Archaeological ‘Aladdin’s cave’ site for Nottinghamshire

New website makes available an expansive database of heritage works, earthworks, historic buildings and archaeological finds. 

The Nottinghamshire Historic Environment Record site makes innovative use of the local authority’s sizeable archive in a way that encourages people to take more interest in the rich and varied historic environment.

Winding house and headstocks at Bestwood Colliery, Notts

Winding house and headstocks at Bestwood Colliery, Notts

The 25,000 data entries featured include a brand-new high-resolution laser scan of Sherwood Forest and details of the little Roman ‘fortlet’ at Scaftworth. Or there’s building record M2062, with photos of and information about the winding engine house at Bestwood Colliery, the only twin cylinder steam vertical winder in England, in operation between 1873 and 1971.

Entries range from small items such as Roman coins to large sites including airfields used in the Second World War. There are also records of ‘designated heritage assets’ – that is, listed buildings, scheduled monuments and registered parks and gardens – as well as undesignated buildings and structures, archaeological sites and historic landscapes. 

Search tools and a mapping window encourage visitors to explore the range of sources available, digging deep into the historical evidence. Surveys and excavation reports, plans, publications and a collection of air and ground photographs are all included. 

The mapping aspects of the site incorporate archive material such as George Sanderson’s 1835 Map of The Country Twenty Miles Around Mansfield, an also modern tech: an aerial satellite map, an OS map and two high-resolution lidar models.  

Mark Walker, the County Council’s Interim Service Director for Place and Communities, says: ‘The Historic Environment Record website is an Aladdin’s cave for archaeologists, researchers, students, schools and local groups wanting to find out more about the history of their local area. 

‘The website will be regularly updated with news on exciting archaeological and historic building projects taking place in the county along with discoveries, photos, volunteer opportunities, and stories that help to connect people to the place where they live. 

‘We hope people are inspired to find out more and enjoy delving into the fascinating history of our wonderful county.’ 

It’s another example of the ways data and tech can be used to bring the past alive to better engage local people in their communities. For example, you can dial up the past in a village phone box in mid-Suffolk, while the 1960s heyday of a main street in Barnsley has been recreated virtually as part of an ambitious regeneration project.

Photo courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council


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