A New Website for Archaeology

on Monday, 18 March 2019. Posted in Archaeology, History Centre

Do you have an interest in archaeology? Would you like to know what has been found in your local area, or want to know more about how people lived in Wiltshire in the past? If so, then you might be interested to access our new website that allows you to research the finds, buildings, sites and monuments that exist on the county Historic Environment Record (HER).

Remains of Clarendon Palace – A Medieval Royal Site

The Historic Environment Record (HER) is a fantastic resource that holds information on all the currently known archaeology for Wiltshire and Swindon. This includes everything from Palaeolithic flint tools that are half a million years old to World War I practice trenches created only a hundred years ago – as well as everything in between! Using the HER can be fun and helps to guide your research, as it can tell you about the character and date of archaeological sites/finds as well as how they have been investigated and where you can find more (such as in journals, books and reports).

The new website allows people to easily search the archaeology of Wiltshire and presents data on both a map and dynamic database. To have a go, click to visit the HER homepage

Online HER homepage

The new website is easier to use than our previous one and allows you to search by the following themes:
• Unique identifier number – so you can find records you’ve accessed before…
• Keyword – to find particular find/site types – such as castles or axeheads!
• Site name – for place names you know like your parish church or famous sites like Stonehenge!
• Period – so you can see all Roman artefacts or all prehistoric archaeology we know about…
• Grid reference – if you know exactly where you want to research - whether rural or urban!

Online HER search bar

You can also browse by navigating the interactive map – which can show both Ordnance Survey mapping or aerial photography. You can pan and zoom using the tools and the grid reference of your location handily shows at the top in case you need it!

Online HER search window

Once you’ve located an area, or set of records, you can find out what information we have by either clicking the point on the map or the record in the database. This brings up a pop up window that shows the full details for that HER record – including what is known and what the origin of this information is. Many of the sources listed on an HER record can be viewed at the History Centre in Chippenham if you want to visit, or may even be available in your local library, university or online.

You’ll also notice that the website highlights records in the database and pulses the location point on the map so you never get lost! But once you are ready to look at something else you simply need to hit the ‘Clear Search’ box and you can delve into something else of interest.

Online HER record pop-up

So please do have a go and see what you can find on the HER and let us know what you think. It may be in the future there’ll be even more search options for you to enjoy, and the number of records we have in the database is always growing – so it’s always worth checking back in future.

Of course, if after using the public website you want to explore this archaeological archive further, then we always welcome enquiries to the Archaeology Service here at Wiltshire Council. We hold more detailed information on our full version of the HER, and this additional information is necessary for any planning enquiry or professional work. You can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01249 705526 and we can see what we can do to help. In the meantime, we wish you all a happy time browsing the site!

Tom Sunley
Wiltshire and Swindon Historic Environment Record Manager

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