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Saturday 10 April 2010

Archaeology Service Wins National Praise For Its ‘Exemplary’ And Innovative Work

Cheshire’s archaeology service has won national praise for its excellence and innovative work.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of conservation body English Heritage, described the Cheshire Historic Environment Record as “exemplary” in a report.

The Historic Environment Record (HER) is the database of all known archaeological sites, historic buildings, find spots and historic landscapes in Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Halton and Warrington. It is maintained by the councils’ shared Archaeology Planning Advisory Service (APAS).

The English Heritage report praised Cheshire APAS for reaching out to the wider public via effective use of travelling exhibitions, attractive and accessible fact sheets and its user-friendly Revealing Cheshire’s Past website and online database.

The report also highlighted Cheshire HER for making it easy for people to access its diverse records via one website. The Cheshire service was further praised for its stewardship and protection of its historic buildings, artefacts and landscape.

The Cheshire HER is used to help guide strategic policies, provide advice on the implications of development or land management proposals on the historic environment and inform local communities about historic sites in their area.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity and development management, said: “This accolade from English Heritage highlights the fantastic work being done by the hardworking staff at Cheshire’s Archaeology Planning Advisory Service.

“Historic Environment Records are important for advancing our knowledge and understanding of our historic environment and provide a resource for conservation, regeneration, local history, education and tourism. They also promote public participation in the exploration, appreciation and enjoyment of our local heritage.”

Cheshire East has 108 scheduled monuments, 10 areas of archaeological potential, more than 6,000 sites of archaeological importance and more than 8,000 historic landscape characterisation records.

Cheshire East Heritage Champion councillor Rachel Bailey said: “This is a well-deserved feather in the cap of Cheshire’s Archaeology Planning Advisory Service. Its HER work ensures that this valuable resource is available for the whole of the community to utilise and benefit from.

“The English Heritage report will also be useful to historic environment professionals, who can use it to share knowledge and experience, to evaluate lessons learned and generate new ideas for projects and practices.”

The HER is kept up to date with accurate information, including new discoveries and latest research. The three case studies highlighting recent innovations in Cheshire, along with 15 other examples of national best practice from other English HERs, have been published in English Heritage’s new report entitled Sites and Monuments Record to Historic Environment Record: Local Authority Case Studies.

Dr Jill Collens, project manager at Cheshire APAS, said: “This is a very pleasing recognition of all the hard work being done by our staff.

The purpose of this publication is to celebrate the exciting and innovative developments that have been taking place within HERs, to share experiences across the HER community and broader historic environment sector and to demonstrate the integral part HERs have to play in the local, regional and national information network for our historic environment.”

English Heritage’s Mr Thurley added: “This report celebrates the incredible and diverse range of uses to which historic environment data can be put. We want to bring this knowledge to people at local authority executive level or those who are acting as heritage champions.”

The public access version of Cheshire’s HER, called Revealing Cheshire’s Past, has handled about 45,000 individual data requests in the past year.

Visit Revealing Cheshire’s Past at

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