Hi all, I’m Georgia and I am the Historic Environment and Finds Officer for Jersey Heritage. This is a combination of two roles that are common in the UK: HER Officer and Finds Liaison Officer.
Jersey is still behind the times in some ways... we don't have an Historic Environment Record (HER) and we don't have any legislation similar to the Treasure Act 1996. Most of the UK and our fellow Channel Islands have had an HER/SMR for decades, Jersey is just getting around to it now...
We're using open source software to keep costs low. Our database is on Filemaker, our mapping is recorded on QGIS and next year we will launch our HER online through Arches. Arches is a web-based platform that was developed jointly by the Getty Conservation Institute and World Monuments Fund. The City of Lincoln launched an Arches version of their HER last year (https://arcade.lincoln.gov.uk/)
Our HER combines information from a variety of data sources including Jersey Heritage, Société Jersiaise, National Trust for Jersey, Channel Islands Occupation Society, Government of Jersey, metal detectorists, researchers, contractors and individuals. The first phase of the HER project is to gather and record all the information onto our database. We thought the best way to do this was to focus on one parish at a time and chose an ascending order of listed properties/sites. St Mary was the first parish with only 156 listings whilst St Helier is our last with 1936 listings. Our HER doesn't just focus on what has been listed; we record monuments (any type of heritage feature), events/activities, sources/archives, finds, folklore, parks/gardens, battlefield sites and field names. This can add many more sites to the parishes, for example, St Ouen started off with 286 listings and we now have 400 records for it on the HER database. Once I have inputted the initial data this is then checked by my colleagues Roger (Head of Historic Buildings) and Olga (Curator of Archaeology). The other half of our team is Peter and David who work on the Arches and software side of things in England.
So, today, what am I doing? Currently I’m in the process of finishing our 11th parish – St Brelade. Next week the team is coming coming together to discuss where we’ve got to with Arches and we will make some final decisions. Once St Brelade is done, Peter will take the records from the first 11 complete parishes leaving me with just St Helier to work on. These records will then be put into Arches which will be very exciting!
Once this first phase is complete we will work on an HER enhancement programme to expand what we record, for example, we will add wreck sites.
Another part of my job is finds focused. We have adapted the Filemaker database we use for the HER to mimic the Portable Antiquities Scheme's recording standard as closely as possible. As we do not have a Treasure Act equivalent our finds recording is only on a voluntary basis. Tomorrow I’ll be heading to La Hougue Bie (an amazing archaeological site!) to work with Neil (Museums Conservator) to photograph and weigh a large collection of flint that came from a garden in St Ouen, before I meet with some of our local metal detectorists who record finds on behalf of their club members.
In addition to my day-to-day role at Jersey Heritage I also run the Jersey branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club. We had a session on Saturday where we took part in a fieldwalk organised by the Société Jersiaise as part of the Festival of Archaeology and I’ve just finished organising our August meeting. August marks our two year anniversary and our meeting will be a tour of the incredible archaeological site – La Cotte! The tour will be led by Dr Matt Pope who has been a great support to our YAC since we started. With nearly 50 members and a great team of volunteers we’re really chuffed with what we’ve achieved so far with our branch.