1. Where does the information in the Historic Environment Record come from?
The Kent Historic Environment Record originated as a map based system linked to index cards. It was formerly known as a Sites and Monuments Record and was the last in the country to be created in 1989. The database is now known as a Historic Environment Record (HER) as it includes information about more aspects of Kent’s heritage. This includes historic buildings and landscapes not previously held in the Sites and Monuments Record.
The information in the database has come from a range of different sources. Academic research in books, articles in journals and archaeological reports are used to create new records. Information has also been added from aerial photographs, maps, personal observations and from site visits.
2. How does the database search for records?
When you are conducting a period search, the database will retrieve all the records that overlap your specified period. For example, if you wanted to find Bronze Age sites the database will retrieve any sites that existed exclusively in this timeframe, as well as sites that also existed in other periods. Therefore, the database would find a site that was first used in the Bronze Age but where activity continued into the Iron Age. When searching for a keyword the database is set to search the index name, monument types, reference numbers, administrative areas, addresses and linked organisations.
3. Is the database up to date?
New information is constantly being added to the database. Ongoing building and development works in Kent mean we receive a steady flow of archaeological reports every month. We make every effort to add this to the database as quickly as possible but there is usually a backlog of information waiting to be added.
4. If information isn't on the database how can I find out about it?
If the HER does not have information for a site or building you are interested in, then there are other resources that you may consult. The Kent History and Library Centre is Kent’s main documentary archive and has the County Council's collection of aerial photographs as well as many maps, articles, images and other historical sources for Kent. More information can be found via the Kent History and Library Centre web pages..
5. What can I do if I have additional information for the HER?
If you have additional information that is not currently on the Kent HER then please contact the Heritage Conservation team to tell us about it by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. What do I do if I see an error?
If you find an error anywhere in the HER database then please contact the Kent County Council Heritage Conservation team.
7. The HER record refers to a Source. Where can I read this?
The information in the database has come from a range of different sources. All of these are recorded at the end of a record under the ‘Sources and further reading’ section. Bibliographic references are given for all other sources for further research. Most of the Sources listed can only be viewed through an archaeological library such as that maintained by the Kent Archaeological Society in Maidstone Museum (available to members of the KAS only). Some archaeological reports written since 1989 can be viewed in our offices at County Hall. Please contact us if you wish to see a report.
8. How can I see a map of my area?
You can search the HER database in several ways – either by using the database or by using the map. When searching the database you can enter your parish or a grid reference to find records in your area. You can display these results on a map by clicking ‘the show results on map’ link. You may also select individual records and display them in this way. When conducting a map search you can find your town or village, enter your postcode, street name or a grid reference and display a map of the area.
9. Can I get copies of this information?
You can print off text records from the database in the normal way. You may also choose to print maps created in the map search. Click on the blue ‘Print’ link below the map; you will have the opportunity to give your map a title, as well as choosing its orientation, print size and adding a key. Use the Print Preview link to see how your map will look and then print in the normal way for your computer.
Please be aware that this material remains the copyright of KCC and there are certain rules as to what you may do with the information. The information may not be used for commercial purposes; if you require a commercial search you should contact the Heritage Conservation Group. Click here for further details on copyright.
10. What is a Scheduled Monument/Listed Building?
A Scheduled Monument is a legally protected archaeological site. Sites are designated on the basis of their significance as unique examples of England’s archaeological heritage. Historic England maintains the register of monuments. They liaise with local authorities and individuals to advise the Secretary of State on suitable additions to the list. Once a site is scheduled, consent must be given by the Secretary of State for any works affecting it.
A Listed Building is a legally protected building. Properties are designated as 'listed' based on their importance as examples of ‘architectural or historic interest’. The intention is to ensure that these factors are considered before any alterations are made during development. The listing is a graded system based on the importance of a building:
• Grade I buildings are those of exceptional interest
• Grade II* are particularly important buildings of more than special interest
• Grade II are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them
11. If a site is on the database, does that mean it is publicly accessible?
It should not be assumed that sites on this website are on public land or on public rights of way. In many cases discoveries have been made on private property and laws of trespass still apply.
12. How do I learn more about a site?
Each record has a detailed ‘Description’ field that will provide you with all the information held for records in the HER. Should you still wish to learn more about a site then use the ‘Sources and further reading’ section as a guide to further research.
13. How do I make an appointment to visit the HER?
It is not possible to visit the Kent HER as all our information is held digitally. The database is maintained by the Kent County Council Heritage Conservation team at County Hall, Maidstone. The resource includes the database, some bibliographic sources and over 5500 archaeological reports.
14. What do I do if I think a site on the HER is being damaged?
If you think a site is being damaged then please contact us immediately.
15. I’ve seen archaeologists working in my area. Where can I learn about what they have found?
Archaeological units working in Kent often put information from large scale excavations on their websites. The larger units sometimes hold open days where visitors are able to visit sites that are normally not accessible to the public.
16. I need HER information for a commercial project. What should I do?
For all commercial enquiries please email email@example.com or telephone 03000 413800.
For commercial enquiries there is a charge of £100 for a Re-Use license (all charges exclude VAT). From 1st January 2017 this charge will rise to £130. These enquiries will normally be dealt with within seven working days. We reserve the right to charge for unusually large requests of more than 4 square km. In such circumstances requestors should discuss the charge in advance with the HER team.
Any more queries?
Please contact the Heritage Conservation group on firstname.lastname@example.org or 03000 413800.