All of the projects involve collating information available online. 

This section lists free archaeological resources on the internet. Almost all are free, except for a few of the professional journals. We will add to this list, so check in regularly for new materials and links. Please let us know any useful resources we have missed. 

Basic Project Tools

To participate in a project, you will need a computer with internet connection, and basic spreadsheets and word-processing. We suggest project teams use Word and Excel, but if you do not have these installed then free alternatives are available in Libreoffice. This is free, open-source software, and operates on most platforms. 

Communication Tools

At the start of the project, decide with your other team members how you are going to stay in touch. We will set up a group in Google Hangouts for you at the start of the project, so you can video conference or swap messages. Another popular messaging system is Slack, if you want to use that instead. Other good free video chat systems are Skype and Zoom (although you will need to install software on your computer before you can use these).


Google Earth—aerial photographs (download the free 'Professional' version for viewshed analysis and measuring tools.)

CUCAP, the Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography. 

Grid Reference Finder—OS grid references for the UK, plus measuring tools. 

Old Ordnance Survey maps—particularly useful when viewed as a 'seamless zoomable layer'. 

British Geological Survey—zoomable and clickable maps of the UK's geology. 

UK Soil Observatory—data on soils and accurate surface data. 

Historic Environment Records

For most projects, a key starting point for archaeological data will be the Historic Environment Records. In England, these are organised (mostly) by county, but in the other three nations, the data is more centralised: 

In England, the simplest entry point is Heritage Gateway (which also also searches the National Heritage List of England and National Excavation Archive). Use the more detailed search to limit searches to particular areas, periods or features. 

Several counties have their own HER websites, as well as connecting to Heritage Gateway. These include Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Hampshire, KentNorfolk, NorthumberlandSomerset, North Somerset, StaffordshireSuffolk, and Warwickshire

National Academic Journals

Most academic journals are accessible only by subscription, but  some are making their content free during the coronavirus shutdown. Some articles are also 'open access', meaning you can access them for free all the time. 


Major British journals include: 

Some of these are available free via JSTOR until May 2020. For an extensive list of international journals, visit Doug's Archaeology and the SJR journal rankings for archaeology.


Most regional county-based journals—which is where most commercial projects get published—are only accessible in print or by subscription. A few have scanned back issues and made then accessible by the ADS or their own webpages. the following counties appear to be free. 

Wales (Archaeologia Cambrensis

Scotland (Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland)

Scotland (Discovery and Excavation in Scotland)  

Bedfordshire (Bedfordshire Archaeology)

Berkshire (Berkshire Archaeological Journal

Buckinghamshire (Records of Buckinghamshire

Cambridge (Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society)

Chestershire (Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society)

Cornwall (Cornish Archaeology)

Cumbria (Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society)

County and Local Journals (cont.)

Grey literature refers to the unpublished reports prepared by commercial archaeology units and local societies. Nearly 60,000 of these can be accessed via the Archaeology Data Service's grey literature library

A number of commercial units also have their own online libraries: 

Albion Archaeology

Archaeology South East

Cotswold Archaeology


Oxford Archaeology

Suffolk Archaeology 

Historic England (formerly English Heritage) has made thousands of its unpublished research reports available online. 

Textbooks and Handbooks

A number of archaeological publishers release their e-books for free online. These include: 


Cambridge University Press—one of the largest publishers of archaeological books in the UK—has made textbooks and handbooks free to read during the coronavirus pandemic. (Most are medical texts, but there are a few archaeological titles in here). 

National Databases

The Portable Antiquities Scheme records objects found by the general public, along with all objects covered by the Treasure Act (England and Wales). Most objects have been found by metal detectorists. The database now covers 1.5 million objects. 

The database of Roman Rural Settlement Project has data from over 2000 commercial excavations. There is a searchable database. Results can be plotted on a map, and results downloaded. 

The Englaid project maps archaeological finds and features dating from prehistory to the early medieval on a 1 kilometre grid. Results and references can be downloaded. 

The Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund supported excavations during gravel extraction. All of the reports are in the ADS. 


The main open-source Geographic Information system used in archaeology is QGIS. The other major package is the commercial ARCGIS by ESRI. 

If you are not familiar with QGIS, along with the commercial books listed on their webpage, there are the ever-helpful BAJR Guides (No. 42). There are also numerous helpful introductions to QGIS on YouTube. 

For making topographic maps, you can use Lidar—free surface map of the UK at 2 metre resolution. For national level, there is the Shuttle Radar Tomography Mission data (you'll need to register for data). 

The Ordnance Survey has a range of free downloadable shapefiles, including rivers and county borders. 

The UK Soils Observatory has UK-level maps of soil properties such as acidity (useful when plotting bone preservation).