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Herefordshire Archaeology

Longtown Castle

Herefordshire Archaeology is the county archaeological service maintained by Herefordshire Council. It is part of the Built and Natural Environment team in the Council's Economy, Communities and Corporate Directorate. The service exists to assess, investigate, document, conserve and promote the archaeology and historic landscape of the county and cathedral city. The service currently comprises a core staff of three: the Archaeological Advisor (who deals with planning enquiries and development advice), the Archaeological Projects Manager (who deals with research projects, Countryside Stewardship and partnership projects), and the Historic Environment Record Officer.

The service is based at the Herefordshire Archive and Record Centre (HARC), Fir Tree Lane, Rotherwas, Hereford, HR2 6LA.

Merlin's Cave

The vision for Herefordshire Archaeology is for a service that:

  • provides a regulatory and investigative framework for improved understanding and management of the County's archaeological resource.
  • actively contributes to such understanding and conservation, and acts widely as an advocate for the local historic environment.
  • provides public access to information on the resource via the County Historic Environment Record, and events, activities and publications.

Herefordshire Archaeology provides:

  • an advisory service for historic conservation, actively pursuing effective resource management and supporting regeneration initiatives.
  • a documentation and information service, centered upon the County Historic Environment Record, and its website Herefordshire Through Time.
  • an investigative and community service, with fieldwork, conservation works, local heritage projects, public events and productions.

Conservation Advisory Activity

Herefordshire Archaeology provide conservation advice. This includes advice on the archaeological and historic landscape implications of development within and beyond the planning system, including in respect to farming and forestry. The Archaeological Advisor also manages the Hereford Area of Archaeological Importance, and the Archaeological Projects Manager advises on the longer-term management of important historic landscapes and ancient monuments, produces Conservation Management Plans, and deals with Countryside Stewardship matters.

Data Management; The Historic Environment Record

Lugg Excavation

The Historic Environment Record (HER) is an integral part of the county archaeological service, it is the most comprehensive available index to Herefordshire's historic environment. The HER is based around a Geographic Information System (GIS) database and consists of a paper and digitised records of all known archaeological and historic sites in Herefordshire, spanning the full range of human activity in the county. Records have been drawn from a wide variety of sources, including reports of archaeological fieldwork, books, journal articles, maps (including historic maps), aerial photographs, national lists and registers, student dissertations and field observations from antiquarian and modern recorders. It is a constantly evolving database and records are often added and updated.

Herefordshire's HER was originally held by the Museum service but since the 1980s it has been maintained by the archaeology service of the relevant local authority, first by the former Hereford and Worcester County Council and since 1998, by Herefordshire Council. The HER seeks to inform the management and enjoyment of the historic environment by providing a documentation and information service for members of the public, professional archaeologists from external organisations, colleagues within Herefordshire Archaeology, and other staff within the Council who are carrying out historic environment-related work. The HER is used to provide information for a wide range of purposes, including development control, agri-environment and other conservation schemes, academic research, local history, tourism, education and outreach.

Investigative and Community Activity 

The investigative aspects of the work of the county archaeological service are varied, and are delivered by means of a series of projects and partnerships. The Archaeological Projects Manager delivers much of the service agenda for investigation and recording (including survey and excavation), research, outreach, interpretation and working with local communities.

Herefordshire Archaeology is engaged in work that aims to raise public awareness and appreciation of the county's archaeology and historic landscape. Forthcoming events, including an annual symposium, monthly historic landscape walks, and other engagements can be found on the events page of this website. A series of archaeological project summaries and reports is produced each year.