Grassy hill with plateau top and ramparts on its slopes.
Cadbury Castle, Somerset, known for centuries as King Arthur’s Camelot, has undergone three years of vegetation management and repair works. The project has revealed and made accessible the prehistoric routes and the steep Iron Age defences that encircle this complex and outstanding monument. © Historic England Archive DP263481
Cadbury Castle, Somerset, known for centuries as King Arthur’s Camelot, has undergone three years of vegetation management and repair works. The project has revealed and made accessible the prehistoric routes and the steep Iron Age defences that encircle this complex and outstanding monument. © Historic England Archive DP263481

Heritage at Risk: Archaeology

Partnership and collaboration is often key to the future of scheduled sites and protected wrecks. The partners involved include owners and land managers, Historic England and a wide range of external stakeholders, local authorities and local amenity groups, with volunteer involvement an increasingly positive trend.

Historic England's primary role is to establish a dialogue with those who look after protected archaeology and wreck sites. This is provided through practical advice, guidance on funding, and – where appropriate – our own grant aid.

Often when we consider what ‘archaeology’ traditionally means to us, the first picture that comes to mind is that of excavations taking place in open fields or urban developments. Many archaeological sites are discovered, investigated by surveys and limited excavations, and protected on land. Others are based at more challenging locations, such as in areas of water; including inlets, rivers, intertidal coastal zones and deep under water on the sea bed, having been discovered during diving or geophysical survey or by chance find.

Wheathampstead earthwork incorporating Devils Dyke and the Slad has been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register following a Countryside Stewardship funded change in agricultural practice which will see a reduced depth of cultivation introduced across the interior and a programme of tree and scrub works on the ditch and banks.

Managing the differing needs of these sites in their variety of wetland and dryland environments is challenging but very rewarding. There are many innovative and well-developed methods for managing dry and wet archaeological sites which you can find out more about on the guidance and reports pages of our website.

Most monuments need simple care or maintenance to make sure that they survive in good condition for future generations to enjoy. The work and goodwill of thousands of owners who help this to happen play a vital part in securing our heritage.

In some cases however, more extensive repair work may be needed, and in these circumstances Historic England can help with feasibility studies, specifications and advice.

Grants from other public sources, notably Natural England (who along with the Rural Payments Agency administer the Countryside Stewardship Scheme) and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, also have a vital role to play in helping to preserve our most precious monuments for future generations.

Was this page helpful?