Quantock Hills National Mapping Programme project
The archaeological survey of the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) comprised three main elements: aerial reconnaissance, the National Mapping Programme (NMP) project, and ground-based survey. It was a partnership between the AONB, Somerset County Council and English Heritage (now Historic England).
The NMP project area comprised the AONB and a wider contextual area. It divides into three distinct topographical zones:
- The uplands, including hilltop commons and woodland
- The surrounding lower lying, settled and cultivated land
- The coastal zone
As a result, whereas the AONB is mostly made up of open moorland, the wider area examined by the NMP project also contained much enclosed farmland.
The combination of the detailed survey on the ground and the broad overview from the air worked well to produce a comprehensive picture. The features captured were not only ones that remain on the ground today, but also those that have long since been demolished, ploughed away or passed over to another use.
Most of the Second World War military remains in and around the Quantocks, such as the former prisoner of war camp at Halswell or the tank firing range and associated camp north east of Kilton, were removed immediately after the war.
The archaeological sites mapped in the lowlands are predominantly visible as cropmarks, in particular on the lighter soils along the rivers to the south and south east of the AONB. The map extract below shows a possible Iron Age banjo enclosure situated amid a series of late prehistoric and/or Roman enclosures (in green) along the banks of a river valley in Thurloxton parish.
The results of the project were incorporated into an English Heritage monograph 'The Historic Landscape of the Quantock Hills' by Hazel Riley. This presents and interprets the Quantocks landscape after a dedicated programme of archaeological fieldwork, air photograph transcription and architectural investigation. Analysis ranges from the prehistoric period, through to stark monuments of the Cold War.
The monograph was published 15 November 2006, but is now out of print and no longer available from Historic England. An ebook (PDF version) is obtainable from various on-line retailers (ISBN 978-1-84802-164-8 £18.00) or it is possible to download a lower resolution copy for free from the Archaeology Data Service.
Please contact Historic England Publishing if you would like further information.
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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