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History Around Us: Archaeology and NMR

This guidance is based the workshop at the 2009 SHP Conference by Mary Mills, Catherine McHarg and Ian Coulson, ‘Dig it with NMR’. The workshop provided a range of resources and ideas for engaging pupils in archaeological enquiry using the websites of English Heritage and the National Monuments Record.

Two particularly useful resources from the workshop are:

  1. A handout (in PDF) which explains how English Heritage and the National Monuments Record can support the study of local landscapes and archaeology. The presentation provides links to English Heritage/NMR websites and gives examples of the kinds of resources that you will find on them.
  2. An activity that engages pupils with the decisions of archaeologists and builders. The simulation uses some of the NMR resources highlighted in the PowerPoint. You could easily adapt the simulation for your own locality.

Archaeology and the NMR – Handout and Links

What is NMR? What does English Heritage/NMR have? And how could you use their resources?

Download Mary and Catherine’s handout for answers [ click here ]

The handout also refers to the following sites:

English Heritage – designed for teachers –

Listed buildings – images and information –

Order maps of local archaeological sites –

Order aerial photographs –

English Heritage – archaeological information –

School visits and resources –

Simulation: The Archaeologist and the Builder

Part 1: You are an archaeologist working for ARCHRIGHT, an archaeological company. Your job is to write Desk Based Assessments (DBAs). A development company (NUHOMES) want to build some new houses. As part of Planning Policy Guidance 16 (PPG16), NUHOMES must take into consideration the potential damage this may cause to the archaeology of an area …

Part 2: You are Bob Builder, chief contractor with NUHOMES and are responsible for completing the building of all new houses on time and in budget. The DBA from ARCHRIGHT has landed on your desk. You sigh – you know that you have some tough decisions to make. For each area you have two choices, to allow the archaeologists to carry out a Watching Brief or conduct an Evaluation. Both have their pros and cons …

Part 3: How did it all work out? This is of course entirely fictitious as no excavations have taken place – but the outcomes are all realistic possibilities …


Download ALL the following files for the simulation:

Detailed description of the activity [ click here ]

Aerial photos [ click here ]

Archaeological finds [ click here ]

Maps [ click here ]

Standing Buildings Evidence [ click here ]