This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Isle of Wight ALSF National Mapping Programme project

Sample areas of the Isle of Wight were surveyed to National Mapping Programme standards from aerial photographs. These surveys were intended to aid decision-making regarding strategic planning, management and research of archaeological sites and historic landscapes in the aggregate-producing areas of the county. Funded by English Heritage (now Historic England) through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF), the mapping element of the project was carried out between July 2009 and January 2010 by the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall Council, and formed part of a wider Aggregate Resource Assessment project being undertaken by Museum of London Archaeology in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council.

Colour aerial photograph showing a golf course with clubhouse and road behind; there are several mounds included in the layout
Barrow cemetery on Afton Down, Isle of Wight, photographed on 06-MAR-2003. Note how the barrows have been incorporated into a golf course (NMR 21952/26) © Historic England


The Isle of Wight produces both aggregates (sands and gravels) and chalk and the existing Isle of Wight Unitary Development Plan (UDP) (adopted 18 May 2001) anticipated that the island would continue to need to provide these resources, primarily for internal consumption. The extraction of these mineral resources is governed by the existing Isle of Wight UDP (IOW 2001) and was due to be addressed in the Minerals Developments Documents which were being developed as part of the emerging Local Development Framework (LDF).

In view of a review of planning policy and in the context of similar projects undertaken in Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Hampshire, a survey of the archaeology of the Isle of Wight focussing on areas where aggregates (and other mineral resources) have been extracted, are extracted or will potentially be extracted was carried out. It was intended that this assessment would provide a foundation for both the application of existing minerals planning policy and the development of future policies and to facilitate a greater interface between those with an archaeological interest in these areas and those involved with minerals planning and extraction.

Colour aerial photograph showing a numberof large earth mounds on scrubby moorland
The "Five Barrows" barrow cemetery on Brook Down, Isle of Wight photographed on 24-SEP-2003 (NMR 23279/21) © Historic England

The project

The primary aim of the project was to improve knowledge of the archaeological resource of the aggregate producing areas of the Isle of Wight. This was designed to provide the appropriate tools to facilitate strategic planning decisions and the management and preservation of archaeological sites and historic landscapes within those areas. The project will also increase public, industry and other stakeholders’ awareness of the archaeology and historic landscapes within the aggregate areas.

Colour aerial photograph showing slight earthwork enclosure surrounded mainly by scrubby moorland
Castle Hill Bronze or Iron Age defended enclosure photographed on 06-MAR-2003 (NMR 21979/22) © Historic England

Key results

The interpretation and mapping element of the project contributed to this aim by providing significant enhancement to existing baseline data through the mapping, interpretation and recording of over 500 previously unrecorded archaeological features ranging in date from the Neolithic period to the end of the Second World War. In terms of the kinds of sites potentially visible on aerial photographs, this amounts to a 76% increase in the archaeological record within the two project areas.

Key results included the identification of three possible Neolithic long barrows. The distribution of Bronze Age barrows, traditional considered to be confined to the chalk uplands, was significantly expanded with the recording of 59 new sites, several of which lie on the lower arable land to the south of the chalk. Many later prehistoric sites were recorded including round houses, enclosures and field systems. Whilst few sites dating to the medieval period were mapped, significant numbers of sites dating to the post medieval period and the early twentieth century were plotted including the site of a previously unrecorded heavy anti-aircraft battery dating to World War Two.

The key findings from the project can be found in the report

Assessment of Archaeological Resource in Aggregate Areas on the Isle of Wight

Assessment of Archaeological Resource in Aggregate Areas on the Isle of Wight

Published 1 March 2010

Report from the Hampshire Isle of Wight ALSF NMP mapping project.

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.

Was this page helpful?


Group of people standing on a stony mound
Historic Places Investigation

Research Group

Also of interest...