Hertfordshire National Mapping Programme project
Hertfordshire was mapped from aerial photographs as part of the cropmark classification project organised jointly by English Heritage and the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME), before their merger in 1999. As such it was one of the four pilot projects for the National Mapping Programme (NMP).
As a pilot survey, the methodology for the Hertfordshire project differed somewhat from that subsequently developed for the NMP in that only sites visible as cropmarks were plotted; earthwork sites were omitted.
This meant that for nearly one third of the map sheets covering the county there were no sites recorded by this project. Another difference to more recent projects is that most sites were transcribed from specialist oblique photographs, and vertical photographs were only consulted when they provided information about known sites that could not be recovered in any other way.
The geology and soils of the county are varied which affected the recovery of archaeological information from aerial photographs.
In the north there are chalk uplands forming an eastern extension of the Chilterns, on which numerous archaeological sites have been recorded whereas much of southern Hertfordshire is dominated by stagnogleyic soils largely unproductive of cropmarks.
Nevertheless the project recorded many sites of various dates and functions, and subsequent photography of the county has revealed more.
Sites from all periods
In spite of the fact that the full range of sources was not used for this project it still recorded a large number of remains. These included cropmarks of large enclosures of presumed prehistoric date.
Since the conclusion of the project continuing reconnaissance in the region has identified cropmarks of a number of new sites. Furthermore, traces of possible medieval garden landscapes were photographed as parchmarks in the particularly dry summer of 1995. These included the foundations of external walls, gate piers, and gazebos in the landscape gardens at Hamels Park.
They also included more enigmatic parchmarks at Aspenden Hall that could relate to the earlier phases of the house.
Because it was a pilot project the results were not published in a standard report in the way that has since become standard practice and there is probably a lot more analysis that can be carried out. However, some brief results of the project are presented in the project report.
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.
Historic Places Investigation
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