South Yorkshire Historic Environment Characterisation Project

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In 2008, the South Yorkshire Archaeology Service completed the South Yorkshire Historic Environment Characterisation project, with English Heritage funding. Characterisation is a way of recording the different histories of the places where we live, by looking at maps, aerial photographs, historical records and archaeological evidence, to establish the age of a place’s landscape features. These different histories are what have made the place that you live distinctive and different from those around it. Characterisation also tries to understand what aspects different places share in common, to understand the wider processes of landscape change.

The project has shown that changes to our landscape now happen on a scale and at a speed that appears more dramatic than at any point in the past 1000 years. However, we can also demonstrate that the places that we now see as timeless, like the moors of the Peak District, and even our ‘ancient’ woodlands, are themselves the results of human actions. See the dedicated project website.