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The historic environment of North Yorkshire has been created over many centuries of human activity, from the earliest prehistoric hunter gatherers at the end of the last Ice Age, c. 12,000 years ago through to military remains of the 20th century. It also includes historic buildings, designed and historic landscapes and battlefields. These remains are present both above ground as standing buildings and earthworks and below ground as archaeological deposits and features.
These remains are fragile, and once damaged or destroyed, cannot be replaced. Our historic environment provides us with attractive towns, villages and countryside in which to live and work. This enhances our quality of life and gives us a sense of place and identity. It also provides a resource for education and tourism. It is important, therefore, to preserve our heritage for future generations.
The County Council's historic environment team is part of waste and countryside services and provides a specialist archaeological information and advisory service. You can find further information on the following web pages:
Consultancy and advice
The historic environment team offers pre-planning advice to potential applicants whether householder or major developer. We provide advice on applications to local planning authorities and management guidance is given to farmers, landowners and agents on agri-environment schemes and new woodland planting.
Archaeology - excavations and surveys
The historic environment team provides information about archaeological work that has been carried out in North Yorkshire and is recorded in the North Yorkshire Historic Environment Record. It does not carry out fieldwork itself. There are a large number of commercial and research organisations who carry out fieldwork in the County Council area, as well as local groups and societies.
Archaeology - local information
The historic environment team can provide information about the historic environment of the County Council area. There are a number of current projects and recent discoveries highlighted on this web page, as well as information about getting involved and where to visit, as well as links to websites of other organisations with an interest in Yorkshire's heritage.
Historic sites and monuments
The historic environment team manages and maintains the North Yorkshire Historic Environment Record (HER) which is a system for recording information about historic sites and monuments. The Historic Environment Record holds information used by a variety of people and organisations for many purposes including management of the archaeological resource and for research and education. It is accessible to all and can be used online via the Heritage Gateway website, or in person by contacting the team, or arranging to visit, by appointment.
Historic landscape characterisation
Between 2005 and 2010, the historic environment team undertook the North Yorkshire and Lower Tees Valley Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) Project, in conjunction with English Heritage, Tees Archaeology, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, the North York Moors National Park Authority and the City of York Council. This web page provides access to a PDF copy of the project final report and a technical user guide. The main project outputs are a digital database and associated geographical information system (GIS) polygons, available from the respective historic environment records of each partner authority.