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Yorkshire Henges National Mapping Programme

A series of Neolithic henge monuments are located on the Magnesian Limestone in North and West Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Henges and their Environs Air Photo Mapping project aimed to place them in their contemporary and later landscape contexts.

It did this by generating accurate and detailed mapping of levelled and upstanding archaeological features visible on air photos and lidar. The project was funded by English Heritage’s Historic Environment Enabling Programme.

It was undertaken by an independent consultant based with the Aerial Survey and Investigation (North) team – now Historic England’s Aerial investigation and Mapping team.

A colour aerial photograph showing the flat arable landscape of the Vale of York. A motorway (the A1M) runs into the distance
A view looking north east along the Magnesian Limestone belt towards Boroughbridge taken on 29-JUN-2011 (NMR 28175/04) © Historic England

The area of the project

This project covered an area of 586 square kilometres, encompassing the extent of the Southern Magnesian Limestone Belt in North Yorkshire. It extends as far north as Catterick and eastward to the River Swale across parts of the Vale of Mowbray and the Vale of York. It encircles a similar project, Thornborough Henges and their Environs , which was completed in 2005 and keys into two other earlier projects, the Lower Wharfedale NMP Project and the Vale of York NMP  Project.

A map showing the location of the henges as red dots in relation to the local rivers and the mapped squares in green.
A map showing the Yorkshire Henges and their Environs project area with the OS 1:10,000 scale quarter sheets that cover it. © Historic England

The methodology of the project

This project mapped archaeological features visible as cropmarks, soilmarks and earthworks on vertical and oblique air photographs and lidar-derived images. The sources of the air photographs were as follows:

  • Historic England Archive specialist, military oblique and vertical collections
  • Cambridge University oblique and vertical air photographs
  • North Yorkshire HER oblique air photographs
  • Google Earth

The lidar data originates from the Environment Agency and was provided as JPEG images.

The traditional vertical and oblique air photos were rectified and georeferenced using a computer program. These were combined with the other imagery in a GIS and the archaeological features were digitised.

All objects were tagged with information that will assist in the management and interrogation of the archaeological data. This includes the monument record number, period, type and photo sources

Colour image showing NMP mapping overlain on a black and white RAF photograph. A broad ditched circular enclosure can be seen with a roman road running
The relationship between the Roman road (running north-west to south-east), Iron Age settlement and Neolithic henge or ringwork at Catterick. NMP mapping © Historic England. RAF/540/567 3147 29-JUL-1951  Historic England RAF photography.

Accessing the data

The project was completed in February 2013 and the data is now in both the Historic England Archive and North Yorkshire’s HER.

All monument records created by the project are available online through PastScape.

Colour image with various features mapped in red and green against a grey map background
An extract of the project data showing the mapped archaeological features around the village of Hackforth and an example of the attached data for a possible parterre. © Historic England
Yorkshire Henges and their Environs Air Photo Mapping Project (3908)

Yorkshire Henges and their Environs Air Photo Mapping Project (3908)

Published 31 March 2013

A report on the Yorkshire Henges and their Environs Air Photo Mapping Project (3908)

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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