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.
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.
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).
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.
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, Kent, Norfolk, Northumberland, Somerset, North Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, and Warwickshire.
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:
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 (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)
Derbyshire (Derbyshire Archaeological Journal)
Essex (Transactions and Essex Archaeology and History)
Hampshire (Hampshire Studies)
Kent (Archaeologia Cantiana)
Greater London (Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society)
London (London Archaeologist)
Lincolnshire (Lincolnshire History and Archaeology)
Merseyside (Merseyside Archaeological Society Journal)
Newcastle and NE England (Archaeologia Aeliana)
Shropshire (Shropshire Archaeology and History)
Surrey (Surrey Archaeological Collections)
Sussex (Sussex Archaeological Collections)
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:
Historic England (formerly English Heritage) has made thousands of its unpublished research reports available online.
A number of archaeological publishers release their e-books for free online. These include:
Sidestone Press (mostly Dutch and German, but some English titles)
Archaeopress's Access Archaeology series.
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).
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).