Maybe there have been some archaeological discoveries right around the corner. Well, now you can see for yourself using our Historic Environment Record (HER) online map.
The HER is a database of all known historic sites across Hampshire. The new user-friendly mapping system enables anyone to search a location and see what has been found in that area.
County Archaeologist, David Hopkins, said: “The Historic Environment Record really is the tool of our trade, but it is also incredibly useful for everyone to use. This is a big step forward in being able to share the data we find with Hampshire communities.”
The HER contains 50,000 records of archaeological discoveries, historic built structures, ancient landscapes, listed buildings and old place names.
David continued: “The data recorded was primarily used to support planning decisions and up until around the year 2000, the only way to access these files was to physically visit the record in the office.
“In 2000, we got a searchable version of the database online, but it was text only and the search functions were limited. The HER has now been rebuilt so you’d be able to go to the website, find a piece of landscape you’re interested in; maybe where you live, maybe your community, and where you see a dot on the map, you can click on that and find out what archaeology lies underneath it.”
The 50,000 historic records contains; 671 scheduled monuments, 18,596 listed buildings, around 25,000 archaeological sites, place names and historic parks.
Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort Local Nature Reserve is an example of a spectacular monument recorded on the HER. The site is of national importance for both archaeology and nature conservation.
David said: “Danebury Hill Fort is one of the nicest and most impressive archaeological sites in the county. The nature of the population and nature of the settlement at Danebury has been revealed; the iron working, leather working, the wood working, the pottery making, there was a temple, there were houses, there was grain storage. It was a thriving community and 2000 years ago it would have been buzzing with activity.”
Evidence found suggests that the fort was built 2500 years ago and occupied for nearly 500 years. The hill fort was bought by Hampshire County Council in 1958 in order to protect the site, which many of our Historic Environment Records emanate from, and which is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) homing many of our most beautiful blue butterflies in their natural habitat.
David continued: “If you look at the Historic Environment Record online, you will find other places, equally, where you go today and you can see the landscape and trees and fields, but underneath that is the archaeology that tells us what life was like 2000 years ago, or 3000 years ago.”
Winchester City Council maintains its own HER within the Winchester district which is available on the HeritageGateway website.
David said: “It is great with technology rolling forward, we are now able to share our data using a map based format, and don’t forget if you have made a discovery we don’t know about please do let us know so we can update the HER.”
We meet David at Danebury Hill Fort in this short video