The West Berkshire archaeology service provides advice and information about the historic environment of the unitary authority of West Berkshire.
The service is part of West Berkshire's Heritage and Tourism team and is based in the Council's offices in Market Street, Newbury. It aims to promote the appreciation and preservation of West Berkshire's historic environment for both local people and visitors.
The archaeological resource is defined as the physical remains of past human activity. It includes buried features and sites, objects, earthworks, structures, buildings, designed landscapes (such as parks and gardens), other historic landscapes (such as relict field systems and battlefields) and towns and villages. Information about these features can be found on West Berkshire's Historic Environment Record.
The archaeology service works closely with other Council departments, local groups and national organisations.
For many people the word 'archaeology' conjures up images of digs, trowels, skeletons or treasure! In fact the word has a broad meaning, and archaeologists do a huge range of jobs.
West Berkshire's archaeology service liaises closely with national organisations to stay informed of developments in the profession and to ensure adherence to nationally agreed standards of best practice.
West Berkshire's archaeology service aims to collaborate with local groups working towards archaeological protection and interpretation across the former county of Berkshire.
One of the key objectives of the archaeology service is to support the management of the archaeological resource in West Berkshire, and advice is provided on how to manage sites so that they remain in good condition.
Archaeological advice is provided for matters relating to planning in West Berkshire, both strategic and development led.
The archaeology service is involved in several research projects across West Berkshire, working with different partners.
The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is a national voluntary project to encourage the reporting of archaeological objects found by members of the public. These finds offer an important source for understanding our past, made more valuable when their context or provenance is known.
The Historic Environment Record (HER) is the primary index of the physical remains of past human activity in West Berkshire. It changed its name from the Sites and Monuments Record to reflect a new broader scope of information content.
A Historic Environment Action Plan (HEAP) has been drawn up for all those interested in the man-made heritage of West Berkshire.
Over the last few years, the term 'historic environment' has evolved as a counterpart to the 'natural environment', helping us to understand the roles that humans have played in shaping places.