Diver recording cannon on a submerged wreck

About this image

Historic England archaeologist Mark Dunkley recording the condition of of an early iron cannon off the Farne Islands © Wessex Archaeology for Historic England

Heritage Science & Archaeology

Heritage science encompasses all technological and scientific work that can benefit the heritage sector, whether through improved management decisions, enhanced understanding of significance and cultural value or increased public engagement (EHSS, page 7).

It covers both conservation research and archaeological science, including remote sensing techniques, scientific dating, environmental archaeology, investigative conservation and materials science.  

The work we do addresses the three topics of our science strategy:

  1. Understanding materials and environments
  2. Raising awareness, improving methods, access to information and advice
  3. Capacity, capability and public benefit 
Measuring window glass using a portable XRF
Using a Portable X-Ray Fluorescence analyser to characterise historic window glass at Walmer Castle, Kent © Historic England

Understanding materials and environment

Archaeological projects addressing this theme include:

Raising awareness, improving methods, access to information and advice

This topic covers projects that improve and develop methods of investigating the historic environment, as well as raising awareness of and increasing the uptake of existing and innovative heritage science techniques. Many of the projects are collaborative.

Current projects include:

This topic also includes access to advice and information including research resources, which are essential building blocks for the effective understanding and conservation of the historic environment.  

They include research and reference collections such as our nationally important Zooarchaeological Reference Collection and Archaeobotancal Reference Collection, as well as online resources and databases such as the Coastal and Intertidal Peat Database and the Atlas of Rural Settlement in England GIS.

Capacity, capability and public benefit

This topic covers our work for The English Heritage Trust and the use of heritage science in presenting the national collection, as well as our support for specialist professional groups such as:

Was this page helpful?