Historic Landscape Characterisation: Sources

The Characterisation Process

The actual data itself and was created by bringing an archaeological understanding to the study of historic and modern maps, aerial photographs and archaeological data to build a complete record for Wiltshire and Swindon. This was done as a desktop exercise and supplemented by site visits to view and photograph the landscape and to ensure that the data recorded was accurate.

All of the resources used and discussed below are available either at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in the Archives (http://www.wshc.org.uk/our-services/archives.html) and Local Studies section
(http://www.wshc.org.uk/our-services/wiltshire-local-studies.htmlor through contacting the Wiltshire Council Archaeology Service (http://www.wshc.org.uk/our-services/archaeology.html).

               History Centre                      

The Historic Maps
A variety of later post medieval/early modern maps were used to characterise the landscape and record the data for the HLC project (such as landscape types, attributes and time depth). These were available either as physical hardcopies  or as digital layers within the Geographic Information System (GIS) software used by the project.

The historic maps used for the entire project area comprised:

  • OS 1st edition 6” maps (c.1872-94) 
  • OS 1st edition 1” map (c.1818)
  • Wiltshire enclosure award mapping


In order to get extra detail for urban areas and to reflect the greater pace of change in the large towns of the county some additional historic maps were used, including:

  • Andrews and Dury’s Map of Wiltshire (1773)
  • OS 2nd edition 6” maps (1897-1914)
  • OS 3rd edition 6” maps (1910-1933)
  • OS 5th edition OS mapping (c.1961)


The Modern Maps and Aerial Photographs

The modern maps and aerial photographs were used primarily to determine the present day landscape character, but could also show traces of time depth in the landscape. These were available in digital format and were viewed on the computer within Geographic Information System (GIS) software. These sources were all of 21st century date and comprised:

  • Modern OS Master Map
  • Modern OS 1:25,000 map
  • 2001 aerial photographs
  • 2005/2006 aerial photographs


Other Sources

Finally, a couple of other sources were used to help ensure that the Historic Landscape Characterisation dataset was robust and accurately reflected the evolution and development of the modern landscape. These were:

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