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You are here:home > Leisure > Arts and Heritage > Family and Local History > Archaeology

Archaeology in Southampton

Southampton has a wealth of archaeological evidence and remains. Below the modern streets can be found evidence of prehistoric hunter-gatherer and farming communities, the Roman settlement of Clausentum, the Middle Saxon town of Hamwic, and the late Saxon and medieval town and villages that laid the basis for the modern city and suburbs. Some ancient walls and buildings survive above ground. The complex picture is constantly being amended and enhanced by new fieldwork and research.

We provide a range of distinct archaeological services. Basic information about these services is provided on this page, with links to other web pages for further information and contacts. For further information about this page, email her@southampton.gov.uk.

Southampton Historic Environment Record (HER). The HER is the first port of call for anyone wishing to find out more about Southampton's archaeology. The HER database includes details of all archaeological fieldwork that has taken place in the city, as well as archaeological find spots and monuments. The HER also includes many historic buildings. Part of the HER database is available online on the national Heritage Gateway website. The HER is also involved in the First World War Home Front Legacy Project.

Archaeological collections. The collections comprise all archaeological finds and archives from archaeological sites in the city. They are one of the top ten most significant archaeology collections in the country and are an indispensable research resource. Much of the finds collection is searchable through an online database. Some finds from the collections are on display in the SeaCity Museum. Site archives from some recent archaeological fieldwork in Southampton are available on the national Archaeology Data Service web site.

Planning archaeology. This service provides information and advice on archaeology and the planning process in Southampton. We assess proposed developments and planning applications to determine their likely impact on archaeological remains. Where development may affect archaeological remains we work to ensure that an appropriate level of investigation is carried out.

Archaeology field unit. The field unit undertakes field surveys, desk-top assessments, evaluation excavations, watching briefs, monument and building recording, consultancy, research, display work and site presentation on behalf of developers.

Annual reports for archaeology in Southampton. Short reports for archaeological fieldwork from 2004 onwards are published in the Archaeology in Hampshire Annual Reports, available on the Hampshire Field Club web site.

Other useful web sites.
Southampton City Museums Archaeological Society
Portable Antiquities Scheme
Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Society.

Contact information

  • 023 8083 2850
  • Historic Environment Record Officer, Historic Environment Team, Planning & Sustainability, Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LS