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Lincolnshire National Mapping Programme project

The Lincolnshire National Mapping Programme (NMP) project, completed between 1992 and 1997, mapped and recorded archaeology from aerial photographs. The project covered the county of Lincolnshire, excluding the Fens and North Lincolnshire. Sites ranging from Neolithic long barrows through to 20th century military remains were identified.

Selected topics of research were published in a series of themed articles in 'Lincolnshire's Archaeology from the Air', R Bewley (ed) 1998.

Cover of the publication Lincolnshire from the air
Lincolnshire from the air

Diverse landscapes and archaeology

The diversity of Lincolnshire’s landscape is influenced by its solid geology and complex glacial and post-glacial history. The Isle of Axeholme, Trent Valley, Lincoln Edge, Clay Vale, Wolds, Lincolnshire Marsh and Kesteven Uplands all have their distinct landscape characters. This has been partly influenced by past human activity and is reflected in the varied archaeology recorded by the NMP project.

Despite heavy farming activity in Lincolnshire, which results in extensively ploughed cropmark landscapes, some archaeological sites still survive as earthworks.

Colour aerial photo showing several fields with bare brown soil and a number of splodges with pale outline and darker fill
At Marshchapel, the pale outlines of saltern mounds, where salt was produced by evaporating brine, are revealed as soilmarks in this image taken on 08-OCT-2009. Some small areas in pasture still survive as earthworks however (NMR 20959/34). © Historic England

Neolithic long barrows

One of the earliest easily-identified types of monument identified on aerial photographs is the Neolithic long barrow. Dilwyn Jones’ 1998 study analysed the form and context of these monuments in Lincolnshire, highlighting their regional and national significance. The majority occur on the Lincolnshire Wolds, with some outliers on the Jurassic Limestone ridge.

Historic England’s reconnaissance programme continues to monitor and photograph sites in Lincolnshire. It has found several new long barrows, adding to the 67 originally recorded by Jones.

Colour aerial photo showing an arable field with horse-shoe shaped feature as a darker green line against a yellow background
Neolithic long barrow at Welsdale Bottom, Donington on Bain, photographed on 16-JUL-2008 (NMR 20802/61). © Historic England

Medieval settlement

The landscape of the Lincolnshire Wolds is largely arable. The resulting cropmark evidence reveals a long history of settlement and human activity (Jones 1998). The area is crossed by drove roads and trackways, possible relics from prehistoric or medieval times. A medieval date is likely in places, as sheep rearing is known to have been common. Linked with these routeways are medieval settlements, some of which survive well as earthworks.

Colour aerial photograph showing extensive earthworks in pasture fields bounded by thick hedges and small areas of woodland
Earthworks of the medieval village and field system at Welton le Wold photographed on 30-OCT-2007 (NMR 20716/26) © Historic England

The images used on this page are copyright Historic England unless specified otherwise. For further details of any photographs or other images and for copies of these, or the plans and reports related to the project, please contact the Historic England Archive.

For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Remote Sensing team please contact us via email using the link below.

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