historic parks and gardens records, and maritime features.

 

The HER is not a single unified database, there a multiple individually managed HERs curated by local planning authorities (LPAs) under each national government of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Please refer to those listed below for details.

 

In addition to the information listed on the HERs, LPAs often keep their own localised lists of heritage assets, often called ‘local lists’. The intentions behind these vary, but primarily stem from the desire to extend the protections of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) down to assets of local significance, which may not be nationally designated. No centralised list of all the bodies who hold local lists currently exists, but over half of LPAs do hold them, so localised searches are recommended.

It should be noted that although some LPAs do offer free searchable databases, for a full and update-to-date search of an area, you should contact and purchase the information.

ENGLAND

 

The Historic Environment Record in England is funded by the UK government. There are over 80 HERs across England which are managed individually by their respective LPA (usually at county or unitary authority level). Their maintenance is a requirement of law, as proscribed in paragraph 192 of the NPPF.

 

Most HERs can be consulted and searched individually via the Heritage Gateway (for more on this, see below), however, it should be noted that since each HERs is managed and curated independently, they are each accessed and organised differently. For example, while some authorities, for example, Kent or Hampshire provide free-to-use interactive mapping services, other nearby authorities like East Sussex or Chichester require you to contact them and pay a fee to request a report.

 

Links to every HER in England has been collected together here.

WALES

 

The Welsh HERs, known as Archwilio, has been under the development of the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts since the 1970s and its maintenance was ratified under the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016. It can be searched in near entirety via an interactive Historic Wales map. This map integrates the records of three central online resources which should be consulted for more detailed reporting;

- The Archwilio database.

National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW).

- Cof Cymru–National Historic Assets of Wales, an online searchable database and map developed by Cadw (the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service).

SCOTLAND

 

The Scottish HERs is most easily searched via the Past Map service, developed by

Historic Environment Scotland. This service provides an interactive map which lists the scheduled features found in other HERs and proscribed under AMAAA, but with the addition of historic map overlays, aerial photography and additional geodata. Like all HERs, the map data is not always as thoroughly updated, so Historic Environment Scotland recommend you cross-reference your searches with their Historic Environment Portal and the individual county HER.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND

 

The Historic Environment Record of Northern Ireland (HERoNI) is developed by the Department of Communities of the Government of Northern Ireland and can be searched via a dedicated interactive map. It lists all the usual information found in other HERs, notably that compiled in the Northern Ireland’s Sites and Monuments Record and Buildings Database, but also shows areas of archaeological potential and allows additional historic map overlays.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

 

The Historic Environment Viewer is an interactive map and resource, developed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and hosted by the National Monument Service (NMS). It facilitates easy access to the databases of the NMS’ Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) and the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH).

The NMS have also produced an interactive Wreck Viewer which maps the SMR data for maritime history, and allows user to explore historical shipwrecks around Ireland and the Atlantic Ocean. 

HLCs
GIS

Historic Landscape Characterisations (HCLs)

HLCs are a series of ongoing projects which seek to compile information on the Historic Landscape across the British Isles down to granular levels. They seek to place historic and archaeological processes into their localised contexts, to understand how they have affected the modern landscape and how they make their place distinct. They are produced so that each location and its unique nature is administered to appropriately in planning and development. 

 

They were first commissioned as a fulfilment of the European Landscape Convention (2000), which defined adaptable protections and planning frameworks to ensure the proper consideration of local environments during development projects. HCLs have frequently been produced to support larger environmental appraisals like Landscape Character Assessments (LCAs).

Due to the sheer scope of the legislation, like the HERs, each individual HLC is commissioned and managed by local authorities (county/borough councils, unitary authorities, local trusts) and therefore each varies in quality, scope and style. Below are listed relevant links to each country’s HLCs and other relevant links: 

ENGLAND

 

Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) – beginning in 1993, the English HLC has mapped over 99% of the historic landscape and its individual characterisations across England. Most areas have been compiled by LPAs alongside their HERS (see above) and each LPA should be consulted individually, but most can be freely searched via the Archaeological Data Service.

 

As an offshoot of the HLC, English heritage in 2010 developed the England's Historic Seascapes project which applies a similar methodology for the historic character of the coastal and marine environment.

SCOTLAND

Historic Land-use Assessment (HLA)begun in 1997 and officially completed in 2015, the HLA maps the entirety of Scotland’s characterisation and land-use from prehistory to the present. It can be searched via an interactive map provided on their website. Features integration with the Scottish Historic Environment Record’s interactive Past Map (listed above).

WALES

 

Similarly to the Welsh HER described above, the HLCs reports for Wales are managed by the four Welsh archaeological trusts, with support from Cadw. In total, there are 58 registered landscapes of historical interest that can be searched through each trust’s individual websites. Links to each with company and location are listed below:

 

North Wales – Gwynedd Archaeological Trust

East Wales – Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust

South Wales – Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust

West Wales – Dyfed Archaeological Trust

NORTHERN IRELAND

 

Regional Landscape Character Areas (NIRLCA) - commissioned by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, this project has subdivided the country into 26 regional Landscape Character Areas (LCAs), all of which can be explored via an interactive map viewer.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

 

The HLCs for the Republic of Ireland were originally commissioned in 2006 by the

Heritage Council to support their wider LCAs. They do not have a centralised database to search; instead, each that is publicly available must be found via each county or authority’s individual website. For an introduction, please refer to the Heritage Council’s 2013 report.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

GISs are a fundamental part of archaeological professional practice and are used in almost every industry in the modern world. They allow users to accurately map, manipulate and display geodata for a variety of purposes, and are behind nearly all the interactive maps listed here. For a more general introduction into GISs and their uses, please read this article by National Geographic.

The most popular and accessible GIS system that you probably already know is Google Earth, but the most frequently used by professionals and for more technical analysis is ArcGIS by ESRI. Since ArcGIS is marketed as a professional tool, most users prefer to use free alternatives, the most popular of which is QGIS.

QGIS (Quantum Geographic Information System) – a free open-source GIS programme, often used by archaeologists for spatial analysis and manipulation in archaeological projects. To understand more detailed description the uses of GIS in archaeology, please refer to this BAJR guide.

Various archaeological or historical resources which include mapped data have made their datasets freely available to download and input into your own GIS projects. Below is listed a number of free, popular and useful historical datasets. Please note that this list is only introductory, and many more datasets can be found online, primarily through the ADS.

 

- National Heritage List for England (NHLE) - this entire NHLE and Historic England’s     datasets, downloadable in modular form; includes England’s battlefields, conservations   areas, listed buildings, parks and gardens, scheduled monuments and more.

OS Maps OpenData - open source and freely downloadable map data by the   Ordinance Survey. Includes 3D and 2D mapping of natural and man-made features   across the British landscape.

Natural England Open Data - open-source datasets of all natural environmental   features, including Ancient Woodland, Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and more.

British Geological Survey (BGS) Datasets - some free open-source datasets which map   Britain’s geological features, composition and types. Please note many do require   licensing.

INSPIRE - collection of over 1,300 downloadable (and often viewable online) geo-datasets for EU nations, including conservations areas and environmental data

Resources using GIS which are focused on particular historical periods and locations can be found on their relevant resource page on MEMSLib. See, for example, Mapping Medieval Chester on the Late Medieval History page.

Research Resources


Archaeology Data Service (ADS) – Archaeology Data Service (ADS) – free to use, extensive and highly recommended digital repository and archive of most digitised archaeological reports, journals and associated materials in the UK. Due to its pre-eminent position amongst the other resources, it is listed here first. When exploring these other resources, you will find most link back to the ADS. The service breaks down into three catalogues: 

- ArchSearch – search for monument and event records.

Archives  search for catalogued archaeological datasets (including site data, survey   data, site images etc.).

ADS Library – search for journals, books, reports and published materials.
 

Bibliographies; Open Access Journals & Books 

Archaeopress Open Access Resources - the archaeological academic publisher Archaeopress have made over 160 of their eBook publications freely available for download as PDFs, as well as over 150 imprinted titles which can be downloaded for personal use and background research.  

British History Online Catalogue - a large collection of publicly available books, maps and records from British history, through from the ancient past to the present. Of particular importance for archaeological interest is the Victoria County History series which (although outdated) gives succinct and highly detailed descriptions of localised histories for each county in England.

Cambridge Core Open Access Resources - a collection of near 300 open access archaeological academic and peer-reviewed articles, journals and books published by Cambridge University Press. These resources range across all aspects of archaeological practice, including theory, excavations and current industry trends. 

Columbia University Libraries Archaeological Resources - catalogue of archaeological research resources curated by Columbia University Library. These include reference works like dictionaries, encyclopaedias and chronologies; digital resources like websites, databases and archives; and published works like journal, books and bibliographies.

 

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) - the DOAB is a global community curated service that indexes over 65,000 academic and peer-reviewed open access books, all with downloadable PDFs. For archaeological studies, the service currently has over 1,200 books indexed and over 600 specifically focused on the archaeology of most periods and geographic locations.  
 

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - the DOAJ is a global community curated service that indexes over 8 million open access journal articles in 80 languages and just under 19,000 journals. It currently gives access to near 42,000 open access articles on archaeology and contains information on over 250 archaeological journals.

Internet Archaeology - an open access archaeology journal of international renown and scope. It has been based out of the University of York since 1996 and is digitally archived by the ADS (see above). It features freely available articles on all archaeological practice, including excavation reports, digital archaeology and current industry trends.

Institute of Historical Research (IHR) - Open and Free Access Materials - a digital repository of free online heritage research resources recommended by the IHR. Entries range from archaeological data and image archives to periodised databases and research centres.  

Open Access Archaeology Journals - run by OA.mg, a search engine for academic papers, this page contains links to over 1,000 open access journals associated with archaeological topics across the world. It is particularly useful to finding niche journals, and information on them including rankings, publishers and more.  

UCL Press Open Access – UCL Press has made a selected number of their published works available for free download; many of these published works focus on heritage, archaeology and more.

Databases & Datasets (Archaeological Materials & Events) 

Atlas of Hillforts in England and Ireland – an online atlas which maps 4,174 Hillforts in the UK and Ireland, which collates and adds to information from existing archaeological catalogues, including the National Monuments Records and the HER.

Bomb Sight – a free-to-use interactive website that compiles bomb census data for London, particularly relating to the Blitz (1940), and presents it via an interactive searchable catalogue and map.

eDoB Online - a website which hosts an interactive map of Steven Thompson’s Defence of Britain (DOB) archive. This archive maps Britain’s Second World War defences onto the landscape and provides relevant links to each individual feature.

EngLaId (Portal to the Past) – a web-based map tool made by the University of Oxford which maps data on English archaeological finds and discoveries from the Middle Bronze Age (c.1500BC) to the Domesday Book (1086 AD). It was produced as part of the ‘EngLaId’ (English Landscape and Identities) project, which ran from 2011-2016 and analysed change and continuity in the English landscape.  

Gallo-Belgic Pottery Database – an online portal for the Gallo-Belgic pottery project, run between 2003 and 2006. It contains a corpus of Gallo-Belgic pottery found in Britain, searchable via tables, maps, find location, stratigraphical contexts etc. Also provides an extensive bibliography of scholarship and excavations Iron Age to Roman excavations in Britain, with associated finds recorded.  

Honouring the Ancient Dead (HAD) - the website for the organisation HAD, who are compiling the first comprehensive online database of human remains, from prehistory to the present, held in museums. Entries and museums can be searched via an interactive YLM MAP.

Iron Age Coins in Britain (IACB) – an online database of near 1,000 coins from Britain between the early-mid 2nd Century BC to the 1st century AD, hosted by the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. It acts as a digitisation of the reference book Ancient British Coins. See also the related database, the Celtic Coin Index (see below), from which this database is sourced.  

Public Resources by FLAME – a page of online resources on archeometallurgical data, managed by FLAME (Flow of Ancient Metal across Eurasia). Funded by the European Research Council, and run by the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at the University of Oxford, it investigates the movement, exchange and transformation of metals in Eurasian societies during the Bronze and Early Iron Age. These resources focus on Eurasian archaeological finds, coins and lead materials, and also include databases on historical archeometallurgical research.

 

Roman Provincial Coinage (RCP) online – an online database of over 100,000 Roman provincial coinage, searchable both by text and by a geographical map and run out of the Heberden Coin Room in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. It acts as a digitisation of several volumes of the Roman Provincial Coinage series, the authoritative studies of classical coinage from across the Roman Empire.        

The Celtic Coin Index (CCI) – an online database of the 85,000 index card dataset compiled originally be Derek Allen and Sheppard Frere beginning in 1964. The dataset documents over 68,000 Iron Age coins from between the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD. It is hosted by the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. Its data is utilised by the Iron Age Coins of Britain project (listed below). 

The Rural Settlement of Roman Britain – a web-based map tool made by Cotswold Archaeology which maps a selected database of Romano-British settlements in England and Wales. It collates information on over 3,600 rural sites, accounting for over around 2500 individual settlements of all types, including farms, field systems, funerary sites, shrines etc. It provides a near comprehensive resource of both pre- and post-1990 grey literature and was lasted updated in 2018.  

Databases & Datasets (Heritage Assets, Excavations & Events)

ARCHI UK – a database of more than 200,000 British archaeological sites across England, Scotland and Wales. Free resources available are historic map search, toponymical database, international archaeological site searching tool and digital terrain map (scanned by LIDAR). Some more advanced features might require membership.

ARIADNEplus – a project which looks index and integrate archaeological datasets from across all of Europe, and further into international archaeology. Over 2 million datasets have been catalogued and can be searched via their portal.

Excavations.ie: Database of Irish Excavation Reports – a database of summaries of archaeological excavations carried in both Northern and Southern Ireland from 1969 to 2020. It can be search either via text or by a mapping tool, and gives options for advanced searches, including with integration of National Museum of Ireland records. It is supported by the National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.  

MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) Resource Library – a digital repository for MOLA’s unpublished reports and supporting data, as well as bibliographic references. Often correlated with the ADS (see above).

 

MOLA Collections Catalogue – a online catalogue of images, references and information from MOLA’s archaeological finds and archival collection.

UNESCO World Heritage Interactive Map - an interactive platform produced by UNESCO to map World Heritage sites across the globe. You can search all designated cultural, natural or mixed heritage sites, whether safe or endangered, by their nation, region, period or type; you can also search nominated sites. A project funded by the Flanders UNESCO Trustfund is currently in the process of updating this platform with more complex GIS resources.  

Historical Maps & Aerial Photography 

Aerial Archaeology Mapping Explorer - an online mapping resource by Historic England, which allows users to explore major aerial photography projects and their locations across the UK, and provides georeferenced plans and links to the archaeological features discovered within them. For more on the project, read HE’s guide here

Aerial Photo Explorer - hosted by Historic England, this platform allows you to explore over 400,000 digitised aerial photographs from across England, all georeferenced via points or polygons onto their subject’s location. It features photographs primarily taken by the RAF and Aerofilms Ltd., all of which can be individually selected and viewed. 

Britain from Above - a platform which allows user to explore over 95,000 aerial photography primarily of Britain and other nations from between 1919 to 2006. The platform hosts the best selection of photographs from within the Aerofilms collection of over 1.26 million negatives. It can be searched by mapping tools and photo galleries. 

Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography (CUCAP) – online repository of around 500,000 aerial photographs (both oblique and verticals) of Britain from 1947 to the present. It features an interactive map and allows search via theme or geographic location.

MAPCO: Map and Plan Collection Online - a regularly updated digital collection of free to view historical maps (primarily between the 16th to 19th century), all searchable by interactive viewers. Particularly useful for researching the British Isles and London.

National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) – the online platform for the NCAP, who hosts tens of millions of aerial photography, both vertical and obliques, for locations across the globe. Their collections can be searched by air units, historical events and a GIS mapping tool, including search via combined aerial photo mosaics. 

National Library of Scotland Map Images – a digitised repository of historic maps, notably OS Maps, for England, Scotland and Wales. Also includes historic military, town, coastal bridge and other survey maps from the 19th century to the present.

Old Hampshire Mapped - online collection of 16th to 19th century historical maps for the county of Hampshire, with commentaries, gazetteer and bibliographies (last updated in 2006).

Old Maps Online - a free collection of georeferenced historical maps from cross the planet, all searchable via an interactive map. Features a 'Compare' tool which allows you to upload maps and compare against modern maps.

Old Sussex Mapped - online collection of 17th to  19th century historical maps for the county of Sussex, with commentaries and gazetteer for navigation. Sister project to Old Hampshire Mapped.

Places of Wales - Welsh Tithe Maps - searchable map of Welsh tithe maps (produced between 1838 and 1850) for roughly 95% the entirety of Wales, hosted by the National Library of Wales. It provides a highly interactive service with detailed entries and links to relevant primary documents.

WG Tile Server - a server which hosts a large collection of aerial photographs of portions of Wales from 1945 to 2013. The scope and focus of each collection varies, but all the photos are highly detailed and the curators have provided guides for interacting the imagery into GIS tools.

Digitised Records & Historical Imagery 
 

Charles Booth’s London - a website that allows you to explore digitised versions of Charles Booth’s poverty maps of London and his original notebooks, used by his researchers to catalogue the social, economic and cultural characteristics of residents between 1886 and 1903. All viewable materials are the foundations of the 17 volume Inquiry into Life and Labour in London and all provide intimate insights into people, contemporary built environment, industrial activity and cultural climate of Victorian London. 

Grace's Guide to British Industrial History - a website which provides brief histories and summaries of companies, products and people who were involved in British Industry. Most materials are free to access, but some subscription is required for full access. The summaries, however, do provide enough information for researchers willing to explore elsewhere. 

Historic Environment Image Resource (HIER) – an online digital image repository of near 32,000 historic images for sites and subjects from across the world, run out of the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford. All the images are from the teaching collections of Oxford’s departments. Over 40% of the images are of the United Kingdom and surrounding islands, but the remaining 60% are globe. Their contents are primarily dictated by the academic pursuits of former University academics and therefore the majority are from within the former British Empire. 

Historical Directories of England & Wales - a digital collection of 689 directories from English and Welsh counties for the 1850s, 1890s and 1910s, hosted by the University of Leicester. Searchable by name, place and occupation.

 

Kent Photo Archive - online collection of over 25,000 historic images and maps collated from over 20 museums, historical societies and private collectors in Kent.

London Picture Archive - online collection, managed by the London Metropolitan Archives, of over 250,000 photographs, prints and drawings, over 1,000 historical maps. Can be searched via a georeferenced mapping tool.

Picture Oxon - an online collection of 385,000 catalogued historic images, prints, drawings and maps of Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley from the 1850s to the present.

 

Archaeological practice, industry guides and tools

Organisations

Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO) - the organisation which unites archaeologists conservations who work in LPAs. Their website provides important information on how archaeology operates in the UK planning system, on guidelines for archaeological practice and also a searchable map of their LPA members

BAJR: British Archaeological Jobs Resource – a highly recommended free online resource for both practicing and non-practicing archaeologist and conservations, which hosts up-to-date guides, news and links to archaeological training opportunities and jobs. Particularly useful for its free guides written by industry professionals.

British Archaeological Association (BAA) – website for the BBA, which directs visitors to recent talks, conferences. On the shared community resource page, individuals can request materials to be shared by the wider community.

Chartered Institute of Archaeologists (CIfA) – website for CIfA, the primary public body that advocates and provides accreditation to professional archaeologists and conservations. Their website is a hub for archaeological opportunities, training resources, industry news and their standards and guidelines, which are endorsed and used by every archaeological body working in the UK. Please be aware that many resources may only be accessible if you are a CIfA member.

Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers (FAME) - website for the trade-body FAME, an organisation who work to represent the interests of commercial archaeology and wider work within the heritage sector. A useful resource for searching affiliated archaeological units and understanding the current events in commercial archaeology.

Historic England – the leading public body who provides advice, resources and heritage services in England. They are particularly useful for providing up-to-date guidance regarding heritage legislation, the heritage industry and modern standards of heritage practice, as well as hosting​ invaluable resources like the HERs and NHLE (see below). For a complete list of their resource, refer to their A-Z list.

Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) – the website for the IHBC, which host numerous free learning and practice resources for both archaeological and built heritage conservation. Please be aware that some resources may only be accessed if you are a IHBC member.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) – the website for SPAB, an organisation in Britain dedicated to the protection and restoration of historic buildings. It features important guides to heritage legislation, heritage assets (both archaeological and built), as well as reports for ongoing restoration projects.

Tools

British Geology Viewer (BGS) – an online geology service which offers viewers an interactive map of England, Wales and Scotland, showing the compositions, groupings and types of geological deposits below ground surface. The original British Geology Viewer was retired on 1st August 2022 and has been divided into two services; BGS Geology Viewer, a lightweight viewer for enthusiasts and BGS GeoIndex, a viewer with shows borehole records, earthquake data and interactive 3D models. For downloadable BGS geodata for use in GIS, please see above.

CloudCompare - an open-source 3D point cloud processing software, which allows for free manipulation of scanned point environments and 3D mesh models. Particular useful for being able to map 3D environments captured through surveying tools, for example aerial drone surveys. 

Google Earth Pro – a popular and free GIS tool used by researchers and professionals for reference to geolocate and interrogate sites and terrain with easily maneuverable tools. The application allows users to seamlessly go back through historic maps and aerial photography, with using other tools for grid referencing and more.

 

Heritage at Risk Viewers -  Historic England annually produces Heritage at Risk registers, which catalogues all designated and non-designated assets at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate development. Since 2016, HE have been uploading their register of georeferenced assets in danger into freely available online map viewers, which can all be viewed above. Please note as to date, only the registers for 2021 and 2022 are authoritative. 

 

Heritage Gateway (HG) - a website run jointly by Historic England, ALGAO and IHBC, that allows users to easily search large portions of HER data and additional sources (see above for detailed listing). Gives detailed searches options of designated and non designated assets in the UK, including by date, location, evidence types, person and more. Search is available via an online map tool which is prone to glitches. If you encounter issues, clear your browser's cache and refresh.

MAGIC – a platform which hosts a user-friendly interactive map with multiple open-source historic and environmental map layers, as well as a detailed database of download map data from British governmental bodies. Supported by Natural England, as well as partners like DEFRA and Historic England.

 

MOLA Archaeological Site Manual (1994) – a classic archaeological field manual, available for free as a PDF. Although now superseded by later editions, this version still contains all the standard conventions used by archaeologists in the field. It provides a detail description of how to understand and record archaeological sites and features to a modern industry standard level.

 

National Grid Reference (NGR) Finder - a powerful web tool that can be used to find the NGR and address of any selected location in the UK (can be used internationally, but lacks the NGR). Also provides additional geographical identification data like X, Y axis; Latitude and Longitude and more recent tools like What3Words and can be searched via these alternatives.

National Heritage List for England (NHLE) – an interactive register of all protected historic buildings and sites in England. This includes listed buildings, scheduled monuments, protected wrecks, registered parks and gardens, and battlefields. Most information is also integrated into the local administered HERs listed above.

The OS Map of Great Britain (GigaPan) - an online interactive gigapan of the Ordnance Survey (OS) Maps for England, Wales and Scotland (standalone version), as of November 2010. Gigapans are essentially digital images comprised of billions of pixels, which allows for high levels of detail within images of large scales. To support with establishing grid references, please use the OS services Tile Locator (found under tab at base of Vector Map page).  

 

Regional Research Frameworks - LPAs for the past several decades have each been developing their own individual research frameworks. Each is designed to provide professionals with focused research objectives for each region for the British Isles. They often provide insightful introductions into recent historiographical trends and discoveries in those localities, although (much like the HERs and HLCs) each varies in scope and quality. They can be navigated in two ways:

- ​Historic England have provided a downloadable spreadsheet via the link (NB clicking this link starts download);

- An interactive map provided by the Research Frameworks Network.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme – an online database curated by the British Museum and Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) which collates and records over 1.5 million archaeological objects that have been discovered by the public, usually through metal detecting. It was founded in response to the Treasure Act 1996 and is supported by 43 Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) who usually operate out of LPAs; they can be searched here. Their website features a searchable database of all submitted objects, with descriptions, locations, imagery and additional information.

Soilscapes – an extensive soils dataset which covers England and Wales, created by Cranfield University with the support of DEFRA. It can be explored via an interactive map, which allows examination of underlying geology nationwide. All soils are categorised with detailed descriptions of texture, habitation, chemical contents etc., all of which can provide useful information regarding archaeological survival or historical use.  

Zetica UXO Risk Maps – a website used for an introductory analysis of potential UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) across Britain and Ireland. The data utilised for mapping is from regional Second World War bomb census data. This resource should ONLY be used for general research purposes or reference, and NOT as an official UXO survey for any potential archaeological site.

Research Resources
Guides/Tools

Last updated by George Knight - 14/07/2023

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