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The best map in England?

October 2, 2011

I do like that Stewart Ainsworth chap. He’s the one from English Heritage who wanders around the landscape pointing out things the rest of the Time Team have  missed. Invariably he comes up with a theory that makes sense of whatever the diggers have been puzzling over.

Sadly he isn’t (as far as I know) available to accompany amateur archaeologists on country walks.  When most of us spot a strangely-shaped lump in a field there’s no-one to tell us whether it’s an ancient burial mound, the base of a Norman castle  or the remains of the farmer’s rubbish tip.  But now help is at hand.

English Heritage, bless ‘em,  have come up with a real treat.  The National Heritage List for England has an interactive map that marks up Scheduled Ancient Monuments, listed buildings and so on,  so we can all see what’s where.    Zooming in reveals a variety of symbols that are explained in the list below the map, but – and here’s the really clever part – clicking on the question mark symbol and then clicking on the thing you’re interested in will bring up the record for whatever it is, with links to more detail than most of us will ever need to know.

Being the creation of English Heritage, the information (altho’ not the map) naturally stops at the borders. If anyone knows how to find out this sort of thing for Scotland, Wales and Ireland, please speak up*.   Meanwhile I’m off to check out the listed buildings of Lichfield, where I’ll be visiting the Library next Saturday to talk about Writing Historical Fiction.

*Later – many thanks to John, who’s just sent a link to the Irish National Monuments Service. They have a similar map at – http://webgis.archaeology.ie/NationalMonuments/FlexViewer/

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8 comments

  1. Hello Ruth, Any chance of you publishing the content of your talk at Litchfield on Writing Historical Fiction?

    Best wishes for a fun event
    Judith in San Antonio Texas


  2. Ooo, cool. A shiny new map to play with. Thanks!


  3. Glad you like it!


  4. For Ireland the National Monuments Service has a similar map to English Heritage at http://webgis.archaeology.ie/NationalMonuments/FlexViewer/ .


    • That’s great – thank you John! I’ll amend the post.


      • Thanks Ruth! I remember as a child in Co. Wicklow being told an improbable tale of a group of runaway slaves being forced by a local chief to prove their bona fides by building a section of Roman road, but I suspect this is almost certainly fiction.
        But perhaps Ruso and Tilla might one day be unwillingly catapulted into the middle of plans to put into practice Agricola’s apparent earlier wish to invade Ireland?
        Two more Irish websites that might be of interest are:
        an Irish archaeologist’s article on Roman contacts with ireland http://irisharchaeology.ie/2011/11/roman-contacts-with-ireland/
        and Legion Ireland – The Roman Military Society of Ireland http://www.romanarmy.ie/


      • It’s a good story anyway, John! Thanks for the websites – it’s very interesting to see the evidence for links between Ireland and the Empire (both then and now).



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