08 Oct 2021

‘Aerial Archaeology Mapping Explorer’ by Historic England

Historic England have announced the launch of a new web app – the ‘Aerial Archaeology Mapping Explorer’ 

For the first time ever, Historic England has made the results of over 30 years’ of aerial photograph mapping projects freely available online. The mapping allows all these features to be seen not just as individual sites, but as part of complex, multi-period landscapes. Visualising the evidence in this way can help transform our understanding of those landscape, especially when studied in conjunction with other forms of evidence – the site-based data available from local Historic Environment Records or the Heritage Gateway and historic maps.

The map brings together the results of numerous projects undertaken by specialists at Historic England and its predecessor organisations since the late 1980s, as well as many partner organisations. Hundreds of thousands of aerial photographs, ranging in date from the 1920s to the present, have been studied. More recently, innovative technologies such as lidar – airborne laser scanning – and web-based sources, such as Google Earth, have been added to the resources used.

Individual projects have been rationalised and standardised. Every site mapped has a simple description (FISH compliant) with links to the full Historic Environment records held online; for most of the areas mapped there is also a free report detailing the highlights and new discoveries encountered in each project.